How’s That Made… Again?

September 27, 2008

Mr. Wizard was one of my favorite shows when I was a lad. I used to wish my science teachers could keep me as interested. In truth, very few of my teachers could hold my interest for very long.

Over the years the television executives have aired a number of programs designed around showing us how things are made and the science behind many things we take for granted. Around the same time as Mr. Wizard, there was a series called “Industry on Parade.” I wasn’t able to locate an episode of that show, but the following clip will give the younger readers an idea of how the show went.

Unfortunately, when I tested this post, instead of seeing this video, I was shown a message saying the video was no longer available. My apologies. What the video showed – and what “Industry on Parade” was all about – was a demonstration of the manufacturing process of different products. It was a proud testimony of what Americans were doing, and often focused on handicapped WW II vets and how they’d been retrained to become skilled laborers and craftsmen.

For more information about “Industry on Parade” go to

After television became a bit more sophisticated, Tom Chapin – brother of Harry – starred in a show called “Make a Wish”. The show was a basic stream-of-consciousness romp through one’s imagination.

Each week, Tom would wish he was something. His discussion then led through a myriad of possibilities.

Similar – but much more educational – shows were James Burke’s “Connections” and “The Day the Universe Changed”.

I’m sure the majority of our TV viewing audience prefers to watch “American Idol” and all the ‘reality’ shows. (I’m not sure whose reality the shows are supposed to be exposing – it certainly isn’t mine or anyone else’s that I’m aware of.) But I feel fortunate that some producers out there are still putting together the “How it’s done” type programming. One of my favorites is John Ratzenberger’s “Made in America”.

Of course, John Ratzenberger is much better known as Cliff on Cheers.

Fortunately, he’s a much better spokesperson on his new show.