“All of a sudden, we realized blubber is coming down … There was that momentary ‘Oh … This stuff is landing.’ And it could have hit us,” Linnman recalled. No place else can claim the exploding whale, and Henry said that unique brand does bring some folks to town. As far as send-offs go, bobbing your way onto the beach isn't the most dignified of … Alternately, someone had a dynamite idea. As crews loaded up the sperm whale with dynamite, another famous Oregon figure entered the world. Gunderson is bringing his whale costumes Saturday to Homegrown Public House and Brewery. "I do believe it will continue to bring people here. Mammalian marine guts spewed everywhere, raining down on townsfolk. 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.”. 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. 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. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device. The original story of the exploding whale first appeared on KATU Channel 2 Portland, OR in November 1970. It includes Linnman’s iconic closing line: “It might be concluded that should a whale ever wash ashore in Lane County again, those in charge will not only remember what to do, they’ll certainly remember what not to do.”. 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. FLORENCE, Ore. (KATU) – It was the whale explosion seen ‘round the world. Gunderson is a native Oregonian and moved to Florence about 15 years ago. The footage has appeared on a smattering of TV clip shows and is spread widely online. Instead they blew it up, using 20 cases of dynamite… The explo… Tap to unmute. 107,812, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved As it turns out, that was overkill. And so 50 years ago today, a half-ton of dynamite was detonated under an 8-ton beached whale. I like the fact that we can use it in our town for marketing," McMillian said. The huge chunks of bone are proudly displayed with many older pieces of local history. Shopping. The story has been famous at least since humorist Dave Barry wrote about the KATU-TV footage in a 1990 Miami Herald column. Privacy Notice With impeccable storytelling and every moment on camera, Linnman's tongue-in-cheek reporting is the reason the story lives to this day. 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 / … Contact reporter Adam Duvernay at aduvernay@registerguard.com. This story has been shared 443,121 times. ", "The majority of people look at it as a fun event in the history of our city," said Mayor Joe Henry. But 50 years ago, the highway patrol in Oregon decided to use a HALF-TON OF DYNAMITE to remove the dead body of an 8-ton beached whale. This whale memorial is total blast. The mascot for Exploding Whale … We've received your submission. Officials were flummoxed — how do you bury an 8-ton titan? "Our cameras stopped rolling immediately after the blast. The whale explosion footage gained national fame in the 1990s, and received renewed attention on YouTube, becoming a viral hit. "We considered doing an event for the anniversary, but we stepped away from it," Hannigan said. The humor found in a rain of blubber chunks isn't everyone's taste, not even in Florence. A successful, non-pandemic weekend in Florence can include more than 20,000 visitors enjoying its beaches, restaurants and attractions, Henry said. So I guess this "exploding whale" was a well-known incident, but I have never heard about it or seen the footage. Your Ad Choices Actual explosives have also been used to assist in disposing of whale carcasses, ordinarily after towing the carcass out to sea. He, bar owner Elaine McMillian and Abeyta and Dan Hankins from Exploding Whale Beach Camp have arranged for a community memorial for the blasted cetacean. According to a 1990 Washington Post article, the whale was 45 feet long and weighed eight tons. Today, November 12, 2019, marks the 49th anniversary of KATU's infamous whale explosion. 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. The results were truly explosive. Sitemap On the 50th anniversary of the “Florence whale explosion” Thursday, a former Oregon TV newsman recalled what it was like to cover the infamous event — where authorities used half a ton of dynamite to blow up a beached whale. Infamous Exploding Whale News Clip Gets Remastered in 4K for Its 50th Anniversary . "It was probably a once in a lifetime thing," Zinn said. Nov. 12, 1970 is an auspicious day in Oregon history. The Oregon Highway Division had the bright idea of exploding the whale using 450 kg of dynamite. Gunderson has exactly the opposite philosophy. Turns out that was WAY TOO MUCH dynamite, and when the body exploded, it sent pieces everywhere... as far as a quarter-mile away! 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 … This story has been shared 443,121 times. There have been several cases of whale carcasses bursting due to a buildup of gas in the decomposition process. There are no dead whales or sticks of dynamite on hand, although the park does have a smiling sperm whale mascot (whom you can’t blow up). "It's the only thing that anyone knows about Florence, but everyone in the world knows about what we did," Gunderson said. 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. However, the demolition team used too much explosives (a half-ton of dynamite) and the blast sent 8 tons of whale … Florence is more and more embracing its bizarre history. 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It’s one of those real-life stories that just sounds too strange to be real. Gunderson is responsible for Flo and Rence, two whale costumes serving as something of unofficial mascots for the history of the exploding whale. to dispose of a beached whale with a result that seems predictable in hindsight: chunks of whale absolutely everywhere. The Oregon Highway Division had decided the best way to remove the dead 8-ton sperm whale that had washed ashore was to stuff it with 24 cases of dynamite and blow it up. © 2020 www.statesmanjournal.com. 415,977, This story has been shared 107,812 times. 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!) On November 12, 1970, the Oregon Department of Transportation blew up a dead whale that had washed up on a Florence beach. SEATTLE — Fifty years ago on Nov. 12, a piece of bizarre Pacific Northwest history was born – the exploding whale. This story has been shared 107,812 times. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The festivities' location comes with exclusive access to Homegrown's Exploding Whale Pale Ale. 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. Follow on Twitter @DuvernayOR. The idea was that rotting whale would be … Though the 113th Rhododendron Festival this year was canceled, organizers themed the event "Blast from the Past" and adding to its logo a whale (unexploded) spouting rhododendrons. The massive creature washed up … You’ll be pleased as punch to know you can now visit Florence, Oregon’s Exploding Whale Memorial Park. In November 1970, an 8-ton sperm whale managed to beach itself just off the Oregon coast. It is the day Tonya Harding was born in Portland and the day, on the Oregon coast, engineers decided to use dynamite to remove a … "It was, of course, a big faux pas.". Exploding Whale Memorial Park, in Florence, Oregon. If you've never seen Paul Linnman's broadcast detailing the saga for Portland's KATU-TV, do yourself a favor and watch it. A textbook whale removal. It's just hysterical, especially this year," said Florence resident Ed Gunderson, who, just so you know, owns an exploding whale costume. "It's fun with tongue-in-cheek humor that makes it a positive for our community.". You're signed out. “I was asked about it virtually every day of my life, or commented on it, by everybody, strangers alike,” Paul Linnman told KATU-TV in Portland. "I think it's so quirky that it should be celebrated.". The 75 or so people who had gathered on the shore just south of Florence, Oregon, on November 12, 1970 stood at a safe distance and waited for … It's the kind of branding McMillian said memorializes her hometown's history. In November 1970, the town of Florence, Oregon decided to blow up an 8-ton whale carcass that had washed up on the beach. On November 9, 1970, a 14 meter-long, 7,300 kg sperm whale washed up on the central Oregon coast. “To have it live as a story still on the internet after 50 years is just amazing,” Brazil said. Authorities somehow thought using dynamite was the best way to dispose of the deceased sperm whale. Exploding Whale Memorial Park in Oregon commemorates a gory 1970 attempt to remove a whale carcass and is now open to the public. "Tourism is a major contributor and a major part of our economy here," Henry said. Rence is decidedly less happy and, with Xs in place of eyes, definitively dead. 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. Terms of Use 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. "It's got a life of its own now. So we decided on a community participatory altar," Abeyta said. Flo is a smiling, unexploded whale. Claim: In 1970, the Oregon Department of Transportation attempted to dispose of a whale carcass by blowing it up. So they moved the spectators back up the beach, put a half-ton of dynamite next to the whale and set it off. 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. And a recent mayoral proclamation made this November "the month to memorialize the Exploding Whale. This story has been shared 415,977 times. Drunk duo survives falling down shaft, Braunwyn Windham-Burke shares first photo with girlfriend after coming out. November 12, 2020 | 10:35pm | Updated November 13, 2020 | 9:27am. Waitress gets $2K tip — but restaurant refuses to give her a cent, This record-breaking baby is 27 years old — 2 years younger than her mom, Sasha Obama TikTok dance video deleted after going viral, 11-year-old dies after shooting himself during Zoom class, Clink-opatra: Photographer busted after sexy pyramid shoot with model in Egypt. All rights reserved. "It's just a little too quirky for us as a businesses representative to do.". 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 debacle is the stuff of local legends, but this one is known worldwide. 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. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Last year, Florence residents voted from among nine options to name a new park on the Siuslaw River as Exploding Whale Memorial Park. 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. 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 … Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights ...a half-ton of dynamite was detonated under an 8-ton beached whale… For the uninitiated: Nearly 50 years ago, a gigantic, dead whale washed up onto a Pacific Northwest shore and really stunk up the joint. On Nov. 12, 1970, the Oregon Highway Division decided to remove an eight-ton sperm whale from a Florence beach by blowing it up with dynamite. In what was called a "controlled explosion," they used a … 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. 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. It's had a fan website for about that long. As Linnman’s deadpan segment covered, chunks of the sea creature flew in the air like shrapnel, sending screaming onlookers running and even flattening a car. Come throughout the day on their own and place a memento or a poem or something on Siuslaw! Central Oregon coast to do a Memorial to the whale explosion seen ‘ the. Than 20,000 visitors enjoying its beaches, restaurants and attractions, Henry that. 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