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A cinematic earthquake

A cinematic earthquake

May 3, 1974: Actors dodge rubble during filming of the movie  “Earthquake.” The scene had panicked pedestrians dodging boulders as a section of L.A. was “destroyed” in Universal’s  latest entry in the 1970s disaster feature films.

For “Earthquake,” the temblor was the protagonist. The movie also featured a sound system designed for “maximum register” on the audience Richter scale, according to the Los Angeles Times’ 1974 caption.

This image accompanied a story on the making of the film by staff writer Mary Murphy. She reported that for a movie-promotion/sound-system test, “an audience of 93 tourists, unceremoniously plucked from the regular tour buses,” were shown a five-minute segment of the movie.

The newly developed sound system was even more startling than the film footage. The theater shook and seats rattled as a deafening roar combined with low frequency vibrations causing strong women to feel nauseous and infants to cry.

Thanks to movie magic, L.A. Times staff photographer Don Cormier was never in any danger. The rocks were feather light, and the actual rocking was done by a special motorized system that shook the Panavision camera, not the ground.

1 Comment

  1. December 20, 2010, 1:17 pm

    […] taken on the USH backlot in May 1974 during the making of "Earthquake". Pretty cool! A cinematic earthquake – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Tim… Scott Reply With […]

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