kottke.org posts about John F. Kennedy
I linked to a stabilized version of the Zapruder film of JFK's assassination a few years ago but Antony Davison has made a version that presents the whole film in panoramic HD, resulting in an amazingly clear representation of the event.
Errol Morris and Tink Thompson share an obsession about the nature of photographic evidence. In a short film for the NY Times, Morris talks to Thompson about the photographic and filmic evidence of the JFK assassination, which Thompson has been investigating on and off since 1963.
Interesting that 1) there exists much more photographic evidence of the assassination than is commonly shown/known, and 2) Thompson very much has a theory of what the evidence shows but Morris doesn't spill those particular beans:
Is there a lesson to be learned? Yes, to never give up trying to uncover the truth. Despite all the difficulties, what happened in Dallas happened in one way rather than another. It may have been hopelessly obscured, but it was not obliterated. Tink still believes in answers, and in this instance, an answer. He is completing a sequel to "Six Seconds" called "Last Second in Dallas." Like its predecessor, this book is clearly reasoned and convincing. Of course, there will be people who will be unmoved by his or any other account.
See also Morris' previous short film featuring Thompson & the assassination, The Umbrella Man.
Alex Pasternack goes long on the Zapruder film for Motherboard.
Dan Rather, a very young Dan Rather, whose career was about to be minted, was CBS's Dallas bureau chief at the time. He called New York, asked for Don Hewitt, and told him that "a guy named Zapruder was supposed to have film of the assassination and was going to put it up for sale." Exactly how interested was Walter Cronkite's evening news program? Hewitt, the show's executive producer-and the long-time producer of 60 Minutes-insisted it was very interested, and quickly decided the best approach would require a bit of, well, courage.
"In my desire to get a hold of what was probably the most dramatic piece of news footage ever shot," Hewett wrote, "I told Rather to go to Zapruder's house, sock him in the jaw, take his film to our affiliate in Dallas, copy it onto videotape, and let the CBS lawyers decide whether it could be sold or whether it was in the public domain. And then take the film back to Zapruder's house and give it back to him. That way, the only thing they could get him for was assault because he would have returned Zapruder's property. Rather said, 'Great idea. I'll do it.'
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In commemoration of the event, the JFK Presidential Library & Museum presents Clouds Over Cuba, a tense and engaging presentation on the Crisis and, even more strikingly, a dramatization on what might have happened had things gone differently. This is really well done and worth taking 10-15 minutes to watch/listen. (via @alexismadrigal)
On the 48th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, Errol Morris talks to Tink Thompson about "The Umbrella Man", a gentleman who was pictured in the Zapruder film standing with an open umbrella near where Kennedy was shot on a sunny day. The result is a nifty six-minute film.
For years, I've wanted to make a movie about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Not because I thought I could prove that it was a conspiracy, or that I could prove it was a lone gunman, but because I believe that by looking at the assassination, we can learn a lot about the nature of investigation and evidence. Why, after 48 years, are people still quarreling and quibbling about this case? What is it about this case that has led not to a solution, but to the endless proliferation of possible solutions?
The Updike piece from the New Yorker is available here (subscribers only, but the abstract is informative):
For example, "the umbrella man": though the day was clear and blowy, he can be detected, in photographs, standing on the curb just about where the assassination would in a few seconds occur, holding a black umbrella above him; seconds later he is again photographed, walking away, gazing tranquilly at the scramble of horrified spectators. His umbrella is now furled. Who was he? Where is he now?
The film pairs nicely with Morris' recent interview of Stephen King about the latter's new novel based on the Kennedy assassination.
From The Living Room Candidate, a site which houses presidential campaign commercials from 1952-present, comes a 1960 commercial for John F. Kennedy. How the ad positions Kennedy reminds me of the delicate fusion that Barack Obama is attempting with his relative newness to politics and readiness for the job.
Do you want a man for President who's seasoned through and through but not so doggoned seasoned that he won't try something new? A man who's old enough to know and young enough to do...
What a great ad...I wish they still made 'em like this. You may remember seeing this on Mad Men.
How could Oswald have fired three shots in such a short time in assassinating John F. Kennedy? Max Holland and Johann Rush suggest that a misunderstanding of the Zapruder footage is to blame.
If this belated revelation changes nothing from one perspective -- Oswald still did it -- it simultaneously changes everything, if only because it disrupts the state of mind of everyone who has ever been transfixed by the Zapruder film. The film, we realize, does not depict an assassination about to commence. It shows one that had already started.
Stabilized version of the Zapruder film of the Kennedy Assassination. Stabilized means the camera movement has been digitally edited out...the video is super-clear now.