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.