Preview, and next year’s Best Documentary Oscar goes to, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

True story, back when I worked in public radio, I interviewed — not Fred Rogers, but “Margy,” seen in this trailer for the new Morgan Neville documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

She was a producer on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” touring the provinces to talk up the program, PBS etc. I remember her being EXACTLY like him, his quiet demeanor and innate sweetness. Now, I don’t know if being around him made her that way, at least during the run of the show. But as I was listening to the interview on tape, editing it, I was struck by how calming she was, how she made me take on her vibe, the way Rogers may have given her his. She said as much in the interview.

A wholly beloved figure, of seminal importance to children’s TV and decades of American childhood. Maybe they’re over-selling the tolerance, consideration, thoughtfulness and sensitivity he might have brought “to a generation.” Trump’s America doesn’t really reflect Children of Fred, all grown up. But then, Trump voters probably weren’t Fred fans as kids.

This goes into pretty wide release June 8, and I fully expect Mr. Neville (he came through Orlando talking up “20 Feet from Stardom” with Merry Clayton) to collect his second Oscar for this one, sight unseen.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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