The Exploding Whale


If this is your first exposure to the Exploding Whale, then you are on the verge of learning about an event so bizarre and fantastic that you will surely doubt its veracity at first. If you've already experienced the Exploding Whale, then you're undoubtedly back to relive this amazing and unforgettable story. In either case, we'd like to say...

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Click through the expandable text items below to learn more about this site and the story of the Exploding Whale....

This is a true story...

People come to the Exploding Whale from so many different directions. Not surprisingly, many are often unsure of the event's authenticity. Some see the widely-distributed 1990 article by syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry and think that great artistic license was taken in his retelling. (It wasn't.) Some have seen stories in the newspaper or on TV and think a local reporter has been duped. (They haven't been.) Some people assume the whale was alive and come to protest such cruelty. (The whale was definitely dead.) And there are the lucky few who stumble upon it purely by accident.... 

It happened on Nov. 12, 1970...

The carcass of a sperm whale (often reported as a grey whale) had been rotting on the beach just south of Florence, Oregon, USA, for several days. At the time, the Oregon Highway Division (now called the Oregon Department of Transportation) had jurisdiction over beaches and decided to dispose of the whale the same way they would clear a large boulder from a highway construction project. The rest is, as they say, history. 

There's an amazing video...

In case there was any doubt in your mind as to whether this really happened or not, then-reporter Paul Linnman from KATU Channel 2 in Portland, Oregon, and his photographer Doug Brazil were on the scene and captured this incredible event on film. The surreal images, dry humor, and deadpan delivery of the narrative are unforgettable. 

But not just a video...

The video is just the beginning. The purpose of this website is to collect all the evidence, resources, and events related to the Exploding Whale, including newspaper articles, transcripts, accounts of other exploding whales (yes, there's been more than one!), and more. 

Watch the original news report from 1970 to start your journey.

Original version

2020 remastered version

About this video...

The original story of the exploding whale first appeared on KATU Channel 2 Portland, OR in November 1970. 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.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary in 2020, the Oregon Historical Society had the original 16mm transfered to 4K. KATU subsequently released a remastered version of the original news report. Both the original (now) low-resolution internet video and the remastered version appear above.

Since then, the story has been retold countless times, and numerous versions of the original news story have appeared on the internet as a result. Several of them are viewable in the section below.

All of our videos are available at video portal on YouTube


It's time to harness your inner whale and "dive deeper" into the amazing story of Oregon's Exploding Whale!

In 2020, KATU News interviewed Dave Barry, the humorist whose 1990 column brought renewed interest to the exploding whale.

In 2020, as part of the 50th anniversary, KEZI in Eugene, OR, interviewed foremer Register-Guard reporter and photographer Larry Bacon, one of the only other reporters that directly covered the event.

In 2002, KATU broadcasted an abridged, higher-quality version of the original video. 

In 2012, as part of its 50th anniversary on the air, KATU re-aired the story and and interviewed Linnman over the phone afterward.

If you can't get enough of the Exploding Whale video, check out our YouTube playlists. There's more coverage of the Oregon incident as well as videos about other exploding whales. We have videos of projects that were inspired by the Exploding Whale plus a few other whale-related clips that may also be of interest.

November 12, 2020, marked the 50th anniversary of Oregon's Exploding Whale. A remastered version of the original video was produced. Paul Linnman and David Brazil participated in several interviews. Even Dave Barry made an appearance. 
In addition to the original 1970 news report, watch various updates over the years, coverage on TechTV, CNN, The Discovery Channel, plus interviews with Paul Linnman, Doug Brazil, Dave Barry, and others.
Almost as amazing as Oregon's Exploding Whale is the range of works inspired by it! From songs and animations, to one-man shows and marching bands, this playlist has it all. 
"There's more than one exploding whale?" you ask. Why, yes, yes there is! Careful what you wish for, though -- some of the videos in this playlist are graphic, gory, and sad. 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss out on the latest videos!

Click the links in the sections below to read news stories, articles, and other coverage related to the Exploding Whale.

Mushroom Cloud

Exploding whales are more common than you might think, and they actually come in several different forms. In order to get some perspective on the topic, consider the following guide:

Mushroom Cloud

Then, visit some of the following pages, or use our exclusive interactive exploding whale locator map below:

Credits & Disclaimers

  • This website is not affiliated with the enjoyable book, The Exploding Whale, nor its author, Paul Linnman.
  • The article The Farside Comes to Life in Oregon was written by Dave Barry.
  • The original news reel appeared on Channel 2 KATU Portland, OR.
  • The original QuickTime and AVI videos were collected from the Internet; the original creator of these files is unknown to me. The files presented here have been recompressed and/or reencoded to improve performance.