To Be Real

The richly deserved heaps of accolades festooning Mr. Rogers Neighborhood usually highlights the wonderful work with puppets and make-believe. There’s an aspect of the fred rogers high schoolprogram’s design that is firmly, essentially rooted in reality, children’s realities. The documentary segments produced for them, through the Neighborhood characters such as all the music segments through Joe Negri’s Music Shop, appealed to kids desire to know the real world, about how things are made, and about neighbors. When children were featured as guests, they were never performing, always rooted in their own reality, and respected for it. Though many people don’t make the connection between Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and children’s documentaries, children’s documentary makers share Fred’s perspective, and their best films serve the same purpose. My love of the program is tightly woven with my desire to see more for children on screens that is rooted in that calm and relevant reality

To Be Real

The richly deserved heaps of accolades festooning Mr. Rogers Neighborhood usually highlights the wonderful work with puppets and make-believe. There’s an aspect of the fred rogers high schoolprogram’s design that is firmly, essentially rooted in reality, children’s realities. The documentary segments produced for them, through the Neighborhood characters such as all the music segments through Joe Negri’s Music Shop, appealed to kids desire to know the real world, about how things are made, and about neighbors. When children were featured as guests, they were never performing, always rooted in their own reality, and respected for it. Though many people don’t make the connection between Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and children’s documentaries, children’s documentary makers share Fred’s perspective, and their best films serve the same purpose. My love of the program is tightly woven with my desire to see more for children on screens that is rooted in that calm and relevant reality.

This “Drunken History” sketch is funny, I’ll even bet Fred would get a kick out of it. Fun fact, the actor playing Fred Rogers is Colin Hanks, Tom Hank’s son (doesn’t he look exactly like both his mom Annette Bening, and dad?). Tom’s the producer of the devotional Mister Rogers film coming out soon. The idea that they were mutually conducting a study of  Rogers behind the scenes is pretty cool, and the wise and wicked interpretation of the history by Solomon Gregoire, brought me delighted cackles, curiosity about how he came by some details I’d never heard before (have you?), and a warm grin.

Free to Be You and Me

marlothomasCan we find a show on the air, on demand, for that matter anywhere, that gives Kids as much encouragement to be themselves and acknowledges their realities as much as “Free To Be You and Me” did?  – cause here we are, 45 Years later, and…. crickets….. !  In the greatly expanded media landscape, I’ll bet there’s still room for a magazine type show, with spots by well known adults, that hits on all subjects of social interest to kids – with sensitivity, wit, song, and whimsy!  Free to Be – or Not To Be

Skinny and Fatty

I rarely watched TV as a child. So maybe it’s the rarity of the occasion that made the experience of watching the CBS Children’s Film Festival skinny and fattyon one particular Sunday afternoon so memorable. “Skinny and Fatty”, a film from Japan about two lonely boys, affected me very deeply, and though only 10, I began wondering about such things as the possibility that children could living lives very different from my own, and that someone made this film to show us something about caring for each other. That this person took us and our realities seriously.  Because this really happened to me, I know that children can and often do appreciate such films. Children just haven’t changed that much, despite their media diets. I don’t know that Skinny and Fatty actually stands up too well on today’s screens, but where can kids today see any such film, so grounded in reality, that would bring them close to children not like them, to bring them into a global community of caring? That’s what The CBS Children’s Film Festival did, especially on this afternoon, in April, in 1969. I remember it like it was yesterday.  Can the “CBS Children’s Film Festival” be revived for the new media landscape?  If so, how? By whom? I don’t think it  will be CBS. Subscription services are sometimes mentioned, and I think there’s room for growth, but people seem pretty tapped out on media costs at present.