Mister Rogers Visited Sesame Street in 1981—and It Was Too Wholesome to Handle
By Emily Petsko
In case you need a little pick-me-up with a side of nostalgia, we are happy to inform you that there’s a video on YouTube showing the time Fred Rogers appeared on Sesame Street. Unsurprisingly, it’s a shining example of all that is good and wholesome in the world.
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. Margy Whitmer, a producer on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, told biographer Maxwell King that Fred Rogers didn’t want to compete with other shows. “He didn’t watch a lot of other children’s shows. He didn’t watch television, period,” Whitmer said.
To that, David Newell (better known as Mr. McFeely), added, “Sesame Street had a much bigger budget. We were more of an intimate show, though our budget increased over the years. They were sort of hip, and we were sort of … geeky. But Fred stuck to his guns.”
As a result, the collaboration between Rogers and the Muppet cast of Sesame Street—which originally aired in May 1981—is a joy to watch.
The video, uploaded by Sesame Maniac, opens with Mr. Rogers wearing a suit and tie instead of his usual cardigan sweater (all of which were knitted by his mom, by the way). He's standing outside of a storefront when Big Bird approaches and asks if he’ll judge a race between him and Snuffy. (Funnily enough, the theme of the segment was competition and, more importantly, maintaining friendships whether you win or lose.)
Check out the clip in the video below.