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Lessons From Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Date: 2015
Format: DVD
Company/Organization: Expressive Media
UPC: 888295180054
Purchase/Stream: Amazon (DVD)


Total Running Time: 52 minutes, 47 seconds


This documentary highlights the psychological and educational lessons that Fred Rogers taught through music, puppetry and metaphor – in a powerful way that was both authentic and direct. A trained composer and minister, as well as a sophisticated student of child development and psychology, Rogers consulted with senior mental health professionals about every element of the program, all of which he created himself. The structure and tone of the show provided a friendly “neighborhood” – a virtual “holding environment” – within which even disturbing themes (like the fears stimulated by divorce or the imagined danger of angry impulses) could be safely explored. This film is about Rogers' contribution to the well-being of our national psyche, helping us to manage both daily challenges and life's difficult passages. Although children were his primary audience, the truth is that Mister Rogers' lessons have always been relevant for people of all ages.




Available for purchase from Expressive Media. Contact directly at for a special "Neighborhood Archive" discount.

Named Best Documentary at the 2015 Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival.


Director & Editor: Judy Rubin
Assistant Editor: Ellie Irwin
Editorial Revision: Connie Bottinelli
Editorial Assistance/DVD Menu Design: John Mittner
Sound Editor/Post Production Mixer: Scott Cannizzaro
Colorist: Rob Bessette
Online Editor/Graphics: Timothy Montgomery
Post Production Assistant: Kagan Durmer
Post Production Producer: Holly Miller
Consultants: Dan Aron, Connie Bottinelli, Barry Cohen, Ben Grandis, Jenny Grandis, Jim Lenkner, Sam Newbury, Laura Paglin, Zac Stuart-Pontier, Herb Rubin, Nona Rubin, Annette Shore, Liz Stone
With Deepest Gratitute to: Bill Isler, Joanne Rogers, Rick Sebak, Kevin Conrad, Nancy Curry, Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, Jerome & Dorothy Singer, Marge Petruska, Deb Acklin, Jacqui Thomas, Jenni Matz, David Newell, Hedda Sharapan, Kevin Morrison, Brittany Smith

Excerpts from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" used with permission from The Fred Rogers Company
© The Fred Rogers Company

Footage supplied courtesy of WQED Multimedia, Pittsburgh, PA

Footage from the Fred Rogers Oral History Collection supplied courtesy of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children's Media, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA

Archive of American Television, North Hollywood, CA

With generous support from The Heinze Endowments

Neighborhood Archive Review

Back in October of 2013, we had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Judith Rubin who played the part of the "art lady" on early episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Since her days on the Neighborhood, Dr. Rubin has gone on to become a well-renowned art therapist and film maker and recently released a new film to the general public -- Lessons From Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

A few weeks ago, I acquired a DVD copy of Lessons and in the time since have watched it twice through. Both times I was struck by a quote from Fred Rogers heard early in the film:

"Let's find out what makes children healthy and do all we can to give that to them."

This is the crux of this one-hour documentary which was named Best Documentary at the 2015 Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival. Through interview footage and clips from various eras of the Neighborhood program, Dr. Rubin effectively presents viewers with evidence that the Neighborhood was far more than a simple children's television program. There are no special graphics used in the film -- in fact, at times the overlay text and transitions seem simple enough that the film almost seems dated. Still, the message is clear as Dr. Rubin covers topics ranging from separation to permissible regression to developing impulse control. While these topics are much deeper than what an average viewer might expect to find on a children's program, Lessons is a clear reminder that every second of every Neighborhood program was planned with the most precise calculation and purpose.

Although somewhat biographical in nature and including clips found in other films such as America's Favorite Neighbor, Lessons From Mister Rogers' Neighborhood has less of a focus on Fred Rogers the television personality and more on Fred Rogers the child psychologist. A clip of Dr. Margaret McFarland emphasizes the purpose of the film and the Neighborhood program:

"It is less a show for children and more real communication with them."

Dr. Rubin and the fine folks at Expressive Media have offered a special price on this film to readers of the Neighborhood Archive. Normally priced at $49.00 for individual purchase, readers can contact Expressive Media directly at for a special Neighborhood Archive discounted price of $39 ($29 if you purchase three or more copies). While this price may seem steep for an average DVD, keep in mind that this film has been produced on a small market, comes from someone directly involved with the formative years of the Neighborhood, and is an important reminder of Fred Rogers' deepest messages.

Worth every penny.

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