Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mr. Rogers, Navy Seal

I overheard this hilarious urban legend tonight at my cousin's birthday party:
Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeve sweater to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. A master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, he was able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat.

Well, it turns out not to be true. :(

According to
After graduating from Rollins College in Florida with a degree in music in 1951, he immediately embarked on a broadcasting career — a career that went uninterrupted for nearly 50 years, even while he studied for a Bachelor of Divinity degree, eventually becoming an ordained minister in 1962. also had this to say.
Not only did Fred Rogers never serve in the military, there are no gaps in his career when he could conceivably have served in the military — he went straight into college after high school, he moved directly into TV work after graduating college, and his breaks from television work were devoted to attending the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963) and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. Moreover, Fred Rogers was born in 1928 and was therefore too old to have enlisted in the armed services by the time of America's military involvement in Vietnam.
It would've been pretty freaking cool if it had been true, though!


JamaicanQueen said...

All of the military braches hold that Mister Rogers' myth. My son's father came home fresh from boot camp and told me he [Mr. Rogers] was a Marine, but this time he was complete with "Semper Fi" tatoos. Which would be the reason he wore the sweaters ob his show all the time.

Claude said...

Mr. Rogers was the best.

There was an article about him in Esquire magazine not long before he died, and in it he marveled at the fact that he'd weighed exactly 143 pounds for many years. It was a big deal to him because, he explained, "143" is shorthand for "I Love You" (1 letter, 4 letters, 3 letters).

It was always cool to see him talking one-on-one with a preschooler through the television, and to see that child, rapt, and occasionally talking back.

Michelle Pessoa said...

I had never heard this urban legend before, JQ, and I was in the Army Reserve. It's pretty funny. ;)

Claude, I grew up watching Mr. Rogers. I liked the show. He had a very kind voice.