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3.07.2005 

genius of the week


mr. wizard (aka Don Herbert)

Donald Jeffry Herbert, a general science and English major at LaCrosse State Teachers College in Wisconsin, had originally planned to teach dramatics. Following his graduation in 1940, he acted in summer and winter stock and then traveled to New York with an eye toward Broadway. World War II interrupted his career and the young actor entered the Army Air Forces as a private. As a B-24 bomber pilot, he flew 56 missions with the Fifteenth Air Force and subsequently participated in the invasion of Italy. Discharged as s Captain in 1945, Herbert had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
After the war, Herbert accepted offers of radio work in Chicago. He acted in such children's programs as Captain Midnight, Jack Armstrong and Tom Mix and sold scripts to Dr. Christian, Curtain Time and First Nighter. In October 1949, as co-producer of the documentary health series It's Your Life, he was able to combine his interests in science and drama. Most importantly, his idea for Mr. Wizard began to take form. He became fascinated with general science experiments and studied television as a medium of presentation.

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