Gordon Morison will never forget the day Fred Rogers visited his neighborhood.
Morison, an assistant Postmaster General at the time, was interviewed by the beloved TV host in a “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” segment that aired in 1984.
The two discussed stamp designs at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC, and then Morison showed Rogers how stamps were printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
“The printers were running with big rolls of paper that were ultimately cut up into little pieces to become postage stamps. He was really interested in the process,” Morison said.
A clip from the segment was shown during the recent Mister Rogers stamp dedication ceremony in Pittsburgh. You can watch the full segment on the Postal Service’s Facebook page.
Before filming began, Morison remembers a producer telling him, “You talk to Mister Rogers and he’ll talk to the children [watching at home].”
Morison thought the instruction was unusual — until the cameras started rolling.
“At first, I talked to Mister Rogers like I talked to everyone. But soon, I found myself slowing down and speaking like him,” Morison said.
Then he heard the producer yell, ‘Stop, cut, cut!”
He reminded Morison to speak like he usually does.
“I said, ‘OK, OK. Let’s try again.’ I was amazed at how I so easily fell into Mister Rogers’ cadence of speech,” Morison said with a laugh.
Rogers also chatted with then-Postmaster General William Bolger and Clarence Holbert, a stamp designer, during the segment. It’s seen today as another example of how mail was valued by Rogers, who saved all the letters and drawings he received from young fans.
Morison, who retired in 1992, said Rogers was clearly excited to visit USPS.
“I can only imagine how honored he’d feel being featured on his own postage stamp,” Morison said.