Mr. Rogers is singing about how it’s ok to hug a pillow or pine after a teddy bear, and even though it seems like I’m too old for such things, I feel my stomach drop and I’m suddenly having trouble breathing. I feel like a kid again, and thanks to the 18-day Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood marathon currently streaming on Twitch, over 2 million people have already had the chance to feel the same. The Twitch stream is playing the entire Mister Rogers archive back-to-back in chronological order, including rare episodes that only aired once on terrestrial TV.
Twitch reached out to PBS with an idea for a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood revival in the lead up to the show’s 50th anniversary. They launched the marathon on May 15, partially thanks to the overwhelming response to marathons of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and Julia Child’s The French Chef on the streaming platform. “We were excited to build on that momentum with this experimental initiative,” Lesli Rotenberg, a Senior Vice President at PBS, tells Creators.
Twitch has proved itself to be a powerful fundraising machine, breaking its $10,000 goal yesterday with 16 days to spare. All the money goes to local PBS stations or the Fred Rogers Foundation. Rogers’ widow Joanne Byrd Rogers, “is excited about the campaign and the interest in Fred’s work from the Twitch community,” according to Rotenberg.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted in 1968, the year before Sesame Street, and its final episode aired in 2001. “Fred Rogers revolutionized the way we think about television and was an innovator in using media as a teaching tool,” Rotenberg says. The show raised several generations of kids, with only a brief interruption between 1976 and 1979, and pioneered the conversational second-person video format that thrives on Twitch and YouTube.
Twitch may be able to help Mr. Rogers raise another generation, as the MisterRogers channel will continue to play more episodes post-marathon. PBS has plans for more events celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary. “The Twitch marathon is a great kick-off to what will be a celebration of an incredible legacy,” says Rotenburg.
Follow the stream on Twitch below:
For more MisterRogers on Twitch, click here.