Mister Rogers Saves Public Television With This 6-Minute Testimony To The U.S. Senate.

A two-photo collage. The first shows Senator John Pastore looking uninterested. The second shows Fred Rogers speaking to him and the rest of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.

Fred Rogers, otherwise known as Mister Rogers, is truly the definition of an icon. For over 33 years, he hosted “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a children’s television show that continues to be loved by folks from multiple generations. What many might not realize, however, is how close this beloved show came to ending far too soon.

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On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers spoked to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. His show had only been airing for about a year when federal funding for the newly formed non-profit Corporation for Public Broadcasting was at risk of a severe budget cut – from $20 million to $10 million. Determined to do whatever it took to ensure that children continued to have access to quality television that not only entertained but educated, Rogers gave a powerful six-minute testimony.

At first, the Subcommittee chairman, Senator John Pastore, seems like he couldn’t care less about what Rogers is about to say. But when Rogers begins to speak in that same calm, reassuring tone he used in his beloved show, there’s a clear shift in the senator’s view of him.

“I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health,” Rogers said.

Watch Mister Rogers’ compelling testimony in the video below.

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