If you know me and are old enough to hold an AARP card, you'll probably understand why Don Herbert's Watch Mr. Wizard was my favorite television program as a kid, the original series ending after 14 years in 1965. It was probably the real source of my interest in science and technology. I hate to think of all the things I cooked up in my mother's kitchen that had nothing to do with food.
However, I learned from BoingBoing that, sadly, Mr. Wizard died this morning of cancer at his home in California. He would have turned 90 next month. The Los Angeles Times has a nice obituary. I can't raise it tonight, but his company's web site is mrwizardstudios.com.
For a time, my station had the contract to market 17 federally-funded series targeted to minority children and, in conjunction with that, I helped staff our hospitality suite at a NATPE meeting in San Francisco (circa 1980). Comic actor Stubby Kaye and Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) came by the suite, but the real highlight of the whole convention for me was having Mr. Herbert visit our suite. I talked with him for 15-20 minutes about his work and, of course, gushed as only a goofy fan could do. He was just as approachable and friendly as ... well ... as Mr. Wizard would have been. He was there trying to market a new version of the show which I learned from his obit was called Mr. Wizard's World and ran on Nickelodeon from 1983-1990.
So let's all raise a beaker to this great educator!
Update 16 June 2007:
Also see Aaron Rowe's, Mr. Wizard Gives a Last Interview. Link: Wired. --Dennis