The world needs Mr Rogers

I have never met anyone in my entire life who doesn’t like Tom Hanks.

We all swoon at the idea of another Hanks film. So naturally, any film he stars in makes the rounds in the headlines and social media.

Tom’s newest film is “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood” where he takes on the iconic role of Mr Rogers. Nonetheless, most people have asked me some version of: “Who’s Mr Rogers?”

The short answer is that Mr Rogers was a host of a popular show in the US.

Tom Hanks (left) next to the OG Mr. Rogers (right)

Fred McFeely Rogers was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001). The program was marked by its slow pace and its host’s quiet manner.

Rogers had a difficult childhood in Pennsylvania where he was isolated and bullied. Maybe overcoming such challenges is what made him such a good source of comfort for many people with his undying gift of empathy and always gentle manner. Sadly, he died on February 27, 2003, of stomach cancer.

Rogers received over 40 honorary degrees and several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997.
A Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honour an American can receive in reward to a lifetime of service to the betterment of the nation

He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999. Rogers influenced many writers and producers of children’s television shows, and been a source of comfort during tragic events, even decades after his death.

Tom Hanks — who, in a 2016 Saturday Night Live sketch, acquiesced to his nickname of “America’s Dad” — seems like the most obvious choice on the planet to play Rogers. In the trailer, he’s a dead ringer for Rogers: He changes into the signature cardigan, sings the song, and performs his iconic shoe toss.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, a dramatization of Fred Rogers’s story, capitalizes on our renewed nostalgic love for the unexpected TV star.

With the show’s theme song in the background, the trailer shows the outlines of the story: A journalist named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) arrives on the set of PBS’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, where he plans to interview and write a profile of Rogers for Esquire’s “heroes” issue. He’s cynical and jaded, but spending time with Rogers shifts his ideas about what’s important in life. Vogel is a fictional character, but he’s based on Tom Junod, the Esquire journalist who profiled Rogers in 1998 and credited that encounter with changing his perspective on life.

Compassion, a hug and a smile – Mr Rogers’ weapon of choice.
To be honest this film could be exactly what the world needs at the moment.

Whether we’re worried about: the politics at play in the world, the state of the environment or something even closer to home, Mr Rogers might be exactly what you need. His always calm demeanour and ability to make you feel as if, even though the sky is falling down, its all going to be ok. We’ll all be waiting till November 22nd to watch what is set to be the feel go0d movie of the year.


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