10 Terrifying Facts About Creepshow

Scream Factory
Scream Factory

In the early 1980s, two luminaries of the horror genre got together to make a movie inspired by the gross-out horror comics they’d loved as kids. The result was Creepshow, a film that combined the playful horror fiction of Stephen King with the visual style of George A. Romero, with the creature effects of a third legend-the-making, Tom Savini, thrown in for good measure.

Creepshow’s five horror story segments and animated sequences made it an instant cult classic among genre fans, inspiring a comic book adaptation, a 1987 movie sequel, and now, a new series on Shudder.

To celebrate the streaming revival of Creepshow, here are 10 facts about how the original film was made, from Romero’s inspired direction of King in one of the film’s segments to Leslie Nielsen’s fart machine. There are also cockroaches. Lots and lots of cockroaches.

1. It began with Salem’s Lot.

The road to Creepshow began rather unceremoniously in the late 1970s, when George A. Romero was screening his vampire film Martin at film festivals. After Warner Bros. executives saw the film and enjoyed it, they approached Romero and asked if he’d be interested in meeting with Stephen King, who had just sold film rights to his novel Salem’s Lot to the studio. Romero agreed, and the two bonded after discovering each was a fan of the other’s work.

“In the end, Warners decided to make Salem’s Lot for TV and not theatrical. Steve bailed, and I was no longer invited, and that’s what they did,” Romero recalled. “But we stayed in touch.”

When Salem’s Lot didn’t work out, Romero and producer Richard P. Rubinstein traveled to Maine in 1979 to discuss the possibility of adapting King’s post-apocalyptic novel The Stand into a movie, but it became clear that the budget required to bring the epic to the screen might be a little out of their reach. From there, Romero pitched King the idea of a horror anthology tracing the history of horror movies, with each segment representing a different era. King liked the anthology idea, but with a different influence.

“Steve said ‘No, you know what? We both grew up on EC Comics. We should do a comic book.’”

According to Rubinstein, he then asked King how long it would take him to write a script. King replied “60 days,” and delivered the first draft of Creepshow exactly 60 days later. The film marked King’s screenwriting debut.

2. Creepshow was a King family affair.

Joe Hill in 'Creepshow' (1982)

Joe Hill in Creepshow (1982).

Scream Factory

As Creepshow came together, Romero got the idea that King should do more than serve as screenwriter on the project. He talked the author into doing much more than a cameo and starring in his own segment in the film, as the title character in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” (adapted from King’s short story “Weeds”). But even that wasn’t the end of the King family’s work on the film: The little boy in the frame story of the film, who’s caught reading the Creepshow comic by his angry father, is played by King’s son Joseph Hillstrom King, better known now as horror novelist and comic book writer Joe Hill.

3. An EC Comics legend contributed art.

Because Creepshow was taking inspiration from the EC Comics horror titles that both King and Romero devoured as children, Romero endeavored to recreate the look of those comics on the screen. For the animation that runs in between the segments of the film, he turned to animator Rick Catizone, whose company shared a building with Romero’s own commercial production company in Pittsburgh, but there was also the matter of the physical copy of the Creepshow comic used as a prop in the film. For that, Romero turned to EC Comics legend Jack Kamen, whose work included classic titles like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror.

4. Stephen King was deliberately over-the-top.

In “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” King starred as the title character, a country bumpkin from Maine who sees a meteor crash onto his land one night and, after accidentally breaking it open, discovers that his property and his body are quickly being overrun with bright green alien moss. King’s performance is marked by over-the-top mannerisms that made it seem like he was overacting, perhaps due to inexperience. According to Romero, though, that was all part of the concept.

“I don’t think Steve to this day has forgiven me, because my only direction to him was ‘Play it like the Roadrunner in the Warner Brothers cartoons ... Just go way out into left field with it and exaggerate it as much as you want,’” Romero recalled. “And of course critics came back and said ‘Well, this is not a very subtle performance,’ and it’s not supposed to be! I mean it’s supposed to be a cartoon. It basically is a cartoon.”

5. Leslie Nielsen was constantly making everyone laugh.

Because he was shooting five different standalone story segments plus a frame story, Romero was able to pack his cast with a wide array of actors, from up-and-comers to seasoned stars, comedians to Hollywood veterans. One of those actors was Leslie Nielsen, who played the villainous and vengeful husband Richard in “Something to Tide You Over.” Nielsen’s performance in the film is particularly menacing thanks to the glee he seems to be taking in killing his cheating wife and her lover (played by Ted Danson, star of Cheers and The Good Place). But according to the Creepshow crew, a lot of the glee onscreen was thanks to a fart machine Nielsen kept with him at all times. According to Romero, he’d even take the machine out to restaurants after shooting was done for the day, and according to makeup effects guru Tom Savini, his manic laugh of terror near the end of his segment is also thanks to the fart machine.

“He’s laughing because he’s got everybody laughing with the fart machine,” Savini said.

6. The Creep was made from a real skeleton.

To create the many makeup effects required for Creepshow, from covering actors in the flesh of the undead to building an entirely new monster for “The Crate,” Romero turned to Tom Savini, who’d worked with Romero already on films like Dawn of the Dead, Martin, and Knightriders. For Savini, whose pre-Creepshow credits also included the unforgettable gore effects in Friday the 13th in 1980, it was a chance to break out of the “Wizard of Gore” mold that his career to that point had placed him in.

“I wanted to make the transition to monsters and creatures and character makeups and Creepshow was the opportunity to do that,” Savini later said.

Among the many challenges Savini faced—including designing the monster in “The Crate,” which required a long consultation phone call with The Thing effects wizard Rob Bottin—was designing “The Creep,” the Cryptkeeper-style creature who introduced the film and served as its mascot. According to Savini, that animatronic creature build started in a very creepy fashion: with a real skeleton.

“When the box arrived it was labeled ‘A Product of India,’” he recalled.

7. The film’s real star is an ashtray.

Because Creepshow is an anthology, no one character carries the whole film. Even The Creep, the film’s mascot, only appears in the frame story. But there is an unlikely star that happens to have a presence in each of the film’s five short stories: In “Father’s Day,” the first segment, Nathan Grantham is murdered by his daughter Bedelia with a dark marble ashtray. That ashtray then reappears as a kind of dark omen in every other story in the film. It shows up on desks in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” and “The Crate,” appears on a bedside table in “Something to Tide You Over,” and becomes a soap dish in “They’re Creeping Up On You.” Basically, if that ashtray is a part of your decor, something awful is about to happen to you.

8. The roaches were brought in from Trinidad, and some of them never left.

Each segment of Creepshow posed its own set of filmmaking challenges, but most of them paled in comparison to the challenges the crew faced with “They’re Creeping Up On You,” the final segment of the film which was at one point going to be cut. According to Romero, there was a concern that the film’s budget wouldn’t allow them to do the segment justice, but Romero and King “fought for it” and decided to include it. That meant they needed cockroaches. Lots and lots after cockroaches.

After discovering that ordering “New York cockroaches” out of a catalog would cost about 50 cents each, Romero and Rubinstein turned to entomologists Ray Mendez and David Brody, who became the shoot’s official “cockroach wranglers.”

To get enough cockroaches for the production, Mendez and Brody went to Trinidad and dug through caves, eventually returning to the United States with, according to Savini, around 18,000 cockroaches—which then began breeding in a special trailer on the set that was dubbed the “Roach Motel.”

Shooting with the cockroaches proved challenging for a number of reasons. Some members of the crew handled their presence better than others, and they proved so adept at scattering all over the place—including over walls that had been lined with Vaseline in an attempt to make them unclimbable—that even their wranglers started to lose track of them.

“Roaches don’t take direction. So all you could do is dump ‘em out. Dump ‘em on the desk … 20 seconds, you can’t see them. They’re gone, you can’t see one,” Romero recalled. “Now, you take apart the telephone, and inside the telephone was a telephone-shaped thing that was ... you know, just solid roach. Everything, the computers, everything. They would get in anywhere.”

After the shoot, the roaches were all exterminated because they were imported from outside the United States. That’s the official story, anyway.

“I don’t know how many got away,” assistant director and composer John Harrison said. “A lot got away.”

9. Creepshow introduced Greg Nicotero to filmmaking.

In 1981, while he was shooting Creepshow, Romero called a teenager from his hometown of Pittsburgh and asked if he’d be interested in visiting a set. The teenager, a fan who’d met Romero while on a trip to Rome, jumped at the chance, and it changed his life. His name was Greg Nicotero, and Creepshow became a defining moment for him. Out of that set visit grew a working relationship with makeup effects wizard Tom Savini, which turned into Nicotero’s own career in makeup effects, which ultimately landed him a job on The Walking Dead, where he wound up working as an executive producer and director.

Now, in 2019, Nicotero is the creator and showrunner of a new iteration of Creepshow, which arrived as a TV series on the horror streaming service Shudder in September, complete with a blessing from King himself. Nicotero has risen through his industry to become one of the most important creators in horror, and he attributes it all to visiting Creepshow when he was still a kid.

“Living in Pittsburgh, I never imagined that the film industry or special effects or doing monsters or any of this stuff—I never even knew that that was a job,” Nicotero told The New York Times. “To me, it was a hobby.”

10. Creepshow is part of the Stephen King universe.

Stephen King in front of poster for IT.
Scott Eisen/Stringer/Getty Images

Longtime Stephen King fans know that many of his stories seem to take place within a shared fictional universe, or even a shared fictional multiverse if you take his epic Dark Tower saga into account. We know this in part because of the frequent use of fictional towns King has created within his native Maine, thus forming his own version of the state’s map.

Thanks to “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” Creepshow is explicitly part of this fictional Maine landscape. That story reveals at the end that Jordy’s farm is about five miles outside of King’s most famous fictional city, Castle Rock, the setting for stories including Needful Things, The Sun Dog, The Dead Zone, and more.

Additional Sources:
Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow (2007)

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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