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Exploding Whale: And Other Remarkable Stories from Paperback – October 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Graphic Arts Books (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558687432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558687431
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,390,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


We could smell it the moment we stepped from the car. Not anything recognizable, just this incredible stench, which grew stronger as we walked up the sand dune trail heading toward the beach...I glanced over at Doug, my photographer, as we made our way up the dune through the deep, dry sand, both of us loaded down with cameras, tri-pod, and assorted gear. We were the same age, 23, and relative newcomers to the television news business...Our assignment that day, Thursday, November 12, 1970, was to cover the disposal of a dead whale for the 5 o'clock news, which sounded easy enough, if of questionable news value, but this thing had an odd twist to it. My boss had learned that the whale was going to be blown up with dynamite...There was certainly no way we could have known that in a few hours, both of us would be running for our lives, trying to escape the heavy and potentially lethal pieces of whale blubber which rained from the sky. Nor could we anticipate that this single news story would be with us forever and, in some ways, define our careers.

About the Author

Paul Linnman grew up in Portland, Oregon and began reporting for his high school newspaper and became its sports editor. His first paying part-time college job was working for The Oregonian newspaper. Paul moved on to television, and he starting covering some strange, and unusual stories. Graduating to the evening news anchor for the local ABC-TV affiliate, his name and face became recognized across the state. Today Paul and his wife, Vicki still live in Portland, Oregon and Paul has moved into radio where he is one of the most listened to morning drive time radio hosts. 

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Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Freedman on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Paul is a naturally funny guy, and now we know he can lay it out on paper, as well.
In this book he weaves memories from his career around, between, and through a serial narrative of his most famous story---the exploding whale of Florence, Oregon. Never heard of it? This event, along with the dynamite, the stench, the rain of blubber, and the resulting 'cover-up', established a comic standard for bureaucratic ineptitude. In his book, Paul answers all the questions and puts to rest the rumors, finally.
More important, this is an honest, insightful look inside television news as used to be, and as many us wish it had remained.
Paul shares as many laughs as nuggets of wisdom.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. C HALL VINE VOICE on December 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
To Oregon television viewers, Paul Linnman is a familiar, friendly voice and face they've welcomed into their homes as a reporter, anchorman and talk show host for most of the last 35 years. To the rest of the world, he's "the guy who blew up the whale." Which is kind of a shame, in a way. First, it's not quite accurate...it was the state Highway Division that blew up the whale; Paul and his cameraman, Doug Brazil, were just there to record it. Second, it may be the oddest, but by no means is it the finest story Paul has told during those decades.

First, the facts, briefly. In November, 1970, a dead sperm whale washed up near the town of Florence on the Oregon Coast. No one quite knew how to dispose of it. After due consideration, the decision was made to use dynamite. The hope was to blast the carcass into small enough chunks for the gulls and other scavengers to take care of. It didn't quite work out that way. All the spectators got sprayed with whale goo, and had to dodge hunks of falling blubber. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but one large fragment landed on a new Oldsmobile a quarter of a mile away and flattened it.

Much to Linnman's surprise, the story has taken on a life of its own, thanks to the Internet, humorist Dave Barry and others. In this memoir, Paul seems a bit bemused by all the attention, but is good natured and gracious about it as well. He just wishes people would also ask about some of the truly inspiring stories of human courage, character and achievement he's devoted most of his career to chronicling. In this book, he interweaves many of these great "people" stories with all you could ever want to know about the infamous whale. Linnman also adds a few enlightening and entertaining anecdotes about life behind the scenes in television news to round out this fine volume.--William C. Hall
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in the days of yore, before DSL and fast internet connections, even before the days of Firefox ... I mean, in the days of Netscape fitting on a floppy disk ... there was a viral video that was viral before viral was viral. It was the funniest video you could find on the infant internet, this really cool extension of university networks. It was an exploding whale.

Not only was the video great for grabbing smiles and laughs from friends and coworkers, it always was a great story.

The book has been out for a while, but I didn't know the full details. It's interesting to read, fun and you get a large amount of backstory. At times, it can get boggy, but I liked it all. This guy has a lot of great stories to tell (as do a lot of veteran newsmen) and it doesn't read like TV news copy, thank goodness!

Worth it. Try it.
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