'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' turns 40

Feb. 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Several family-friendly events are being planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the beloved U.S. children's program "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

The slate of activities -- including "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days"; visits to see the actual re-assembled Neighborhood of Make-Believe set in WQED's Studio A in Pittsburgh; and a Mister Rogers Sweater Drive -- was announced Tuesday by WQED and Family Communications, Inc., the team behind the series.

The events will also mark what would have been the 80th birthday of the show's star Fred Rogers, who died in 2003.

The series premiered nationally on public television Feb. 19, 1968. Rogers was born March 20, 1928.

"This 40th anniversary gives us all the opportunity to celebrate the enormous impact of Fred Rogers' lifework over generations," Bill Isler, chief executive officer of Family Communications Inc., said at a news conference Tuesday. "How pioneering it was for its time 40 years ago … and how valuable it continues to be. Thanks to WQED, PBS and its stations around the country, another generation of young children will have the chance to grow up with Mister Rogers' timeless wisdom."

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