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Matinee: 'Oh Pluto' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

18 July 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the ninety-fourth in our series of Saturday matinees today: Oh Pluto.

This week Ralph made history. After a nine-year voyage aboard the spacecraft New Horizons, the custom-built camera took the first photos ever seen of the surface of Pluto.

Talk about big data.

And while scientists will have plenty to chew on and digest for years to come from this mission, there's another side to this achievement which we found charmingly illustrated in this five-minute video co-produced by Craig Werth and Christine Lavin.

Lavin, who shot most of the video, urged Werth, who wrote the music, to make the video.

Hi, Pluto! Say, 'Cheese!'

"The song Oh Pluto is inspired by NASA's New Horizons Mission to Pluto," Werth said, "and our quest for knowledge and understanding and the 'magic' in it all (since I was a little boy, for me)."

But the video immediately won us over with its simple chorus, recited by dozens of ordinary people, all sorts of them, of "Hi, Pluto! Say, 'Cheese!'"

The Oscar goes to the gent in the green shirt 35 seconds in. But it was a close vote.

There are plenty of "distant neighbors" of Pluto who chime in with advice like the two children holding signs advising Pluto not to worry, we are all small once.

"We take a special interest in all that shares this yellow star," the song goes, explaining our curiosity about the solar system.

"Soon, oh Pluto, you'll know who we are."

That's the song's refrain. And in verse after verse, it helps Pluto out by describing who we are. Our grit, our innovation, our curiosity, our wonder, our good intentions.

And through the whole video, more and more ordinary people look up from their knitting or play to say hello to Pluto. Whole rooms of them, sometimes.

You almost wish your name was Pluto.

At the end of the video, there's even a little educational stock footage about New Horizons. It includes a photo of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto, which the spacecraft carries with it.

Pass the Kleenex, please. We can't remember the last time mankind could be so proud of itself.

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