2. He was an ordained minister, but decided to take his messages of love and friendship to TV instead.
3. He liked break dancing.
4. He understood that even in the worst of times, there were still nice people doing nice things.
5. He stood up to Congress and argued that recording television shows with VHS was fair use, and that doing this allowed working families to sit together and watch TV together.
6. And both horror director George A. Romero and Michael Keaton got their start on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
8. He believed that making the world a better place was everyone’s responsibility.
9. And even more importantly, he liked you just the way you are.
10. And in 1997, he made a room full of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities break down and cry.
Esquire’s beautiful description of the amazing moment:
Mister Rogers went onstage to accept the award — and there, in front of all the soap opera stars and talk show sinceratrons, in front of all the jutting man-tanned jaws and jutting saltwater bosoms, he made his small bow and said into the microphone, “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence.”
And then he lifted his wrist, looked at the audience, looked at his watch, and said, “I’ll watch the time.” There was, at first, a small whoop from the crowd, a giddy, strangled hiccup of laughter, as people realized that he wasn’t kidding, that Mister Rogers was not some convenient eunuch, but rather a man, an authority figure who actually expected them to do what he asked. And so they did. One second, two seconds, three seconds — and now the jaws clenched, and the bosoms heaved, and the mascara ran, and the tears fell upon the beglittered gathering like rain leaking down a crystal chandelier. And Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said softly “May God be with you,” to all his vanquished children.
12. And he didn’t flip off the camera in this much-passed-around clip — he was actually just singing a song about fingers.
14. And a lot of the characters on his show were named after his relatives, including his trusty mailman Mr. McFeely.
16. His show made you want to be curious about the world around you.
19. He was also very fascinated by the number 143. He said it was a very special number that stood for “I love you,” and for the last 30 years of his life he maintained that weight.
20. After the family of a 5-year-old blind girl wrote to Mr. Rogers about how she cried because she wasn’t sure if he had fed his fish, he made a point to always mention it out loud for her.
21. And maybe, sweetest of all, was the fact that Mr. Rogers’ mother knitted all of his sweaters.
- A conservation group in Zimbabwe reported that Jericho, the brother of beloved lion Cecil, was shot and killed by a hunter. But some scientists monitoring the pride believe he is OK.