Before he became a horror master, Romero hung out in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
What’s the scariest film George Romero ever made? Was it Night of the Living Dead, which introduced us to the modern zombie as we know it today? Or maybe it’s Day of the Dead, which placed a group of survivors underground with much more vicious versions of Romero’s creations?
Well, according to Romero himself, his scariest wasn’t even a horror film.
An interesting fun fact about the career of George Romero is that he got his start directing short films for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”! Back in the mid-late 1960s, Romero shot a dozen or so educational segments for the PBS series, including “How Light Bulbs are Manufactured,” “Things with Wheels” and “Things That Feel Soft.”
But it was “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy” that made the biggest impression on a young Romero. Why? Because it was his first production – and it scared the hell out of him.
“It was shot in a real, working hospital,” Romero recalled years back. “I had to quickly, and quietly, use my pin-lights to get exposure in the waiting room, in Fred’s bedroom, and in the O.R. I still joke that Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy is the scariest film I’ve ever made. What I really mean is that I was scared shitless while I was trying to pull it off.”
Unfortunately, the George Romero-directed “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy” segment has to date NEVER made its way online, which has long been a bummer considering it’s an important aspect of Romero’s history as a filmmaker. I have personally been searching for the segment for many years now… and that journey has come to an end in the most exciting way possible.
Long story short, I connected with Romero super fan/historian Lawrence DeVincentz recently, and I learned that he managed to unearth the long-lost, now internet infamous “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy” segment. Thanks entirely to DeVincentz, we are now able to exclusively present the segment, in its entirety, to Romero fans across the globe.
In the wake of the recent news that devastated us all, we hope that watching this video makes you smile. The 11-minute short represents the start of it all for George Romero.