BROOKE GLADSTONE: After 34 years, Mr. Rogers finally left the neighborhood. He was so slow, so gray, so drab, so utterly untelegenic. How could he have lasted so long? I'll tell you why! He spoke up for the little guys! I mean literally! -- the little guys -- the ones who stand adored but distrusted, confused and squinting in the long shadow of grownups.
Mr. Rogers was little too. About a foot or so high on the average TV screen. He shambled and sang and looked directly into the eyes of children year after year and all he ever really said was that everything was going to be okay!
I could give you the names of a lot of adults diminished by [MUSIC UP AND UNDER] joblessness or drugs or loneliness who found genuine consolation in the laughably sincere assurances of Mr. Rogers. It was his own little miracle that he could penetrate that impersonal medium, reach through the glass and serve up daily a child-sized portion of peace.
MR. ROGERS: [SINGING] I HOPE THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER EVEN WHEN YOU'RE FEELING BLUE THAT IT'S YOU I LIKE IT'S YOU, YOURSELF IT'S YOU IT'S YOU I LIKE.