Filming Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Each episode of the program began with a view of the Neighborhood, which in real life was a diorama, a miniature model placed in the middle of the Neighborhood studio. (The diorama is seen in the middle of the second picture below.)

MRN set6

The Neighborhood consisted of two sets: the inside set (Rogers' house) and the Neighhood of Make Believe, which included the castle. The inside set consisted of several linked stages (see picture below). Because the studio at WQED was too small to house both sets at the same time, castle segments were filmed during several weeks before disassembling the set and assembling the inside set.

Part of the inside set of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which I snapped during a visit in 1995, is seen in this picture.

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On the far left of the inside set was the front porch and front door. On the next stage was the familiar porch on which Mister Rogers began each program singing, “It’s a Lovely Day in the Neighborhood.” Each episode began with a new taping of Rogers' and song and entrance.

Right of the porch set was the living room (LR) and kitchen (K), which included the fish tank. Across the studio from the set were the musical instruments and musicians: the piano (P), which Johnny Costa played from the show’s beginning until his death in 1996, the drums, played by Bob Rawsthorne, and the bass, played by Carl McVicker. I snapped this picture during a filming break. As he often did, Mister Rogers walked to the piano to play for a few minutes while Johnny rested on a couch  behind the piano, an area warmed by a large heat lamp. Johnny wife, Helen, sometimes visited the Neighborhood to watch a filming.

© Copyright 2015 Dr. Hugh Glenn