Haven't Cried in a While? Read the Article Behind A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, y’all, because everyone’s favorite cardigan-wearing neighbor, Mister Rogers, is coming to the big screen. Starring Tom Hanks as the iconic children’s show star, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood tells the story of the unlikely friendship that developed between a cynical magazine writer and a beloved TV star. Before the movie hits theaters on Nov. 22, you’ll want to read the article upon which the story is based, written by the jaded Esquire journalist himself, Tom Junod. Junod may have only been assigned to write a few hundred words about Fred Rogers in 1998, but what results instead was a cover story that changed both of their lives.

Lucky for you, the story, entitled “Can You Say . . . Hero?” (which originally appeared in the November 1998 issue) is available to read in its entirety on the Esquire website. The article opens with an anecdote about a beloved stuffed rabbit named Old Rabbit that Junod once owned and lost. The first time he met Rogers, the TV host asked Junod if he’d had “special friends” growing up. “Maybe a puppet, or a special toy, or maybe just a stuffed animal you loved very much,” Rogers clarified. Junod found himself telling the relative stranger about Old Rabbit, though it had been years since he’d thought about his stuffed companion.

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