So I researched it a little, and here is the deal. Mr. Rogers, (his name was Fred by the way) was on a live TV show in the early fifties as a puppeteer- and he used many of those same puppets on the show we all watched in later years. It was on the live show that he started wearing those famous sneakers that he always changed into, because they were quieter than loud-ass tappy shoes and didnt disturb the show. Hmm- who knew? Anyway, they never showed him on the show, he was just the guy doing the puppets. After that he did some Canadian show where they built awesome sets, like a castle and what not, and he actually brought a lot of those cool sets to the States when he decided to do his own show.
Mr. Rogers thought kids' shows at the time were too crazy and in-your-face, and he wanted to do something slower paced and more calm. He thought kids could spot a phony a mile away, so he talked in his regular voice, red his fish, and tried to be his honest self, which is what we saw.
It was in 1968 that the show started to be on in the states- it was funded by Sears. Had no idea! Thank you Sears! He sang "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" to us as he changed into his cardigan and what not- and If you recall, there was a little red and yellow trolley that rolled by with some fast piano music, and it took us into the Land of Make-Believe. The real Mr. Rogers always liked trolleys, so he decided to have one on the show. The trolley went through a cool tunnel in the wall- I always liked that part.
There was also Picture Picture- do you remember that? It was like a screen in a picture frame where he showed us things.
There were a bunch of characters in the land of Make-Believe- the one I remember most was King Friday- he always used big words and sounded important. His wife was Sara Saturday (cute, huh?) and they had that son, Prince Tuesday. Mr. Roger's real life wife was named Sara, he named the puppet after her. Awww Freddie. I loved the castle! These images are from imgarcade.com, if you want to see more.
There was an owl named "X" in a tree, and my favorite, Henrietta Pussycat, who was a cute lil thing. She always used the word meow- such as "I need to meow meow before I meow myself to death."
I am sure none of you forgot Lady Elaine Fairchild and that little yellow tiger, Daniel.
Mr Rogers couldn't stand ad-libbing and was a perfectionist- I can relate. He actually guest-starred on Sesame Street once- I must have missed that!
He passed away in 2003=( One city put up this billboard: