It must be one of the longest running gigs in show business: Playing Mr. McFeely on and off the set of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." And it's belonged to one man for the past four decades: David Newell, focus of a new documentary called "Speedy Delivery" showing tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Regent Square Theater.
but G in nature.
3 stars = Good
Newell, who also serves as public relations director for Family Communications Inc., is clear-eyed about his role as Mr. McFeely. "I'm not saying that it's Hamlet or Macbeth. That's not what it is. I think it's a heightened version of me."
Director Paul Germain treats Newell, his family, colleagues and fans with respect. He makes excellent use of key "Neighborhood" clips, evocative music and wisdom. They prove illuminating and as comforting as a red cardigan sweater.
With a budget of $4,000, which would cover the bite-size candy bars on most sets, Germain has done wonders. My only quibble: Too little on Newell's PR work.
He had the joy of watching Rogers meet Mister Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and the thankless job of serving as gatekeeper when the world wanted Rogers as commencement speaker or interview subject or even wedding officiant. Newell also had to staunch his grief as he stood outside WQED the day after Rogers died and do interviews.
But, as Rogers suggests in an excerpt from the program, "It's important to look for what people are able to do and once you find it, appreciate it." Germain did, and now we can appreciate him, as well as Newell.