The spectacular failure, and the remarkable local newscast that captured the event, have since become enshrined in Oregon history, so beloved that Florence residents voted to name a park earlier this year after the detonated sea mammal. To celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary on Thursday, the Oregon Historical Society released a remastered video of the original broadcast and the TV station interviewed the former employees who recorded it.
“I was asked about it, virtually every day of my life, or commented on it, by everybody, strangers alike,” Paul Linnman, the on-camera reporter, told KATU.
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.
As officials pondered the problem, the body began to decay, festering until the surrounding beach smelled of rot.