PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Friday, March 20 would have been Fred Rogers’ 87th birthday. His legacy will be celebrated all weekend with Be My Neighbor Day, along with other activities around Pittsburgh.
David Newell, better known as Mr. McFeely, joined the “KDKA Morning News” to share some Mr. Rogers stories and where you can participate in Be My Neighbor Day.
To kick off the big weekend, Mr. McFeely will be making an appearance at the Heinz History Center – starting at noon on Saturday – in the middle of the newly installed “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood” display.
The original set will be on display along with the McFeely Bicycle, X the owl’s tree and King Friday’s Castle.
Newell says since the display opened earlier this year, “We get a lot of people who grew up with the neighborhood coming in.”
“There are people in their early 50s now who were the first wave of children who grew up with (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) and they’re still watching it,” says Newell.
It is still shown on TV during the weekend and on the Internet.
When he started in 1967, Newell thought he would, “only have a job for one year.”
Along with the appearance of Mr. McFeely at the History Center, he will also be appearing at the Children’s Museum at 11:15 a.m.
Newell ends his weekend at the Hollywood Theatre at 3 p.m. on Sunday, showing a couple of Mr. Rogers’ favorite movies.
In addition, Be My Neighbor Day will be celebrated at various YMCAs across the area on Saturday and Sunday. The event teaches children how to be better neighbors, while getting a chance to meet Daniel Tiger.
Newell also tells a story about the time Michael Keaton spent working on the show.
“He ran the trolley for about four years and he (also) ran Picture, Picture,” he said.
Newell also says Mr. Rogers predicted Keaton would make it big stating, “Michael Keaton is going to be a star someday.”
Mr. Rogers was also a fan of Larry Richert. Newell says that he had a hard time getting Fred to do interviews and other shows, but was willing to do Larry’s show, saying he thought Larry was “whimsical.”
For more information on Be My Neighbor Day visit. www.BeMyNeighborDay.org
And for more information on the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood display at the Heinz History Center visit www.HeinzHistoryCenter.org
Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.