'Mister Rogers' Celebrated by Google on 51st Anniversary (VIDEO)

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Google is celebrating the 51 year anniversary of the late Fred Rogers taping the first episode of classic children's program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

The company has marked the occasion by presenting an animated, stop-motion version of the show featuring Rogers singing the program's opening theme song, "Won't You Be My Neighbor" that can be played from Google's homepage.

The video features Rogers walking around his neighborhood and visiting children as he takes them on an imaginative journey. The short was produced by Fred Rogers Productions, The Fred Rogers Center and BixPix Entertainment.

Rogers, who filmed the first episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on Sept. 21, 1967, grew up in Latrobe, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh. He decided in 1951 before graduating college that children deserved better programming and set out to do so after returning to Pittsburgh to produce the iconic show.

'Won't You Be My Neighbor?': Why We Need Mister Rogers Now More Than Ever

'Won't You Be My Neighbor?': Why We Need Mister Rogers Now More Than Ever

The children's TV personality's doc 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' is especially timely now.

Rogers went on to serve as creator, host, producer, script writer, composer, lyricist, and main puppeteer for close to 900 episodes. Rogers also spent his life championing children's programming, famously testifying before congress in 1969 to not cut funding for public television. His speech moved congress to increase the budget the next year.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood continues to be played on PBS after the show ended in 2000. An animated spinoff titled Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is also shown on the network.

Rogers died at the age of 74 in 2003.

"Through his honest words, thoughtful songs, and imaginative Neighborhood of Make-Believe stories, Mister Rogers took us by the hand, helping us feel good about who we are. He encouraged us to find positive ways to deal with our feelings, to treat others with respect and kindness, and to appreciate the world around us," Google said.

By Wade Sheridan

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.

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