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PHILADELPHIA-Jim Nealey really knows how to time a shoot.

The VP-group creative director for Foote, Cone & Belding's office here flew to Los Angeles Jan. 16 to start shooting Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages TV spots featuring actor James Earl Jones. The quake early the next morning, of course, changed those plans.

It wasn't the first time Mr. Nealey has had to change plans. He was also in Los Angeles, slated to begin shooting commercials for the same account, in June 1992 when the Landers earthquake hit. That quake rated 7.6 on the Richter scale, with an epicenter 110 miles northeast of Los Angeles. During last week's temblor, Mr. Nealey was at the Westwood Marquis, about 15 miles from the epicenter.

"I've got to get off this account," Mr. Nealey joked to office mates when he phoned to say he was OK.

"I usually get up about 5 to make calls to the East Coast. But [the earthquake] was my wake-up call," he said. "It was terrifying .*.*. I thought this was going to be my last job. I thought, `This is it.' I thought the hotel would be a pancake and my wife would see the clips on CNN. They said it lasted 30 seconds, but it's a lifetime when that is happening."

"Gee whiz, maybe I'll take a hiatus from coming out on the West Coast for a while," he quipped.

As for the Bell Atlantic spots, "We will crunch our schedule and do it as planned."

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