Brian Troutman Land

Archive for February, 2012

An Open Letter to WPBT, Miami

by on Feb.17, 2012, under Odds and Ends

Star Gazers

Star Gazer‘s personality was partially rooted in the fact that the production wasn’t sophisticated—it was tacky.

You’ll have to excuse me—I hadn’t looked up the current Star Gazer episode in a few months. I must say I am disappointed by what I found.

Ever since Jack Horkheimer’s unfortunate and untimely passing, I wondered what would become of Star Gazer and the parade of guest hosts filling Jack’s place. While apparently knowledgeable and professional, none of the replacement hosts seemed to capture Jack’s zeal. Then again, I doubt anyone could, and I am not taking exception to the hosts. Hopefully they will grow into their roles and develop engaging styles of their own.

I do, however, take exception to the radical change in the show’s image. I think that the show can be perpetuated and updated with new hosts while remaining faithful to some of the core attributes that made it memorable. Star Gazer‘s personality was partially rooted in the fact that the production wasn’t sophisticated—it was tacky. The graphics weren’t slick or particularly modern, and the Tomita synthesizer music was abundantly cheesy.

In a similar vein as The Price is Right, Star Gazer existed in a time warp, perfectly content to exist in the ’70s or today without any care for modern aesthetics or trends. And just as The Price is Right was able to withstand a transition to a new and younger host without loss of its entire identity, so too is it possible for Star Gazer.

Sadly, this isn’t the path that was selected. I have to wonder why, as the new graphics and “rocking” theme are not (in my opinion) going to attract new viewers or new affiliates. Further, the fast-paced, high-energy opening graphics are out-of-step with the visual pacing of the rest of the program. The high speed music and animations come to a crashing halt with the two hosts standing stationary in front of a screen and speaking in subdued tones—it’s simply incongruous.

Finally, I find it disrespectful that Horkheimer isn’t mentioned at all, no “created by…“, “based on the work of…” or similar mention in the credits. Not even a single word on the Star Gazers website. Has he been written out of history?

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