JFK 50th: Nation pauses to remember lost president

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THE MOST FAMOUS FILM IN HISTORY

It’s only 6 feet long, and quite narrow. The fewer than 500 images take just 26 seconds to run through a projector. But the home movie made by Abraham Zapruder with his Bell & Howell camera may just be the most famous film in history.

Shot while Zapruder was standing on a 4-foot-high concrete pedestal on the “grassy knoll,” the silent Double 8-millimeter Kodachrome II color film recorded the progress of JFK’s Lincoln limousine at an average speed of 18.3 frames per second.

Zapruder told the Warren Commission he thought the popping noises he heard in the background while filming were part of some joke. “Then I saw his head opened up,” he said.

Zapruder had three copies made, two of which he gave to the Secret Service and FBI and one to Life Magazine. The publication paid Zapruder a total of $150,000 for the rights to the film, which they returned to the family in 1975. Today, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas owns the copyright and the original camera print is stored at a National Archives facility in Maryland.

It was opened from its protective can for its first inspection in 11 years in October, and National Archives and Research Association spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman told the AP, “The reel is in excellent condition, has retained the vivid color typical of Kodachrome and does not exhibit signs of physical deterioration.”

— Reported by Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C.

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1:11 P.M. CST: The Associated Press published a series of “bulletin” and “flash” stories on Nov. 22, 1963, in covering Kennedy’s assassination. The following was sent at 1:11 p.m. Central Standard Time.

BULLETIN

PRESIDENT KENNEDY WAS GIVEN BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS TODAY AT PARKLAND HOSPITAL IN AN EFFORT TO SAVE HIS LIFE AFTER HE AND GOV. JOHN CONNALLY OF TEXAS WERE SHOT IN AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.

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MEMORY OF KENNEDY: PRIME MINISTER OF IRELAND ENDA KENNY, 62, DUBLIN

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was just 12 years old, studying his Latin homework, when his older brother walked into the family living room in Castlebar, County Mayo, to tell him the American president had been assassinated.

“Immediately the enormity of what had happened was apparent to me,'” Kenny told The Associated Press in a statement.

The news came as a particular shock to Ireland, which celebrated Kennedy as the nation’s most successful emigrant story — his great-grandfather had emigrated from Ireland to Boston in 1848 at the height of Ireland’s potato famine, which killed an estimated 1 million and forced 2 million more to leave for Britain and North America.

Many Irish households displayed a portrait of Kennedy beside the Pope on their living room walls.

Kennedy spent five days touring Ireland in June 1963 and received a phenomenal reception; he pledged to return the following spring.

Kenny’s mother, Eithne, had traveled to Dublin to attend a garden party with Kennedy and Kenny remembered she returned to Mayo gushing with excitement.

“Hearing of JFK’s premature and violent death was a profoundly sad moment for those old enough to remember it,” Kenny said. “But it also had a collective effect on the country as a whole and is seared onto the Irish national consciousness in a way few other events are.”

— Reported by Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin.

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