Hustlin’ Stars

My brain works in strange ways, and that’s assuming that it’s working at all. A while back something popped into my brain that hasn’t shown its face in years. That actually happens on a shockingly regular basis, where something appears out of nowhere holding a sign that says “Hey, do you remember this shit?”

This time around it was Star Hustler.

For those who weren’t growing up in the 80s and watching PBS at the time, Star Hustler was this strange little astronomy programme that rolled on the local PBS station sometime in the wee hours of the evening. I only caught it occasionally because it was usually on long after my bedtime. It featured a guy named Jack Horkheimer who would tell you all about something happening in the sky that week, provided of course that you lived in the northern hemisphere. It wasn’t Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, but it was fun. Here, dig on an episode.

Now, the thing that popped in my head wasn’t just the show, but more the music. I was driving home from work and, it being winter, it was dark outside. I live in an area where you can see the stars pretty well so I looked up, saw the stars, and started whistling the catchy little theme song from the show. That’s what kicked off the research because it occurred to me that, after all that time, I had no idea what that song was. It’s an odd song too in that, like the William Tell Overture always being associated with the Lone Ranger, I will always associate this song with a guy wandering along some strange cosmic catwalk.

As things go, it’s easy to find out what the song is because, according to the Star Gazers website, the show was renamed after search engines returned a totally different kind of Hustler in search results, the title of the song is the most frequently asked question. Screw the rings of Saturn or the amazing constellations you can see above you, let’s play Name That Tune.

I can name that tune in five notes and it’s called Arabesque No. 1 by Tomita. Turns out, I was tangentially familiar with that name, but had no idea of his association with that song. If you have Spotify, check out his work. He’s an amazing pioneer in the world of electronic music.

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