>> About this page... A mere 11 days after a 3-foot chunk of flying whale blubber smashed in the roof of Walter Umenhofer’s brand new Oldsmobile, the State Highway division’s insurer reimbursed him for his loss, as reported in this November 23, 1970, article in the Eugene Register-Guard. To celebrate the anniversary, the Oregon Historical Society arranged for a 4K transfer of the original raw film footage from their archive and KATU re-edited the package from the new high resolution video. This story remained a local legend for two decades, until the early '90s, when the newspaper columnist Dave Barry mentioned seeing footage of the exploding beast. Soon after, a video clip went viral on the internet, long before "going viral on the internet" was even a thing. Learn more at a free Oregon Historical Society talk with the KATU reporter who was on the scene of the fated blubbery blast. Other Websites. … Except the blast funneled a hole in the sand under the whale” (thereby causing some of the whale bits to be blown back toward the parking lot, he went on to say). The current response to the coronavirus is like an exploding whale. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the exploding beached whale incident that took place in Florence, Oregon on November 12, 1970 when highway patrol used way too much dynamite to remove a whale carcass. But he couldn’t know how personally Thornton’s mistake would end up affecting him. You blow it into a million stinky little whale pieces of course. The idea was that rotting whale … A whale of a deal on a new Oldsmobile! Fifty-year-old retired Army ordinance guys all over the nation, who learned how to blow stuff up during World War II, wondered what the heck Thornton was thinking. But not George Thornton — who was promoted to the Medford office six months later (a cynical observer might characterize this as being “kicked upstairs”). Video of the … Umenhofer had received explosives training during his World War II service and what he saw on the beach that day made him very, very nervous. Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company. “It had to be said the Oregon State Highway Department not only had a whale of a problem on its hands,” said news anchor Paul Linnman, reporting on the scene for KATU. It’s a whale of a tale. The Disastrous exploding Whale of Florence, Oregon - YouTube He tried to tell them that 20 sticks of dynamite would do it, if they were placed correctly. When he is not sharing all the best parts of Oregon online, he is out looking for a new place to explore. A whale exploded in Oregon in 1970, and the story will blow... We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. As the creature decomposed on the beach, a distinct smell wafted into town. Do you LOVE Oregon? Then sign up for our Newsletter and get Updates on Events, Places to Explore, Discounts, Giveaways and More!Sign Up. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s pretty easy to wonder why he didn’t pull someone who knew explosives into the project, even if that someone was a know-it-all stranger with a brand-new Olds parked 450 yards away — a stranger like Walt Umenhofer, who got well away from the blast site himself but neglected to collect his car first. Mammalian marine guts spewed everywhere, raining down on townsfolk. 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. Umenhofer told the Springfield paper he tried to warn Thornton but was blown off. O’Brian, Patrick (1937). As it … As it turns out, that was overkill. Burn it? So, if you’ve never heard of the exploding whale incident of 1970, prepare to be amazed. More Exploding Whales. With dynamite. Uemenhofer shrugged and made a note to himself to be as far away from the whale as possible when it went off. Well, another one at least. The Exploding Whale. A highway engineer, faced with the need to dispose of an eight-ton whale carcass which had washed up on the beach, tried to vaporize it with a half-ton of dynamite, with results that most people who know about dynamite could have predicted — and did. A highway engineer, faced with the need to dispose of an eight-ton whale carcass which had washed up on the beach, tried to vaporize it with a half-ton of dynamite, with results that most people who know about dynamite could have predicted — and did. You’ll see the whole thing, from the guys packing boxes of dynamite to the impressive explosion and the less-impressive aftermath. The story was covered for KATU-2, one of the Portland TV stations, by Paul Linnman, then a fresh-faced young fellow in his mid-20s. Then sign up for our Newsletter and get Updates on Events, Places to Explore, Discounts, Giveaways and More! You might even have seen some pictures, but not these. When the whale washed ashore on Nov. 9, 1970, as Linnman reported at the time, it had been so long since the community had encountered a beached cetacean that no one knew how to dispose of the animal. Portland: West Winds Press, 2003; The Springfield News archives; The Eugene Register-Guard, Nov. 13, 1970). A quarter-mile away, cars were smashed with chunks of cetacean carcass. The conversation ended on a sour note when Linnman asked Thornton if he didn’t want to tell the public about it — about what had gone wrong that day. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that comparison! Subscribe to our newsletter to download our free tour guide. (Sources: Linnman, Paul. This is the story that some of you may know, which took place in Florence, Oregon about an inexperienced highway engineer who thought the most logical thing to do with the 8 tons of rotting whale carcass was to obliterate it. The key to the look seems to be symmetry... Judging by how good she is at recreating it, clearly this woman does this dance every night before going to bed. London: Oxford University Press. The following article was written by syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry of the Miami Herald newspaper. He was a businessman who happened to be in town with his brand-new car, an Oldsmobile 88 Regency, which he later told Springfield News reporter Ben Raymond Lode that he’d bought days earlier at Dunham Oldsmobile in Eugene during a promotion taglined — no, really, I’m not kidding, this is true — “Get a Whale of a Deal on a New Oldsmobile.”. What The 1970 'Exploding Whale' Fiasco Has To Do With Coronavirus Here's why the Doncaster Council is tweeting about an exploding whale in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Contacted by Linnman in the mid-1990s, he refused to be interviewed on camera, and seemed to feel the news coverage of the event had converted a successful exercise into a disaster. Florence, Ore., Mayor Joe Henry poses in front of the sign welcoming visitors to the Exploding Whale Memorial Park. Keep going for the gloriously remastered video in all its legendary glory. In light of COVID-19, many attractions featured on That Oregon Life are temporarily closed. Related Stories. Image Credit: YouTube It’s been nearly 50 years since someone thought “hey, dynamite seems like a good way to get this dead whale off the beach,” and now a beautiful park on the Oregon coast has been dubbed “Exploding Whale Memorial Park.” What do you do when an 8 ton whale washes up on shore? He tries to avoid talking about the exploding whale, mostly because he’s sick of telling the story. 5–18. Twenty 50-pound cases of dynamite sound like a lot, but in the context of eight tons of untamped, rotting meat, they dwindle to insignificance. Finally, the highway patrol arrived. On November 12, 1970, residents of the small town of Florence, Oregon witnessed a rare sight as an exploding whale sent chunks of meat and blubber soaring 100 feet into the sky. The Exploding Whale. Walt appears about two minutes into the video, standing next to his brand-new demolished Oldsmobile. “I says, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna be the furtherest SOB down that way!'”. Tyler Willford is a native to Oregon and is currently living in the Eugene area. Umenhofer, who still lives in Springfield, now owns and operates “The Baron’s Den,” a gun store and indoor shooting range just south of Eugene, visible from Interstate 5 (it usually sports a bright blue banner reading “SHOOT A REAL TOMMY GUN”). You’ll get to hear George Thornton say — this is a direct quote — “Well, I’m confident that it’ll work, the only thing is we’re not sure how much explosives it’ll take to disintigrate this thing …”, You’ll also get to hear the people on the beach watching the blast: yells of excitement turned to disgust, dull thumping sounds, and a woman saying, “OK, Fred, you can take your hands out of your ears now. The locals grew anxious, and a bit nauseous. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the exploding beached whale incident that took place in Florence, Oregon on November 12, 1970 when highway patrol used way too much dynamite to remove a whale carcass....a half-ton of dynamite was detonated under an 8-ton beached whale. “But the guy says, ‘Anyway, I’m gonna have everyone on top of those dunes far away,'” Umenhofer told reporter Wayne Freedman of San Francisco TV station KGO in an interview 25 years later. The Exploding Whale Incident was a famous “epic fail” incident that happened in Florence, Oregon in 1970, when a dead sperm whale washed up on a beach. On Thursday, Nov. 12, 1970, an event happened that put the town of Florence on the map. “What do you mean, ‘what went wrong?’” he asked Linnman tersely — apparently by way of implying that nothing had. Oregon's Exploding Whale Still Famous 50 Years Later. 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 … By Tim Lantz, iHeart Media Nov 13, 2020. Please share your favorite local business that could use some love right now. ISBN 1-55868-743-2. Weighing in at around eight tons, officials needed to find a way to dispose of the rotting … Exploding Whale Memorial Park in Oregon commemorates a gory 1970 attempt to remove a whale carcass and is now open to the public. November 12, 1970 Exploding Whale No one knew what to do with an 8-ton dead whale, washed up on the beach, but there happened to be an ex-military guy around who had explosives training. The dead whale had washed up on a beach near Florence in November, 1970. Linnman’s story was, of course, snatched up by the network and played all over the country. I believe it's a law that you have to watch it when logging on to the internet for the first time otherwise police come to your house and arrest you. 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 —… The person managing the Doncaster Council Twitter account posted a history lesson about the time that US officials blew up a decaying 7.3k kilogram (16.1k pound) sperm whale in Florence, Oregon, in 1970. Its passenger compartment had been flattened by a chunk of flying blubber the size of a small truck tire. Bury it? This story was used with permission, and originally published here at OffBeatOregon.com. Even though the exploding whale event took place in 1970, Dave Barry didn’t actually hear about it until 1990, after which the incident began to receive much broader attention. Anniversaries. The “Goonies” Cast Reunion: Coming to a Computer Near You December…, Santiam Forest, Abiqua Falls, Butte Creek Falls and Shellburg Falls To…, Gov. FLORENCE, Ore. - A group of people plan to gather Monday afternoon on Heceta Beach to re-enact the events of November 12, 1970. On Thursday, Nov. 12, 1970, an event happened that put the town of Florence on the map. George Thornton's Death. And so he was. For a few days, they pondered their options. It's back. In The Oxford Annual for Boys (Ed. Two’s Company. Now, that’s painting a picture with words. Escaped from the same top secret government facility as the first, this monster washed up on... A helicopter transporting a donor heart crashed last Friday on the Keck Hospital of USC helipad. He has been blogging since 2011 & created That Oregon Life as a passion in 2013. Remember the Montauk Monster? HomeAdvisor decided to imagine what the Simpsons' interiors would look like if they were designed by Wes Anderson. On November 9, 1970, a 45-foot sperm whale washed ashore in Florence, OR. Decades later, Thornton was still defiantly sanguine about the whole operation. 1970 Newspaper Articles "Gulls to dine on whale" "A whale of a whale..." "When they blow up a whale..." "A dead whale is worse..." "Who pays when..." "Flying blubber claim paid" More Newspaper Articles. ...a half-ton of dynamite was detonated under an 8-ton beached whale. Don't miss out on discovering the best spots in Yellowstone park. Haliep/iStock via Getty Images (Whale) // revenaif/iStock via Getty Images (Explosion) The 75 or so people who had gathered on the shore just south of … The park is named in honor of the 1970 explosion of a … SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER AND IMMEDIATELY GET 10% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER, AND THE BEST OF OREGON WEEKLY. If you search for “exploding whale” on Google, you’ll find Linnman’s story, about two and a half minutes long. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous exploding whale in Oregon. And Thornton actually said, on camera, to Linnman, that he wasn’t sure how much dynamite he should be using. You may have heard about the exploding dead whale of Florence, Oregon. Today is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Exploding Whale of Oregon incident of 1970. © 2020 | That Oregon Life LLC | All rights reserved. Played all over the country little whale pieces of course, snatched up the... Of flying blubber the size of a deal on a new Oldsmobile now! 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