I watched the Zapruder film 30 times the other day. Not the entire 26-second clip in its entirety, just focusing on the parts where President John F. Kennedy was visibly hit by bullets. I thought maybe after all these years, I would finally see something I never noticed. I took out a notebook and began writing things down. Before long, I had moved on to several lesser-known but equally important home-movies which documented the assassination in Dealey Plaza, the ones filmed by Marie Muchmore and Orville Nix. These films were shot almost opposite of where Abraham Zapruder was standing, so it helps to paint a more complete picture of what went down that fateful November morning. As I started jotting notes, I started to think to myself, “Why? What am I doing?”, and stopped the research. The reason is that there are just too many books, articles, documentaries and other research projects looking into the conspiracy aspects of the JFK assassination. Could a writing project of mine, if completed, actually add something new to the case? The answer is probably not.
As stated in previous recent articles following my trip to Dallas and visiting Dealey Plaza, I once had a fascination bordering on obsession with the JFK assassination that began in 8th grade and lasted for years after my English teacher did a lesson on it and showed us various film clips. That fascination laid dormant for a little while until now, where I am back in the swing of things. Two weeks away from starting a full-time internship at a school, I doubt I will have any time for such research, so I wanted to post a few things on here.
First of all, I am halfway through a controversial yet landmark documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy. It was initially produced by a company in Great Britain, before the History Channel bought the viewing rights for American television in 1988, when the first two parts were released. Over the years, the network would produce seven more installments: three in 1991, one in 1995, and the final three in 2003. The first six have been released on DVD while the last three are banned from ever being officially released or broadcasted due to lawsuits. It was the ninth episode that ultimately blew the lid off the series, alleging Vice President Lyndon Johnson had an active role in the assassination. It’s not often that work is actually censored in the United States, which certainly stirs the conspiracy pot for those wanting to believe. While some aspects of this documentary have been dis-proven (or perhaps intentionally discredited), it is still an eye-opening series. Even if you do not believe in a conspiracy, it is still well-worth watching for the treasure trove of eyewitness interviews of people who were at Dealey Plaza, and even more in the trauma and autopsy rooms at Parkland Hospital and later Bethesda Naval Hospital. Many more of these people were alive at the time of filming than now, making this series irreplaceable. It has totally captured my attention.
A similar feel and controversy regarding an aging documentary was two years ago, when VEI released the entire In Search Of… series on DVD (140+ episodes). I followed it closely because I couldn’t wait to buy the set. The show ran from 1976-1982, and focused more on paranormal subjects and the earth’s great mysteries than politics. However, on October 4, 1980, they aired an episode about Lee Harvey Oswald, postulating that he was not a shooter at all, and strictly was the patsy he claimed to be. Anyway, when it came time for the release, I remember reading it was delayed several months because the Oswald episode was off-limits. It took a while, but the series was eventually released in its entirety. But why the hold up? Could it be the same forces at work behind the quick snubbing, discrediting, and yanking of the 1973 film Executive Action, the first JFK conspiracy feature film?
Not to go on and on, because I could quite literally sit here for an entire day listing “What if?” scenarios, but its the stuff like that which makes this interesting. On an unrelated note, about three years ago, I was in an antique store and came across the item below: it was a piece of Jack Ruby’s shirt.
At first I thought that it had to be a fake, considering it was only $15. But the more I wondered, the more I realized how 1) Why would someone go through such lengths to fake something that insignificant? and 2) That shirt made thousands of those little swatches, so it is not worth much money-wise,and thus possible it can be sold that cheap. Either way, it’s a fascinating piece. Shortly after purchasing, I found myself teaching a lesson on the JFK assassination to middle school students as part of the History’s Mysteries elective course I was teaching. The kids were absolutely fascinated to watch the clip of him shooting Lee Harvey Oswald and then getting a chance to hold a piece of his shirt that may have been worn at the time. Ruby had only two such white shirts, and was wearing one when he killed Oswald. Could my piece be from that one? That, a condensed 1964 Associated Press edition of the Warren Report, and an original copy of the November 1964 Life Magazine article explaining the newly released Warren Report (the article is by Gerald Ford himself) and showing still photos of the Zapruder Film (I believe for the first time) are all I own relating to the assassination, in a house filled with historical artifacts and collectibles.
I wish I had time to crank out a few more articles. The list of potential topics is endless. I believe it was photo analyst and author Robert Groden who said in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, “Every time a question is answered, ten more pop up.” Ain’t that the truth.
Additional articles I have written on my recent visit to Dallas: A Trip to Dealey Plaza and Visiting Dealey Plaza will Leave You More Confused About JFK Conspiracies.