Little Bits of History

“Wanna see something really scary?”

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 23, 2010

July 23, 1982: Vic Morrow and two child actors are killed on a movie set when a helicopter goes out of control and crashes into them. Twilight Zone: The Movie was being filmed in four parts. Three classic episodes from the 1959-64 television series and one new episode were filmed separately with a prologue and epilogue tying them together.

Twilight Zone: The Movie poster

Vic Morrow’s role was that of a bigot sent back in time to become the people he despised. He was to play a Jewish  Holocaust victim, an African-American about to by lynched by the KKK and a Vietnamese man fleeing from US soldiers. He was on the set holding two small children, Myca Dinh Le, aged 7, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, aged 6. The scene had the helicopter flying in low, pursuing Morrow and the children. A pyrotechnic explosion caused the copter to lose control and crash into the actors. Morrow and one of the children were decapitated and the other child was crushed to death by the falling copter. The people inside the helicopter were slightly injured. .

Involuntary manslaughter charges were brought against Landis, the film’s director as well as the associate producer, the production manager, the special effects supervisor, and the pilot. The final results were that one second assistant director had his name removed from the credits. The friendship between Landis, the director, and Steven Spielberg, the producer, was shattered. That relationship was already shaky because of disagreements between the two over Landis’s violating so many codes.

The other noted results of this accident were that child labor laws in the US were radically altered and the use of night sets and special effects scenes were further regulated. The film was shrouded in the horror of the crash and was not a huge success at the box office. It does have a cult following and helped bring about the resurrection of the 1980s television version of The Twilight Zone.

“You’re traveling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, The Twilight Zone!” – Tagline for the television show

“There’s a remedy for all things but death, which will be sure to lay us flat one time or other.” – Cervantes

“To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.” – Erich Fromm

“Life in the movie business is like the beginning of a new love affair: it’s full of surprises and you’re constantly getting fucked.” – David Mamet

Also on this day, in 1914 the Serbian government refuses to allow outside investigation into Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s death.
Bonus Link: In 1888, John Dunlap receives a patent for improved tires.

Advertisements

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Meridith C. said, on July 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

    someone’s name was removed from the credits? Whoa. Pace yourselves with the ramifications of violating a bunch of safety codes and murdering three people.

  2. Sherry said, on August 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    The word “murder”, is, I think, incorrect and far too strong. “Manslaughter” is the appropriate term. No one INTENDED for Morrow and the two children to die. Landis and his primary decision-makers (barring Spielberg) did, however, knowingly set up a situation where injury or death was likely to occur – and three human beings paid the ultimate price. But I do wholeheartedly agree that “having name removed from the credits” as the only penalty for three deaths was sick and ludicrous! Landis and others should have done prison time and come out convicted felons. But in true American fashion, though, wealth and position carried far too much weight on the scales of justice. I wouldn’t have cared how much money they tried to bribe me with – I would NEVER have accepted it because you can bet it came with a non-disclosure clause barring the next-of-kin from discussing the case publicly. I would rather have been a pauper and retained my right to talk about it at any time, anywhere. No one muzzles me!


Leave a Reply to Meridith C. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: