Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Fred Rogers was just another college student interested in either pursuing a career in the ministry or as a tin-pan alley musician. In this pic from the early 1950s, Fred is hanging out with his future wife Joanne, herself an accomplished piano player.
It was a chance occasion watching children’s TV during a break from college in 1951 that planted a seed for the children’s TV revolution.
Mr. Rogers was simply horrified by what he saw.
“When I first saw [children’s] television,” Fred later said, “it was perfectly horrible. It was people throwing pies at each other, and I thought it was so demeaning. This was a medium that could do wonderful things. I went into it because I thought children deserved better.”
After earning his degree in music composition from Rollins College, Fred headed to New York City and starting as an apprentice for NBC. The rest, as they say, is history.