Back in the 1970s, my brother and I read the humor magazine Cracked. Likewise, these days we sometimes visit the site Cracked.com, but aside from being run by the same company, Cracked.com has nothing in common with Cracked Magazine. The website doesn’t have comic strips like “Sagebrush” and “Shut-ups,” it doesn’t do parodies of movies and TV shows like the magazine it imitated, Mad, and both the language and jokes are a good deal racier than they were in the magazine. Still, from time to time they run interesting articles on history and science, so I might drop in to browse them.
When I visited Cracked.com last Sunday, I got a big surprise. One blogger wrote a tribute to Fred Rogers, calling him the greatest American of our lifetime. I remember Mister Rogers well; not only was he on a local PBS station before the network was called PBS (it was NET, National Educational Television, until 1970), but he graduated from Rollins College, the college only two miles from where my family lived in Florida.
Today would have been his 85th birthday if he was still alive, hence the reason I am posting this now. This article was totally unlike the others on Cracked.com. For a start, Cracked is still a humor site, but this piece was dead serious; no jokes or wordy dirt here. While Mister Rogers was definitely praiseworthy, for his 35-year career on TV and the reasons mentioned in the article, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call him the greatest American, with all the Nobel prize winners and other achievers out there. I will call him the best kiddie show host of all time, at least. Nobody has ever said so many uplifting things about Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody, or even Barney the dinosaur. Maybe in Seattle they say such things about J. P. Patches, the clown who had a TV program in that city, when I was very young.
Anyway, here is a link to the article. Check it out and see if you’re as amazed as I am.