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We Have Never Needed a Movie More

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 20, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 20, 2018 |


Here’s the trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which “takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.” It is lovely, and several people I know saw it at SXSW and, expectedly, it elicited a lot of tears. I just can’t help but think, Thank God Fred Rogers isn’t around to see what this world has become without him. Or maybe if he were still around, it wouldn’t be like this, but it would. Because Trump would probably take potshots at Mister Rogers on Twitter, too, because that’s the kind of guy he is. He’d try to cut funding to PBS, and Fred Rogers would object, and Trump would lash out.

What a thought. Anyway, here’s the trailer. Grab a handful of kleenex.

And now, I will remind you of a story about Fred Rogers from a commenter of ours, linnyloo, written some five years ago:

Mr. Rogers is a truly incredibly awesome person. We used to write him Christmas stories, and he’d write back every time, and he’d say, “I remember the story you sent me last year. You are growing up so wonderfully, and I am so proud of you.” He is my personal hero, and one of the best humans ever. Basically.

My favorite story about Mr. Rogers (hand to god, this happened!) — my little sister was incredibly shy and didn’t pay attention as often as she could due to hearing and attentional issues. A teacher got really angry at her because she didn’t write her name at the top of a test (I guess it had happened enough times before to really tick this teacher off…) and the teacher called up my sister in front of the class, yelled at her, humiliated her, and ripped up her paper. She was in second grade.

My mom got white-hot furious, and she read an editorial written by Mr. Rogers about the importance of respecting a child’s work, and she wrote him and told him what happened, and that she was at a loss as far as what to tell this teacher.

A few weeks later, the teacher approached my mom and said, “I got a letter from Mr. Rogers.” He wrote her personally, and told her in his kind and gentle way about why she should change her teaching approach. My mom said, “I just didn’t know what to say to you.” The teacher replied, “Well, if Mr. Rogers tells you that you need to change, you listen.”

Fred Rogers, folks. He would be 90 today. Happy Birthday, sir.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor opens in June.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.