|THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers|
The Story of Planet Purple (Tape 12)
Running Time: Approximately 12:39
If you lie on your back and look way up in the sky, you won't see it. If you stand on tip-toes and listen very carefully, you won't hear it. But if you close your eyes and close your ears and think of everything you can think of purple, you can imagine a place so far away that only make-believe can get you there. A place called Planet Purple.
Now Planet Purple was called Planet Purple because the sky was purple, the streets were purple, the houses were purple, the people were purple, everything was purple. And what's more, everything was the same. The cars were the same, the chairs were the same, the food was the same (everybody ate purple pumpernickel pudding), even the people were the same. They looked the same, they talked the same, they walked the same, they played the same games, they had the same friends. Planet Purple people even had the same names. Every boy's name was Paul and every man's name was Paul. Every girl's name was Pauline and every woman's name was Pauline. And every single panda on the whole planet was called Purple Panda. And that's all that lived on Planet Purple. Pauls, Paulines, and Purple Pandas.
Well for years and years and years and years everybody on Planet Purple dreamed the same dreams -- but never once did they dream that a strange-looking make-believe pink woman astronaut would discover their planet and surprise their lives.
It was neither morning nor afternoon nor evening nor night because the times on Planet Purple are all the same. All the Pauls and all the Paulines and all the Purple Pandas were sitting around in a circle singing, "Planet Purple, Planet Purple, we all live on Planet Purple." And right in the middle of their song, and right in the middle of their circle, landed this strange-looking make-believe pink woman astronaut by the name of Lady Elaine Fairchilde.
Her spaceship was made of green leaves and her astronaut suit was all white. The Planet Purple people had never ever seen the color green or the color white. Much less a woman whose name was Lady Elaine Fairchilde. So they all ran and hid behind their purple houses. All of them except one Paul and one Pauline and one Purple Panda.
When Lady Elaine stepped off her spaceship, the first words she said were, "Where am I?"
Paul and Pauline and Purple Panda said all together, "Planet Purple, Planet Purple."
"You mean I've discovered a new planet?"
"You have discovered a new planet."
"Whoopee!" said Lady Elaine, and she hopped back on her spaceship and flew to her own home -- the Neighborhood of Make-Believe -- where she told all her friends about her great discovery. What she didn't know was that Paul and Pauline and Purple Panda watched where she was going. They had a new idea. An idea no other Paul or Pauline or Purple Panda had. It was the first new idea on Planet Purple.
Now the Purple way to travel is the thinking way. If you're a Planet Purple person or panda, all you have to do is to think that you're someplace and you'll be there. So Paul and Pauline and Purple Panda all thought about Lady Elaine Fairchilde and where she was. And immediately they arrived in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
They could hardly make themselves believe what they saw and what they heard. Things were different. Streets and houses and cars and chairs and even people were different. Some could fly. Some could crawl. Some could speak two languages. Some would wear crowns. Some could wind clocks. Some could even make rocking chairs. Nobody was exactly the same. Everyone was different.
Purple Panda was so excited with all the new colors and all the new faces and voices and feelings, he just sat down on a rocking chair and rocked and rocked and rocked. But all of a sudden, he remembered one of the Planet Purple laws: "Anyone who rocks on a rocking chair may not live on Planet Purple."
It was too late. He had already rocked. Now he couldn't go back. He wasn't sad though. He liked this new neighborhood much better than Planet Purple and he thought to himself, "Maybe that is why I sat down and rocked in the first place, so I really would have to stay."
Purple Panda's new neighbors loved him. They had never known anybody like him. He soon found a good job with a nearby circus. It was a good job because the circus people really need him.
Paul and Pauline really liked the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, too. But they wanted to help make things different in their old land. So they decided to go back, but a different way. They went as far and as near as they could. They looked and they listened and they smelled and they touched and they filled their minds with as many different colors and as many different sounds and smells and feelings as they could.
One day Paul was trying to gallop like a big brown horse and he tripped and fell and ripped his shirt and hurt his arm. And then the strangest thing happened. Something wet started trickling down his cheek. It felt like water but somehow it was different from water. It felt sad.
A soft nearby rabbit asked him why he was crying and Paul asked the rabbit what crying meant, because nobody every cried on Planet Purple.
"When tears come trickling down your face, that's crying. Haven't you ever cried before?"
"No. I never have."
"Then you've just started to live."
When Pauline saw Paul's tears, she came close to him and put her arm around him. Albert Rabbit smiled and hopped away. Then both Paul and Pauline thought "Planet Purple" and they were back home.
When they arrived, the other Pauls and Paulines and Purple Pandas were still hiding behind their houses.
"Come on out, everybody. We have something to tell you."
All the other Pauls and Paulines and Purple Pandas came out -- slowly at first. But then when they saw their friends who had gone away and then come back, they rushed to greet them. "Where did you go?" they asked, "And what did you do?"
Paul and Pauline started by telling about Lady Elaine Fairchilde and how they had gone to her neighborhood and what it was like there.
"Everything is different and nobody is exactly the same as anyone else."
"Do they eat Purple Pandas there?"
"Well, why did not Purple Panda come back with you then?" another Purple Panda asked.
Pauline then told everybody about Purple Panda rocking on the rocking chair. Everyone knew the law about rocking on a rocking chair, so they all shouted, "Sixteen! Sixteen!" which meant "Bad! Bad!" for rocking on the rocking chair.
"But Purple Panda was glad to stay in a place where it did not matter if he sat on a rocking chair. A place where people like you for being different. Do you know that there is not one other Purple Panda in that whole neighborhood?"
All the Purple Pandas were amazed and right then and there, they started thinking some new thoughts, too.
Paul helped everyone imagine what the color blue was like: "It is a little like purple with red on vacation."
And Pauline helped them imagine what the sound of a yellow canary and the smell of a green mint leaf and the taste of a red tomato were like.
And then Paul told them about crying and how tears feel like water. But they mean so much more than water. He told them what he felt like inside when his first tears came. And suddenly, one of the Purple Pandas started to cry.
"I miss Purple Panda," the Purple Panda said. "And I want to see him again."
And one Pauline said, "I want my house to be blue."
And another said, "I want my street to be yellow."
"I want my clothes to be red and my grass to be green and feel soft. And my dreams to be different from anyone else's dreams," another Purple Panda said.
So they all set about changing their planet. Oh, it took them a long time to make all the decisions and some people didn't like some things and other people didn't like other things. But everybody said that it was still better than being all the same all the time. They even changed the law about rocking chairs so Purple Panda could come back any time he wanted. The only things they didn't change were their sky and their skin because that's the way they were and that's why people could still call their planet "Purple."
One day as they all sat around in their circle singing lots of different songs, Pauline Bluehouse said, "I think we should do something nice for Lady Elaine Fairchilde. After all, she helped us to be different."
Paul Softgreengrass spoke up and said, "How about adding her name to our planet? Call it Planet Purple Fairchilde."
And for the first time since the old days, everyone agreed.
So Paul and Pauline, the ones who went to the other neighborhood first, went back and told Lady Elaine of their decision. And Lady Elaine and Purple Panda and his new friends all went to Planet Purple Fairchilde, the Purple way, to celebrate many different things.
Appearing On This Tape
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