Thursday, July 19, 2012

mr. wizard being grumpy

When I was a young tyke, in the midst of the kid stage, there were several shows I watched on television... we didn't have Barney or Dora the Explorer or Blue's Clues (the first two I am going to avoid at all costs when introducing educational programming to the young Campbell Isaiah)... no, we have PBS and Nickelodeon. 

We had Sesame Street, of course, and The Electric Company, which I didn't watch much of, but there was another show I watched every day that I can't remember the name of... but it had a segment called "MathNet", a "Dragnet" type Math sketch with two Math Detectives. 

But the bulk of my programming came on Nickelodeon... this was before "Nick Jr" and "Nick Kids" and the Noggin Network and so on, and this is before TV Land... this is when they had kids shows in the morning and midday, they had older kids shows until about 7p, then they went to Nick At Night, showing reruns of My Three Sons, Gilligans Island, Newhart and Donna Reed... then around midnight, we had infomercials.

During the day, I took in healthy amount of "You Can't Do That On Television" and Leonard Nimoy's "Lights Camera Action"...

SIDEBAR... I remember in 2nd grade, at Ridgetop Elementary in Austin, Texas, we were all in the class and Ms. Martinez asked us to name our favorite TV show, and I wanted to say "You Can't Do That On Television", but due to my seat in the class, I was one of the last people to have a turn, and Brian Bruner at about four chairs down, and as it zipped around the class, I didn't hear YCDTOT, and I was excited because me, at 7, would get to say this cool program that many parents hated, and I would look cool and then, four chairs down, Brian Bruner went and he said "You Can't Do That on Television!" and a bunch of kids in the class said, "I love that!" and "Oh, I forgot that, I want to change my answer!" and I was so mad because I wanted to say it and get that reaction so when it went to Gloria Gil, then Jesse Gomez then Pete the Stereotypical Big Kid in the Class, it got to me, and panicking, I said, "Lights Camera Action!", which wasn't a lie, I did love that behind-the-scenes-movie show, but I knew it wasn't as exciting as "You Can't Do That On Television", and I was so disheartened when from across the class, Becky Rocha said, "Oh, that show is boring"... and I just sank in my chair...

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Nick at Nite...

Anyway, my parents and I watched "My Three Sons", and once they had a contest for a week, saying if you could write down the names of each of Steve's dates in each episode and be one of the first people to send it it, you'd win a Nick at Nite address book.  So, each night at 7, I labored through episode after episode (it was usually on from 7p to 830p, but only one episode had Steven going out on a date), for five straight nights, and wrote down those 50's type names like "Mildred" and "Esther" and "Dorothy".  I wrote it on a piece of loose leaf paper and stuffed it in an envelope and addressed it--I don't remember the address, but I'm sure it has something to do with "Avenue of the Americas" in New York City--and sent it out... and a week later, I got my Nick at Nite address book!  Word.

The daytime shows that taught me my education included "Today's Special" and "Mr Wizard's World", and the latter is why I'm even posting anyway. 

Seriously... I actually wanted to post a video, but I ended up getting distracted in thinking about my childhood shows... don't even get me started on "Double Dare" and "Hey Dude"...

So, I found this video online, and thought it was awesome.  Mr Wizard was a dude named Don Herbert who had a show on NBC in the 50s, but then revived it for Nickelodeon in the early 80s.  Only producing 78 episodes, it aired three times a week, and in reruns until 1990.  At its peak, it was the #3 show on the channel, and why not?  It was cool.  It made science cool.  Even if Mr. Wizard was a curmudgeon.

And thinking back, I didn't realize it at the time, but now, Mr. Wizard comes across as a grumpy old man... back when you could be a smarty pants to kids on television and no one would say anything about it. 

Warning... as you can see, the title of the video contains a crass word... I didn't do it, and I would have used the word "jerk" but there it is.  And I can't change it, so please just avert your eyes...

By the way, I totally remember some of these episodes, like the spoon on the dry ice, and I remember many of these kids, like the Indian kid and the "...what?..." kid too.


Hope you enjoyed our little venture to Nickleodeon's heyday...

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