The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 15, 1956 · Page 110
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 110

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 15, 1956
Page 110
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IV Graphic Cover They Give A Hoot For Children ONE explanation for the success of Josie Carey and Fred Rogers' "Children's Corner" is that once offered by Mrs. Dorothy Daniel, the first full-time staffer at Educational Channel 13. 'Fred and Josie are among those rare people the pure irt heart," she said. "I don't know of any other two adults who have retained more of that purity of heart that goes with childhood, and in that sense Fred and Josie are still children themselves. Children instinctively recognize this." Mrs. Daniel, a veteran of many a newspaper city room, is not much given to sentimental homilies, and doubtless there is much validity in her comment. Whatever the explanation, the Ipectacular success of "Children's Corner" is beyond question. Currently it is seen Saturday mornings on a national commercial network and week day afternoons on Pittsburgh's educational channel, WQED, the only TV show in the country enjoying such multiple clearance. It's unique flavor was nationally recognized last fall when it won a Sylvania Award as the country's outstanding locally produced juvenile show. Since it was not then a network show "Children's Corner" . was eligible, only ir- . iWK(:-S,v.. MAIL ... It was a sad day for the Oakland Post Office when "Children's Corner" set up shop on WQED, for Fred Rogers and Josie Carey draw a fabulous amount of mail. But the happy part is the firm conviction on the part of the thousands of young viewers that they mean what they said when they wrote one of the songs used on the show; "I Give a Hoot for You." Joife Corey and Fred Rogers Feel DOvt Sense of Responsibility to Their Fame Children's Comer Spacfacular Siimi -T! MISS PEGGY . . . Watering the plants which she demonstrate on her portions of "Children's Corner" is Peggy (Mrs. Peter) Thompson, known to young viewers as "Miss Peggy." She fills in on Friday afternoons when Fred and Josie are in New York for their Saturday morning network show. for awards in local classifications. R seems a sound bet that as a national vehicle on NBC it will some day pluck off a national award. "Childrea's Corner" hums along with the unselfconscious happiness of a child absorbed in play. Fred Rogers who, along with Josie Carey, created "Children's Corner" as one of the original shows on . WQED, . has a devout sense of responsibility to the chil- TV Pas J 'Th PitUbwsh Prtf. nda dren his show addresses and to the TV medium. A deeply religkx. man, he is taking work at Western Theological Seminary toward a ministerial degree. The challenge of educational television struck him as he was working for NBC as an assistant producer and floor manager. He left a promising career at NBC where he was affiliated with some of the country's most successful shows, among them "Your Hit Parade" t Jcwuary IS, 1956 return to Pittsburgh and offer his vast creative talents to educational TV. With Josie Carey, a young Playhouse actress who also had been drawn by the opportunities of educational TV, Fred created the wonderfully imaginative characters for "Children's Corner." He is the voice and manipulator for the shows familiar puppets Daniel S. Tiger, X-cape, Henrietta, Grand-pere, and King Friday the Thirteenth of Calenderland. Wrile Own Song Together he and Josie wrote the tuneful songs which have became identified with the show "Why, Hi," "I Give a Hoot for You," "Goodnight God" and others. The show looks deceptively easy. Actually, vast physical energy is expended by Fred and Josie and the eager young staff of volunteers that surround them. Alone on camera, Josie sustains vast amounts of air time projecting songs, poems and talk that is geared to the age level of the audience. Working; in congested space behind the seta, Fred rushes from puppet to puppet, making: radical voice changes as he manipulates one after another. Grandpere, the French-speaking puppet, gives Fred an opportunity to employ French, which he speaks as fluently as he does English. Regular watchers of the show have picked up a surprisingly large French vocabulary., But for Fred's dedication to educational television, "Children's Corner" would have been an NBC network vehicle much sooner than It was. On the network for four week3 late last summer, its astonishingly large mail pull so Impressed NBC officials that they wanted the show on the net as a regular feature. But Fred insisted that it must also continue on WQED as a daily event. So an intricate schedule of travel and rehearsals had to be worked out. At 11 a.m. each Friday Fred and Josie take a plane to New York and go immediately to NBC studios in the RCA building where they watch a kinescope of the preceding week's show. Then they go over with the NBC production staff plans for the show for the following week. About 6 a. m. Saturday they start camera rehearsals for the current show, which is seen on the net at 10 a. m. Then it's back 'o Pittsburgh to resume the local show for the following Monday. Only Half a Network The "Children's Corner" seen on the network Saturday mornings is only half the show seen daily on WQED. Omitted are such elements as 'The Attic," in which discarded pieces of furniture carry on a lively social life, the Instruction in morse code by Lieut. Seth Gatchell. Miss Emilie Jacobson, the poetry lady, and Miss Peggy Thompson with her plants. Another occasional visitor "Children's Corner" is Nancy Fin-gal, known on the show as Nancy Finger. A Playhouse associate of Josie's, Nancy does some songs and duets with some of the puppets. In real life Josie is Mrs. Henry ' Massucci, wife of a Pitt student. Fred is married to Joanne Rogers, a concert pianist. By Fred UeaiijHjtloB

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