Mister Rogers still a favorite neighbor

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When Fred Rogers died 10 years ago today at age 74, there was no question that his legacy would endure. What's perhaps more surprising is just how frequently he continues to pop up in the American cultural landscape.

Here are just a few of the ways Mister Rogers has continued to touch our lives:

September 2003: The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media is established at Saint Vincent College to provide materials that reflect his work and promote early learning and children's media. The $14 million Fred M. Rogers Center building officially opens on the Latrobe campus in October 2008.

Beginning in 2003: In addition to three authorized books that rely on Mr. Rogers' own words of wisdom -- "The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember," "Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way" and "Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children From Mister Rogers" -- several books from admirers are published. Maxwell King, a senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center, is writing his biography.

2005: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, Calif., offers a $10,000 Memorial Scholarship for students who pursue a career in children's media that furthers the values and principles of Fred Rogers' work.

Also in 2005: A few "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" episodes debut on DVD. More recently about 300 episodes are made available for online streaming via Amazon Instant Video.

July 2006: A few times over the past 25 years, the Post-Gazette's Chris Rawson has gathered entertainers with Pittsburgh roots on both coasts for a photo shoot. Carl Kurlander piggy-backed on the 2006 gathering and filmed a huge group of ex-pats singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" for his documentary, "My Tale of Two Cities."

November 2009: A 10-foot, $3 million statue of Mr. Rogers is unveiled near Heinz Field on the North Shore. The statue becomes a magnet for young and old admirers.

March 2010: The first "Fred Forward" conference is held at Saint Vincent College that brings national experts together to explore creative curiosity, new media and learning for children.

September 2011: The Fred Rogers Company -- among its many projects that help children -- works with Friends of Flight 93 and the National Park Service to develop resources for those who visit the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, especially for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

September 2012: PBS's "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," an animated series set in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, debuts on WQED after six years of development. It features the children of the characters from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

December 2012: The soothing words of Fred Rogers -- "look for the helpers" -- go viral following the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn. It's one example of how social media has played a role in continuing his legacy.

January 2013: PBS orders the math skills show "Peg + Cat," produced by The Fred Rogers Company, following the success of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." It's the company's first program without any in-show association to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

And beyond: This summer The Fred Rogers Company will move from its longtime home at WQED in Oakland to larger office space on the South Side to accommodate its increased production work.

What are your favorite Fred Rogers memories? Visit the Post-Gazette's Facebook page and let us know.

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Compiled by Rob Owen, Virginia Linn, Barbara Vancheri and Sharon Eberson. First Published February 27, 2013 5:00 AM


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