The Urban Legends of Mr Rogers

Fred RogersOn this day in 1928, the very good neighbor Fred Rogers was born. But did you know that he got started in children’s television as a result of a child molestation conviction? You see, as part of his punishment, he was forced to do community service. This involved doing manual labor in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. But Rogers managed to organize the puppets and staged a coup d’etat. Most of this history is unknown because Rogers suppressed it. But if you check out the City Hall Records of Make-Believe, you will find that I’m right.

Not buying it? Would you believe…

The reason Mr Rogers always wore long-sleeved shirts was to hide his track marks. After taking over the show, the Heroin Dealer of Make-Believe got him hooked with free dope. From then on, the dealer was in control of the show. But this explains how Mr Rogers managed to stay so calm during the Genocide of Make-Believe and the later Race Riots of Make-Believe. It is widely reported that Fred Rogers died of stomach cancer, but it was really an overdose.

No? Would you believe…

Fred Rogers was a sniper in the Korean War with 18 confirmed kills. One time, he was attacked in his hideout and he ended up killing the attacker with his bare hands. After the war, he became radicalized, eventually going to the Soviet Union and finally killing John F Kennedy from his spot on the Grassy Knoll of Make-Believe. After Lee Harvey Oswald was nailed for the crime that he had committed, Rogers got therapy. His doctor recommend that he work with children and Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood was born.

No?

Well, all of these are common urban legends about the beloved children’s television star. I took a little poetic license. Normally people say that Rogers wore long-sleeved shirts to hide his military tattoos. And I generally “improved” the stories, which try to sound serious. The truth is that Rogers had planned to be a minister (he did eventually become ordained in the Presbyterian Church), but dropped out after first seeing television. He had a bachelor’s degree in music, so NBC hired him to work on some of its music shows. In 1954, he was hired by WQED in Pittsburgh to work as a puppeteer on the children’s show The Children’s Corner. And the rest is history. Or urban legend.

And here is a bit from his show that is the basis for another urban legend. Can you guess what it is?

Happy birthday Fred Rogers!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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