15 Thrilling Facts About Killing Eve

BBC America
BBC America

Warning: Spoilers ahead for season one of BBC America's Killing Eve.

If you have yet to watch Killing Eve, you’re missing out on one of this year’s most addictive crime dramas. And spy thrillers. And black comedies. Just when you think you know where the genre-busting BBC series about an MI5 desk drone-turned-field agent (Sandra Oh) helping to track down a psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer) is headed, it changes the rules. Which helps explain why the show has been such a hit with audiences and critics alike. With a second season already underway, and star Sandra Oh vying for what could be a groundbreaking Emmy win, here are 15 things you might not have known about Killing Eve.

1. IT’S BASED ON A SERIES OF NOVELLAS.

L to R: Fiona Shaw, Kim Bodnia, Sean Delaney, and Sandra Oh in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Between 2014 and 2016, Luke Jennings—dance critic for England’s The Observer—wrote a series of four Kindle Singles that become the novel Codename Villanelle, about a Russian assassin and an ambitious MI5 agent who chase each other around the world in a global game of cat-and-mouse. In 2014, producer Sally Woodward Gentle optioned the rights to Jennings’s stories.

“Although the notion of a female assassin was not unique, Luke’s take was fresh, intelligent and tonally much bolder than others,” Woodward Gentle said. “It wasn’t exploitative. We really enjoyed the character of Villanelle and the inventiveness of her kills, but we were particularly engaged with the mutual obsession between the women."

2. IT WAS WRITTEN AND DEVELOPED BY FLEABAG CREATOR PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE.

Though Phoebe Waller-Bridge began her entertainment career as an actor (she played droid L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story), Crashing and Fleabag have turned her into an in-demand writer and producer as well. Waller-Bridge was brought onto Killing Eve based on her work on the stage version of Fleabag, which she performed as a one-woman show in 2013. The material turned out to be a perfect match for the creator’s sensibilities.

“I write from the point of view of what I’d like to watch,” Waller-Bridge told The Guardian. “I’m always satisfying my own appetite. So I guess that means transgressive women, friendships, pain. I love pain.”

3. SANDRA OH WASN’T SURE WHO THE SHOWRUNNERS WANTED HER TO PLAY.

'Killing Eve' star Sandra Oh
© James White, Corbis Outline via BBC America

Sandra Oh—who was the first actor cast in the adaptation—loved the script for Killing Eve, but was slightly confused about which role the producers had in mind for her. “I was talking to [my agents] and scrolling on my phone like, ‘What is it?,’” Oh told ELLE Magazine. “I’m quickly scrolling through my phone, trying to find my part, and I’m talking to my agent like, ‘I don’t get it. What’s the part?’ because I was like, I can’t play an assassin, obviously it’s gonna be a young hot girl, I don’t get it, what’s my part? Then my agent said, ‘Eve. The part is for Eve.’"

4. IT WAS CELEBRATED BY MANY CRITICS FOR BREAKING ALL THE GENRE RULES.

The critical reviews for Killing Eve were almost unanimously positive, with many fans mentioning the innovative way in which the show subverts so many genre conventions. In making the case for Oh as this year’s Best Actress for Vulture, Matt Zoller Seitz wrote that “Killing Eve is such a brazenly entertaining series that you don’t immediately realize how groundbreaking it is … First, of course, there’s the fact that Killing Eve is built around two women, an immediately distinguishing difference in a genre, the cat-and-mouse thriller, where both the main investigator and the main baddie tend to be men.”

At IndieWire, Ben Travers wrote that “Killing Eve is a helluva good time, it's already more interesting than many of its genre peers, and the first season illustrates a self-awareness essential for its survival. The show may follow a formula, but there's nothing routine about it.” Writing for The Atlantic, Sophie Gilbert said, “Killing Eve is subversive at its most basic level, taking the classic good-guy-chases-villain template and placing two women in the primary roles.”

5. OH IS THE FIRST ASIAN ACTRESS TO BE NOMINATED FOR A BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA EMMY.

Proud #immigrantparents Just took me 30 yrs...

A post shared by Sandra Oh (@iamsandraohinsta) on

Between 2005 and 2009, Oh received five consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy (though she has yet to win one). But her nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Killing Eve marks an important first for the entertainment industry: She is the first Asian actress to receive a Lead Actress in a Drama nomination.

6. WALLER-BRIDGE AND JODIE COMER’S FIRST MEETING WAS AT A BAFTA PARTY, AND THEY WERE BOTH DRUNK.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jodie Comer shared that the first and only time she had ever met Waller-Bridge was a few months before she was ever contacted about Killing Eve. The two of them met at a BAFTA party, and both were rather inebriated. “I didn’t know nottin’ about Killing Eve,” Comer said. “Then my audition came along and I was like … Oh my God, I was so drunk that night. This is really awkward.”

7. OH AND COMER’S FIRST MEETING INCLUDED ACTING OUT THE KITCHEN SCENE.

As Eve and Villanelle, Oh and Comer spend almost the entirety of season one trying to stay one step ahead of each other, which means that they don’t share a lot of screen time. But it was imperative that the actors who filled the roles had enough onscreen chemistry to fill the moments that they did share with a rare kind of curiosity that is both raw, vicious, and somewhat sexual. So Oh’s first meeting with Comer required them to act out the infamous kitchen scene, where Villanelle breaks into Eve’s home.

“Jodie is so wonderful in her presence, and her own instinct, and her own fearlessness,” Oh told Deadline. “She’s absolutely nothing like the character, which makes what Jodie can personally bring to it so much more extraordinary. We first met in her audition, and the audition was the scene in the kitchen in Episode 5, this 10-page scene. Jodie flew from England to LA, we laid it down, and immediately, I felt like we could both feel, ‘Oh, this is my dance partner.’”

8. IT WAS RENEWED BEFORE THE FIRST SEASON HAD EVEN PREMIERED.

Sometimes you just know when you have a good thing. On April 5, 2018—three days before Killing Eve had even made its debut—BBC America announced that it was being renewed for a second season.

“This show has the thunder of women on both sides of the chase in Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer and, importantly, behind the camera with the lavishly brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge,” BBC America president Sarah Barnett said in a statement. “The early response to Killing Eve has been incredible—for that reason, as well as the fact that we wholeheartedly love this original, funny, thrillingly entertaining series, we are delighted to move ahead with a second season before we even premiere.”

9. MORE THAN 100 ACTRESSES WERE CONSIDERED FOR VILLANELLE.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Though it’s impossible to imagine Killing Eve without Comer in the role of the psychotic—and rather glamorous—assassin, the show’s producers considered more than 100 actors for the part. “We didn’t want Villanelle to be like Nikita or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo—that male fantasy version of what a woman who’d come for them might look like. We wanted her to be able to disappear into a crowd,” Woodward Gentle told Backstage. “There had to be chemistry between [Eve and Villanelle], this extraordinary chemical reaction that’s not necessarily sexual, but has hints of it. [Oh and Comer] had it. Their acting methods are very different, but they were completely within the same piece. That was really important.”

10. WALLER-BRIDGE AND OH WANTED THE ENDING TO FEEL ORGANIC, SO THEY WORKSHOPPED IT TOGETHER. WITH SOME WINE.

While discussing Eve and Villanelle’s second encounter, which ends with Oh stabbing Comer, Waller-Bridge told Variety that it was important to both her and Oh that whatever happened in that scene felt natural to the character of Eve. “That moment of ‘saving her’ came out of a wine-fueled, after-dinner spontaneous workshop of the scene with Sandra,” Waller-Bridge said. “Sandra and I were acting it out across my kitchen table … We mimed her stabbing me and then pulling the knife out … Then we both froze for a second, just feeling out what might happen next, then we suddenly both covered the imaginary wound at the same time and looked at each other utterly mortified—just like we believed Eve would once she took a second to realize what she had done.”

11. OH DOESN’T NORMALLY WATCH HERSELF ON SCREEN, BUT MADE AN EXCEPTION FOR KILLING EVE.

Sandra Oh in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Many actors can’t bear to watch themselves onscreen, and Oh counts herself among them. But she was curious to see how Killing Eve turned out, so she binge-watched the first three episodes—and loved every second of it. “In the plethora of all that’s out there to watch, actually being something different is so fun,” she told Vanity Fair.

12. ITS RATINGS GREW WITH EACH EPISODE.

Word-of-mouth played a major part in Killing Eve’s success, a fact that could be seen in its ratings, which grew from one week to the next throughout the season—which is something that no other scripted television series had done in more than a decade.

“This show has exceeded our expectations in every possible way, and we came into it with very high expectations,” BBC America president Sarah Barnett said in a statement. “From executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s words on the page, to the performances by Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and the entire cast, the critical acclaim, the fan engagement and audience growth. On every level, this has been one of the ones you dream about when you get into this business.”

13. THE SHOW’S DARK COMEDY HELPED AUDIENCES ROOT FOR A KILLER.

Much of the show’s success, according to Waller-Bridge, rests in its more lighthearted moments—which she told Variety were necessary for any show that’s “tied up with pathos and is as usefully disarming as it is entertaining.” She also believes that the show’s dark comedic elements allowed the audience to root for Villanelle, “because she makes them laugh … It forgives a thousand murders!”

14. THE BODY COUNT WAS RATHER HIGH.

Though given Villanelle’s penchant for murder, it’s not hard to imagine that she’s killed 1000-plus people throughout her career, the audience only witnesses a total of 19 deaths of the hands of the quirky assassin. (An additional eight deaths throughout the series led to a total body count of 27 for the first season.)

15. EVE SHOULD BE NERVOUS ABOUT SEASON TWO.

Jodie Comer in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Though not many details have been released about Killing Eve’s second season, we know that it’s scheduled to premiere in 2019 and that Waller-Bridge—who received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing—won’t be writing it. (The second season of her show Fleabag is currently in production, and timing wouldn’t allow her to do both.) But Waller-Bridge has offered a warning that the next season will see Eve in danger.

“[Eve] has crossed a line with Villanelle and with herself,” Waller-Bridge told Variety. “I think both are threats to Eve going forward. There is no question that she will be haunted in some way by both from this moment on.”

Anthony Blunt: The Art Historian/Russian Spy Who Worked at Buckingham Palace

Samuel West portrays Anthony Blunt in The Crown.
Samuel West portrays Anthony Blunt in The Crown.
Des Willie, Netflix

*Mild spoilers for season 3 of The Crown on Netflix ahead.

Viewers of the third season of The Crown on Netflix will likely have their curiosity piqued by Anthony Blunt, the art historian who is revealed to be a spy for the Russians during his 19 years of service to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Instead of getting the boot once he was discovered, however, Blunt went on to remain under Her Majesty's employ for eight more years—until his official retirement. While treason never looks good on a resume, the royal class had good reason to keep him on.

Blunt, who was born and raised in England, visited the Soviet Union in 1933 and was indoctrinated as a spy after being convinced of the benefits of Communism in fighting fascism. He began recruiting his university classmates at Cambridge before serving during World War II and leaking information about the Germans to the KGB. Blunt was one of five Cambridge graduates under Soviet direction. Two of them, diplomats Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, relocated to the Soviet Union in 1951. Another, Kim Philby, went undetected until 1961. John Cairncross escaped notice, too, but was eventually outed.

However, it was Blunt who had a post at Buckingham Palace. After being tipped off by American intelligence, MI5 interrogated Blunt. He confessed to his treachery in 1964 and was granted immunity from prosecution. Why was he able to remain employed? One theory has it that British intelligence was so embarrassed by Blunt's ability to circulate in the upper levels of the monarchy that firing him would have raised too many questions. Another thought has Blunt having knowledge of some bizarrely congenial wartime correspondence between Adolf Hitler and the Duke of Windsor (a.k.a. King Edward VIII, whose abdication led to Elizabeth's eventual ascension to the throne).

Whatever the case, the Queen was advised by MI5 to keep Blunt around. In his role as art curator, he had no access to classified information. Blunt was at the Palace through 1972 and spent another seven years roaming London giving lectures. His actions remained a tightly guarded secret until Margaret Thatcher disclosed his treason in 1979.

As for that speech seen in The Crown, where Olivia Colman's Queen Elizabeth makes some not-so-subtle digs at Blunt at the opening of a new exhibition, there's no record of such a takedown ever happening. While the two reportedly kept their distance from each other in private, according to Miranda Carter's Anthony Blunt: His Lives:

“Blunt continued to meet the Queen at official events. She came to the opening of the Courtauld’s new galleries in 1968, and in 1972 she personally congratulated Blunt on his retirement, when the Lord Chamberlain, knowing nothing of his disgrace, offered him the honorary post of Adviser on the Queen’s pictures—inadvertently continuing his association with the Palace for another six years.”

Stripped of his knighthood as a result of the truth about his actions being made known, Blunt became a recluse and died of a heart attack in 1983. His memoirs, which were made public by the British Library in 2009, indicated his regret, calling his spy work "the biggest mistake of my life."

41 Wonderful Facts About Mister Rogers

PBS Television, Getty Images
PBS Television, Getty Images

Fred Rogers remains an icon of kindness for the ages. An innovator of children’s television, his salt-of-the-earth demeanor and genuinely gentle nature taught a generation of kids the value of kindness. Just ahead of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a new biopic in which Tom Hanks stars everyone's favorite "neighbor," here are 41 things you might not have known about Fred Rogers.

1. Fred Rogers was bullied as a child.

A publciity image of David Newell (L) and Fred Rogers (R) from 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' is pictured
Focus Features

According to Benjamin Wagner, who directed the 2010 documentary Mister Rogers & Me—and was, in fact, Rogers’s neighbor on Massachusetts's Nantucket island—Rogers was overweight and shy as a child, and was regularly taunted by his classmates.

"I used to cry to myself when I was alone," Rogers said. “And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano."

2. Rogers left Dartmouth College after one year.

Rogers was an Ivy League dropout. He spent his freshman year at Dartmouth College, then transferred to Rollins College, where he pursued a degree in music.

3. He was an accomplished musician.

Fred Rogers in a still from 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' (2018)
Focus Features

Rogers transferred to Rollins College in order to pursue a degree in music and graduated Magna cum laude. In addition to his talent for playing the piano, Rogers was also an incredible songwriter.

4. He wrote the music for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Need proof of Rogers's songwriting prowess? He wrote all the songs for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—plus hundreds more.

5. Playing the piano was his favorite stress-reducer.

Whenever Rogers began to feel anxious or overwhelmed, he would play the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood theme song on the piano as a way to calm his nerves.

6. He had a strict daily routine.

Rogers was a stickler when it came to his daily routine: He started his day at 5 a.m. and made time for a prayer as well as some studying, writing, phone calls, swimming, and responding to his fan mail.

7. He weighed himself daily.

Mister Rogers
Getty Images

Another part of Rogers's daily routine included a daily weigh-in. He liked to maintain a weight of exactly 143 pounds.

8. His weight had a special meaning.

Rogers's regular weight of 143 had special meaning to him. "It takes one letter to say I and four letters to say love and three letters to say you," Rogers once said. "One hundred and forty-three."

9. Pennsylvania celebrated 143 day in 2019.

In 2019, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf declared May 23 to be 143 Day in the state. Rogers was born near Pittsburgh and lived his whole life in the area. By honoring Rogers with his own holiday, the individuals behind the 143 Day campaign wanted to encourage people to be kind to their neighbors on May 23—and every other day of the year.

10. Rogers responded to every fan letter he received.

Rogers took time out of each day to respond to his fan mail, and he responded to each and every letter he received—approximately 50 to 100 letters per day. "He respected the kids who wrote," Heather Arnet, an assistant on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He never thought about throwing out a drawing or letter. They were sacred."

11. No feeling was too big—or small—for Mr. Rogers to talk about.

A promotional image of Fred Rogers for 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' is pictured
Amazon

Over the many years he worked with children, Rogers spoke very openly about his and their feelings on every sort of topic, from why kids shouldn't be afraid of haircuts to divorce and war.

12. He spent five episodes talking about nuclear war.

Since its inception on Pittsburgh's WQED in 1968, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had informed its young audience about topical issues in subversive and disarming ways. When civil rights were discussed, host Fred Rogers didn’t deliver a lecture about tolerance. Instead, he invited a black friend, Officer Clemmons, to cool off in his inflatable pool, a subtle nod to desegregation.

Rogers conceived and taped a five-episode storyline on the subject in the summer of 1983, which wound up being prescient. In November 1983, president Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada to topple a Marxist regime.

“Little did I know we would be involved in a worldwide conflict now,” Rogers told the Associated Press. “But that’s all the better because our shows give families an opportunity for communication. If children should hear the news of war, at least they have a handle here, to assist in family communications.”

13. Rogers had a special way of talking to kids.

Mr. Rogers knew children well. He knew how they thought, what they liked, what they feared, and what they struggled to understand—and he went to great lengths to ensure he never upset or confused his devoted viewers.Mr. Rogers knew children well. He knew how they thought, what they liked, what they feared, and what they struggled to understand—and he went to great lengths to ensure he never upset or confused his devoted viewers.

Maxwell King, author of the forthcoming book The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, wrote in The Atlantic that Mr. Rogers carefully chose his words while filming Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He understood that children think in a literal way, and a phrase that might sound perfectly fine to adult ears could be misinterpreted by younger audiences.

Rogers was “extraordinarily good at imagining where children’s minds might go,” King said, adding that Mr. Rogers wrote a song called “You Can Never Go Down the Drain” because he knew this might be a fear shared by many children.

14. Rogers used King Friday to make Friday the 13th less scary for kids.

King Friday XIII, son of King Charming Thursday XII and Queen Cinderella Monday, is an avid arts lover, a talented whistler, and a former pole vaulter. He reigns over Calendarland with lots of pomp and poise, and he’s usually correct.

Fans of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood may also remember that King Friday XIII, who reigned over Calendarland, was born on Friday the 13th, because his birthday was celebrated on the program every Friday the 13th. Though the math isn’t perfect—according to Timeanddate.com , Friday the 13th sometimes happens two or three times a year—the reason behind it absolutely is.

Rogers explained that he wanted to give children a reason to look forward to Friday the 13th, instead of buying into the negative superstitions that surround the dreaded date. “We thought, ‘Let’s start children out thinking that Friday the 13th was a fun day,’” he said in a 1999 interview. “So we would celebrate his birthday every time a Friday the 13th came.”

15. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Rogers was an ordained minister who preached tolerance wherever he went. When Amy Melder, a 6-year-old Christian viewer, sent Rogers a drawing she made for him with a letter that promised “he was going to heaven,” Rogers wrote back to his young fan:

“You told me that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. It means a lot to me to know that. And, I appreciated the scripture verse that you sent. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I want you to know that Jesus is important to me, too. I hope that God’s love and peace come through my work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

16. Rogers was not a fan of foul language.

If Rogers used the word mercy, it probably meant that he was feeling overwhelmed. He was typically heard saying it when he sat down at his desk in the morning and saw the mountain of fan mail awaiting him. But mercy was about the strongest word in his vocabulary.

17. Rogers was not a fan of television, which is why he gravitated toward it.


Rogers’s decision to work in television wasn’t out of a love for the medium. "When I first saw children's television, I thought it was perfectly horrible," Rogers told Pittsburgh Magazine. "And I thought there was some way of using this fabulous medium to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen."

18. There's a reason why the stoplight is always yellow in the opening sequence to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

In the opening sequence of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the stoplight is always on yellow as a reminder to kids—and their parents—to slow down a little.

19. Rogers believed that patience was a virtue—even if it meant dead air time.

Rogers wasn't afraid of dead air: He once invited a marine biologist onto the show and put a microphone into his fish tank, because he wanted the kids at home to see (and hear) that fish make sounds when they eat. While taping the segment, however, the fish weren't hungry so the marine biologist started trying to egg the fish on. But Rogers just sat there, waiting quietly. The crew figured they'd need to re-tape it, but Rogers didn't want to. He thought it was a great lesson in teaching kids the importance of being patient.

20. Rogers always made sure to announce that he was feeding his fish for a very specific reason.

Rogers always mentioned out loud that he was feeding his fish because a young blind viewer once asked him to do so. She wanted to know the fish were OK.

21. Rogers was not a fan of ad-libbing.

Rogers was a perfectionist, and very much disliked ad-libbing. He felt that he owed it to the kids who watched his show to make sure that every word on his show was thought out.

22. Kids who watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood retained more than those who watched Sesame Street.

A Yale study pitted fans of Sesame Street against Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watchers and found that kids who watched Mister Rogers tended to remember more of the story lines, and had a much higher “tolerance of delay,” meaning they were more patient.

23. Animals loved Rogers as much as people did.

It wasn’t just kids and their parents who loved Mister Rogers. Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who understood 2000 English words, was an avid fan, too. When Rogers visited once her, she immediately gave him a hug—and took his shoes off.

24. Rogers's mother knitted all of his sweaters.

If watching an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood gives you sweater envy, we’ve got bad news: You’d never be able to find his sweaters in a store. All of those comfy-looking cardigans were knitted by Fred’s mom, Nancy. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Rogers explained how his mother would knit sweaters for all of her loved ones every year as Christmas gifts. “And so until she died, those zippered sweaters I wear on the Neighborhood were all made by my mother,” he said.

25. One of rogers's sweaters lives in the Smithsonian.

In 1984, Rogers donated one of his iconic sweaters to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

26. Rogers's sweater collection was actually challenging to maintain.

Fred's mother, Nancy Rogers, died in 1981. Rogers continued wearing the sweaters she had made for years ... until it became obvious that they wouldn’t endure many more tapings of the show. Replacements were sought, but art director Kathy Borland quickly discovered that the search was not unlike trying to replace Superman’s cape. A Fred Rogers sweater needed a zipper with a smooth operation so it wouldn’t snag on camera. It also needed to be vibrant.

Nothing fit the bill until Borland saw a United States Postal Service employee walking down the street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—where the show taped—and took note of his cardigan. Borland phoned postal supply distributors and was able to secure a fresh inventory of sweaters (which she bought white, and then dyed) that kept Rogers looking like himself through the show’s final episode in 2001.

27. Rogers changed into sneakers as a production practicality.

According to Wagner, Rogers’s decision to change into sneakers for each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a production-related consideration. “His trademark sneakers were born when he found them to be quieter than his dress shoes as he moved about the set,” wrote Wagner.

28. He invited the driver who took him to a PBS dinner to eat with them.

While being transported to a PBS executive's house, Rogers heard his limo driver say that he was going to have to wait outside for two hours while the party dined—so Rogers insisted that the driver join them for dinner.

On the ride back home, Rogers sat in the front of the car with the driver, who mentioned that they were passing his house on their way back to Rogers's home. So Rogers asked if they could stop in to meet the family. According to the driver, it was one of the best nights of his life: Rogers played piano for the family and chatted with them until late into the night.

29. No, Rogers was never a sniper.

The internet has stirred up all sorts of bizarre rumors about Rogers, including one that he served in the army and was a sniper in Vietnam and another that he served in the army and was a sniper in Korea. As exciting as that might make an upcoming biopics, these are both untrue.

30. Rogers was partly responsible for helping to save public television.

In 1969, Rogers—who was relatively unknown at the time—went before the Senate to plead for a $20 million grant for public broadcasting, which had been proposed by President Johnson but was in danger of being sliced in half by Richard Nixon. His passionate plea about how television had the potential to turn kids into productive citizens worked; instead of cutting the budget, funding for public TV increased from $9 million to $22 million.

31. Rogers also helped to save the VCR.

Years after he appeared before the Senate, Rogers also managed to convince the Supreme Court that using VCRs to record TV shows at home shouldn’t be considered a form of copyright infringement. Rogers argued that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family. Again, he was convincing.

32. At least one professor believes that rogers's impact on kids wasn't all that positive.

LSU professor Don Chance is one of the few people who isn't 100 positive about Rogers's legacy: He believes that Rogers created a, "culture of excessive doting" which resulted in generations of lazy, entitled college students.

33. He was regularly parodied—and loved every second of it.

Rogers was regularly parodied, and he loved it. The first time Eddie Murphy met Mr. Rogers, he couldn't stop himself from giving the guy a big hug.

34. Rogers was colorblind.

Those brightly colored sweaters were a trademark of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but the colorblind host might not have always noticed. In a 2003 article, just a few days after his passing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that:

"Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup."

35. Michael Keaton got his start on MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD.

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton's first job was as a stagehand on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, manning Picture, Picture, and appearing as Purple Panda.

36. Rogers gave George Romero his first paying gig, too.

It's hard to imagine a gentle, soft-spoken, children's education advocate like Rogers sitting down to enjoy a gory, violent zombie movie like Night of the Living Dead, but it actually aligns perfectly with Rogers's brand of thoughtfulness. He checked out the horror flick to show his support for then-up-and-coming filmmaker George Romero, whose first paying job was with everyone's favorite neighbor.

“Fred was the first guy who trusted me enough to hire me to actually shoot film,” Romero said. As a young man just out of college, Romero honed his filmmaking skills making a series of short segments for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, creating a dozen or so titles such as “How Lightbulbs Are Made” and “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy.” The zombie king, who passed away in 2017, considered the latter his first big production, shot in a working hospital: “I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made."

37. Rogers paid a visit to Sesame Street in 1981.

Though Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street were both PBS shows, they were technically competitors—though the show’s producers didn’t exactly act like it. As a result, Rogers made an appearance on Sesame Street in May 1981.

The video opens with Rogers wearing a suit and tie instead of his usual cardigan sweater. He's standing outside of a storefront when Big Bird approaches and asks if he’ll judge a race between him and Snuffy. (The theme of the segment was competition and, more importantly, maintaining friendships whether you win or lose.)

38. He made a guest appearance on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, too.

Rogers once played a pastor's mentor on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

39. Many of the characters on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were named after people in Rogers's life.

McFeely, for example, was Rogers's grandfather's name; Queen Sara was named for Rogers's wife.

40. Rogers got his own stamp in 2018.


USPS

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp with Rogers's image on it. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

41. He was turned into a Funko Pop!

Also in honor of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th anniversary, the kindest soul to ever grace a television screen was honored with a series of Funko toys, including a Funko Pop! figure.

Ready to learn more about Fred Rogers? Watch the video below, where John Green brings you a whole pile of things you should know about everybody's favorite neighbor.

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