Star Gazer ‘Keep Looking Up!’
Jack Horkheimer, The ‘Star Gazer’ Remembered….
Jack Foley Horkheimer, died on August 20, 2010. He will be missed by millions, yet remembered in the night sky. This is a memorial essay on the immortal ‘Star Gazer’ (‘Star Hustler’).
Jack Horkheimer was the most recognized public figure to enthusiastically advocate amateur observation of the night sky, for generations. His 5 minute television show began on Florida PBS stations in 1976. In 1985 his show became a national PBS phenomenon, usually aired before station sign-off. It was originally called ‘Star Hustler’, but was changed to ‘Star Gazer’ in 1997.
This is how each show began:
Some people hustle pool,
Some people hustle cars,
But have you ever heard about
The man who hustles stars?
The show’s theme music is Isao Tomita’s electronic rendition of Claude Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1, from Tomita’s album Snowflakes Are Dancing. After the introduction, Jack would say “Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers!” and end the show with his signature closing line, “Keep looking up!”
Jack was Executive Director of the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, in Florida for over 35 years. Horkheimer was the foremost commentator on all astronomy related happenings nationwide, affecting millions of viewers with enthusiasm for the cosmos, and passion for our relationship to the Universe. He was truly one of a kind.
Generously his shows are available online, so his national contributions need not fade with time. He truly is among the great advocates of public astronomy, like Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson. At the time of his death at 72 years old, Jack had made thousands of shows, and inspired many people to “keep looking up”. There was no other weekly show on TV that preformed the same function as ‘Star Gazer’, and it remains unique.