Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

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"Wood you be my neighbor?"

Mister Underwood's Neighborhood (often shortened to simply Mister Underwood) was a American half-hour educational woodworking show on PBS. The series was aimed primarily at preschoolers ages 2–5, but its soothing feel made it background noise among adults when they're drinking coffee, reading a magazine, or trying to fall asleep. It ran from February 19, 1968 to August 31, 2001, and aired reruns until 2009. The series was hosted by Roy "Mr." Underhill, a woodworking man who gives various woodworking tips, combining woodworking with musical numbers. With his sweet and innocent demure, you'd never guess this guy was a Vietnam veteran. Despite his joyous exterior, however, there were hints that Underhill suffered from mental instability, as he often hallucinated that there was a wooden fairytale land behind the wall in his workshop. The real-life Mister Underwood's Neighborhood is located in North Carolina, and was produced by PBS affiliate UNC-TV, and Family Communications, Inc.

Premise[edit]

Mister Underwood's Neighborhood consisted of Roy Underhill speaking directly to children's woodworking viewers, using hand tools, making various things about woodworking, songs that Roy Underhill sang, as well as woodworking fantasies that take viewers into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Roy would have a make-believe story to tell, "Let's pretend that Mr. McWoody has a lot of hand tools". The Neighborhood of Make-Believe gang consisted of Norm Abram, Jeff Smith with his nickname "The Frugal Gourmet", and former "This Old House" host Bob Vila, and Roy Underhill's puppet-voice characters, such as King Woodwright, III, Grit the talking Dog, Woodworker Elaine, Daniel Tiger, master carpenter, and Henrietta X, the woodworking Owl. The set design consisted of woodworking stuff, and a wooden Trolley with a tunnel underneath the television studio workshop. Occasionally, Roy Underhill would have a bunch of guest appearances on the show, such as Ed Feldman, Joe L'Erario, Dean Johnson, JoAnne Liebeler, and others.

Format[edit]

At the start of each episode, the show's title logo appears as the camera would pan very slowly over a wooden forestry model workshop of Mister Underwood's Neighborhood, while the Neighborhood Trolley crosses a couple forests from left to right as the text reads "Mister Underwood Talks About (topic)", as the camera goes from the neighborhood to inside the shop. Following that, Roy Underhill would enter his television studio workshop singing "Wood You Be My Neighbor?", as Roy hangs up his coat in his shop, and puts on a cardigan zipper sweater, and removes his dress shoes to put on a pair of woodworking boots. At the end of each episode, Mister Underwood sings "It's Such a Wood Feeling", as he removes his woodworking boots, and puts his dress shoes back on, and then, he takes his cardigan zipper sweater off, and puts his coat back on. At the end of the song, Roy reminds viewers that "You always make each day a special day, You know how: by just your being you/yourself. There's only one woodworker in the (whole) world that's like you, and that's you. and people can like you, just/exactly the way you are." Roy would then sign off as he walks out the door, usually by saying "I'll be back next time, Bye-bye!". As the end credits roll complete with title and episode number, the camera does a reversed version of the opening sequence's pan shot, with the "Neighborhood Trolley" crossing a couple of forests from right to left.

Opening and closing themes[edit]

The opening theme song is "Wood You Be My Neighbor?", which was written and performed by Roy Underhill in 1967, and was sung at the beginning of each episode. In the first two seasons of the show, Roy Underhill sang "Tomorrow" as the show's original closing theme song, along with "The Woodenness Song" on Friday episodes. And by 1973, Roy sang "It's Such a Wood Feeling" at the end of every episode, which incorporates the first four lines of "The Woodenness Song", with "glued" changing to "new" on Friday episodes. This would stay until the show's ending in 2001.

Parody[edit]

In Family Guy, Fred Rogers is voiced by Wally Wingert in both appearances.

In "Brian in Love", Stewie Griffin dreamed that he murdered all the residents of the neighborhood of Make-Believe and he rides out to the living room on the trolley and tells Rogers that he has taken over the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe". Rogers immediately investigates and discovers, to his horror, that the "Neighborhood" is a war zone, with several characters screaming over their injuries. Rogers begs for his life, but Stewie uses a laser gun to shoot and kill him, only to find he was dreaming and Mr. Rogers has turned the tables on him, before awakening yet again.

In "Running Mates", Mr. Rogers spies on his attractive blonde neighbor through his window, greeting her with "Hello Neighbor" as he did at the beginning of every episode of his show.

See also[edit]


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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is part of Uncyclopedia's series on Mass Media.