‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’: What Fred Rogers Really Thought of Eddie Murphy’s ‘SNL’ Imitations of Him

by Jeremy Spirogis
Fred Rogers in

If imitation is really the best type of flattery, the late Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, should have been perpetually happy.

Rogers was incessantly parodied and took all of it in good stride, for essentially the most half.

He opened up at one time about Saturday Night Live solid member Eddie Murphy’s imitation of him in his “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood” parody of the long-running PBS kids’s program.

Fred Rogers in 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'
Fred Rogers in ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ | Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images

‘Mister Rogers’ was on the air for 31 years

The beloved kids’s program started in the summertime of 1968 and extremely remained related sufficient to final 31 years till 2001.

In a 2019 interview with Little Village, his biographer, Maxwell King, who wrote 2018’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, described Rogers’ attraction not solely to kids, however to a wider a part of the tradition.

RELATED: What Was Mister Rogers’ Net Worth on the Time of His Death?

“I would say that the quality that affects people emotionally is his authenticity,” King mentioned, “how very genuine and comfortable he is in talking to people and sharing his own thoughts and experiences…”

“It’s a genuine quality for Fred that engages people, takes them out of themselves and gets them into a different realm, the realm of a relationship with another person. For people who knew Fred well, that was true.”

Eddie Murphy’s ‘Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

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In addition to his sketches of “Gumby” and Buckwheat from The Little Rascals, one in every of Eddie Murphy’s hottest performances is his imitation of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Murphy’s rendition of the children’ program was a decidedly completely different tackle the kindly PBS present.

Starting together with his play on the present’s well-known opening melody, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, Murphy sang in his parody, ‘I always wanted to live in a house like yours, my friend / Maybe when no one’s residence, I’ll break in!’

Definitely not as type or candy as the unique, Mister Robinson continued: “So come out with some folks and a smoke / You bring the stash, ’cause Robinson’s broke.”

What Fred Rogers considered Eddie Murphy’s and others’ imitations

In a 1999 interview with the Archive of American Television, Fred Rogers opened up in regards to the varied parodies and imitations of him and his present, together with Eddie Murphy’s. He shared truthfully about being flattered by some and outraged by others.

“I bear in mind going as much as be on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and he mentioned to me, ‘You know, Fred, we wouldn’t do these parodies if we didn’t such as you.’”

Rogers fondly recalled assembly Eddie Murphy, though the tv host didn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) provide an opinion on Murphy’s twist on his children’ present.

Eddie Murphy on 'SNL' as 'Mister Robinson'Eddie Murphy on 'SNL' as 'Mister Robinson'
Eddie Murphy on ‘SNL’ as ‘Mister Robinson’ | Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank by way of Getty Images

“Most of the [parodies] have been accomplished with superb, light humor, you understand? Eddie Murphy did that “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood” and I bear in mind assembly him. And he simply threw his arms round me the primary time he noticed me and he mentioned, ‘It’s the true Mister Rogers!’”

The tv character, who died in 2003 of abdomen most cancers, then discussed these moments when an imitation of him was not effectively obtained.

“Now there have been times that I haven’t been very pleased about a certain kind of parody…This was on a local station somewhere. Evidently, this man, on an afternoon program, wore a sweater and sneakers, came on the air and talked even more slowly than I do. He said, ‘Now, children, take your mother’s hairspray and your daddy’s cigarette lighter and press the buttons and you’ll have a blow torch.’ Now, he thought that was funny, of course. We put a stop to that.”

RELATED: ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’: You Can Spot Mr. Rogers’ Real-Life Widow in This Memorable Scene

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