Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Beautiful Day

Things I had forgotten about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood:

The music is excellent. The opening musical statement, the intro to “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which plays as the camera pans over the model town and the trolley rolls by, could be the lead-in to a Coltrane tune played on the electric piano.

King Friday XIII plays the upright bass.

The show is suffused with an autumnal melancholy. Watching it now makes me feel like a kind of Holden Caulfield, longing to protect the gentle world that Mister Rogers and his cast so lovingly created – a world that seems much, much further away now than it did when I first saw the program as a child, and not just because that was in the distant past. Am I wrong, or is the world meaner now? Sometimes it’s almost too much to bear to think that Mister Rogers’s young viewers will soon venture out into this fallen world, and perhaps fall themselves, as many doubtless have.

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