17 June 2007

RIP: Mr Wizard

ZUI this article from the New York Times:
Don Herbert, who unlocked the wonders of science for youngsters of the 1950s and ’60s as television’s Mr. Wizard, died yesterday [12 June] at his home in the Bell Canyon section of Los Angeles. He was 89.

The cause was bone cancer, his son-in-law Tom Nikosey told The Associated Press in confirming the death.

Mr. Herbert held no advanced degree in science, he used household items in his TV lab, and his assistants were boys and girls. But he became an influential showman-science teacher on his half-hour “Watch Mr. Wizard” programs, which ran on NBC from 1951 to 1965.


“Watch Mr. Wizard,” which was aimed at youngsters between 8 and 13, received a Peabody Award in 1953 for young people’s programming. More than 100,000 children were enrolled in 5,000 Mr. Wizard Science Clubs by the mid-1950s.

After his children’s program went off the air, Mr. Herbert remained a presence in TV science programming with general-audience shows like “How About” and “Exploration.” NBC revived “Watch Mr. Wizard” for one year in the early ’70s. In the 1980s Mr. Herbert reprised his children’s shows with “Mr. Wizard’s World” on the Nickelodeon cable network. He became something of a TV celebrity beyond his lab as a guest of Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Regis Philbin and a panelist on “Hollywood Squares.”

Don't remember ever watching Watch Mr Wizard; we didn't have a TV when I was a kid, so I had to settle for watching it at my friends' houses. But I certainly heard about him. Maybe I should look for some of those Mr Wizard DVDs....

1 comment:

Mega Munch said...

Yeah, I was bummed to hear about this (although it was one of those "I thought he was already dead" moments.)

I used to watch Mr. Wizard on Nickelodeon in the early to mid 80s as a kid. Great stuff.