Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009

Mr. Wizard

Kids today might not know who Mr. Wizard is, but children of the '50s, '60s and even the '80s probably do. As host of NBC's live science show Watch Mr. Wizard and later Nickelodeon's Mr. Wizard's World, Don Herbert captivated millions of baby boomers (and the babies of baby boomers) by using household items like popcorn, potatoes, coffee pots and balloons to explain concepts like static electricity, condensation and clouds. His legacy lived on in shows like PBS's Bill Nye the Science Guy and CBS's Beakman's World, which paid tribute to Herbert by naming two of its characters Don and Herb. Recalling his program's unusual twist on sorcery, Herbert said in 2004, "A lot of scientists criticized us for using the words magic and mystery in the show's subtitle, but they came around eventually."