Though I don’t watch PBS much now, I sometimes think back about how much of my early viewing was made up of content from PBS. The big things like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street for sure, but even the little things like “Star Hustler” are a part of my early nerd DNA.
I’m not much into star gazing. I think it would be neat to be able to look up and identify things, but honestly, following up the fantastical adventures of the time traveling Time Lord with five minutes of astronomy technobabble wasn’t WILL’s best move for inspiring this particular youth. When I looked up, I’d imagine space battles or wonder about alien civilizations. Reality was never quite as interesting.
That said, it didn’t really matter. I still loved to watch Jack Horkheimer because he was passionate about this topic and it exuded into his five minute segments. He could have talked about accounting and I still probably would have listened to him if he had that enthusiasm. He made me want to care about astronomy.
At some point in the last few years, the segment was renamed to “Star Gazer.” That never seemed quite as cool. Despite the change in name, the TV graphics (and their website) never evolved much past mid 90s technology. That only adds to the charm in my opinion.
Thanks to YouTube, us GenXer’s get to revisit our youth with a few keystrokes. Here’s a Star Hustler segment from 1985, the way I’ll always remember it:
Okay Jack, I’ll keep looking up and I’ll be looking for you on that big light bridge in the sky.