Wednesday, June 13, 2007

God Speed, Mr. Wizard

One of the stalwart symbols of my early youth has gone to that big labratory in the sky.

Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, passed away at his Southern California home. He was 89.

Whether it was using a hammer to smash apples after they were dipped in liquid nitrogen, determining the height of a tree with a pan of water and a little trigonometry, or proving that gravity has no effect on how or what you swallow, Mr. Wizard's World was always a never-miss. Along with Dangermouse and You Can't Do That on Television, Mr. Wizard ruled my Nickelodeon fueled world of the early 80's.

Mr. Wizard is loosely responsible for the only time I was grounded in my life. Imagine your dad coming down to the basement and finding you and your younger sister building a hot air balloon with a dry cleaning bag, some straws, aluminum foil and a pile of flaming paper. Even though dad watched Mr. Wizard himself in the 50's, there's no merciful way out of that scientific quandary.

Oh, and the balloon never got off the ground. Curses!

If famous people die in threes, who might be the next two Nickelodeon pioneers to be ushered off to the great beyond? I'm putting my money on Jeff from Today's Special and Christine "Moose" McGlade from YCDTOT.

Rest in peace, Mr. Wizard.

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