If you have been to the Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium & Observatory recently and have been greeted by a voice that sounds familiar, it’s not your imagination playing tricks on you.
The voice that bears a striking resemblance to West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum’s mellifluous tone is in fact, Jeff Goldblum’s voice.
The “Jurassic Park” star’s voice greets visitors to the Buhl Planetarium and Observatory before planetarium shows, laser shows, and SkyWatch programming. It’s all because Ralph Crewe, program development coordinator at the Buhl, had the guts to play what seemed like a long shot.
“I wondered: ‘who’s a famous Pittsburgher with a really unique and instantly recognizable voice?’” said Crewe. “He was the first person to pop into my mind.”
Crewe thought Goldblum would be the perfect person to introduce the shows but didn’t expect to get much in the way of a response when he emailed Goldblum’s agent.
“I figured I’d send an email and then go on with my day, really not expecting to hear anything,” said Crewe. “I was shocked at how quickly they got back to me and how easy it was. They responded within an hour.
“All of a sudden I found myself writing a script for Jeff Goldblum, which is a surreal moment,” said Crewe. “A day-and-a-half later, I got an email from Jeff Goldblum himself which is super cool. I was born in the 80s, so Jeff Goldblum is about as big as it gets. Jurassic Park was the movie of my childhood.”
Goldblum sent Crewe a recording in which he largely stuck to the script but also added his own touches.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome to you because here you are at the Buhl Planetarium, which we like to say is a theater of the stars,” says Goldblum on his greeting. “The stars that you are about to see aren’t movie stars, some people call me a movie star, but these are profoundly large, brilliantly hot masses of gas and plasma. Well, some of that actually does describe me.”
Goldblum, who donated the recording, goes on to talk about growing up in Pittsburgh and credits the Buhl Planetarium with helping develop his sense of wonderment and curiosity.
“I’m nothing if not a curious cat,” said Goldblum, literally following up with a purring sound.
Crewe says they don’t play Goldblum’s intro for every single show but when they do, it gets a strong reaction.
“People get excited, especially people of a certain age,” said Crewe. “We don’t play it for every single show because when it’s the ‘Big Bird’ show and it’s a bunch of four-year-olds, they don’t know who that is. But when it’s one of our late night astronomy events, we play it and jaws drop and people are like ‘whoooooooaaaaaaa’ and it really primes the audience nicely for the astronomical experience to follow.”
Crewe says anything that can be done to get people excited about the planetarium makes him happy.
“This has really helped spread the word,” he said.