By Rob Flores Contributor
It’s about time Mr. Rogers gets his own biopic, and Tom Hanks is the perfect actor to portray him.
As someone who watched the television series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a child, I can say it’s the most iconic series on PBS. Public television would not have been successful without Mr. Rogers. His commitment to educating children and providing them with healthy, positive programming was crucial to its success. For instance, he attended a Senate session once to talk about acquiring funding for public television. There, he mentioned that in children's television programing, a show budget was only $30 and donations only got them $6,000. That was a very small amount. In cartoons, that would only fund two minutes of programming.
He felt that young minds needed to be nurtured and that our society needed to have an alternative to cartoons to keep children’s minds engaged in something positive. He was extremely talented as he not only composed music for his show but was also a puppeteer and did the voices for the puppets, proving he was quite the showman. My hope is that this film will highlight the impact he had on many people’s childhoods because he truly appreciated and understood the mind of a child.
It is only fitting that Tom Hanks would choose to portray yet another influential character who inspired countless individuals. For example, in “Forrest Gump” he played a genuine, kind-hearted man who values manners. He voiced Sheriff Woody in the “Toy Story” franchise and played Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks,” which makes him that much more the man for this role. Like Mr. Rogers, Walt Disney was a man who encompassed the value of creative expression by entertaining children and families.
I look forward to this film and have the utmost confidence that Hanks will maybe win an award for it. I hope it will make a younger generation realize how Mr. Rogers’ role in television helped mold generations of people into who they are today. Mr. Rogers was a kind and loving individual who wanted everyone to respect one another. Above all, he wanted children to feel special. He felt children needed to be respected and deserved educational programing to allow our minds to further learn what we cannot in the classroom. He appreciated us kids and felt cartoons wasn’t stimulating for the mind and it is important to nurture minds early. Essentially he helped mold us into productive citizens by simply teaching us lessons through his television show. What makes Mr. Rogers so unique is that he saved public television by seeking government funding and achieved numerous accolades - including the Peabody Award - while remaining humble.
There is so much negativity in the world that we read or hear about in the media, so having a positive movie such as this one is just the thing we need.
When this film premieres, go see Tom Hanks deliver what may be one of the best performances of his career by portraying an icon whose legacy will always be treasured.