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Top 10 Mr. Rogers Moments That'll Make You Nostalgic

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Christopher S Lozano
Script written by Chistopher Lozano Mr. Rogers was a one of a kind man. For this list, we’ll be looking at all those heartwarming moments that made Fred Rogers such a huge influence in so many children’s’ lives. He introduced us to everything from astronauts to gorillas to crayons to puppets. We’ve included the time when he showed us how to make crayons, when he said goodbye, when he talked about divorce, when he met Koko the gorilla, when he talked about violence and shootings, when he buried a pet fish, when he sang with Jeff Erlanger and when he defended PBS to the senate.

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Top 10 Mr. Rogers Moments

Won't you be our neighbor? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our list for Top 10 Mr. Rogers Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at all those heartwarming moments that made Fred Rogers such a huge influence in so many children’s’ lives. He introduced us to everything from astronauts to gorillas to crayons to puppets.

#10: When He Said Goodbye

After decades of producing his show, Mr. Rogers recorded what would be one of his last videos at the WQED studio. This message was for all of us who had grown up with him, and for all those children he hoped we would encourage and keep safe. In his final message, Mr. Rogers made it a point to express how grateful he was, and how much he liked us for who we were. He would pass away a few months later, of stomach cancer, and the neighborhood would never feel quite the same again.

#9: When He Showed Us How to Make Crayons

It’s easy to take things for granted in our fast-paced lives. We tend to overlook things as we rush to grow up, but Mr. Rogers had a gift for slowing things down a bit, and getting us to see the magic all around us. In this episode, he takes us through the process of creating crayons. Mr. Rogers always had a way of making complex processes simpler and easier for us to understand. This mesmerizing episode taught us that even common, everyday objects could have a fascinating story behind them; and that if we looked close enough, the world was filled with colors.

#8: When He Talked About Divorce

In the 1980s, America was experiencing a sharp rise in divorce. When Mr. Rogers learned of this, he realized how hard it must be for the children going through this experience. He knew that children often blamed themselves for their parents’ divorce, so he decided to dedicate several episodes to the topic. It was an unusual and powerful moment in children’s television. Other shows often ignore complex and difficult topics like this, but Mr. Rogers went at it head-on, in his own gentle way. By doing so, he helped ease the hearts of many children across the country.

#7: When He Met Koko the Gorilla

Koko, or Hanabiko, is a western lowland gorilla who became widely known to the public for having learned a simple form of sign language, and also for her love of cats. She was taught, by the animal psychologist Francine Patterson, to understand nearly 2,000 words of English, and sign around 1,000 herself. When Koko met Mr. Rogers, she told him what we all felt, that she loved it when he visited. It was a sweet moment between two of the best any species had to offer.

#6: When He Was Inducted into the TV Hall of Fame

In 1999, Fred Rogers was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. To introduce him, the Academy brought on one of Mr. Rogers’ old guests, Jeffrey Erlanger. We’ll talk more about him later on our list, but suffice it to say that Mr. Rogers was overcome with joy to see his old friend. So much so, in fact, that he practically leaped onto the stage to hug and greet him. During his speech, Mr. Rogers asked us all to take 10 seconds to think about those people who had loved and encouraged us in our lives. If the audience wasn’t crying already, they were now.

#5: When He Talked About Violence and Shootings

Children are, tragically, so often the victims of violence, but they are seldom asked their thoughts about it. In this poignant segment, especially in our era, Mr. Rogers speaks to several schoolchildren about some of the violence and shootings they have seen on television. It’s a deep moment when we realize that these kids are being given a voice in this matter for the first time. Mr. Rogers goes on to advise us, in dark moments when terrible things are happening on TV, to always look for the people helping, and find comfort in that. We certainly found it comforting to know that he was there to help us.

#4: When He Buried a Pet Fish

If we’ve learned anything about Mr. Rogers, it’s that he isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects when talking to children. In this episode, he tries to revive a fish who has passed away. When it doesn’t come back to life, we’re left watching the poor thing float upside down. In classic Mr. Rogers fashion, he takes the opportunity to teach us some important lessons about death. He even relates a gut-wrenching story about him and his childhood dog. We’re thankful that Mr. Rogers had the courage to help us understand the complicated subject that death is.

#3: When He Invited Officer Clemmons to Share a Pool with Him

“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” began airing in the 1960s, a time of deep racial tensions in the United States, and it was for this reason that Mr. Rogers approached African-American actor and singer François Clemmons to portray a police officer on his show. Mr. Rogers knew that Clemmons could be a positive figure for children, even if Clemmons himself had misgivings. Later in the series, Mr. Rogers made it a point to share a pool and sing “Many Ways to Say I Love You” with Officer Clemmons, because he knew what a vital issue overcoming segregation was.

#2: When He Sang with Jeff Erlanger

You’ll remember Jeff from Mr. Rogers’ induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. In this episode, he was just a young child. It’s a sad fact that we can often react negatively when we see someone who is different from us. Of course, Mr. Rogers knows this, so he goes out of his way to introduce us to Jeff, who is disabled and in a wheelchair. He takes away the fear of meeting someone so different by asking him some simple questions. Seeing this open and honest approach to humanity should serve as a lesson to us all.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

When He Visited Sesame Street

When He Took Breakdancing Lessons

When He Used His Weight to Make a Point About Love

#1: When He Defended PBS to the Senate

In 1969, President Nixon was proposing major funding cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS. Fred Rogers had always felt that television had a unique power to educate and nurture children, and had made it his mission to show the good of humanity on his show, rather than the lowbrow stuff that was commonly on TV. For this reason, he was compelled to appear before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications to try and save public broadcasting. In classic Mr. Rogers style, he convinced the committee members to actually increase the funding. And he did it by reading them a song.

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