Before we get into the man’s mythology, here are the true, verified facts of Mr. Rogers’ life. Rumors have been circulating for years that Fred Rogers served in the military and that he got some ink to commemorate his war record. Fred Rogers is known for the kindness he displayed on his kids' show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," which aired from 1968 to 2001. We know he valued honesty and trust. Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), also known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, producer, and Presbyterian minister. Dear Mike: You know, my first clue about this was the memorable episode where the Captain made Mister Moose get a buzzsaw haircut. As per the policies of the Texas Military Department, West retained the same rank of which he earned in Federal military service, lieutenant colonel. Mr. Rogers was truly the best kind of person there could be, and these legends ultimately are a reflection of society rather than the man at the center of them. But on Oct. 12, 1950, in his final year of college, Rogers reported to the Armed Forces for his physical and his status changed to “4F,” meaning he wasn’t qualified for military service. Rogers indeed registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. Updated May 24, 2019. Mr. Rogers never served in the military,” the Navy SEALs wrote. When a public figure is as squeaky-clean as Mr. Rogers, it leaves a void in which scandalous rumors can flourish. In addition, military involvement for Fred Rogers doesn’t have a place where it fits into the timeline of his life. Fred Rogers always wore long-sleeved shirts and sweaters on his show to conceal the tattoos on his arms he obtained while serving in the military. James Rogers was born in 1959 and John Rogers was born in 1961. Making the most of a beautiful day with Mrs. Rogers. From the above mentioned reasons, it is clear that Mr. Rogers could never have served in the military. Mr. Rogers never served in the military and was a pacifist. He ate a vegetarian diet for ethical reasons. These tumors swirled even before internet memes or conspiracy-theory YouTube channels. At 91, Joanne Rogers tends to the legacy of her late husband, known to generations as Mister Rogers. And that’s exactly what’s happened. Thomas Fitzpatrick: The Amateur Pilot Who Drunkenly Landed A Plane On An NYC Street — Twice, Adolf Hitler's Childhood Home Is Being Turned Into A Police Station, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch, Rumors have long persisted that Fred Rogers, the host of. “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother,” he often said. “To raise a generation which is not abused (by war or any other means) should be our goal,” he wrote to a friend. Another rumor says that Mister Rogers always wore long-sleeved clothes only to conceal the tattoos on his arms he obtained while serving in the military. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. Expert marksman Mr. Rogers. Despite the rumors, Rogers was never a sniper, Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Marine Corps drill instructor. In March, 2008, somebody combined the stories of Captain Kangaroo, Lee Marvin, and another about the popular children’s television personality Mr. Rogers into a single email—saying that all three of them were war heroes. It is believed that Mr. Rogers’ squeaky clean public appearance and morals allowed for these scandalous rumors to gain footing and flourish in the first place. Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons. There were whispers on buses between children and in lines at supermarkets. Mr. Rogers never served in the military. However, this same military timeline and its correlation to Mr. Rogers’ life also proves that he wasn’t a military sniper either, as the U.S. did not send ground troops into Vietnam until 1995, making Rogers too old to enlist as a sniper. However, at the end of the day, Fred Rogers was nothing more than a Puritan-esque character who followed his passion for education and creating a peaceful society where children are taught to be good-hearted, morally conscious people. For many years, he was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a “1A.” However, during his final year of college, Rogers reported to the Armed Forces in order to complete his physical and his status was changed to “4F,” meaning that he was no longer qualified for military service. (McFeely was Rogers’ real middle name.). Those periods of isolation helped foster his young imagination; he created puppets for company. In addition to urban legends regarding military involvement, Mr. Rogers has also been accused of being a convicted child molester, flashing satanic devil horns during his children’s television program, and flipping off his audience; however, all of these rumors are easily explained and continue to be nothing more than urban legends. He opposed the Vietnam War, and the very first week Mister Roger’s Neighborhood went national in 1968, it included a puppet storyline about war resistance. However, the same evidence of military events in comparison to that of Mr. Rogers’ life events shuts down this claim as well, ruling out any connection between Mr. Rogers and the Marine Corps, and ultimately any military involvement, period. Wikimedia CommonsHigh school yearbook photo of Fred Rogers. Getty Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) Fred and Joanne Rogers had two sons: James “Jim” Byrd Rogers and John Rogers. Rogers died in 2003. This attempts to give a reason for the lack of kids allowed on set, and adult characters with suggestive names, such as Mr. McFeely. Rogers indeed registered for the draftin Greensburg, Pe… Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran on public television for 31 seasons. Rogers, born March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pa., eschewed an Ivy League education to graduate magna cum laude from Florida’s Rollins College with a degree in music. But even without confirmation from the military, the facts of the Mr. Rogers myth don’t add up. Maybe that's why rumors about Mister Rogers' skullduggerous, clandestine lifestyle have been so prevalent over the years. UrbanLegendsOnline comments about Lee Marvin and Mr. Rogers. Bettmann/Getty ImagesFred Rogers entertaining children. “Urban legends sometimes distort the positive to create a sense of intrigue,” says Trevor J. Blank, assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. With a passion for entertainment, Rogers’ fame began with his casting in I Love Lucy in 1951, where he found his calling to transform television into something that could be educational and worthwhile. Why? It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff,” he told Dartmouth graduates in 2002. Him having a very macho backstory or being a ruthless killer is kind of titillating; it runs counter to what you’re presented as true in your day-to-day experience.”. CLICK HERE for the eRumor about Mr. Rogers. High school yearbook photo of Fred Rogers. For many years, he was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a “1A.”. Fred Rogers was born in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1928. He wore a long sleeve sweater … We are all told at some point that if “something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” But Mr. Rogers may be the only case that belies that adage. Beginning in the 1990s, an urban legend started up that Mr. Rogers (formally known as Fred McFeely Rogers) was a tattooed military sharpshooter. He really, truly was as good of a human being there could be. The only connection that has been found between Mr. Rogers and the military is when he registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. The completely unfounded tale circulated that a condition of his supposed sentence was that he performs on an educational television show as a community service obligation. Indeed, according to urban legend, Mr. Rogers — the man who wore colorful sweaters hand-knitted by his mother for more than 900 episodes of his children’s show on public-access television — was a Navy SEAL with many confirmed kills. “As you can see so clearly the abused grow up to be the abusers — sometimes on a worldwide scale.”. There have been various false rumors about him including … Along the way, he attended seminary school part-time and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. These trademark sweaters, one for each of his 900 episodes, were handknitted by his mother and were a crucial part of the persona Rogers spent his life creating. Also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for every confirmed kill— which is why he always wore long sleeves. Since he attended college immediately after graduating high school and then continued straight into television work, there was no gap in Mr. Rogers’ life where this claimed Navy involvement could have occurred. “It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. The stories below were shared with us and because these figures are well loved and part of American TV history, as well as our treasured childhood memories, we are quick to believe them. He wore a long-sleeve sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. Furthermore, you cannot be a Navy SEAL if you fail the color blindness test, and Rogers was red-green colorblind. It is very common for someone with such a high standing public persona and track record to become the subject for such claims, and Fred Rogers is no exception. He wished for a world where no child would have to experience this abuse by war. The military itself has even rejected myth. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood stayed on the air for 31 seasons, and Rogers advocated for children and their well-being — both onscreen and in testimonies to Congress — until his death from stomach cancer in 2003. Rogers also called the space between the viewer and the television set "holy ground" and said the central message of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" -- that you are loved just the way you are -- … Mr. Rogers Was a Sniper In Vietnam-Fiction! Sending a mother or father of a young child off to war would be traumatic for that child, destroying the “essential bond” with their parents that’s so important for their emotional development. The untrue rumors about Mr. Rogers’ tattoos, military service, and so on do not at all fit with the man’s gentle, fatherly personality (which is, of course, a big part of what makes the rumors so intriguing). The kids’ program didn’t shy … Television skyrocketed in popularity just as he was coming of age (I Love Lucy premiered in 1951, the same year he graduated from college), and he found his calling in transforming the medium into something educational and worthwhile. You know, this would answer so many questions as to why Fred Rogers, host of the legendary Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the quiet, personable man we saw on television every day; deep down inside he was a skilled Marine sniper and he needed the calm persona to hide his honed killing skills. As a child, he was sickly — “I had every imaginable childhood disease, even scarlet fever,” he said. Fotos International/Getty Images Rumors have long persisted that Fred Rogers, the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, hid a secret military career. “Isn’t peace wonderful?” he asks his young viewers. He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001. Fred Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. First off, they stated that since Mr. Rogers was born in 1928, he would have been too old to enlist in the Navy during the period of the U.S. involvement in the conflicts with Vietnam. The documentary, directed by Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville, offers an intimate look at the Emmy-winning star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And then there was the time he pounded those medals into Mr. Green Jeans’ chest, and made Magic Drawing Board police the Treasure House until it was so clean you could eat off the floor. But she doesn't want him put on … Those medical records have long been destroyed, so we don’t know why he didn’t pass. It seems eerily close to sign language for “I love you.”. After learning about the truth behind the rumors of Mr. Rogers’ supposed career as a Navy SEAL and Vietnam sniper, read more about the real life and career of Mr. Rogers. According to urban legend, before Mr. Rogers was a TV host, he was as a sniper (or perhaps a Navy SEAL) during the Vietnam War, with a large number of confirmed kills. As far as Mr. Rogers’ opinion on war, he often stated that he equated it with child abuse and that sending a child’s parents away to war would break their “essential bond” and be traumatic for the child. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” aired for 31 seasons before coming to an end in 2001. Mr. Rogers was a Sniper? He was purposely choosing long-sleeve clothes to keep his formality as well as authority not only to children but to their parents as well. Furthermore, there’s no gap in his television career that would account for a military stint overseas. Then, of course, there’s the more disturbing and damaging rumor of them all: that Mr. Rogers himself was a convicted child molester. (He was) a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat. He was the son of Lamont Waltman Marvin, an advertising executive and the head of the New York and New England Apple Institute, and his wife Courtenay Washington (née Davidge), a fashion writer and beauty consultant. YouTubePictured with young girl in the 1960s. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed. Alas, Mr. Rogers never had a military career. Finally, the Navy SEALs were founded in 1962, the same year that Rogers began his television program Misterogers, which was the preceding Canadian show to his later American television program Mister Rogers Neighborhood. While these urban legends continue to be assumed as true, it only takes a simple lineup of events and analysis of Mr. Rogers’ personal beliefs and morals to see that these are just that — legends. Rogers was known for his trademark cardigan sweater and the show’s theme song, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’ Tallman.”, Or how about flashing the satanic devil-horns? A pinnacle of self-discipline, Mr. Rogers never smoked or drank. Mister Rogers … military sniper? Rogers, who was a Presbyterian minister, was known worldwide for his gentle and calm demeanor and his way with children. Often, positive public figures are distorted in order to create more intrigue. The only connection that has been found between Mr. Rogers and the military is when he registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. According to a story supposedly told by Lee Marvin on "The Tonight Show," the actor served in the military alongside fellow U.S. Marine Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, whom he allegedly described as "the bravest man I ever knew." Surprisingly, … Archives.govThe front page of Fred Rogers’ draft card. Following the chain email, the U.S. Navy decided to issue a correction by clarifying information about Mr. Rogers’ life that serves as proof of the false validity of these claims. Contrary to urban legend and rumors spread around the internet, Mr. Rogers was never a Navy SEAL nor a sniper in the military, nor was the reason he wore sweaters because he had tattoos all over his arms and body, one for each person he killed. Growing up, he had a hobby of music, which eventually turned into a music composition degree from Florida’s Rollins College. It seems just crazy enough to be true. He started at NBC in New York City, and then moved back to Pennsylvania, then to Canada, and finally to Pittsburgh with the rights to his very own children’s show that would become the famed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers also opposed the Vietnam War and often said on his television show, “Isn’t peace wonderful?” through his many puppet storylines based around war resistance. He hid that away and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.”. As far as war is concerned, Mr. Rogers likened it to a form of child abuse. The legends of his Call of Duty-worthy military service have been circulating for over a decade, sometimes bringing Captain Kangaroo into the mix in sort of a children's television Expendables mash up. Then, learn about John Basilone, an actual badass marine of World War II. (National Archives Identifier 7431400) Posted 3/26/08 Related eRumors: Mr. Rogers Was a Sniper In Vietnam – Fiction! The email, suggesting Mr. Rogers had a background that his millions of adoring fans were unaware of, stated: “There was this wimpy little man (who just passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. The Truth: Fred Rogers, the founder and host of the popular U.S. children’s television program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood never served in the military. This urban legend has been around since at least 2002, and while it contains some elements of truth, the gist of it—that Marvin and Keeshan … The entirety of the claims within this chain email, in addition to all other supposed evidence of Mr. Rogers’ past in the military, has been proven false. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. Mr Rogers (Fred McFeeley Rogers) never served in the military. Fred Rogers was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002, for his service to the nation and dedication to the education of children. Summary of eRumor: Children’s television personality Fed Rogers was a Navy Seal and a sniper in Vietnam with 25 confirmed kills to his credit. Did you hear the one about how he flipped the double bird to kids on the show? This is a man who really did dedicate his life to educating and helping children. Fred Rogers never served in the military, … According to urban legend, before Mr. Rogers was a TV host, he was as a sniper (or perhaps a Navy SEAL) during the Vietnam War, with a large number of confirmed kills. We always want to be respectful of the military as we are proud to be Americans and to live in the US. The front page of Fred Rogers’ draft card. 7) Unlike on most children’s shows, Mr. Rogers played himself not just in name, but also in personality and mannerisms, changing nothing about how he acted off camera to how he acted on camera. It is unknown why Rogers didn’t pass as these medical records have since been destroyed. Today, his messages are just as powerful as people across the world protest racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.. Two scenes in particular — one aired in 1969 and the other in 1993, according to NPR — … 4. 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