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Episode 1608

Topic: Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Air Date: May 3, 1989
Previous Episode: 1607 - Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Next Episode: 1609 - Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
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Mister Rogers arrives and immediately goes to feed the fish – something he forgot to do the day before. After singing A Perfect Day, he tries on several of the costumes that will be used in the Neighborhood production. Mr. McFeely arrives with a book version of Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe. Mister Rogers wastes no time in beginning to read the story.

Josephine is a giraffe that has a short neck and, though her friends like her just fine, she thinks she is ugly. The story starts with Sunflower (Daniel), Frog (voiced by Chuck Aber), and Tree (Bob Dog), who are joined by Butterfly, Bird, and Bee (voiced by Michael Horton), singing A Perfect Day. They soon notice a very depressed Josephine (Lady Aberlin) sitting by the pond wishing for a longer neck as she sings For a Year and a Day. They try to help her feel better but are unsuccessful. Josephine starts for home but stops with a frustrated, "Nothing's good for anything!”

Inside the elephant home, Father Elephant (Handyman Negri), who plays the slide trombone, is preparing to leave for band practice. The family sings their "family song" (We Are Elephants), before Hazel (Princess Zelda) talks with Mother Elephant (Miss Paulificate) about going to school to learn to read and play the trombone. Mrs. Elephant says she will call Mr. Bulldog, the principal. Hazel wonders if Josephine would like to go too and "learn to grow.”

Outside , Hazel meets Mrs. Giraffe, Josephine's mother. She expresses her concern for Josephine and sings Make Her Smile. Hazel says she will try to help Josephine as Mrs. Giraffe agrees to the school idea.

Skipping along, Hazel finds Josephine and ecstatically explains the plan. Josephine is horrified at the idea of going to a school where "everyone looks nice and [she] look[s] awful” and informs Hazel that she has no interest in learning to play the trombone. Hazel says she is tired of Josephine always moping around, but Josephine still thinks that It's No Use. Hazel heads home for the night and Butterfly, Bird, and Bee drop by and tell Josephine that she should listen to her friend as they sing A New School Day. Josephine starts for home by the light of the full moon.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers pretends to be an elephant and sings We Are Elephants. He also shares that he occasionally felt sad when he was a child because he was not always exactly like his friends.


Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe was originally written in French by Fred Rogers while he was in college. In 1968, an LP was released with Mister Rogers narrating the story and "neighbors” from that era singing the roles. There are considerable differences from the original version and this version. Many of the lines and lyrics are adapted significantly and many of the characters are different.

Sunflower, Tree, Butterfly, Bird, and Bee did not exist in the original LP version of Josephine. While Frog did exist, his part is very different.

Butterfly, Bird, and Bee speak only in rhymes of butterfly, bird, or bee (i.e. "Butterfly, Bird, and Bee agree.”).

Father Elephant's name is Roy.

The song It's No Use was not in the original LP version of Josephine.

In the original LP version of Josephine, the school was located in Westwood -- the Westwood School for Growing.

Unlike any of the operas, the credits list the cast along with their roles. Daniel S. Tiger is also credited as Sunflower.

Appearing In This Episode




Episode Credits

With Fred Rogers
Cast: Chuck Aber (Frog), Betty Aberlin (Josephine the Giraffe), Michael Horton (Butterfly, Bird, & Bee), Joe Negri (Father Elephant), Zelda Pulliam (Hazel Elephant), Daniel Striped Tiger (Sunflower), Audrey Roth (Mother Elephant), Maggie Stewart (Mrs. Giraffe), Bob Trow (Tree)
Executive Producer: Fred Rogers
Producer: Margaret Whitmer
Director: Paul Lally
Associate Producer: Adrienne Wehr
Music Director: John Costa

Produced in association with WQED/Pittsburgh
A production of Family Communications
©1988 Family Communications, Inc.

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