HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. WIZARD!
Today, July 10th, "Mr. Wizard" (known to his parents as John Herbert) turns 89. Happy Birthday, Mr. Wizard!
Wasn't he the greatest? He was like Mr. Rogers for pre-teen science geeks. (Remember when we were all raised to address adults as Mr. and Mrs.?) He made science fun and exciting; it was as if he was performing a magic trick, but then when the smoke cleared he'd tell you how he did it! I know it wasn't a big secret, but I did get my idea for my fifth(?) grade science project from him - the old-reliable homemade erupting volcano. An artist I was not (I don't even think I painted the thing!), but it worked!
Then I went to high school and couldn't have cared less about science and that continued until very recently with my new interest in the environment and the fact that my soon-to-be four year old son has been asking a lot of "What's that? How did that happen? How does that work?" questions. I think I may have to buy the six-volume DVD set advertised on Mr. Wizard's website!!!
Mr. Wizard's led quite an interesting life. I looked at his bio and found that he counted cars & planted trees for the National Youth Administration in 1936, he loved to act in plays in high school and college, he graduated from college with a double major in English and General Science, he's a magician, was a manager at Macy's in 1942, a pilot, an actor, a model, a radio writer and adopted two sons in the early fifties. He first sold his idea for "Watch Mr. Wizard" to NBC and the first episode aired in 1951.
By 1955, there were over 5,000 Mr. Wizard science club in the U.S. and Canada and this is all before Nickelodeon!!! He appeared on all the early morning and late-night talk shows throughout the sixties and seventies, was featured in everything from Time and Newsweek to Redbook and began filming what we remember as "Mr. Wizard's World" in Canada in 1983.
Quite a life . . . Thank you, Mr. Wizard for making science FUN!
What was your favorite episode?