I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor? in a packed theater here in Nashville.
It was one of the more extraordinary movie experiences I’ve had. At the end, after 90 minutes of watching the story of Fred Rogers, the unlikely star of a children’s television show that ran for 31 seasons, the audience erupted in applause, that really intentional kind of applause as if we were all cheering on the very idea of this man, the notion that someone so humble and full of empathy could even exist. We wanted to clap him back to life, Tinkerbell effect.
If you have the chance to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? in a theater, I encourage you to go. I read somewhere that movie theaters are among the last places a group can be together and share an experience in a perfectly neutral environment.
Everybody I know who has seen this movie tells me they cried. One friend said he held his mother’s hand for part of the movie, and he’s fiftysomething years old.
PS My only complaint about Mister Rogers these days is that the US Postal Service put him on a stamp along with King Friday. King Friday? That dork! Henrietta Pussycat was robbed!