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Tornadoes took a heavy Kansas toll in 1973. I'm making an historical documentary with classic films and new interviews about the times.

In the late afternoon hours of September 25, 1973, a rare set of weather conditions spawned an historical tornado outbreak across north-central Kansas. Although millions of dollars in damage and severe flooding scarred the lives of thousands, miraculously, only 5 lost their lives. Two small towns were nearly destroyed as was a trailer park in Salina. Five other towns took direct hits from F-3 twisters. A girl was born in a hospital basement as her mother took shelter. Dramatic movie films and still photographs of tornadoes were made that day, in an era when storm chasers were much fewer and using film cameras. I saw my first tornado then. I filmed it and several funnels that spun over the plains. These and other recordings as well as new interviews with witnesses will be included. Also, this was 1973 and the turbulent issues of the time were the war in Vietnam, the Equal Rights Amendment, the occupation of Wounded Knee and the brewing Watergate scandal. Hindsight of these things and more will be added to bring life to the chase.  Psychologists will discuss storm trauma and meteorologists will explain the unique aspects of this outbreak. 

Disasters can bring out the best in people. In a way, they show a side of us that remains more hidden in daily life. In a word: Kindness. Through your kindness, the story of the unique people, place and time of “That Seventies Storm” will be told. Your pledge dollars will pay for the gear, travel and legal costs of the movie production. It is a small budget for a big project. Anything more than this humble funding goal will only make the story better and allow for wider distribution of the documentary. None of the money goes to me, but into the production. In return, you may receive a wide range of rewards: Signed movie posters, digital movie downloads, movie t-shirts, signed movie DVD’s, credits in the finished movie, dinner with the producer, tickets to a tornado chase or even a song written and recorded just for you!

 I’ve got to go catch a tornado or two now… You’re invited to come along!

 Thank you,

 Ron Fent

A tornado touches down near Salina, Kansas in this 1973 film still.

Sheet metal wrapped around a snapped power pole in Niles, Kansas in this 1973 film still.

A typical tornado-producing supercell thunderstorm over Kansas.

Double funnel clouds speed toward Salina, Kansas on April 14, 2012. A long-tracked, EF-4 tornado had just lifted here before reaching Falun, Kansas. This outbreak produced more tornadoes than in 1973 but hit fewer towns. This cell followed a path eerily similar to the '73 tornado.

This same 2012 cell produced this giant tornado which touched down near interstate 70 and caused damage near Niles, Kansas. Many drivers pulled over to watch and photograph it as it raced northeast as fast as 50 mph.

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    Thanks for your kind vote of confidence! Your name will appear on the project website.

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    How kind! We'll put your name on the project website and send you a digital copy of the movie poster!

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    Kindness follows you! You get all of the above and a signed print of the movie poster.

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    Our kind of folks! Enjoy receiving all of the above and a digital download of the finished movie! Movie release date is approximate.

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    You're wearing your kindness! Besides all of the above, you get a movie T-shirt! Movie release date is approximate.

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    Noteworthy kindness! This includes all of the above and a thank you credit in the movie! Movie release date is approximate.

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    Just SEE how kind you are! As well as all of the above, you will receive monthly online sneak peeks from the production. Movie release date is approximate.

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    SOOOO kind! To show our appreciation, you get all of the above and a signed, limited edition of the movie! Movie release date is approximate.

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    This much kindness will make us sing! You will receive all of the above and an original song written and recorded just for you! Movie release date is approximate.

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    You're kind of an inspiration! We will give you all of the above, then you and a guest will enjoy dinner with the producer! Movie release date is approximate.

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    This is some serious kindness! Please accept our reward of all of the above and an associate producer credit in the movie! Movie release date is approximate.

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    We shall all toast your kindness together! All of the above shall be yours. Then, you and a guest will ride along on a real tornado chase with the producer! Movie release date is approximate.

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    You're kind of rich. You get all that and then some: I'll paint a tornado on your house. Any color. Paint included. Movie release date is approximate.

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Funding period

- (35 days)