The footage of a 45-foot-S sperm whale being blown up with dynamite on a beach in Oregon was remastered and re-released 50 years after the event.
The dead whale washed up on a beach near Florence in November 1970. The officials, who weighed about eight tons, had to find a way to dispose of the rotting meat and finally came up with the idea of blowing up the carcass with dynamite.
The plan, which came from the Oregon Highway Division, became reality on November 12. KATU reporter Paul Linnman and cameraman Doug Brazil went there to observe the explosion and recorded it in a video that would become a viral video decades later.
To mark the 50th anniversary, the Oregon Historical Society commissioned a remastering of the footage. The original film, shot on 16mm color reversal film, was transmitted by audiovisual experts who scanned the footage in 4K resolution.
The full video can be viewed here.
On November 12, 1970, KATU reporter Paul Linnman described âa stinking whale of a problemâ on the coast near Florence, Italy,…
Posted by the Oregon Historical Society on Tuesday, November 10, 2020
“In contrast to the degradation that occurs in video cassettes when a copy is made from a copy of a copy, the original 16mm film – shot that day on the beach – projects a sharp image with bright, vivid colors,” the company wrote in a blog post. “KATU donated the original 16mm footage to the Oregon Historical Society in the late 1980s”.
According to the Oregon Historical Society, the footage reappeared in the 1990s after a Miami Herald columnist mentioned it in an article he had written. Years later, the film found its way onto the Internet and was quickly distributed, making it one of the first viral videos, the Society said.
A copy of the video uploaded to YouTube 12 years ago was viewed 3.2 million times.
Linnman and Brazil filmed the whale explosion from about a quarter mile away from the carcass. Despite this distance, they were hit from above with pieces of meat.
“When the bacon hit the ground around us, we realized that we were not far enough away,” Linnman wrote in his article about the event. “We were just running away when we heard a second massive explosion in front of us. A piece of blubber the size of a coffee table hit the top of an Oldsmobile and completely flattened the roof.
In the news broadcast he said: “One could conclude that if ever another whale of hashish were to land in Lane County, those responsible would not only know what to do, but also what not to do.
Whales washed ashore on the beaches of Oregon are now buried, but the 1970 event has become a feature of the state’s history. This was commemorated in June with the opening of the Exploding Whale Memorial Park. The name was chosen after city officials asked the public for suggestions. A shortlist of nine proposals was then put to public vote.