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Editorial: Mr. Rogers takes a holiday

No new 'Neighborhoods,' but he's not retiring

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Few people are as gifted as Fred Rogers when it comes to imparting life's lessons to children in a sensitive manner.

For that reason, news that the host of the world-acclaimed "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" is hanging up his beloved cardigan sweater for the last time is bound to be a source of concern for parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents everywhere. And Pittsburghers, who saw in the program a reflection of the values of the community where it was produced, may wonder if the city will be losing one of its most effective ambassadors to an anonymous retirement.

Fear not. Although Mr. Rogers has decided that there will be no new episodes of his "Neighborhood" after five installments that will be taped next month, the R word is far from his lips. The Latrobe native insists he is only changing direction. His production company, Family Communications, will continue to be a vehicle for carrying out his visions, and Mr. Rogers himself plans to write more children's books and continue speaking out on children's issues. (He is booked as a public speaker through 2002.)

"The Sky Above Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" just opened at the Carnegie Science Center to help educate youngsters about what happens when it gets dark, and the characters from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe will continue to live on through similar multimedia productions, books and maybe even a network radio show.

Wherever Fred Rogers next hangs up his cardigan, children and their families will be better for it.

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