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Google Doodle Celebrates 51st Anniversary Of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood"

Years before we had RuPaul to remind us, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?,” the world had Fred Rogers, who encouraged love and self-confidence in his own singular way.

Fifty-one years ago today, the very first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was taped in Pittsburgh at television station WQED.

The show would premiere nationally on PBS on February 19, 1968, and continue in production through an incredible 912 episodes until August 2001.

Today, Google celebrates Fred Rogers with a glorious Google Doodle that captures the spirit of love and inclusivity Rogers shared with the world for 31 seasons.

"The Doodle aims to be a reminder of the nurturing, caring, and whimsy that made the show feel like a 'television visit' between Mister Rogers and his young viewers," said Hedda Sharapan, a child development consultant at Fred Rogers Productions, in a statement. "Everyone was welcome in this Neighborhood."

From Google:

Today’s stop-motion, animated video Doodle celebrating Mister Rogers was created in collaboration with Fred Rogers Productions, The Fred Rogers Center, and BixPix Entertainment.

Set to the iconic opening song of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor"), the Doodle aims to be a reminder of the nurturing, caring, and whimsy that made the show feel like a “television visit” between Mister Rogers and his young viewers.

Rogers would close episodes of his iconic show with the reminder, “There's only one person in the whole world that's like you, and that's you. And people can like you exactly the way you are.”

It's easy to imagine how many LGBTQ folks needed to hear exactly that message growing up.

Google clearly understands the universal appeal of Rogers' message. Note in the screen capture above, the cutouts of children form a rainbow. Coincidence? I think not :)

More from the wise and wonderful Rogers:

“Love is at the root of everything - all learning, all parenting, all relationships. Love, or the lack of it.”

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”

And, of course, Rogers’ famous catch phrase, “Won’t you be my neighbor?,” was a reminder, in the simplest of terms, to invite and offer kindness.

Watch the Google Doodle below.