Why Did Mr. Rogers Wear Sweaters on His Show?

Though a common rumor claims that Mr. Rogers wore sweaters on his show to cover up large arm tattoos, he actually wore them to create a formal, but not stiff, appearance for working with children. Mr. Rogers did not have any tattoos.

While making his first show, "The Children's Corner," for the first American public educational television station WQED Pittsburg, Fred McFeely Rogers found that his hard dress shoes made too much noise on the set for subtle puppetry, so he changed into sneakers. At the same time, he swapped his dress coat for a sweater to match the less formal look. Later, he developed this show into "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," which was first nationally distributed in 1968 by the corporation that became PBS.

Rogers also wore his sweaters as a tribute to his mother, who, he said, showed her love through knitting. She made every sweater he wore on the show.