And it didn't hurt that Hamilton was a former kindergarten teacher, well-versed in the developmental issues that Fred Rogers liked to explore.Not having seen every episode (especially from the later seasons), I can't say whether every celebrity-guest appearance was quite so successful. Betty Aberlin was a Village boho painter/dancer/poet, and as she told the Washington Post in 1982, “I came to this show 14 years ago as another stoned New Yorker. Watch LIVE:'s election recap digs into Arizona's vote count and more, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Consider her attempts to understand and to explain her pre-Rogers existence in Rogers terms. Music was always key to his work and life. Except it turns out Mr. Rogers is for real. I watched that episode, and when it was over, I knew that I could make a film about it. It's great to hear her thoughts on the show and I wish that she and the other cast had been included in the documentary that PBS did about Mr. Rogers. People keep saying, "This is the most contemporary film you've ever made" (laughs), which is unusual for a character that started on TV 50 years ago. A: Yeah. Q: He didn't just win Congress over. Yes most of the guests were classically trained musicians, or artists. Q: I'd forgotten about the ridiculous conservative backlash. She just hasn't done an interview in years, and I think felt deeply insecure about going on-camera, and I just couldn't turn her around. I find that great. Like Paul McCartney – who’s also having a big summer, after his touching “Carpool Karaoke” appearance – Mr. Rogers is a folk hero whose human compassion seems anything but lightweight these days. You know, there's a bit of a tortured artist to him that I found kind of revealing. Interesting article--I was just shocked that she said the h-word. Twitter: @goodyk. Just a need for the kind of things Rogers was putting out there for years. The movie begins with black-and-white 1967 footage of the TV icon at the piano, celebrating the Summer of Love by musing about his desire “to help children through the difficult modulations of life.” It’s 2018, so we know how stories like this go. Anybody who isn't a lunatic could see that. At one point, soon after 9/11, he comes out of retirement to give a TV message: “We are all called to be Tikkun Olam, repairers of creation.” It’s strange to hear the audience gasp viscerally at those words – a lot of ugggh, a lot of ooow. It's so special to experience mister Rogers neighborhood again with my child. In trying to explain to friends who didn’t grow up watching, Taylor Lautner Is Totally Going to Get Me More Google Hits. I scoured the interview for Betty's use of the "H word" and the only time she says it is when she "ran like hell" after nearly being molested in a library. Q: Could anyone do this now? And thanks to Morgan Neville’s excellent documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, people are spending the summer with a serious case of Fred Rogers Fever. And that he was also riddled with doubt about the ethicacy of what he was trying to do. If he had been satisfied with his good deeds, he probably wouldn't have had a TV show for 30 some-odd years and done everything else he did. Want more Rolling Stone? "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" "Now more than ever, Fred Rogers matters." this recent and thoughtful interview. I'd say under the circumstances, she's entitled to use a bit of language. A: That's what I loved about the way he spoke, too, and what I wanted to honor in the film. Dear Anonymous: Which "h-word" was that? I had a pretty serious crush on Lady Aberlin, as I'm sure many of us did. The Fat Albert auteur is the unspoken presence who looms over this story, because all of us who grew up on Mr. Rogers were also Cosby Kids. He cast a long shadow over pop culture in the 1970s. It's not even just that he was a great advocate for public broadcasting. Q: Of course he was. I feel like those big questions are ones that are worth revisiting again and again. Sign up for our newsletter. Not dirt, mind you. Thanks for writing! With regard to Betty Aberlin and her part in the show, she was amazing. (Bizarrely, the growly gourmet had roles in Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs.) Now that I'm an adult watching all the old neighborhood episodes with my 18 month old (who won't watch anything else and requests "rogers" every morning), I remember that warm, safe feeling of childhood. He seemed to have that effect on everyone — even Tom Snyder. Fred had no tolerance for that. (Warhol even got shot the day before the RFK assassination, an event that inspired one of the documentary’s most poignant moments.). A: Yes. Fred himself often said, "A film about my life would be the most-boring film ever made." God bless you, Ms. Aberlin and may God always bless the legacy of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. The funniest version: Christopher Guest on the National Lampoon comedy records, interviewing spliffed-out jazz bassist Bill Murray. Rob Sheffield on why a doc on the childrens’ TV icon has become a hit, a cathartic communal event and ground zero for our current Cult of Fred. Great interview!I am 60 years old and still have a crush on Lady Aberlin.During my four years at Pgh Theological Seminary, I sat in class with Fred Rogers twice. A: It's amazing. After a year of #MeToo exposes, plenty of heroes have taken a fall. We should all face up to them as honestly as Mr. Rogers did. Margaret Hamilton's visit was designed to help children understand their fascination with and fear of witches. Growing up in the Seventies, I thought he’d been around forever, feeding the fish and zipping his cardigan, but he’d just arrived in 1968. Fred was all about questions, not about answers. I mean that last speech he gives at Dartmouth, tremendous. I like to think that the legacy of him really resides in each of us who watched his show, that what he imparted to us was the thing that we should think of as his legacy, because there's nobody else who's going to come along and do it. 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I've just seen, with the film and spending a lot of time thinking about these things, there's a huge appetite for this kind of moral lesson and civility and kindness and all the things he was talking about. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? The only person who didn't do an interview was Betty Aberlin (who played Lady Aberlin), and I talked to her many times for many hours on the phone. Kids will tell you exactly what they're feeling and they'll ask exactly what they want to know. I always wondered how true to themselves those characters were. He wasn't going to say, "OK, this is how we're going to fix everything" and wrap it up in a bow. She's beautiful inside and out. And I feel like as we grow up we mask a lot of those things, and we hide our intentions. But people who are great at something usually have that kind of motivation. I gotta drive.”. The doc is full of these moments – but I guess we go to listen to each other, as much as we go to see Mr. Rogers. In a way it's a power that children have. We instinctively brace ourselves. And is there an audience for it? There are lots of well-meaning testimonial interviews with friends and employees, which get tiresome and inspire very un-Mr.-Rogers-like pangs of exasperation. Q: Every couple of weeks the video of him testifying before a congressional committee to save funding for public television pops up. There’s only a brief hint that he grew up a rich kid; there’s no love for my man Chef Brockett. It feels electric– and a little dangerous– to share this moment in a room full of fellow moviegoers, where nobody’s even trying to hide their sobs and sniffles. Dave Chappelle summed up the grief of finding out Cosby was a horrific sexual predator – it was like losing faith in “chocolate ice cream itself.” That’s the kind of relevation most of us were not-so-secretly dreading here. Things To Do app: Get the best in events, dining and travel right on your device. I am a huge Fred Rogers fan, and I also love Betty Aberlin's work on those shows. He is the same in real life as we see on TV that is for shure.