Peak of the Week: Vol. XXVII Issue 7

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

Everyone loves a wholesome little story. With everything that has been going on, these stories are more important than they ever have been. They help us to get through these weird times. With Peak of the Week, I am hoping we can provide some nice stories to help keep us all going.

It’s quite funny when looking back on the advent of television to see how much doubt surrounded its viability. Given how many of us now spend weekends binging whole seasons at a time, it's safe to say some of those opinions aged like a glass of warm milk. Though this look at tv with an initial critical eye did lead to some positive developments.

Enter Mr Rogers – a man who took umbrage with how television was being utilised and strived to create a warm, educational environment for kids to enjoy. With a big focus on a collective educational effort and special care paid to the child as an individual, Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood first aired in 1968 and ran until 2001. The show spanned 31 seasons and saw Mr Rogers endure as a popular figure in pop culture, even resulting in the 2019 release A beautiful day in the neighbourhood, which saw Tom Hanks take on the role as the presenter. 

Becoming a childhood staple aside, many people who have met Fred Rogers are surprised to know that his persona on television is far from an act. Throughout the years, he developed a reputation for being a difficult interviewee, but only because he always took a particular interest in the lives of those who interviewed him. And he would take a plethora of photos – together on set, wearing sweaters, what have you. After some time had passed from their meeting, the interviewer would receive a package in the post with said photos in a scrapbook, accompanied by a handwritten letter thanking them for making his day brighter. One interviewer reported he received a call from Rogers months later to wish him a happy birthday, as he had taken a note of it. Letter responses were something he took very seriously – he took hours out of every day to respond to fan-mail, and it is widely believed he responded to every single fan-letter he had ever received. 

It's clear to those who have met him that Fred Rogers was as genuine and as sweet a person as they come.