Mr. Rogers' Documentary Opens This Friday

"Won't You Be My Neighbor" will be showing at two Pittsburgh theaters

Larry Richert and John Shumway
June 05, 2018 - 12:48 pm

Hulton Archive / Handout

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and get to know the real Fred Rogers? People will soon see an in-depth look at what it was like in the documentary that opens Friday, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”

15 years after his death the documentary will go behind the scenes to help understand why Mr. Rogers made everyone feel so special.

Margy Whitmer, producer for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, says the man off the camera wasn’t much different from the one children saw on WQED.

“He made everybody feel good about who they are. He used to talk straight to the camera so those three or four or five year olds that were watching him really thought they were talking just to him or her. So I think we all feel like we have a relationship with him that’s very special,”

It was a very popular show and the format was fairly simple, but Whitmer say a lot of effort was put in the production.  

“Lots of work went into the script, in to exactly what words we said; I mean Fred really cared about every detail. I can’t tell you how many times I called Carnegie Library to see if we were pronouncing things correctly.”

The makers of the documentary want the audience to see who Fred Rogers really was and will feature never before seen footage.

“They did a lot of research; Found clips some of us never even knew existed and really set out to discover who he really was. When I say that I mean other parts of Fred that did not come out in the program.”

Some employees of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood could have left the show for better positions.

“Johnny Costa was the music director and he could have gone to New York and made tons of money.”

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” will be showing at the Cinemagic Manor Theatres in Squirrel Hill and AMC Waterfront in Homestead.

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