Coolest Mister Rogers Neighborhood episode ever?
Coolest Mr Rogers Neighborhood episode ever? An early techno / electronic music create shows up to teach Fred Rogers about getting down to a new sound.
Mister Rogers arrives with a collection of model cycles which he plays with on the floor. He describes the difference between a tricycle, a bicycle, and a unicycle. Picture Picture shows a film about people riding real cycles including a tandem cycle made for two people.
After the film, Mister Rogers sings “Everybody’s Fancy” before Mr. McFeely stops by and describes how he rides his delivery bicycle.
Mister Rogers is invited to “Miss Nelson and Bruce’s dance studio” to see a musical computer.
At the dance studio, Mister Rogers visits with Bruce Haack who demonstrates a synthesizer which allows him to create various sounds. Miss Nelson arrives with a group of young dance students who spin as they sing a song about wheels.
The children continue moving and singing to the various sounds of the synthesizer as they pretend to ride bicycles and pretend that they are cats.
Mr. McFeely finds Mister Rogers at the dance studio to tell him that there is a surprise for him back at the house. Upon returning to his house, Mister Rogers enters to find his cat, Blackberry, waiting for him inside.
While Haack’s Mr. Rogers appearance may not have seemed like much at the time, in hindsight this is a fascinating document of an artist who’s been called “The King of Techno” for his forward-looking sounds meeting the cutting edge in children’s programming. It’s a testament to how much the counterculture influenced early childhood education. Many of the progressive educational experiments of the sixties have since become historical curiosities, replaced by insipid corporate merchandising. What Haack and Nelson’s musical approach tells me is that we’d do well to revisit the educational climate of that day and take a few lessons from its freeform experimentation and openness. I’ll certainly be playing these records for my daughter.