Mr. Rogers doc 'Wont You Be My Neighbor?' feels right for our less-than-neighborly times
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Mr. Rogers doc ‘Wont You Be My Neighbor?’ feels right for our less-than-neighborly times

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“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a warm, nostalgic look back at the life and career of Fred Rogers, and his signature children’s program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” But the new documentary also contemplates the beloved TV host’s battle on behalf of kindness and civility, one whose outcome appears very much in doubt.

Directed by Morgan Neville, the movie’s release is certainly timely — coming a half-century after the PBS show expanded from its local roots to a national platform, and including clips of a June 7, 1968 primetime special in which Rogers spoke directly to kids about their feelings and fears in the wake of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.
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Rogers championed using TV as a positive force, resisting the media tide that sees children as little more than tiny consumers, to be exploited for advertising purposes. A priceless old clip shows an ad in which a TV character passes realistic-looking guns through the screen into the hands of the eager young boys watching.
“Television has the chance of building a real community out of an entire country,” Rogers says in one of the many interviews featured-Mr. Rogers doc

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a warm, nostalgic look back at the life and career of Fred Rogers, and his signature children’s program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” But the new documentary also contemplates the beloved TV host’s battle on behalf of kindness and civility, one whose outcome appears very much in doubt.

Directed by Morgan Neville, the movie’s release is certainly timely — coming a half-century after the PBS show expanded from its local roots to a national platform, and including clips of a June 7, 1968 primetime special in which Rogers spoke directly to kids about their feelings and fears in the wake of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Rogers championed using TV as a positive force, resisting the media tide that sees children as little more than tiny consumers, to be exploited for advertising purposes. A priceless old clip shows an ad in which a TV character passes realistic-looking guns through the screen into the hands of the eager young boys watching.
“Television has the chance of building a real community out of an entire country,” Rogers says in one of the many interviews featured.

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