Fred Rogers growing up never had many friends, often made fun of for being overweight. As a lonely kid he would often create these imaginary worlds in his own bedroom using stuffed animals. He even had a ventriloquist dummy. It was a tough childhood for him, despite the amount of wealth built up around his family. As Rogers had become much more confident, he began to make some friends. This will be about a man who had almost no friends, to the world being his friend. And a man who we think is perfect for this role: Tom Hanks.
Some favorite quotes from the man himself:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
“How sad it is that we give up on people who are just like us.”
Fred Rogers’ Uplifting Future
As Fred Rogers had started making friends later in life, he had begun to get more involved. During his high school years, he became student council president, a member of the National Honor Society, and editor-in-chief of the yearbook. Rogers went on to get a degree in music composition at Rollins College, where he had also met his wife. Later, after graduating from a seminary school, Fred Rogers had become a Presbyterian minister. His life only took off from there!
Even though Fred Rogers had entered seminary, he wanted to work with television. At the time, he hated the device, but figured it could be used to send a message. Working for NBC, he gradually went up the ranks and soon found himself as a puppeteer. This man thought that there was way too much reliance on advertisement and merchandising. For the next 7 years, Fred worked off-camera developing the puppets, including one after his wife called Queen Sara Saturday. He was even contracted by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and moved to Toronto for a brief period, before moving back. After this, Mr. Rogers dedicated most of his time to children programming.
Oh How We Forget… The World Will Never Forget Mr. Rogers
Fred Rogers was one-of-a-kind, being just as kind off-screen as he was on the screen. He took his time with kids, and with the audience. In every single episode of his show, he was never seen rushing through any segment. From start to finish, every word he spoke was soft and concise. He went straight to the point and never shied away from any issue. More than a few episodes talked about serious issues, such as being handicapped, or even divorce. Rogers never spoke to the audience or kids he worked with as if they were kids, but as if they were young adults.
“Won’t you be my neighbor?” was where the show always started, zipping up in his famous cardigan sweater and sneakers. Most episodes, Fred Rogers would take you on a real-world tour to some place as simple as a bakery or park. You would typically learn about something most people never question, such as a sewer or traffic light. Every episode, as Mr. Rogers would feed his fish, he would vocally announce it only because he received a letter once from a young blind girl who asked. Of course, what would Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood be like without a trip to the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe?” It was a part of Fred Rogers’ legacy, but it certainly wasn’t the best thing.
Tom Hanks: The Comparison
As far as looking the part, Tom Hanks pulls off Fred Rogers quite well. Hanks put on the whole cardigan, pants, and even sneakers. It looks almost iconic. From the hairstyle to the warm sort of glow about it. The photo looks more of a mock-up, however the man himself looks great for the job. That’s just appearance-wise. Hanks also had lived a difficult childhood, moving at least 10 times by the age of 10. He was also a very shy kid, being particularly unpopular among students and teachers alike. He was a very good kid, never getting into trouble and being very responsible.
For his later years, Tom Hanks took up acting, which lead to huge success in primarily serious roles. A few being Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Cast Away, which are all seen as some of his best. His voice always has this dash of authenticity about it, and whenever you hear the voice on screen you know who it is. His voice is almost just as soothing and authentic as Fred Rogers in comparison. He also goes to church, pondering to this day about why people are the way they are. Tom Hanks is just as kind of a man as he has always portrayed himself to be. Any organization he believes in, he donates his time and resources to.
Hanks: The More Mature Film-World Mr. Rogers.
It’s seen in one of Tom Hanks’ greatest films, Forrest Gump. His character was that of a serious child-like adult. It wasn’t in how he acted the part, it was in how he spoke. Forrest Gump was not very intelligent, and Hanks played it up perfectly. Another film he did, Big, was where Hanks also had taken the role of a child living in an adult’s body. Both performances felt spot-on. How will he act as an adult talking to kids while thinking as kids do, talking to them as young adults..? For that, we have to wait until the movie is released. Although, to speculate, it should be a very moving performance considering Hanks’ other filmography.