Everyone, it seems, had dramatic stories from the Northridge quake. Douglas Urbanski, manager to actor Gary Oldman, had one of the most compelling.
Urbanski and Oldman were on the set of Warner Bros.’ feature “Murder in the First,” which was in the midst of filming at 4:30 a.m. Monday at Triscenic Studios in Sylmar, close to the epicenter of the 6.6 Northridge quake that rolled through a minute later.
“It was horrific,” Urbanski said. “The building moved 20 feet to the right and then 20 feet to the left.”
Urbanski was the most seriously injured when he fell, shattering and dislocating his elbow and breaking his arm.
People on the set reported that most of the cast and crew were thrown to the ground as huge pieces of lighting equipment either swayed overhead or fell. However, no actors were injured.
Triscenic was still being inspected for structural damage on Wednesday. The courtroom set, used on pix “Body of Evidence” and “A Few Good Men,” held up very well, said the film’s publicist, Jeanmarie Murphy-Burke.
Paramedics took Urbanski to Olive View Hospital, about a mile from the set. Olive View was one of a handful of Southland hospitals to suffer serious structural damage.
“They were operating on people in the parking lot,” Urbanski said. “It was like a war zone. The ground did not stop shaking, and we were next to this hospital that was creaking and groaning.”
Doctors told Urbanski that they could not do much for him for several hours. Police refused to let him leave.
When a doctor convinced police Urbanski might be better served elsewhere, a good Samaritan drove him to the set; from there, a Teamster offered to drive him to Cedars-Sinai in West Hollywood.
“It took us two hours to find a way back to West L.A. that had not been affected,” Urbanski said.
Six hours after the quake, Urbanski was finally admitted to the hospitaland given medical attention.