An important part of the original Mr. Rogers’ show was the opening shot of zooming into his miniature neighborhood set. Pee Wee’s Playhouse used a similar device in its opening shots as well. There is nothing quite as charming and engaging as a miniature world of make believe and the Green Room is determined to follow in the steps of the greats!
Many of the buildings have homages to special people who have been part of the historic preservation scene in Los Angeles and beyond. Their names appear on billboards, building signs and other hidden spots around the set. These are often called “hidden mickeys” (from Disneyland) or what they call “easter eggs” in the business. Radio DJ Javas Bachelor Pad has a coffee shop, historian architect, Alan Hess has a hotel, historian author Chris Nichols has a bank, the Pasadena Doo Dah parade operate a motel, musician Mark Tortoricci runs an Italian restaurant / jazz club, and other friends are represented throughout.
The city is filled with ecology conscious buildings or concepts, from an organic farm to an alternative energy power substation based on hydroelectric power, to a clean green vegan snack bar.
The Final Project
The establishing shot starts on Fred Rogers’ house and sweeps across the city following the monorail up to the green house green room. Since we did not own or know anyone who owned a steady cam or fancy hanging camera setup, we tried using a tripod and all sorts of makeshift dollies. But in the end a steady hand held camera – along with some anti-shake software helped us get the final shot. Here you can see how shaky some of the original footage was!
You can see the entire neighborhood for yourself. It is on display at the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth, CA. They are open every Saturday afternoon and admission is FREE! http://www.valleyrelics.org