Don Herbert, aka Mr. Wizard lost his battle with cancer yesterday at 89. View the intro to his show here. That will really take some of you back!
I LOVED Mr. Wizard. When he came on Nickelodeon in the 80’s, I was hooked. Watched every day. To my young fertile mind, he really was a wizard. To this day, I can remember being truly amazed by what I saw him do with simple household items. He turned me on to science. Maybe that was why I scored in the 98th percentile in science on the Iowa test of basic skills. (and in the 67th for math).
I can vividly remember him teaching us about all kinds of things. Including sight: look through a paper towel tube with one eye, keep your other eye open and hold your other hand up next to the tube… it looks like there’s a hole in your hand!
Or, how to make a volcano (which I did once) with vinegar and baking soda.
Or, how centrifugal force will keep water in the bucket, even over your head, if you spin it fast enough.
Or, how to make a secret message by writing on a a spiral of paper wrapped around a certain sized tube, and in order to read it, you had to have the same sized tube.
Or, how straws actually work not by sucking the liquid out of the glass, but instead by air pressure. And he set up an experiment to see how high they could suck liquid up a straw like tube (using a vacuum pump)
I could go on and on. His show had different ‘topics’ and I loved them all, supermarket science, challenge, how it works, safari. I really think this is why I watch so much History, Discovery, National Geographic, Science Channel shows now. I love them all… all thanks to Mr. Wizard.
So, I just wanted to say Goodbye and Thank You to Don Herbert. You were a serious influence in my young life that echoes even today. Of course, did I find it a little strange, even as a kid, that you always had a gaggle of young kids in your house? Perhaps… If you were anyone else, we might be thinking a Michael Jackson thing. But, at least you never gave any of them wine and porn.
Apparently, his show is available on DVD. I’ll tell you this… if I ever have a kid, he or she WILL be watching Mr. Wizard.