Take two minutes out of your hectic Friday morning to watch today’s Google Doodle, which marks the 51st anniversary of Fred Rogers taping his first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The Google Doodle video features a stop-motion animated model of Rogers wearing one of his trademark sweaters and doing pretty much what the live-action Rogers did in real life: greeting the neighborhood, making friends, and bringing smiles to kids’ faces. The whole thing is set to the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” sung by the man himself.
The video is sprinkled with references to Rogers’ upbringing, his career, and his show. The Pennsylvania native taped episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at WQED’s studio in Pittsburgh, where the neighborhood of Make-Believe is located, and one of the letters that flits by has a drawing of Daniel Tiger, who continues to spread Rogers’ message for today’s kids on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Google put out a behind-the-scenes video on Friday about how the Doodle came to life, with commentary from Cathy Cohen Droz of Fred Rogers Productions and Melissa Crowton, one of the video’s directors:
Rogers’ legacy was also celebrated earlier this year in the less whimsical but still equally irresistible documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?