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THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers

The Rosie O'Donnell Show

DATE: 1996


ROSIE O'DONNELL: For the past 28 years, children and adults around the world have been listening to this song. [Shows Won't You Be My Neighbor video montage]

FRED ROGERS: [Enters singing] So let's make the most of this beautiful day. Since we're together we might as well say.

RO: Would you be? Could you be? Will you be my neighbor?

FR: I will.

RO: Mister Rogers, ladies and gentlemen! Come on over.

[both now seated]

RO: It's so nice to meet you.

FR: I'm glad to meet you. I met Parker a little while ago. What a fine boy.

RO: Did he go crazy when he saw you?

FR: Well, he liked the music. We were rehearsing and he loved the music. In fact, when we finished he turned to John McDaniel and everybody in the band and went like that. [clapping]

RO: I have him well trained. He does that at home every time your show comes on. He starts to clap.

FR: Bless his heart.

RO: He loves it.

FR: Could I give you something?

RO: I'd love it.

FR: The day I heard that you wanted me to come and visit, I was walking on the beach and I found that and I thought, "I want to give that to Rosie."

RO: What a beautiful shell. Thank you so much. That's so nice of you.

FR: You know, if you put a little water on it, it gets even more beautiful. And I keep thinking that has something to do with life. The tears and sweat often bring out the best in us.

RO: I think you're right, Mister Rogers. I do think you are right. Now I know that you have been here at NBC -- you were in Studio 8H when your career began. Is that true?

FR: I did. I floor managed the Hit Parade and the NBC Opera Theater and the Kate Smith Hour. I made some mistakes.

RO: Did you?

FR: That was in the days of all live television and I remember asking the crew to raise the scenery while Miss Smith was singing a song. And so it looked like she was going down into the ground.

RO: Was she annoyed?

FR: She didn't know about it.

RO: Just as well. And then you gave all that up and then you went to do your own children's show in Pittsburgh.

FR: I heard that they were starting educational television in Pittsburgh and I applied and I was one of the first six people to help start that community station. And nobody wanted to do a children's program and so one of the secretaries and I said, "Sure, we'll do it." So we did an hour a day. Live. And the films would break because we had to get all free films. And so we just had a bag of puppets there, and I said any time the film breaks, we've got to fill in with something. Is Daniel around?

RO: Here, yes. And King Friday.

FR: [as King Friday] Oh, yes, would you like to speak with me?

RO: I love King Friday.

[Fred Rogers takes out King Friday]

FR: [as King Friday] Very well.

RO: He's here. King Friday, ladies and gentlemen. Hi, King Friday.

FR: [as King Friday] It's a great pleasure to be in your Neighborhood, Miss O'Donnell.

RO: It's so nice to meet you. I've watched you for years.

FR: [as King Friday] Well thank you. I never seem to change.

RO: No, you don't.

FR: [as King Friday] Have you met Daniel Striped Tiger?

RO: No but I would love to. Is Daniel here as well?

FR: [as King Friday] He is. I brough him. Unfortunately, he is very shy.

RO: I know. I'm aware.

FR: [as King Friday] Just a moment. We'll see if we can ask him to come. Daniel, please.

RO: Oh, I hope he's not too shy to come and talk with me.

[Fred Rogers takes out Daniel Striped Tiger]

FR: [as Daniel] I really do get very shy when I meet new people.

RO: Hi, Daniel. How are you?

FR: [as Daniel] I'm pretty good. I have a new stripe. Would you scratch it?

RO: Yeah, sure. There you go.

FR: [as Daniel] You know, new striped get awful itchy. I don't know whether you knew that or not.

RO: I didn't but thanks for sharing it with me. Have you seen my beautiful shell?

FR: [as Daniel] Oh, that's lovely. Why is it shining so?

RO: Because we put water on it because just like life, tears and sweat make everything a little bit better.

[Rosie kisses Daniel and the puppet is put away]

RO: You have a new book out, Dear Mister Rogers, and it's the letters that you've received over the years and I was reading them last night. Some of them are so hysterical. Four-and-a-half-year-old Colin writes, "When I talk to you, you don't listen. I want to know, too, are you real in real life?" So sweet.

FR: So many of the children when they meet me if they're very young, they say "How did you get out?" Does that happen to you? How did you get out of the television set? And I do my best to explain, but I've learned now not to go too much into detail because usually when I leave they say, "How are going to get back in?"

RO: This is a great one: "Dear Mister Rogers, My daddy works at Sears. Do you have a job, too?" The book is Dear Mister Rogers, Does It Ever Rain In Your Neighborhood. It's a wonderful book and you have done so much for so many years for millions of children. And I just want to thank you 'cause I think that you're a wondeful, wonderful giving man. And it's so calming when all the kids watch the show and sing and have fun and learn. It's a wonderful thing that you've done with your life and career.

FR: Could I think you for your stand for children? I'm very grateful for what you have stood for and what you do in the lives of America's children.

RO: Well they're all that matters at the end.

FR: I salute you.

RO: Well it's an honor to have you here. Mister Rogers ladies and gentlemen. We'll be right back...

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