My friends, I am sorry to report that The Star Hustler, Jack Horkheimer himself, has merged with the infinite.
In high school my weekend evenings usually ended the same way every week. I'd take my girlfriend home, go home and watch an awful movie or two on USA Up All Night or MST3K, then watch the PBS show "The Star Hustler", just before PBS signed off for the night.
If you've stayed up really really late, like, ever... especially in the 1990's, its likely you've seen "The Star Hustler". It was a Green Screened thing from some Florida affiliate, with a middle aged guy in a Members Only jacket or wide array or sweaters (which I found odd, because he was in Florida), and he talked about astronomy. And he @#$%ing loved astronomy.
I began to think of Jack Horkheimer as a sort of excitable sandman, the person who eased me off to slumberland with tales of stars I was never going to actually step outside to see, because I lived in the suburbs near a large street light, and then in the middle of the city. And I often pondered what an amazing life this guy had as scientist by day, and enthusiast for his own field by night. Plus, he got to get green screened, and that was neat.
He also ruined me for the one astronomy class I dropped in college. My professor was interesting in that he was a genius and had Turrets that made him do this odd "b-kok" sound every once in a while but he was nowhere as engaging as Jack Horkheimer, and had none of the knack for teaching young minds. Nor, I suspect, the Members Only jacket or collection of sweaters.
So, I salute thee, Jack Horkheimer, and bid you godspeed. Sure, I found your show because the title "Star Hustler"* sounded like it might contain boob when I was 14 or so and was staying up too late. But I was actually interested in what you had to say. the world is poorer without you in it, walking across the green-screened cosmos.
And if there's any justice, you're up there among the stars right now.
a PDF download on the show (thanks to Jeff S.!)
*Apparently in 1997, the show changed names to The Star Gazer as someone pointed out that the program did, indeed, sound like it might be a soft-core sci-fi program.