Jump to content
Indian Motorcycle Community

Don Herbert, TV's 'Mr. Wizard,' Dies At 89

Recommended Posts

Don Herbert, TV's 'Mr. Wizard,' Dies At 89

Show Featured Household Experiments


POSTED: 8:17 pm EDT June 12, 2007


LOS ANGELES -- The man remembered by a generation of Baby Boomers as TV's "Mr. Wizard" has died.


Don Herbert was 89.


His son-in-law says Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Los Angeles home.


As Mr. Wizard, Herbert introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science.


His Peabody Award-winning program "Watch Mr. Wizard" was produced from 1951 to 1964. On the show, Herbert turned TV into an entertaining classroom. Using a simple, workshop-like set, he demonstrated experiments using household items.


Herbert's place in TV history was acknowledged by later stars. When "Late Night with David Letterman" debuted on NBC in 1982, Herbert was among the first-night guests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Learned a lot of schitt watching Mr. Wizard.


Shoulda asked him why it's called the derby cover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Learned a lot of schitt watching Mr. Wizard.


Shoulda asked him why it's called the derby cover.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don Herbert was from Waconia, down the road from where I grew up in Excelsior, Minnesota . . .


Birth name Donald Jeffry Herbert

Born July 10, 1917Waconia, Minnesota, USA

Died June 12, 2007 (aged 89)Bell Canyon, California, USA


Donald Jeffry Herbert (July 10, 1917 – June 12, 2007), better known as "Mr. Wizard", was the host of two popular television shows about science aimed at children.


Herbert was a general science and English major at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who was interested in drama, until his career as an actor was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the United States Army as a private. Herbert later joined the United States Army Air Forces, took pilot training, and became a B-24 bomber pilot who flew combat missions with the Fifteenth Air Force, flying out of a base in Italy. When Herbert was discharged in 1945 he was a captain and had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.


After the war, Herbert worked at a radio station in Chicago where he acted in children's programs such as the documentary health series It's Your Life (1949). It was during this time that Herbert formulated the idea of Mr. Wizard and a general science experiments show that utilized the new medium of television. Herbert's idea was accepted by the Chicago NBC station and the series Watch Mr. Wizard premiered on March 3, 1951. The weekly 30-minute show featured Herbert as Mr. Wizard with a young assistant who watched while Herbert performed interesting science experiments.[1] The experiments, many of which seemed impossible at first glance, were usually simple enough to be re-created by viewers. The show was very successful. 547 live episodes were created before it was canceled in 1965. Herbert won a Peabody Award for his work on the program in 1953.[2]


After his show was canceled, Herbert produced films for junior and senior high schools, wrote several books on science, and in 1969 developed a Mr. Wizard Science Center located outside Boston. (The center no longer exists.)


The show Watch Mr. Wizard was briefly revived by NBC in the 1971-1972 season.

In 1983 Herbert developed Mr. Wizard's World, a faster-paced version of his show that was shown three times a week on the cable channel Nickelodeon. The show ran until 1990, and reruns were shown until 2000, making it the longest running show on Nickelodeon.

In 1994, Herbert developed another new series of 15-minute spots called Teacher to Teacher with Mr. Wizard. The spots highlighted individual elementary science teachers and their projects. The series was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and was shown on Nickelodeon.


Herbert died from bone cancer on June 12, 2007, at his home in Bell Canyon, California.[2]



· Herbert won a Peabody Award for his work on Watch Mr. Wizard.

· Three Thomas Alva Edison National Mass Media Awards.

· In 1991, Herbert received the Robert A. Millikan award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for his "notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...