50 years ago today, the children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted on public television. Created by Fred Rogers, a Presbyterian minister who was displeased with the way television addressed children, the show was produced at WQED-TV in Pittsburgh with new episodes every weekday on PBS for 33 years. Rogers who projected a kind-hearted, grandfatherly personality, not only hosted and wrote the show, but as a musician composed the music. Next month, the US Post Office will unveil a new stamp of Mr. Rogers (1928-2003) wearing his famous sweater next to ‘King Friday’. Rogers was the recipient of 2 Peabody Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and 4 Emmy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. WATCH his acceptance speech and a great highlight reel… (1968)
Even today, a number of PBS stations in America choose to continue airing the syndicated reruns, many of which taught children that feelings are ‘mentionable and manageable’. Full episodes can be viewed on YouTube, and you can see books written by Rogers here. It was announced last month that Tom Hanks would play Mr. Rogers in an upcoming film “You Are My Friend”.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The phonograph was patented by Thomas Edison* Footnote: Did you know Thomas Jefferson believed all of society should benefit from technology, so he never patented any of his numerous inventions? (1878)
- Britain, Turkey and Greece agreed to grant Cyprus its independence (1959)
- Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published, relaunching the Feminist Movement in the United States and causing women’s organizations and consciousness-raising groups to spread (1963)
- Paul Simon wrote The Sounds of Silence, the song that catapulted Simon and Garfunkel to stardom 18 months later (1964)
- 10 years ago today, The Rolling Stones played for 1.3 million people, the largest public performance ever, in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2006)
Also on this day, in 1986, the Soviets launched the space station Mir, and with it, a new phase in space exploration. Mir, which means both peace and world in Russian, would provide the home base for a permanently manned international complex orbiting the Earth– and was occupied for 10 years of its 15 in orbit.
Launched on this day was the first part of the orbiting laboratory–the main module that included the crew quarters, with airlocks for docking and more. In later years, new modules would be added to expand the Mir space station, including a US-built space shuttle docking port in the mid 1990s.
Astronauts and cosmonauts from a dozen different countries lived aboard and did research on Mir. In 2001, its duties were done and it was burned in a controlled deorbit in the atmosphere, making way for the new International Space Station, built cooperatively by a host of advanced countries around the world. (Click to enlarge top and bottom NASA images)
And, on this date in 1985, William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from a hospital.
He was a hero to medical science for his willingness to be the second patient to get the Jarvik-7, after the first one died. Today, the modern version of the device has been implanted in more than 1,350 people as a bridge to transplantation.