Jack Horkheimer, a playwright turned amateur astronomer who inspired millions of people to look a little closer at the nighttime sky with his pioneering planetarium shows and long-running public television show, "Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer," died Aug. 20 in Miami of a respiratory ailment. He was 72.
Mr. Horkheimer served for 35 years as the director of the Space Transit Planetarium at the Miami Science Museum. He turned presentations there from academic lessons into whiz-bang shows that used music, metaphor and animation to explore the night sky and inspire curiosity about the heavens.
I remember Jack as quite a character at SEPA meetings in the 80s. As far as I know, we were the first planetarium outside of Miami to stage his fantastic show, Starbound, around 1983 I think. We opened it so soon, it was barely ready and they had to send the script, soundtrack and slides to us from Miami via Delta Dash. I still can recall clearly the afternoon when one of our guys drove out to the airport to pick up the package.