Senator Pastore: Alright Rogers, you've got the floor.
Rogers: Senator Pastore, this is a philosophical statement and would take
about ten minutes to read, so I'll not do that. One of the first things that a
child learns in a healthy family is trust, and I trust what you have said that
you will read this. It's very important to me. I care deeply about children.
Senator Pastore: Will it make you happy if you
Mr. Rogers:I'd just like to talk about it,
if it's alright. My first children's program was on
WQED fifteen years ago,
and its budget was $30. Now, with the help of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation and
National Educational Television, as well as all of the affiliated stations -- each
station pays to show our program. It's a unique kind of funding in educational
television. With this help, now our program has a budget of $6000.
It may sound like quite a difference, but $6000 pays for less than two minutes
of cartoons. Two minutes of animated, what I sometimes say, bombardment. I'm
very much concerned, as I know you are, about what's being delivered to our
children in this country. And I've worked in the field of child development for
six years now, trying to understand the inner needs of children. We deal with
such things as -- as the inner drama of childhood. We don't have to bop somebody over
the head to...make drama on the screen. We deal with such things as getting a
haircut, or the feelings about brothers and sisters, and the kind of anger that
arises in simple family situations. And we speak to it constructively.
Senator Pastore: How long of a program is it?
Mr. Rogers: It's a half hour every day. Most
channels schedule it in the noontime as well as in the evening.
WETA here has
scheduled it in the late afternoon.
Senator Pastore: Could we get a copy of this so
that we can see it? Maybe not today, but I'd like to see the program.
Mr. Rogers:I'd like very much for you to
Senator Pastore: I'd like to see the program
itself, or any one of them.
Mr. Rogers: We made a hundred programs for
EEN, the Eastern Educational Network, and then when the money ran out, people in
Boston and Pittsburgh and Chicago all came to the fore and said we've got
to have more of this neighborhood expression of care.
And this is what -- This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child,
to help him realize that he is unique. I end the program by saying, "You've
made this day a special day, by just your being you. There's no person in the
whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are." And 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.
I think that it's much more dramatic that two men could be working out their
feelings of anger -- much more dramatic than showing something of gunfire. I'm
constantly concerned about what our children are seeing, and for 15 years I
have tried in this country and Canada, to present what I feel is a meaningful
expression of care.
Senator Pastore: Do you narrate it?
Mr. Rogers: I'm the host, yes. And I do all
the puppets and I write all the music, and I write all the scripts --
Senator Pastore: Well, I'm supposed to be a
pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I've had goose bumps for the last
Mr. Rogers: Well, I'm grateful, not only for
your goose bumps, but for your interest in -- in our kind of communication. Could I
tell you the words of one of the songs, which I feel is very important?
Senator Pastore: Yes.
Mr. Rogers: This has to do with that good feeling of control which I feel
that children need to know is there. And it starts out, "What do you do with the mad that you feel?"
And that first line came straight
from a child. I work with children doing puppets in -- in very personal communication
with small groups:
What do you do with the mad
that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite. When the whole wide
world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right. What do you
do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round
up friends for a game of tag or see how fast you go? It's great to be able
to stop when you've planned the thing that's wrong. And be able to do
something else instead -- and think this song --
'I can stop when I want
to. Can stop when I wish. Can stop, stop, stop anytime....And what a
good feeling to feel like this! And know that the feeling is really
mine. Know that there's something deep inside that helps us become what
we can. For a girl can be someday a lady, and a boy can be someday a
Senator Pastore: I think it's
wonderful. I think it's wonderful. Looks like you just earned the 20 million
Transcript of Entire Hearings: Extension of
authorizations under the Public broadcasting act of 1967. Hearings, Ninety-first
Congress, first session, on S. 1242 … April 30 and May 1, 1969, United States.
Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Subcommittee on Communications ,
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1969; Y 4.C 73/2:91-5.
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