NBC Won't Do TV Show on San Ysidro Massacre

Times Staff Writer

Following a storm of protest, NBC-TV has decided not to pursue a proposed four-hour miniseries about last year's massacre of 21 people at a McDonald's restaurant here.

NBC spokesman Gene Walsh said Thursday that "approximately 100 movie projects in development for the 1985-86 season have been reviewed, and several have been terminated, including the San Ysidro project."

Walsh would not elaborate, but one network source commented: "We don't have blinders on here," indicating that NBC executives were aware of local opposition to the project.

The miniseries was being planned by Los Angeles producers Larry Spivey and Harry Sherman, who have enlisted as a consultant Etna Huberty, the widow of the slain gunman, James Oliver Huberty. On July 18, 1984, Huberty entered the San Ysidro McDonald's and, armed with a variety of guns, committed the worst single-incident mass slaying in U.S. history before he was shot to death by San Diego police.

News that the miniseries was to be filmed on location in San Ysidro prompted a strong community outcry. Survivors of the shooting, their friends and relatives expressed concern that the miniseries would exploit the victims and needlessly force the community to relive the tragedy.

On Thursday night, Spivey addressed about 60 San Ysidro residents at a Roman Catholic church. As an interpreter translated his words into Spanish, Spivey asked the crowd to "see me as a friend" and told them that NBC had dropped the film proposal.

"What happens to the story of San Ysidro is in your hands," he said. "The film will not be made if one of you has a problem with it."

Spivey said he would continue to pursue "the possibility of telling the story . . . in a constructive and positive manner."

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