Stuntman Gets Big Paycheck For Authentic Crash Landing Scene In ‘Twelve O’clock High’
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No CGI Needed
CGI wasn’t a thing in the 1940s. Back then, if you needed to film a plane crash, you better hope Paul Mantz is available.
The 1949 war/action film, ‘Twelve O’Clock High’, featured a memorable B-17 plane crash during the early stages of the movie. Impressively, this was not done through special effects but was instead done by renowned stunt pilot Paul Mantz.
The USAF was reluctant to provide a B-17 for them, but the filmmakers pulled some strings, and eventually, one of the “slightly radioactive” ex-drone B-17Gs was allocated. They removed the ball turret to avoid causing structural damage to the fuselage before filming at Ozark Field on May 12, 1949.
For doing the stunt, Mantz received a substantial payment of $4,500 – which would amount to $53,600 today. It’s also worth mentioning that the payment Mantz received for this stunt was the largest amount ever given to a stuntman for a single stunt up until the 1970s.