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Successful Film/TV Producer Irwin Allen was known in the 60s & 70s as The Master of Disaster. In High School I went to Irwin’s biggest smash….the World Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre of 1972’s POSEIDON ADVENTURE. My first Red Carpet event!  They had 7 helicopters land on Hollywood Blvd and pick up the Stars who were flown to theatres up and down the West Coast! When my date & I got out of my Mother’s Ford Falcon ’65 Station Wagon someone in the Stands  screamed “Who ARE you?” I smiled and yelled “Her Dad is a Lawyer at Fox!” The crowd sighed disappointment.

Since that day my dream was to someday shoot a disaster scene. Today it came true!  I was filming with 10 rough and tumbling Stunt Men and Women in a warehouse in San Pedro Harbor that has a standing Subway Car/Station set (picture me as “Businessman Commuter”). The scene is a massive earthquake that kills someone and then a torrent of water crashes into our disabled Subway Car! Digital Rear Projection and Teamsters made our scary ride very real and thrilling! Extras always fake talking and never speak unless we get a “line” thrown our way … which is more dough.. Production Crews call what we do “pantomime” (I call it mouthing “Are you alright?” and “Is everybody okay?” without making noise). We shot take after take with multiple cameras and set ups. Then out came the Green Screens so we could shoot the rushing water! The Guest Star Actor who died had to break his neck at least 6 times at different angles. And we got to do the classic bit where everyone has to throw themselves to the right wall and then fall back to the left. One of the Female Extras fell and cut her knee and was a real trooper (she declined going to the hospital).

Did I mention that most of the Stunt Men spent the entire day trying to pick up the one young pretty Extra? What’s up with that?

One Response to “The Master of Disaster”

  1. adriana says:

    Ha! I watched this scene a few weeks ago and didn’t put it together until I re-read this! Crazy. 🙂 I love that show.

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