9 Transformative Facts About Lon Chaney Sr.

Jack Freulich // Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Jack Freulich // Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The silent film era, much like Hollywood today, banked on its heartthrobs. Figures like Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, and Rudolph Valentino exuded charisma and romance and drew audiences to theaters. Lurking among these leading men, however, was Lon Chaney Sr.—an equally big star who reached deeper, grasping at the stuff of nightmares through his craft while at the same time seeking to evoke his audience’s sympathies.

Chaney Sr. (not to be confused with his son, Lon Chaney Jr., star of 1941's The Wolf Man) was one of the biggest movie stars of his era, yet was most famous for hiding in plain sight behind the masks of his various characters. Perhaps best known to film buffs today for his turns as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Chaney took on a kaleidoscope of weird roles and helped give rise to modern horror films in a number of ways.

1. Lon Chaney Sr. was known as "The Man of 1,000 Faces."

Unlike many of Hollywood's leading men, who trade on their good looks and recognizable faces, Lon Chaney Sr. made his name by donning a series of disguises and elaborate makeups, completely changing his appearance from film to film. Chaney, an early character actor, gravitated toward bizarre and distinct roles—playing a series of criminals, toughs, circus performers, clowns, pirates, ghouls, and vampires. His ability to disappear into his roles soon earned him the moniker “The Man of 1,000 Faces.” It also made him the subject of a popular joke at the time: “Don’t step on that spider! It might be Lon Chaney!”

2. Nobody knows how many movies Lon Chaney Sr. was actually in.

Chaney racked up an impressive number of film appearances. While the official number of movies he appeared in stands somewhere between 157 and 162, Chaney frequently worked as a background actor (or extra) at the beginning of his career, while working under contract at Universal Studios, so it's impossible to say just how many films he appeared in. This early period between 1912 and 1917 would prove to be an important time of experimentation for Chaney in crafting both his physical appearance and performance.

3. Some of Lon Chaney Sr.'s most memorable films were made with director Tod Browning at the helm.

Chaney had been working in movies for more than a decade before he began his frequent collaborations with director Tod Browning, who is best known for putting Bela Lugosi on the map with the 1931 film Dracula (and most infamously known for directing the 1932 movie Freaks). But when they did finally come together, it was a meeting of macabre minds. To begin with, Chaney and Browning had several things in common: Both had experienced past brushes with personal tragedy (Browning had been the driver in a car accident that killed actor Elmer Booth; Chaney’s first wife had tried to kill herself); both came from a Vaudevillian background; and both had a penchant for spectacle and the grotesque.

Among Chaney and Browning's collaborations were the 1925 silent version of The Unholy Three, in which Chaney plays a sideshow ventriloquist masquerading as a kindly grandmother; the 1927 film The Unknown, in which Chaney plays a fugitive masquerading as an armless knife thrower, who later blackmails a surgeon to amputate his arms in order to win the woman he loves (the film is one of several in which Chaney and Browning concocted a bizarre character and built an entire film around it); and the 1927 film London After Midnight, in which Chaney plays a vampire-like figure. Tragically, this film is also famous for being lost; the last known copy was destroyed in a 1965 MGM vault fire.

4. Lon Chaney Sr.'s upbringing contributed to his silent stardom.

Leonidas "Lon" Frank Chaney was born on April 1, 1883 in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Deaf parents. Chaney's parents had met at the Colorado School for the Education of Mutes (now the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind), which was founded by Chaney’s maternal grandfather. Chaney’s upbringing both marked him as an outsider early on and contributed to his later success; communicating with his parents required a mastery of facial expression and pantomime that would come in handy in the silent film era.

5. Lon Chaney Sr. was an early makeup effects master.

Dick Smith. Tom Savini. Rick Baker. These are names that are well known to monster movie fans the world over. But before makeup legend Jack Pierce turned Boris Karloff into Frankenstein in 1931, Chaney was transforming his own face in ways that remain impressive today. A hardscrabble theatrical background had imparted basic makeup skills to Chaney, who then honed them with a characteristic dedication. He would remain his own makeup man throughout his career, and even wrote the makeup entry for the 1929 Encyclopædia Britannica. Chaney’s metamorphoses into phantoms and hunchbacks exacted a physical toll, however.

6. Lon Chaney Sr.'s onscreen transformations often caused intense physical pain.

still of Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Chaney threw himself into his roles with such uncompromising dedication that pain was frequently the price of perfection. He had a gift for physical contortion, which he supplemented with various disguises and rigs. According to The Phantom of the Opera cinematographer Charles Van Enger, the wire Chaney invented to deform his nose for the part caused his nose to bleed. Whether or not Chaney wore a 70-pound rubber hump in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is subject to debate, but by some accounts the appliances he wore over his eyes permanently damaged his vision.

In the horror history The Monster Show, David J. Skal detailed the tortures Chaney subjected himself to. For the 1919 movie The Penalty, in which he played an amputee, Chaney strapped his legs behind his body with his ankles dug into his thighs, and completed the look with a pair of leather stumps so that he could “walk” on his knees for the duration of the role. He reportedly wore the rig for longer than advised by his doctors and repeatedly collapsed on set.

7. Lon Chaney Sr. hated publicity.

Chaney was a mysterious presence both onscreen and off. He disliked hobnobbing with the Hollywood set, going to premieres, giving interviews, and/or signing autographs (except for fans behind bars—Chaney was a self-taught penologist, or student of prisons and convict rehabilitation). He once boasted that he would “fix it so no one will write my autobiography after I’m gone.”

In fact, details of Chaney's life were so scarce that actor James Cagney had a difficult time researching the part of Chaney for 1957 biopic Man of a Thousand Faces. While he was no doubt genuinely reclusive to an extent, Chaney’s reticence may have in fact been the smartest publicity move of all, as his mystery only added to his allure.

8. Lon Chaney Sr. made a successful transition to the “talkies.”

The advent of sound film killed the careers of many a silent era star—among them John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks, and Norma Talmadge. After initially resisting the new technology, Chaney made the decision to go into sound pictures, approaching the problem the way he had approached so many other challenges: with great focus and intensity. He began hanging around studio sound rooms, studying the art of recording and sometimes experimenting with recording and mixing himself. Chaney’s first talkie was a 1930 sound remake of The Unholy Three. In it, his rendering of five different voices used by his charlatan character so impressed audiences that he was also dubbed “The Man of a Thousand Voices.”

Unfortunately, Chaney’s first talkie would also be his last.

9. Fake snow hastened Lon Chaney Sr.'s death.

By 1930, Chaney had successfully made the switch to a new movie medium and had a number of roles lined up; he was even being considered for Dracula, which would surely have changed the image of the count popularized by Bela Lugosi. Alas, this was not to be. In 1929, during the filming of Thunder, Chaney developed pneumonia and was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer shortly thereafter. During filming, stray flakes of artificial snow—made from cornflakes—lodged in Chaney’s throat, causing an infection. His condition deteriorated during the filming of The Unholy Three, and in August 1930, shortly after the completion of the film, he died of a throat hemorrhage.

Chaney is buried in an unmarked crypt in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, which very well may be how The Man of a 1000 Faces would have wanted it.

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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