glyph 267: great achievements of weavers ... Jack Wheeler, Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw, Merv Griffin ... talk show, tv, televison ... life-extension, free radicals, antioxidants, Denham Harmon . Shell Oil . research chemistry ... aging of rubber, living organisms ... "single most popular appearance ever recorded for a talk show" ... health


How Jack Wheeler Helped Us Learn of Antioxidants

Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw, Merv Griffin Show, 1970s?

An account of Jack Wheeler's introduction of Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw to Merv Griffin, the talk show host, probably sometime in the mid-1970's, is found in an article by Terri Mitchell, "Antioxidants," in the August 2005 issue of "Life Extension Magazine".

In 1968, MIT wunderkind Durk Pearson read an article from the magazine [Playboy] about Dr. Denham Harman's theory on free radicals and aging. Intrigued, Pearson and Sandy Shaw dug into the UCLA library and pulled out Harman's scientific publications. Harman, a chemist working in the then-obscure field of oxygen chemistry for Shell Oil, had come up with the notion that the by-products of oxygen reactions ("free radicals") cause aging. (Anything that aged rubber probably wouldn't do much for internal organs, Harman rightfully reasoned.) Armed with degrees in physics and chemistry, Pearson and Shaw immediately took to Harman's scientifically based concept, and began looking into it further. That was fine, and it might have been the end of it except for the well-timed entrance of a genuine Indiana Jones-type adventurer named Jack Wheeler.

Wheeler was a regular guest on the then-popular Merv Griffin talk show, and when he went to California for filming he hung out with Durk and Sandy. They had become immersed in the idea of testing Harman's theory, and every time Wheeler showed up, they regaled him with their latest ideas about aging and free radicals. Durk's knack for whacking complicated science down to size got Wheeler to thinking there might be a wider audience for the finer points of free radical chemistry (hey, the stuff was interesting the way Durk explained it). So Wheeler approached Merv about Durk going on the show. Incredibly (it seems now), Merv consented, and the rest is history. Durk's second visit provoked over 100,000 letters—the single most popular appearance ever recorded for a talk show. ..."

If you would like to explore (for a long time) investigation of the Life Extension Foundation website is recommended. —leif

Interview with Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Life Extension Magazine, July 1999

More about Durk & Sandy

Interview with Jack Wheeler, Life Enhancement Magazine
entered before July 9, 2006

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