It’s A Beau­ti­ful Day In Penn­syl­va­nia On Mis­ter Rogers’ Trail

Riverbank News - - MARKETPLACE 209 - By BETH J. HARPAZ AP Travel Ed­i­tor

It’s a beau­ti­ful day in Mis­ter Rogers’ neigh­bor­hood! But if you want to visit, you’ll have to head to Penn­syl­va­nia.

This year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the clas­sic PBS chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion show “Mis­ter Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood,” hosted by the late Fred Rogers. A new doc­u­men­tary “Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor?” has helped rekin­dle in­ter­est in his legacy.

Those who grew up watch­ing the show, which aired from 1968 to 2001, along with fans of the new film, may want to plan a trip on Penn­syl­va­nia’s Fred Rogers Trail.

The trail, pro­moted by VisitPA.com, comes with an in­vi­ta­tion to “lace up your ten­nis shoes” and “zip up your cardi­gan,” just like Mis­ter Rogers did in the in­tro­duc­tion to ev­ery episode. The three-day itin­er­ary ranges from Pitts­burgh, where the show was pro­duced, to Rogers’ home­town of La­trobe, about 40 miles (64 kilo­me­ters) away, in­clud­ing mu­se­ums, me­mo­ri­als, and his child­hood home and church.

“Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor” has grossed $12.4 mil­lion in five weeks, mak­ing it the year’s big­gest doc­u­men­tary at the box of­fice. Its por­trait of Rogers as a gen­tle man who preached kind­ness and tol­er­ance as an an­ti­dote to the tur­bu­lence of the late 20th cen­tury seems to have struck a chord with view­ers lament­ing the harsh­ness of politics and pop cul­ture to­day.

In Pitts­burgh, the Sen­a­tor John Heinz History Cen­ter, 1212 Smallman St., hosts a per­ma­nent dis­play called “Mis­ter Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood” that in­cludes the en- try­way and liv­ing room set that Rogers walked through at the start of each episode, along with props from the show like King Fri­day XIII’s cas­tle and Mr. McFeely’s “speedy de­liv­ery” tri­cy­cle.

At the Chil­dren’s Mu­seum of Pitts­burgh at 10 Chil­dren’s Way, orig­i­nal pup­pets from “Mis­ter Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood” are on dis­play (King Fri­day XIII, Queen Sarah Satur­day and Hen­ri­etta Pussy­cat and more) along with Mis­ter Rogers’ sweater and a pair of his sneak­ers.

A bronze statue of Rogers at a wa­ter­front me­mo­rial on the Ohio River, on Pitts­burgh’s North Shore Drive, de­picts him ty­ing his sneak­ers as he did at the start of ev­ery show. The build­ing hous­ing WQED stu­dios, where the show was filmed at 4802 Fifth Ave., is a pop­u­lar selfie spot.

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