Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Star Hustler!

"Star Hustler" was frequently the last thing a station would show. I mean it. The last thing they would show before signing off. Yes, back in the day, stations would sign off at the end of the night.

I used to catch it after watching "Dr. Who" (Tom Baker, FTW!) or "Blake's 7". Later, in the 90s, they would show "Alive from Off Center" or an old horror movie, then sign off.


In 1970s, Jack Horkheimer was appearing on news programs talking about astronomy. He was approached by Florida's PBS affiliate, WPBT, to do a series of half-hour programs about astronomy. He agreed on the condition that WPBT help him create a series of 5-minute shows on stargazing. This was the beginning of "Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler."

In May 1985, the show went national, being broadcast on PBS stations around the United States with the enthusiastic Horkheimer that most people are familiar with. He realized that he was playing a character in order to generate enthusiasm for the show

The show has many catchphrases that viewers associate with Jack Horkheimer. Horkheimer's appearances on the show are always marked with his opening line, "Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers!" and his signature closing line, "Keep looking up!" These are the most widely recognizable quotes from the show but there were also others in common usage throughout the series.

With the rise of the Internet, however, search engines were giving results for the "Hustler" adult magazine instead of the program's web site showing up at the top of results. As a result, the producers renamed the show "Star Gazer" to avert any confusion, accidental or purposeful.

The theme, by the way, was Debussy's First Arabesque.


Tohoscope said...

Star Hustler would be a great name for a series of science fiction paperbacks about interstellar gray market traders.

Tohoscope said...

Also, we need to do a post about Alive From Off Center.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I've got a couple episodes of Alive from Off Center! Remember being weirded out by that one back in the 80's!

My PBS station also played Star Hustler too before they signed off, but they also complimented it by having their sign-off set to the theme from the "Cosmos" mini-series!

Chris Sobieniak said...

That's the one thing I'll miss from PBS I guess, alternate, late-night programming.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Blogger lost the comments.

At least we got the post back.