Kids’ pipeline

Debut this fall [2007]
Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari
Producing organizations: Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari LLC. Producer: Rob Child. Creators: Rob Child, Jim Knox, Bruce Knox. Episodes: 14/30. Status: released on DVD 2006.

In master control, Fred Rogers re-enters my life

Mister Rogers was one of the first programs that I can remember watching. I was, of course, part of the show’s target demographic back then. I can’t recall much from my preschool years, but I do know that I loved the trolley, I loved the neighborhood and I loved Fred Rogers.Like many early loves, it faded with age and distance. I moved on to programs intended for older kids: flashier, action-oriented, violent in the ways that caregivers and watchdogs lament and children adore. For the most part, I forgot about Fred and his neighborhood, reminded only on occasion by the parodies that proliferated in the ’80s as yesterday’s innocents grew into sarcasm and despair.

Is Tinky a gay role model for boys, or a purple toddler in full play?

International stardom has not been easy for Tinky Winky, the Teletubby recently “outed” by the Rev. Jerry Falwell as a gay role-model for children. First there was a big flap in England, shortly after the show’s 1997 debut, over the dismissal of the actor playing Tinky Winky. Producers said he had been too rambunctious on the set. But the actor apparently endeared himself to viewers by flamboyantly waving the now-notorious red handbag, and did not go quietly. The Sun, Britain’s largest tabloid, launched a campaign to reinstate the actor, but to no avail.

Terrier fans tell the rest of the story

You probably wouldn’t want one. Not if you knew what they’re like. Leave them alone and they’ll rip your couch, dig up your garden, growl at your kids. This is the word on Jack Russell terriers, like the zippy, smart little dog that stars in Wishbone on PBS. Wishbone is so amazingly cute that many children demand a doggie just like him, and thousands of adults want one, too.

‘I give an expression of care
every day to each child’

Probably the most famous congressional testimony delivered on behalf of CPB appropriations came from Fred Rogers on May 2, 1969. The young writer/producer/host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made common cause with Sen. John Pastore (D-R.I.), who chaired the Senate Commerce Committee’s communications subcommittee. Public broadcasting was seeking an appropriation of $20 million, and the Nixon White House was proposing half as much. Margaret Mary Kimmel and Mark Collins narrate the scene in their book, The Wonder of It All: Fred Rogers and the Story of an Icon (PDF, scroll to page 20). “It’s a strange moment in the hallowed halls of the Senate,” Kimmel and Collins write — “a grown man reciting a child’s song to other grown men, but by now they feel as if they, too, are complicit in Rogers’ mission.”