Mr. Rogers 50 Years

It was 50 years ago today, February 19, 1968, when Fred Rogers first stepped in the door, removed his coat, and changed into sneakers for a visit with young children that would last into the 21st century.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood had seen iterations in Canada and on a regional network, but it went national that winter of '68, airing on NET (National Education Television), and shortly thereafter become PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

Aimed primarily at pre-schoolers, but appreciated by young and old alike, Mister Rogers' conversational approach with very young viewers set a tone for children's programming that abandoned the goofy clown approach, so common in early TV, in favor of warmth, honesty and ethics.

The show would make new episodes as late as 2001. Fred Rogers passed away in 2003.

Focus Features will release a documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor" on June 8 of this year. View trailer below. The film aired at Sundance in January, and is reviewed favorably by Alex Billington.