ABC News shows Vic Morrow's gruesome death -- out of line?

Watching the news tonight, I saw the ABC News report of Nicole Kidman’s fairly minor accident on a movie set. The segment went on to an interview with a stunt coordinator, then ended by playing a clip of the Twilight Zone scene that was being filmed when a helicopter crashed and killed Vic Morrow and two children in 1982.

What shocked the hell out of me was that the film clip ABC showed included the crash itself, complete with whirling blades slashing through the victims. Okay, so the water’s beaten into such a froth that one doesn’t actually see the blades slice through Morrow and one of the children he was carrying, but CRAP! This ain’t no movie, this is REAL death, horrifying death, thrown smack into the viewer’s face with no real warning. I for one sure as hell expected the clip to end with the initial part where Morrow’s wading through the water and the blasts, carrying the children, and not to be shown what DAMMIT is a snuff film.

Am I overreacting, fellow Dopers? Is anyone else bothered by this? I can understand the network using that footage in a story examining safety on movie sets, as long as it comes with a warning to viewers that the whole sequence, including the deaths, is going to be shown, so that one could choose whether to watch it or not. But there was no warning, none at all, just a cut from Morrow sloshing through the water to the helicopter flying into view and crashing. Now I can’t get the image out of my mind.

Might have been an innocent mistake. Maybe they had a tape of the whole thing, and another tape where they edited to stop before the deaths, and they grabbed the wrong tape. Or whoever edited misunderstood what was supposed to be done with it and left too much footage in, and nobody remembered to check it before broadcast.

Hmmmmmmm… Interesting suggestion, Miller. But I saw the same report on two different broadcasts, both local news: first on the ABC affiliate in the Boston market, and then later on the Comcast cable news show. Same clip both times, except that on the later clip, some of the stunt coordinator’s interview was trimmed, but the death scene was not.

I’ve seen the video and there really isn’t much to see. Black blob… and then suddenly part of black blob is separated from the rest of it. But I like looking at those kinds of videos so…

I just called both stations that had run the story and told the persons answering what upset me about the segment, and why. Both individuals agreed with me – and sounded like they really meant it – and promised to pass on my comments and suggestion for offering a warning before showing the clip on later broadcasts.

I’ll be tuning in to see how it’s handled later tonight.

I would be upset. I’m equally perturbed with the LA Times right now (I’ve written them about this) for having pictures that include dead bodies.

:mad: :mad: :mad:
I’ve been a Vic Morrow fan ever since COMBAT!.

I even spent a whole dollar to buy his photo from a fan site when I was six-years-old. I still have it.

:mad: :mad: :mad:

“Am I overreacting…”

That would be a “no.” I’m figuring that with the absolute explosion of violent scenes caught and displayed on the internet as of late that networks figure, and probably not without understandable cause, that the rules have changed, or at least that what they can get away with has.

I’m more than a little surprised that scene’s suddenly become acceptable broadcasting. It was overwhelmingly verboten for so long. What changed… and when were wthose who might not wish to view such, or be responsible for young’uns, told of the deviation?

Out of line? Yes. If I wanted to see a graphic video of real people dying, I’d do what everyone else does and do a search on the internet. I don’t want to have it shown without prior warning so that I can protect my brain, and my children’s, from such images that cannot be erased.

I really do believe that being exposed to such images lead to an emotional disconnect that’s unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

Considering that they showed the footage on the news 25 years ago after it happened, I think you’re overreacting a little bit.

I’ve seen that clip a few times on the internet, and, I don’t know. Its just not really graphic at all. Not visually anyway. I mean you see Morrow carrying the two kids, then you see a helicopter crash where they were standing a second ago. You obviously know what’s happened, but you don’t actually see anything (I’ve never even seen a ‘black blob separated from another’ as someone mentioned

But it is still broadcast TV, so I guess they should have erred on the side of caution. I don’t know why they would have even compared the Morrow accident to that Kidman one. Wildest Police Chases routinely shows things way worse than that little crash.

Come to think of it, ABC may have shown that clip after it happened. Geraldo was on 20/20 back then and I think I remember him showing it (shock monger that he was/is). But it was the same footage. I never seen any more graphic film of it.

Maybe my memory is faulty, but I seem to recall the footage that was shown at the time it happened ending before the crash itself. Could be the news stations in my area decided to be more circumspect in how much they showed than those in other areas. Or I could be misrecalling it. But the crash did hit me with the force of the unexpected, whereas the preceding footage of Morrow carrying the children was familiar.

The only footage I’ve seen of this crash is incredibly grainy and distorted. If you didn’t tell me that there were people in the water, I’d have no idea the helicopter actually landed on someone. And as such, I’d have no problem airing that footage per se.

But there are two caveats. The first is that the death of Vic Morrow and two children on a movie set have very little to do with the injury of Nicole Kidman. Hell, injuries on movie sets are an uncommon part of that business, and these two incidents are completely unrelated.

The second is that the video still portrays an actual death – and ABC will not under any circumstances show footage of other deaths. All that footage from 9/11? Not going to see it anymore.

So, I’d gonna bet that the person who edited that video (scratch that. People who edited the video, because there should have been at least 3 people in the booth) did not know what they were looking at. And given ABC’s predilection to use footage from a TV show or movie whenever possible (the current executive attitude being life ain’t real unless it’s portrayed by an actor) this death scene slipped through the cracks. And someone’s gonna get reamed over the weekend depending on how many upset calls come in.

I checked the late news broadcasts of both stations that used the clip in the 6:00 news. Neither station used it this time. So either they got enough complaints to make them ditch it, or they decided Leonardo DiCaprio’s dissing in Spain by the media was more newsworthy.

Leo got dissed in Spain???

Ewww!!! Do tell…


Yeah. I was a bit surprised as a kid to see it, but it seems quite pedestrian now. If you don’t know what you’re seeing, it is hard to see it. Does that make sense?

And how the hell could anybody not know what that footage contained? Although, I am almost 40, and I guess there are plenty of whippersnappers who don’t remember Vic Morrow or the way he died.

I recall seeing this video on TV, and as described in the OP you can’t see them actually being killed. I suppose they thought it was OK because of that.

It would be interesting to know if the complaints after showing this video have increased or decreased over the years.

I used to work in local TV and can vouch that complaints, if there are enough of them, will affect newsroom policy. The place I worked for would dither on questions from whether race should be included in the police description of a criminal suspect to whether bodys (even in body bags or under sheets) should be shown, depending on how the public felt about it. I remember once seeing raw video come in on a feed that included some truly gruesome footage of a fire victim. It was not used on air.

You all ought to try living in a LatinAmerican country sometime. Dead bodies are on the back pages of most of the newspapers and (in color) ON, the covers of most tabloids. In the past few weeks readers of Oaxaca’s Noticias, for example, have been treated to: a full-column closeup of a ten year old kid whose head had been run over by a cement truck; what was left of a middleaged woman who had been murdered and then mostly eaten by dogs; an unidentified body found in a dry well maybe three weeks after he or she fell in; several dead babies; a prostitute who had been beaten to death with baseball bats…well, you get the idea. And one time while I was living in Ecuador I went to the bus station to buy a ticket to Quito and all the newspapers- at the bus station, no less- had cover photos of a bus that had caught fire with a dozen or so charred corpses hanging out of the windows. I took a plane instead.

I’ve seen the Vic Morrow footage, and like the rest have said, there’s nothing violent onscreen. The copter crashes onto its side, tipping the blades into the water and instantly filling the screen with water spray. And that’s it. No heads, no bodies, no blood. Whatever happened to Morrow and the two children was hidden by the water spray.