[ Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 ]

Mister Rogers retires show

Collegian Staff Writer

After 33 years as the host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, this week will be Fred Rogers' last as host of the program that many Penn State students grew up watching.

Though the show might be far in the past for some, many students still remember fondly the days of taking a trolley into the Land of Make Believe with Rogers.

"I used to watch Mister Rogers when I was little. It was always Sesame Street then Mister Rogers," Jocelyn Brown (junior-English) said.

Other students, such as Steve Brennan (junior-secondary education), said today's youth do not appreciate the show like the children of the '80s.

"He's more for kids of our generation, not kids today," Brennan said, adding that kids today "are more into stuff on Cartoon Network."

Jon Rudick (junior-advertising and Spanish) said many of the lessons that Rogers taught on the show are still relevant today.

"Mister Rogers will still have an impact, even in re-runs," Rudick said, " I still remember Mr. McFeely. He comes to THON every year to deliver the mail."

Rogers has chosen to pursue different projects, according to a statement from Family Communications Inc., the show's producer.

The relevance and impact of Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a hot topic this past week, from a memoir on Time.com to an article on the front-page of USAToday. Everyone, it seems, remembers Rogers.

"I think that Mr. Rogers has had, and will most likely in reruns continue to have, a strong influence on children," Melanie Roth (graduate-developmental psychology) said. "His program has remained a favorite with young children over several generations because he follows one simple principle -- he makes the show child-centered."

Not only is the show popular with children, it also engages their minds said.

"Mister Rogers' show applies to TV what developmental psychologists know about the ways in which young children learn, thus making the show interesting and educational for young children," Roth said.

There have been more than 1,000 episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Susan Watson, the sales supervisor of the University Creamery, remembers when one of those episodes was filmed at the Creamery.

The Mister Rogers' crew visited Penn State during the fall of 1999 to film a segment on how ice cream is made. After the taping, Watson said Rogers sent her 5-year-old son an autographed picture and videotape of one of the programs.

"Mister Rogers is something that goes with nostalgia," Watson said. "There are so many subtle things that you can learn from him."