It’s a sad day in the neighborhood

Feb 27, 2003 by Ian Evans

Fred Rogers, who entertained and educated children for decades on the public television program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, has died of cancer at 74.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood became a national treasure when the show started to air on PBS stations across the U.S. in 1968. His signature show-opening move — putting on a red cardigan and comfortable shoes — was the subject of good-natured ribbing, including the parody of the show done by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live. Still, the opening was part of the U.S. psyche and one of the red sweaters is now at the Smithsonian Institution.

Rogers taped his last program in December 2000. Reruns continue to introduce new generations of children to the gently-paced world of puppets, friends and stories.