As I mentioned in my review of What Will They Think of Next, while the show did offer informative information about science, it didn't offer any fun to the kids who watched it. They couldn't make a machine that could feed cows automatically with tongue power or make an alternative fuel made of carrots. Kids love to make things that they see after an educational program alongside their parents. Nickelodeon decided to have another educational program teaching kids about the wonders of science. However, unlike What Will They Think of Next, this new show would be simple, fast paced, make learning about science fun, and you can try the experiments at home. That show was called Mr. Wizard's World.
The show was basically an updated reboot of the 1951 educational program Watch Mr. Wizard hosted by Don Herbert.
In each episode, Mr. Wizard would have a neighbor kid come over his house and he would show them interesting scientific facts and experiments. Then afterwards, he would explain in a very simple way on how it was done. The show Watch Mr. Wizard ended in 1965 being on the air for almost 15 years. The show was very popular. There were over 5,000 Mr. Wizard science clubs and over 100,000 applied for memberships. Mr. Wizard was truly a man who influenced millions of children to have a love and appreciation for science.
18 years later, Don Herbert reprises his role as Mr. Wizard teaching kids about science. From optical illusions to air pressure, Mr. Wizard showed us that science can be portrayed as both fascinating and fun. Everything he showed kids both on his show and on the air was informative and easy enough to understand. He covered many scientific experiments and not once did the show become stale. "One of the things that made it easier was every five years or so, we would repeat: "Hey, let's do that air pressure again." I can't tell you how many cans I've collapsed over the years" said Don Herbert according to a 2004 interview by Marc Weingarten in the New York Times.
Just like the original show, Mr. Wizard's World was able to introduce children to science in a simple way, but updated it in the appropriate time era, the early 80's. It's like the old saying goes: "If it's not broken, don't fix it". For any reboots or remakes of any TV show, movie, or video game, take note. If you're going to reboot anything from the past, please stick to the original source material while implicating some fresh, new ideas. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Mr. Wizard's World was one of the those few successes.
The show was rated #3 on Nickelodeon behind Livewire and You Can't Do That on Television. It lasted for over 7 years until it was cancelled in 1990. Reruns of Mr. Wizard's World ran on Nick at Nite occurred until 1995 and on The Science Channel in 2005-2006. After he retired, he still had hope for future kids to learn about the wonders of science by watching Mr. Wizard's World. "My time on this Earth is getting shorter and shorter each day, but no matter how old I get, and even when I'm dead, Mr. Wizard's World will never die."
In 2007, the beloved Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert had passed away at the age of 89. Thanks to both of his educational shows, he inspired two generations of kids with a love of science: the baby boomers and the Gen Xers. In the 90's, two scientific kids' shows aired that taught science in an informative and fun way all thanks to the influence of Mr. Wizard: Beakman's World and Bill Nye: The Science Guy.
Overall, both Watch Mr. Wizard and Mr. Wizard's World have aged very well in children's programming. They show science in an extremely fascinating way that makes it so fun, I forget that I'm actually learning something new. It doesn't talk down to kids, it shows fun projects that kids can try at home, and the character of Mr. Wizard is like an old friend that you can hang around with. Today's kids need a science show that is similar to Mr. Wizard's World. I'm not too crazy about Sid: The Science Kid. I think it's too downplayed in my opinion.
As for me, I grew up watching Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye, and The Magic School Bus. I loved those shows. I loved Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye, and Ms. Frizzle. I love science. I love everything about it. I even volunteered in a science museum in high school for a few months talking about the mummification process and lifestyles of Egyptian pharoahs at the South Florida Science Museum. I highly recommend checking out both of these shows. They're timeless classics that you should really check out.
That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Take care.