There are probably very few people on this planet I would call ‘truly good’. I think my short list is Fred Rogers and Jim Henson. Their deep commitment to their craft and an unwavering faith in the growth of children and creativity moves me – as well as a huge commitment to the power of television to change and educate.
Here is Mister Rogers being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys. Take six minutes on a Friday and watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaJQLgiXKO0
This recent post made me think back…
He was a perfectionist, and disliked ad libbing. He felt he owed it to children to make sure every word on his show was thought out.
According to a TV Guide piece on him, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town. Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”
Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English. What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!
Sure we all made fun of him one we were older, but Fred Rogers was to children’s television what Rod Serling was to dramatic television. He was a perfectionist and a quiet visionary believing in the power of mass media for social and individual change.