50 years ago today, Mister Rogers Neighborhood aired for the first time.
True story. I was working the stage door of the Benedum Center back in the '90s. And apparently, Fred Rogers was filming a segment that showed him entering the Benedum thru the stage door. So he comes walking past the security desk and I lose it.
Now working the stage door, I saw all sorts of local and national celebrities, and my thing was that if they spoke to me, I spoke back but I didn't go looking for autographs or anything like that. Had to be professional.
Although I became a fan of Chita Rivera because she was very nice to me when she came into town to do 'Kiss of the Spider-Woman.' I do not have similar feelings for Jerry Lewis, but that's another story for another time.
Aaanyway, Mr. Rogers comes blitzing past. I didn't say anything and after him comes David Newell, better known as Mr. McFeely. I say hello, he answers back, very nice guy, and he asks me, out of the blue, if I'd like to speak to Mr. Rogers. Of, course! I said.
A few minutes later, Fred Rogers stops at the security desk, shakes my hand and talks for a few seconds. I about fell out, I was tongue tied and didn't dare ask him for an autograph. I did not want to waste the man's time.
Long story short, he was in person exactly as he was on TV. Very nice, soft spoken, a true gentleman. I'll never forget that day. It's Mister Roger's World and we're just living in it.