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Witness: ‘Twilight Zone’ Director Shrugged Off Warnings

December 10, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The director of the ″Twilight Zone″ movie shrugged off complaints that special effects explosions were too forceful hours before a helicopter buffeted by explosions killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors, a witness testified Wednesday.

Production secretary Cynthia Nigh, testifying in the involuntary manslaughter trial of director John Landis and four associates, said a stunt man yelled his complaint to Landis after the helicopter in which the stunt man was riding was rocked by the explosions.

″One of the stunt guys yelled over to John Landis, ‘Hey, that was pretty close,’ or something like that,″ Ms. Nigh said. ″They (the stunt men) said, ’That was really close. It got real hot.‴

″What did you hear John Landis say?″ asked Deputy District Attorney Lea Purwin D’Agostino.

″Something to the effect that, ’You think that was big? You ain’t seen nothing yet,‴ Ms. Night replied, adding that she thought Landis meant ″it was a spectacular show.″

Ms. Nigh said she then witnessed the fiery scene which ended in the deaths of actor Morrow, 53, Myca Le, 7, and Renee Chen 6, when the helicopter crashed on them.

On trial in the July 1982 deaths are Landis, associate producer Gorge Folsey, production manager Dan Allingham, special effects coordinator Paul Stewart and pilot Dorcey Wingo.

Ms. Nigh said she had watched the earlier shot as well, and in the fatal sequence ″it seemed to me there were more explosions.″

She also said Landis instructed all spectators to stand up before the final scene.

″He wanted everybody on their feet, standing and alert ... because anything could happen during the special effects,″ she said.