Wednesday, June 13, 2007

'Bye, Original Science Guy

Well, gee, Mr. Wizard's gone. He died yesterday, one month shy of his 90th birthday.

You do have to be of a certain age to remember his television show back in the 1950s and 60s, though I understand he went high-tech on Nickelodeon in the 80s. Mr. Wizard, aka Don Herbert, demonstrated all sorts of cool science experiments using everyday objects.

"You'll need an empty pickle jar, a teaspoon of baking soda, 3 sheets of toilet paper, and a glass of water . . . " Off you'd run to gather the stuff to see if you, too, could create a cocoon for a caterpillar. OK, that may not be a real experiment, but you get the gist of what Mr. Wizard was all about.

No fancy graphics, effects, or exploding sets. No jumping around in wild costumes. Just a guy that looked like a regular dad sort-of-guy that showed you how to do neat-o science based projects.

Thanks to Mr. Wizard (and Captain Kangaroo), I learned to hoard things like toilet paper tubes, tin foil, and mayonnaise jars. Hey, you never know when you could make it rain or produce some other useful thing.

Good-bye, Mr. Wizard. Guess you know all the answers now.


Anonymous said...

I remember Mr. Wizard well. From the look on his face, that must be some sort of hallucinogenic cloud he has conjured up there. Also note he is holding what appears to be what we called a nickle box of matches. Every household had a few of those sitting around for lighting the gas stove or heaters, kerosene lanterns when the electricity went out, etc. They would strike anywhere on darn near anything. Don't even know if they are made anymore.

Sorry, I got more carried away with a box of matches than with Mr. Wizard's passing.

MaryB said...

Why, Winston, I keep several of those boxes of matches around. Used to be because I had a gas stove (still do, but the pilot doesn't seem to go out at the apt. like it did at my house in ATL). But now, since there's no smoking in restaurants - ergo, no free matches - I need the matches for lighting candles, and, well, who knows what.

Perhaps Mr. Wizard made 'em disappear?

Joy Des Jardins said...

Aw...I didn't know he passed away. RIP Mr. Wizard.