"Some people hustle pool; some people hustle cars. Then there's that man you've heard about, the one who hustles stars!"
Greetings, greetings, fellow stargazers! Looking toward your computer screen today, you'll find Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer
, a five-minute show that has been in weekly production for over thirty years, airing in-betweensies on many PBS stations. Contrary to the cheeky bio
on Jack's website
, it wasn't always easy for Jack to "keep looking up!" This 9/19/1982 Miami Herald article
reveals that he grew up as a sickly boy, eventually meandering to Florida to stumble into his avocation and vocation as Director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium
, only to watch his life's work almost crumble due to a PR nightmare. Since then, however, things have been much better: Star Gazer
(originally called Star Hustler,
then changed in 1997 due to internet search engines leading people to Hustler Magazine's website) has been nationally syndicated since 1985 (and internationally since 1989), chalking up over 1500 episodes. A book
of his monthly cartoons
has been published. The Astronomical League sponsors The Jack Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Service by a Young Astronomer. (2008's winner.)
So whether you find Jack avuncular
, Jack Horkheimer is, to many, the face of popular backyard astronomy.
Here's a link to a year's worth of Star Gazer episodes
, in both 1-minute and 5-minute varieties.
Also from his bio: 'Asteroid 1999 FD9' was renamed 'Asteroid Horkheimer' by the International Astronomical Union, Cambridge, Mass. in recognition of his lifelong contributions to popularizing astronomy. ('Asteroid Horkheimer' orbits between the planets Mars and Jupiter and Horkheimer suspects that it has "Earth Or Bust" etched across its surface.)
This RetroThing post
has a couple of pictures of Jack without his trademark toupee and Members-Only jacket.
's theme song is Claude Debussy's Arabesque No. 1
, re-imagined by Isao Tomita
The 4/9/1997 Onion article.
BBC's backyard astronomy show, The Sky at Night
, has been running even longer.
Previously on MetaFilter: Great Science Presenters and their TV Shows
Horkheimer, Horkheimer, Horkheimer.