A cameraman on the "Twilight Zone" film set testified Tuesday that when he warned director John Landis of the possible dangers of filming a mock Vietnam battle scene, Landis replied, "We may lose the helicopter."
The cameraman, Stephen Lydecker, 45, added that he was "a bit shocked" by the statement. However, when he was outside of court later, Lydecker said he thought Landis was joking when he made the remark the night before a helicopter was struck by special-effects explosives and spun out of control. The helicopter crashed on top of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors.
Landis and four associates, on trial since September, are accused of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of the three actors.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Lea Purwin D'Agostino said outside the courtroom that Landis' remark provided additional evidence that "anyone that warned Landis about something dangerous, he was flippant to."
But Landis' attorney, James F. Neal, countered that Lydecker's account was "absolutely untrue. . . . (Landis) didn't say it."
Lydecker, who told reporters that he has not been hired for any film-making jobs since he testified against Landis at pretrial hearings, is scheduled to face cross-examination today. The cameraman said he has spoken out because of his concerns about film set safety. His outspokenness, he said, has led a few people in the film industry to tell him that he is a "troublemaker."