Salisbury MD

Your First Tornado

tornado oz

*NOTE:  I am NOT forecasting tornadoes today!

Childhood memories involving the wickedness and terror of a tornado were rekindled for me yesterday when I learned that MGM released “The Wizard of Oz” 80 years ago on August 25, 1939.  It was my “first” tornado and, yes, I remember it well! Let me clarify that I didn’t see it in 1939.

Fortunately most people have never seen a tornado.  Of course, in today’s world where nearly everyone carries a smartphone, we see videos of practically every tornado that occurs in America.

Tornadoes have spun up forever but, of course, in the last century we couldn’t record them unless we happened to have a movie camera with us.  Most of us did not!

Even though people had knowledge of tornadoes and the ferocious power they could unleash they could only imagine what one looked like.  That was until 1939 when “The Wizard of Oz” was released. Viewed by millions, the movie provided the first glimpse of what a tornado looked like and the fury it could produce.

Now, Judy Garland didn’t run around outside so that she could be filmed in a real Kansas tornado, but the tornado in the movie, inspired by airport wind socks, was a result of the production team creating a live vortex of spinning air with 35 feet of cloth that could be filmed.  It was a fabulously realistic image of an actual tornado that has given life to something most of us will never see.  After watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a kid I certainly never wanted to come face to face with one.  I bet you feel the same.  The video below, which has no audio, is the actual test of the rear projection technology that was used for the movie.

Remember that this was 1939 and still, for many of us, represents the scariest tornado we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Once the test was complete Dorothy and some miniature buildings, fences, and corn fields were placed in front of a muslin screen for filming.  Here is the familiar result.  Enjoy reliving 3 horrific minutes from you childhood.

“And now, my pretty,”… on to my forecast! We will see overcast skies both today and tomorrow with high temps remaining in the upper 70’s to near 80 degrees. There is a slight chance of a shower and we can expect it to still be a bit breezy.


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