Origins: Who's going to let facts stand in the way of a good yarn? Certainly not the newspapers:
A simple enough story. Until the media got hold of it, that is.
Confusion over this tale probably started with a literal interpretation's being applied to the phrase "Now Showing." You and I understand it to mean that the film listed on the marquee will be the one shown that day, not that it's necessarily up on the screen at this particular moment. We don't believe that when at five in the morning we drive past a movie theatre whose marquee announces "Now Showing! Striptease!", if we stopped and pried the door open we'd see Demi Moore up there on the screen ripping open her
This distinction proved too much for the media to grasp. Early news stories reported little more than a tornado had hit a drive-in that was showing Twister. This was quickly turned into a story of a tornado flattening a drive-in while the movie was actually playing and people fleeing for their lives. A further ironic twist was added that all this supposedly happened during the very scene in the movie where a tornado rips through a
Surprisingly, this is not a new story. A fellow growing up in Nebraska in the 1960s and 1970s was told as a child about a drive-in screen ripped through by a real tornado during a showing of The Wizard of Oz. But of course that too happened during the tornado scene in that movie, and again people at first thought it was a special effect.
Barbara "torn, eh? doh!" Mikkelson
Last updated: 17 August 2007
Steyn, Mark. "A Nobody in my Neck of the Woods." The Daily Telegraph. 24 May 1996 (p. 26). The Washington Times. "Tornado Wrecks Homes, Theatre in Ontario." 22 May 1996 (p. A12).