Jack Horkheimer, the little guy with the bad toupeé, Chaplinesque voice and strange name… who stood against a green screen while making it look to TV viewers at home that he was standing and broadcasting from outer space…. well Mr Horkheimer, the earthling beloved by many, has died at age 72 from a respiratory illness.
He was the creator and host of the PBS show “Star Gazer” and popularized naked-eye astronomy. He was also director emeritus at The Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium. Horkheimer was director of the planetarium for 35-plus years.
So many of us watched the “Star Gazer program” where Jack would tell us what to look for in the night sky, and we would all– elders, middle aged, young and carrying babies– rush out to look into the night sky to see if we could see what Jack was seeing. For many of us, it was ‘our day is now done’ ritual. Thank you for that Jack.
There’ll not soon be anyone like you, so innocent like a child, so enthusiastic about the flaming balls of fire flying near and away from the earth. You were part of the odd phenom of our times when the ancient astronomer who only reported to the king, reported instead to us, the great unwashed, the common people. You taught us much about a place we can see and be awed by, touched heartwise by outer space’s intelligence, pure chance, and mysteries… How glorious and odd to learn so much about other worlds that we cannot yet touch physically. Nonetheless, we are the richer for all you taught about the spheres and barrels and curled spirals… and we are the poorer that you are gone now.
Now the big red, yellow and blue fires and the black holes and the maze nebulae and the colored planets await their loyal friend and interpreter. Fly onward Jack. Fly onward dear soul. We’ll “keep looking up.”