Fred Rogers (1928 - 2003) was the host of the popular children's public television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood which ran from 1968 to 2001. Those familiar with the show relished his ritual of opening the show by taking off his suit coat and dress shoes in exchange for a cardigan sweater and tennis shoes while singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood":

"It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?"

Besides serving as host, this multitalented man produced the show, wrote the scripts to 1,000 episodes, and created 200 songs. For millions of children, Mister Rogers was their hero and friend.

"Everyone is special just as they are."

Fred Rogers

That's the lesson learned by Benjamin Wagner who co-directed this documentary with his brother Christofer. He met the creative and soft-spoken television personality in Nantucket Island where his mother rented a cottage next door to Fred Rogers. Despite his fame, he was just another kindly neighbor. He took a shine to Wagner who had a dream job at MTV. Talking about the content of television, he told the young man, "I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex."

"When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary."

Fred Rogers

Following Rogers' death in 2003, the director and his brother go on a quest to find out more about the man, his distinctive character qualities, and his legacy. Among those they talk to are the late Tim Russert of Meet the Press, National Public Radio correspondent Susan Stamberg, Arthur creator Marc Brown, puppeteer and Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood founder Dr. Susan Linn, and Linda Ellerby. They also visit the Smithsonian where one of Mister Rogers' cardigan sweaters is on display among the national treasures.

"Anyone who does anything to help a child in this life is a hero to me."

Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers earned a divinity degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1962 and was ordained by the Presbyterian Church which gave him permission to do his television work as a ministry. It is interesting to list some of the character qualities and virtues praised by the many friends and co-workers of this talented man: respect for all people, a reverence for silence, an open mind, the gift of focused attention, a gift for being fully present, skill in putting young and old at ease, pleasure in creativity, a facility for storytelling, and the practices of love, kindness, and gratitude. His extraordinary ministry was one of nurturing the gold that was in each child and bringing it out into the light of day.

"Often when you think you're at the end of something you're at the beginning of something else."

Fred Rogers

Proceeds from sales of this DVD will benefit Fred Rogers Center's efforts to advance the fields of early learning and children's media by acting as a catalyst for communication, collaboration, and creative change.

Special features on the DVD includes a Paley Center for Media Q&A featuring Christofer and Benjamin Wagner; full length interviews with Tim Russert and Susan Shamberg; and a directors' commentary with the Wagner brothers.