“What we do for ourselves alone dies with us; what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood now that Won’t You Be My Neighbor? has come to its theaters. A powerful work with profound emotional impact, this documentary is an informative picture of show business, a touching tribute to its subject, and a needed reminder of what a strong force kindness can be for change in the world.
Fred Rogers (1928-2003) started out as a Pittsburgh-based minister who saw the direction of his life change when the medium of television came to prominence. Right away, Rogers recognized the potential it had for shaping the minds of the public and knew that someone needed to use it for good. Success with local access programming parlayed into Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the beloved children’s show on which Rogers was the chief creative mind behind as well as onscreen host and puppeteer.
Interviewed are family, friends, castmates, and crew, who all provide great insight regarding both the show and the real man. It would seem that yes, when the cameras stopped rolling, he really was the same friendly and caring figure. All attest that he was a wonderful, sincere person who believed wholeheartedly in his messages. To that end various archive footage is shown, from commencement speeches and other public appearances to his testimony to the U.S. government for saving PBS funding.