|THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers|
Around the Neighborhood - Volume 2, Number 4
In 1973, Family Communications initiated a print newsletter titled Around the Neighborhood. This newspaper-like publication was largely directed towards parents but included some material for children as well. The information below documents the fourth issue from Volume 2 of Around the Neighborhood.
"For my birthday I would like a ride in the King's plane," said Daniel Striped Tiger.
"I think King Friday would let you have a special birthday ride," said Francois Clemmons.
The Purple Panda appeared in a blink. (He had traveled the Purple way.)
"No one on Planet Purple has a birthday," he told them. Then he vanished.
"No birthday?" Daniel felt sorry for Panda. That was awful. There must be some way Panda could have a birthday of his own.
"Could I ask for a special birthday present?" Daniel asked. "I'd like to have an extra birthday to give to Panda."
"That's a good idea," said Francois. "But I don't think it can be done. I think either you have a birthday or you don't."
The Panda appeared.
"I don't have a birthday. I'll never have a birthday." And he vanished again.
"Then I'll give my birthday to Panda," Daniel said. He did not think of how it would feel for him to have no birthday.
The next day Daniel had a cough that hurt his throat.
"That's a bad cough you have there, Daniel," said Yoshi Ito.
"I guess nobody will even notice my cough," Daniel said. He coughed. "I guess everybody's talking about Panda's birthday. Oh, I wish I hadn't given my birthday away. Now I'll never have another one."
"Oh, Daniel," said Yoshi. "Your birthday is still your birthday. I have a cousin who was born on the same day as I was. We both have the same birthday."
"But you can't do that," said Daniel. "You can't both have the same day."
Handyman Negri said, "Sure you can. Lots of people are born on the same day. I have a good friend who has the same birthday I have."
Daniel said, "Can a Purple Panda and a striped tier have the very same birthday?"
"Yes," said Yoshi Ito. "And a panda and a tiger can both go for a birthday ride in the King's plane."
"And share a birthday cake?" asked Daniel.
"Sure," said Handyman Negri. "Your birthday will always be your birthday. It's a holiday just for you. You can share it if you want to. But it's always your own special day."
So in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, a tiger and a panda shared the very same birthday.
Many different things can fly.
Most birds can fly. Their bodies are light and feathery. Their wings are wide and strong. They can beat their wings back and forth very quickly. This lifts their bodies up into the air. Their tail-feathers help them go left and right, and up and down.
People built gliders that could ride on the wind.
People thought up many ways to try to fly.
This is a hot-air balloon, like the one Mr. and Mrs. McFeely took a ride in years ago. It is a huge, special balloon with a basket underneath where people can ride.
Butterflies and many bugs can fly.
Leaves, seeds, balloons, and kites can ride on the wind.
People have always wanted to fly. They watched things fly. They dreamed and planned and thought up ways to try to fly. They liked to hear made-up stories about men and animals that could fly.
Then one day people copied the wide light wings of a bird. They built machines called gliders that could ride on the air like big kites. Then someone else put an engine on a glider. He made an airplane that could really fly. It could take people through the sky to places they wanted to go. The broad wings keep the plane up in the air. The engine pushes air past the wings or behind the plane to hold it up and push it forward.
People still can't fly without an airplane or glider or rocket to sit in. But you can pretend to fly any time you want to. You can put on a cape that floats behind you. You can spread your arms like wings and glide on your feet like a bird. You can make airplane noises if you want, and pretend to swoop through the sky.
Rockets can fly to the moon and beyond.
Some things that fly have no wings. They do not use their own strength to fly; they let the wind fly them. The wind gets under them and lifts them into the air. Balloons and kites, paper planes and bits of newspaper, and many kinds of seeds can ride on the wind. The wind can fly them because they are light and have a special shape. But people are too heavy to fly like that.
X can fly because he is an owl.
King Friday's plane is a pretend airplane. It can carry people anywhere in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Differences -- in size and shape, in color and texture, in sound and rhythm -- are a favorite and enduring theme with Fred Rogers. In almost every program he plays games of differences with the children who watch him. He taps on a big drum and on a little one. Each tone is unique. Then he asks children to close their eyes. "Did the big drum make the noise, or the little one?" Difference game are a way to sharpen a child's perceptions of the details of things.
If that is so, why did Fred Rogers create a make-believe planet where everything is exactly the same? Everything is purple! People are allowed to wear only purple pedal-pushers and purple pants (here no one has any clothes of his or her own, no beloved cowboy belt or favorite summer T-shirt with footprints on it.) People eat only purple food -- purple pumpernickel pudding and purple peanut butter. People can have only certain names -- every boy is named Paul and every girl is named Pauline. On Planet Purple no one can be different even in the sound of his very own voice -- all Planet Purple people speak in monotones. Many of the things small children hold especially dear simply don't exist on the planet, like names or even birthdays.
Small children tend to be staunch natural conservatives. They like what they already know and what is familiar. So Fred Rogers decided to ask children to make an imaginative stretch of mind (for there are no actual scenes filmed of the planet itself.) Lady Elaine, who discovers Planet Purple on her way back from the moon, describes many concrete details of the people and habits of the place. Paul and Pauline and the Purple Panda zip down to visit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe too. Children can see and hear them and judge their behavior.
But Planet Purple is not doomed to remain forever the same, for Lady Elaine's visit has made an impact on it. She has shown the inhabitants the greater joy in differences.
As children grow, they too find it increasingly possible to accept new colors to wear, to try eating new foods; they begin to listen to music they didn't care for, they may even play games they didn't want to try before. The Planet Purple history which Fred Rogers has included in Make-Believe can help children accept each person's strengths and weaknesses and to expect that differences and surprises are part of life's good things.
"I appear in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe as the pilot of the King's plane," Yoshi Ito says with a twinkling smile, "-- and I can't even drive a car!" Of course the plane is a purple velvet make-believe one and since Fred Rogers very much wanted Yoshi to sing and perform for his television friends, Yoshi accepted the job -- "As long as I'm only faking the flying."
But in another sense, flying is something Yoshi understands. She was born in Tokyo, an only child. At seventeen, she accompanied her father, an opera singer and teacher, to New York City. When she was accepted at the Manhattan School of Music, her father agreed to return to Tokyo without her. "After that he was reluctant, I am sure, for me to go through another four or five years of study here in New York, but he thought it would be good for me." Yoshi now sings with the New York City Opera company.
It was when she was performing at a Sears Foundation convention in Chicago that Fred Rogers asked her to appear on a program as "a singer from Japan." She then was invited to perform in the Snow Opera with John Reardon, Francois Clemmons and others, and finally was instated as a Make-Believe regular. Her role as the King's pilot quietly underscores the ability of women to diversify into new fields.
A Westside New Yorker, Yoshi enjoys theatregoing and restaurant-sampling, loves all kinds of dance (especially ballroom), and frankly adores playing poker. She likes the outgoing nature of performing, but can happily spend hours by herself. Like others in Make-Believe as well as Reality, Yoshi can say, "Sometimes I like time to myself."
Note: If you miss a program that you or your child is particularly interested in, check with your local station to see when it will be repeated. Give them the program number.
Week of September 2
Daniel Tiger creates an imaginary friend named Malcolm Apricot Dinko (#401) and the Raccoon Ballet is performed. In #402, Mr. Rogers talks about where animals sleep at night. A harmonica band visits Negri's shop (#403). Mr. and Mrs. McFeely are taking care of a cow (#404) and Mr. Rogers tries his hand at milking. Harriet Elizabeth Cow arrives in Some Place Else.
Week of September 9
A jealous Lady Elaine tries to ruin a welcome party for Harriet Cow. She wears a purple cow costume and uses her Boomerang Toomerang Soomerang (#406). In #407, Mr. Rogers shows a sugar cube house. Mr. McFeely drives his 1928 car in #408. A mynah bird visits the neighborhood (#409). In #410, Lady Elaine makes friends with Harriet Elizabeth Cow, who has admired the way Lady Elaine plays the accordion.
Week of September 16
The Neighborhood Variety Show is presented. Mr. Rogers tries on a tuxedo (#411). In #412, a potter visits Elsie Neal and shows her how to use a potter's wheel. Bob Dog is the first to see a new visitor -- the Purple Panda. In #413, Paul and Pauline arrive from Planet Purple. Cornflake S. Pecially makes platform rockets and when the Panda sits in one, he breaks a rule of Planet Purple. In #415, Mr. Rogers demonstrates chopsticks.
Week of September 23
Bob and Judy Brown prepare for their puppet show, The Three Little Pigs (#416). The King decides to buy an airplane (#417). In #418, Mrs. McFeely shows Mr. Rogers some piglets. In #419, the King's new plane arrives. Yoshi Ito is hired as the permanent royal pilot. In #420, Marcel Marceau, the French pantomimist, performs and visits the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Around the Neighborhood and the materials that accompany it are published ten times a year by Family Communications, Inc., a not-for-profit Pennsylvania corporation. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is funded by grants from the Sears-Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Around the Neighborhood is created in association with Media Projects Incorporated of New York. Subscriptions, printing, and distribution are accomplished by Multiscope, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
© 1974, Family Communications Inc.
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