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John Landis Helicopter I

During the making of John Landis’s “Helicopter I,” many controversial topics were brought up. One was the question of whether child actors should have been hired for the film’s dangerous river attack scene. Another was the climactic air attack scene, which featured a chase by American gunfire in Vietnam. Finally, a jury acquitted Landis of manslaughter charges.

Vic Morrow’s character was chased by American gunfire in Vietnam

During the making of Twilight Zone: The Movie, actor Vic Morrow died in a helicopter crash. His character was to save two Vietnamese children during a bombing raid.

The movie’s “Time Out” segment was to end with Vic Morrow rescuing the two children during the Vietnam War. In the final version, the scene was edited out. During filming, child actors were hired in violation of California law. The actors were paid in cash.

The children were hired in the evenings, when the state was not allowing children to work. The state also did not issue proper work permits to the actors. In addition, the children were paid under a table to circumvent California’s child labor laws.

While preparing to shoot, the film’s director John Landis ignored safety concerns. He hired non-professional child actors to play the roles of Morrow and the two Vietnamese children. He also refused to use dummies or small people as stuntmen.

Child actors were illegally hired to make the dangerous river attack scene

Almost 40 years ago, John Landis was in charge of a helicopter chase sequence in his movie, Twilight Zone: The Movie. In the film, a veteran actor played a hero who saved two orphans from an American helicopter. It was a dazzling stunt scene with explosives, helicopters and pyrotechnics, but the climax was the helicopter crash in which two child actors were killed.

A grand jury convened to decide whether the production was a criminal act. A number of people were questioned, including Landis, production manager Dan Allingham, and associate producer George Folsey. Despite claims of the innocence of the directors, they were all charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Landis denied the charges. He said he had never asked permission from the parents of the child actors. However, the jury was not convinced. Landis disputed statements made by 71 prosecution witnesses. He said he never told parents that his film crew did not have a state permit to film in California. He also denied that he used dummies. He also said that he never told the fire safety officer that his crew was filming children without a permit.

Jury acquitted Landis of manslaughter

Despite a 10-month trial, John David Landis was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of three people in the 1983 Twilight Zone incident. Landis’ trial marked a historic moment for the movie industry. The trial was the first time a director was charged with a crime for the death of a cast member on a film set.

In a trial that lasted 10 months, the jury acquitted Landis and four other defendants. The defendants defended their actions by saying they were accidents. The prosecution, however, had a difficult time showing that the actions were reckless. They tried to find a way to make the jury choose between convicting Landis or letting him get away with impunity.

The jury heard 93 days of testimony from dozens of witnesses. One witness, special effects technician James Camomile, received immunity from prosecution. He testified that he set off explosions too early. The defendants defended their actions by claiming that the helicopter was disabled by heat damage.

Filming of the climactic air attack scene

During the filming of the climactic air attack scene for John Landis helicopter I, three people were killed. Dorcey Wingo was a Vietnam veteran who was piloting a UH-1B Huey military-type chopper. Wingo was attempting to rein in the helicopter, but it suddenly lost control. He crashed into a river and drowned.

Dorcey Wingo was wearing a military uniform with captain’s bars. He had flown Hueys in the real war in Southeast Asia. He was worried about the pyrotechnics in the low flying helicopter. He asked Dan Allingham to take issue with Landis.

While the helicopter was hovering over the river, two explosions damaged the rotor blades. The chopper then crashed into the river and fell on top of the children. The main rotor decapitated Vic Morrow. He reached for the little girl, but she was too small.

After the explosions, the helicopter landed in the water. The children began to laugh. This caused delays in filming. The children were supposed to be wearing costumes. However, Landis left their names off the call sheets. He was also shorthanded. He had already forced the filming schedule by one day.



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