"We considered doing an event for the anniversary, but we stepped away from it," Hannigan said. As crews loaded up the sperm whale with dynamite, another famous Oregon figure entered the world. On November 12th, 1970, Paul Linnman delivered a legendary news report on a whale carcass that had washed up on the shores of Florence, Oregon. Authorities somehow thought using dynamite was the best way to dispose of the deceased sperm whale. "I do believe it will continue to bring people here. It was purchased by the city in recent years and refurbished last year with numerous new features. "I think it's so quirky that it should be celebrated.". Thanks for contacting us. But many in the town of 9,000 west of Eugene celebrate the exploding whale for its supreme absurdity, some turning their morbid fascination into business while others honor its relics as pieces of history. "It's just a little too quirky for us as a businesses representative to do.". We've received your submission. In November 1970, an 8-ton sperm whale managed to beach itself just off the Oregon coast. Infamous Exploding Whale News Clip Gets Remastered in 4K for Its 50th Anniversary . Drunk duo survives falling down shaft, Braunwyn Windham-Burke shares first photo with girlfriend after coming out. The weirdness of the exploding whale might suit the humor of younger generations, Hannigan said, but many of the residents alive at the time look back on the episode as an embarrassment. Turns out that was WAY TOO MUCH dynamite, and when the body exploded, it sent pieces everywhere... as far as a quarter-mile away! "It will never die in this town.". Support local journalism, subscribe to The Register-Guard. In his alliterative voice-over of the clip, Linnman quipped that “land-lubber newsmen” became “land-blubber newsmen … for the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.”. On a clear November day in 1970 in Florence, Ore., state highway engineers lit 20 cases of dynamite to blow apart a 45-foot sperm whale carcass that had … Instead they blew it up, using 20 cases of dynamite… Florence is more and more embracing its bizarre history. “To have it live as a story still on the internet after 50 years is just amazing,” Brazil said. For the anniversary, the Oregon Historical Society released a remastered version of the 16mm print original, which has been under the museum’s care since the 1980s, according to the Willamette Week. This story has been shared 443,121 times. You’ll be pleased as punch to know you can now visit Florence, Oregon’s Exploding Whale Memorial Park. As it turns out, that was overkill. FLORENCE, Ore. (KATU) – It was the whale explosion seen ‘round the world. 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In November 1970, the town of Florence, Oregon decided to blow up an 8-ton whale carcass that had washed up on the beach. 107,812, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved With impeccable storytelling and every moment on camera, Linnman's tongue-in-cheek reporting is the reason the story lives to this day. The humor of the entire situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere," Linnman said in the broadcast he's still interviewed about today. Flo is a smiling, unexploded whale. So we decided on a community participatory altar," Abeyta said. It’s one of those real-life stories that just sounds too strange to be real. Alternately, someone had a dynamite idea. The Oregon Highway Division had the bright idea of exploding the whale using 450 kg of dynamite. Fragments of the exploding whale's skeleton were donated to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum more than 20 years ago, according to operations manager Harry Zinn. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights The original story of the exploding whale first appeared on KATU Channel 2 Portland, OR in November 1970. This story has been shared 107,812 times. Actual explosives have also been used to assist in disposing of whale carcasses, ordinarily after towing the carcass out to sea. The idea was that rotting whale would be … ", "The majority of people look at it as a fun event in the history of our city," said Mayor Joe Henry. Harkening to the festive altars associated with celebrating Día de los Muertos, they hope the community joins in creating a public display of local love for the exploding whale. Last year, Florence residents voted from among nine options to name a new park on the Siuslaw River as Exploding Whale Memorial Park. You're signed out. We will continue to try to capitalize on it.". This story has been shared 443,121 times. The debacle is the stuff of local legends, but this one is known worldwide. This story has been shared 415,977 times. The thinking here was that the whale would be blown into small pieces, which would be eaten by sea gulls, and that would be that. It's had a fan website for about that long. And a recent mayoral proclamation made this November "the month to memorialize the Exploding Whale. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The Oregon State Highway Division on Nov. 12, 1970, decided it would rid a beach near Florence of the washed-up sperm whale smelling up the town by blowing the corpse to smithereens. Gunderson is a native Oregonian and moved to Florence about 15 years ago. The story has been famous at least since humorist Dave Barry wrote about the KATU-TV footage in a 1990 Miami Herald column. However, the demolition team used too much explosives (a half-ton of dynamite) and the blast sent 8 tons of whale … "People internationally are aware of the story, and we've had guests come from all over the country and the world to visit with us," said Terry Abeyta, who with her fiancé owns Exploding Whale Beach Camp in Florence near Heceta Beach. Contact reporter Adam Duvernay at aduvernay@registerguard.com. 415,977, This story has been shared 107,812 times. KATU/YouTube Reporter Paul Linnman stands in front of the carcass that’s about to be detonated in Oregon’s infamous exploding whale incident of 1970. The mascot for Exploding Whale … Though he remembers hearing about the incident when it happened, Barry's column cemented his enduring love for the exploding whale — and he's doing his part to spread that love. The massive creature washed up … The 50th Anniversary of the Iconic Exploding Whale posted by Jason Kottke Nov 12, 2020 Fifty years ago today, on the beach outside a small town in Oregon, local officials used way too much dynamite (a half ton!) Exploding Whale Lyrics: I'm nobody's friend / Loneliness rides in my bed, my misfortune / Give everything you've got / While the sun burns hot my addiction / … "Tourism is a major contributor and a major part of our economy here," Henry said. Gunderson is bringing his whale costumes Saturday to Homegrown Public House and Brewery. If you've never seen Paul Linnman's broadcast detailing the saga for Portland's KATU-TV, do yourself a favor and watch it. And so 50 years ago today, a half-ton of dynamite was detonated under an 8-ton beached whale. "It's fun with tongue-in-cheek humor that makes it a positive for our community.". The idea was that the rotting whale would be nearly disintegrated by the blast, and that any smaller pieces left over would be taken care of by seagulls or other scavengers. The Oregon Highway Division had decided the best way to remove the dead 8-ton sperm whale that had washed up ashore was to stuff it with 24 cases of dynamite … A stinking whale carcass, a half ton of dynamite and an immortal local TV newscast — half a century later and the world is still in love with Florence's most infamous moment. A textbook whale removal. The footage has appeared on a smattering of TV clip shows and is spread widely online. It's the kind of branding McMillian said memorializes her hometown's history. In what was called a "controlled explosion," they used a … Claim: In 1970, the Oregon Department of Transportation attempted to dispose of a whale carcass by blowing it up. A widely reported case of an exploding whale occurred in Florence, Oregon in November 1970, when the Oregon Highway Division (now the Oregon Department of Transportation) blew up a decaying sperm whalewith dynamite in an attempt to dispose of its rotting carcass. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device. Follow on Twitter @DuvernayOR. The whale explosion footage gained national fame in the 1990s, and received renewed attention on YouTube, becoming a viral hit. Shopping. "It was probably a once in a lifetime thing," Zinn said. Officials were flummoxed — how do you bury an 8-ton titan? "People can come throughout the day on their own and place a memento or a poem or something on the altar.". The story was reported by Paul Linnman with cameraman Doug Brazil who captured the event on 16mm film, the common format for TV news coverage in those days. A successful, non-pandemic weekend in Florence can include more than 20,000 visitors enjoying its beaches, restaurants and attractions, Henry said. Nov. 12, 1970 is an auspicious day in Oregon history. Tap to unmute. Gunderson is responsible for Flo and Rence, two whale costumes serving as something of unofficial mascots for the history of the exploding whale. On November 12, 1970, the good people of Florence, Oregon came together to address the issue of a beached grey whale that was apparently too big to be removed with any method other than dynamite explosion. , or in November 1970 part of our economy here, '' Henry said a beached.. That we can use it in our town for marketing, '' Zinn said of KATU 's infamous explosion!, in Florence, Oregon ’ s exploding whale Pale Ale you bury an 8-ton titan also been used assist. 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exploding whale dynamite

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