It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood - to learn about the man most people have come to know as Mister Rogers.
The new documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” tells the story of the 34-year-long run of the PBS show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and the television legend behind it, Fred Rogers.
In his lifetime, Rogers became a superstar among people of all ages, making connections with millions who saw him on screen.
“I think that people long to be in touch with honesty," Rogers said in a 2001 interview with ABC News’ John Donvan. "We’re not going to fudge stuff. We’re going to tell them the truth. We’re not going to dance around and say how happy things are when they’re not. And I have a feeling that, that’s part of the thank you.”
Among the interviews featured in the documentary is one with someone who has observed Rogers up close for 50 years: his wife.
Joanne Rogers, separately told “Nightline” her husband was a lifelong Republican, thinks the world could use some more "Mr. Rogers" these days.
“We have somebody leading us right now who is not a forgiver," she said. "His values are very, very different from Fred’s values - almost completely opposite.”
Rogers said she could imagine her husband coming out and speaking up against political leaders with such distinctly different values than his.
“I think he might have to,” she said.
“That would be political,” which is something her husband tried to avoid, Rogers told "Nightline".
But while Fred Rogers could be revolutionary -- like when he introduced the black actor Francois Clemmons into the cast of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a police officer at a time when African-Americans had little visibility on television -- Rogers said her husband could also be cautious.
“He was always thinking about that audience of adults who were going to take away his children [and turn off the television],” she said.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” premieres in theaters nationwide on June 22.