There was The Ancient One this morning, sitting in seat #2 in the jury box in a courtroom . . . on the set of TV series Boston Legal at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, CA. The witness being questioned had just made an "earth shaking" response to a question from one of the defense attorneys. And the room began to shake. Silence for a moment. Then the actress in the witness chair shouted, "What's going on?" A crew member calmly responded, "An earthquake." Designated crew members ushered us out of the studio in an orderly fashion. A few minutes later, we were sent off to an early and extended lunch period, only to be readmitted to the sound stage 1½ hours later after a thorough safety inspection.
When we first exited the sound stage, there was little information. Cell phones were on everybody's ears. But circuits were over loaded. The Ancient One tried to call Donna but kept getting error messages. Then his phone rang. It was a call from son Bill in New York. He was calling to see if the California Cohanim were okay. Then he informed me that the quake was reported as being a 5.6 with an epicenter in Chino Hills, about 29 miles from downtown L.A. (and probably 15-20 miles from the studio).
What a curious wonder we discover in our modern technology. After experiencing the shaking of the quake, I learn the details on a mobile phone call from the other side of the country as Bill reports what he is watching CNN.
There is something oddly exciting in going through a quake at a dramatic moment in the filming of an episode of a TV Series on a studio sound stage. When we all returned from lunch and returned to the set, there was this strange feeling that something had changed, that not everybody was as focused on their work as they were in the morning before there was "a whole lot of shaking going on."