Remember When the Wicked Witch Stopped By Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?
In 1975, Mister Rogers introduced young viewers to Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West. Tom Hanks' homage to Fred Rogers hits screens Nov. 22.
Mister Rogers was a treasure of a man. This childhood treasure will be brought to life again on the big screen in “A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood” thanks to Tom Hanks reportedly award-worthy portrayal of Fred Rogers. “The Wizard of Oz” is also a staple for childhood. As Halloween approaches I’m reminded of an episode which I still remember to this day where Mr. Rogers helped children overcome their fear of the Wicked Witch.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a staple for children for generations. Fred Rogers helped kids not only learn, but to overcome their fears.
He did this by explaining things to them in a calm fashion so that they understood the situation. After all, knowledge is the best weapon.
This is exactly what he did to help young children overcome their fear of a truly wicked character, the Wicked Witch of the West.
We all watched the classic “The Wizard of Oz” movie multiple times growing up, and many of us still do in adulthood. In the film, the Wicked Witch not only terrorized Dorothy, but us as well.
I remember always hiding behind the couch when her face would appear on the television. Even though I knew the outcome of the movie, I was still terrified of this magnificently wicked character.
Scared Of The Wicked Witch Of The West
Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch in the “Wizard of Oz” was a teacher before she hit the big screen in the classic movie. It upset her greatly that children were so scared by her and her character.
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She was such a tremendous actress that many of us believed the witch was real! She knew that Mr. Rogers could help solve that problem.
Mr. Rogers did help her solve this problem by putting children’s fears at ease. He did this in a very simple way.
Fred Rogers had Margaret Hamilton on his show to prove that she was only playing a character who doesn’t exist in real life.
Margaret Hamilton: Sometimes I’m a little unhappy because lots of children are quite scared by her.#MrRogers: It helps me to know that you’re a real lady who put on a costume to play this part.
— Judy Cohen (@IKnewThemWell) December 9, 2017
Mister Rogers’ Land Of Make Believe
This was the perfect platform for this to be explained. Children were already aware of Mr. Rogers’ land of make believe. He just showed us that the wicked witch was also make believe.
In 1975, Mr. Rogers introduced his viewers to the actress behind this terrifying character. Children got to witness that Margaret Hamilton was a truly nice woman. She then got dressed as the wicked witch.
As a child, I remember watching this show and being mesmerized at how quickly this kind woman could transform by putting on a costume. RELATED: ‘Candid Camera’ Wanted To Make Mr. Rogers Raise His Voice
By all accounts that I’ve heard she was a really nice, sweet person. Her segment on Mr. Rogers was one of the best and she did it because after The Wizard of Oz kids were always scared of her. She wanted to help them understand & be less scared
— Sarah (@HeresTheThing17) December 9, 2017
“A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”
This segment on Mister Rogers left me feeling less scared to watch “The Wizard of Oz.” I no longer had to dive behind the couch when the Wicked Witch appeared on the television.
Thanks to Fred Rogers, I know the Wicked Witch is just a character played by a very kind woman.
As an adult, I still like watching this episode as it brings back so many memories and highlights what a wonderful person Mister Rogers was. He cared so much about children.
The video below is also a good reminder about pretend characters as we approach Halloween. Mister Rogers was such a genuinely sweet man and a devout Christian.
We need more of Fred Rogers in today’s world.
That’s a big reason why the biopic “A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood” with Tom Hanks is one of the most anticipated films of the year. It’s being released on November 22nd.
I know I will be seeing it!