(PCM) Most of us reminisce about “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” with memories of star Fred Rogers and his colorful cast of puppets teaching us about creativity, empathy, learning and more. We most recall this show with happy childhood memories, however did you know there were a few times where the show actually took quite a dark turn.
Back in November of 1983, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” aired a five episode arc about nuclear war which was titled “Conflict” and after their initial airing, the episodes vanished and were never played again, not even in reruns. However, thanks to the power of the internet, the lost episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” mysteriously resurfaced in 2017 when they were uploaded to a YouTube channel.
Known as the “conflict series”, the episodes were filmed during the height of the Cold War tensions and set about to teach children about the dangers of stockpiling weapons and more. Until they were anonymously uploaded, the only evidence of these episodes were a few production stills and a very grainy five minute clip, however none of the full episodes was ever revealed. Longtime Mister Rogers fans knew about the lost episodes for years, but modern fans have probably never heard of them, let alone seen them.
The lost episodes were mysteriously uploaded to YouTube during a time when tensions were high between the United States and North Korea with the threat of nuclear war. Some say the episodes were uploaded as a message to President Trump, however they have no vanished once again, as quickly as they appeared.
According to the DailyBeast:
YouTube user named TROG SLEEP NOW uploaded relatively pristine copies of two of the five episodes in Mister Rogers Talks About Conflict in full. The user hasn’t posted anything else. No other videos, no comments, and not even a profile picture.
The episodes revolve around the Neighborhood of Make-Believe’s King Friday and his lingering worries that the neighboring town might be building a bomb, after he saw a strange package shipped to a local factory owner named Corny. Over time, without any evidence, King Friday becomes increasingly convinced Corny is gearing up for war, and directs all of the residents of the Neighborhood of Make Believe to start creating bomb parts. He wants 1 million bomb parts, and he also encourages his own residents to arm themselves.
Children were forced to put on gas masks and participate in air raid drills. Yes, in an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”!
At the end of the episode it turned out that Corny was only ordering parts to help with building a bridge, not a bomb, but it showed just how easily these types of situations can be misconstrued.
The two episodes have since been removed once again from YouTube, however superfans and conspiracy theorists are hoping that one day all five lost episodes will once again resurface. They have been meticulously transcribed by fans, however another clear visual copy remains to be posted.
At the very end of the last episode of Mister Rogers’ conflict series, King Friday takes all of the bomb parts and turn them into a record player for the school.
The episode then ends with a title card that shows a Bible verse.
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning forks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war any more.”
Definitely deep and definitely a bit unnerving for young children, but we have to admit the curiosity to see the episodes in full outweighs the cons!