A film by Joe Muscanere and Mark Clark
This is a documentary of a 1963 Kankakee, Illinois tornado which was, at that time, the most complete filmed history of a single tornado that had ever been recorded..
By todays standards of smartphone instant video, storm chasers, HD quality and internet access, it is hard to imagine the impact in 1963, of seeing on a film screen for the first time the different stages of a tornado's life.
The tornado hit Kankakee, Illinois on April 17, 1963. All footage came from homeowners who grabbed their 8mm home movie cameras and filmed the approaching monster. A government research team collected the films shot by the homeowners and used them for years to get a better understanding of the life cycle of a tornado. Although the Fujita-Pearson F scale did not appear until 1971, it has been determined that the Kankakee tornado was an F4 storm.
In 1975, as part of a project for The Institute for Storm Research at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, two filmakers, Mark Clark and Joe Muscanere, rescued the aging 8mm footage and made a documentary of the Kankakee event plus the aftermath of a F5 tornado which hit Xenia, Ohio on April 3, 1974.
The film was originally shot in 16mm. In 2012 it was transferred to HD by DiJiFi in Brooklyn, New York.
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