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Thread: Early print reports of the Zapruder film and its contents

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    Default Early print reports of the Zapruder film and its contents

    1) Staff Special, “Dallas Man Films Movie of Shooting,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, (morning edition), November 23, 1963, section 1, p.10

    Dallas, Nov. 22 – One of the very few – perhaps two – pictures of the President’s assassination here Friday was in the possession of a business man who was isolated with the FBI here Friday night.

    Abraham Zapruder, owner of a dress factory at the intersection near where the tragic shooting occurred, photographed the incident with his movie camera.

    Zapruder, who remained in communicado from shortly after the occurrence, had filmed the assassination attack from near the scene, persons close to him said.

    As far as the crush of reporters covering the tragedy knew, there was only one still photograph actually showing Kennedy slumped over, a Polaroid camera picture taken by a young woman. She allowed the print to be shown on a television account of the assassination.

    Zapruder's office told the Star-Telegram he was out of the office all afternoon with the FBI. His wife confirmed late Friday night that he was still with the agents.
    2) “Photographer Sells Pictures of Assassination for $25,000,” Dallas Morning News, November 24, 1963, p.?

    President Kennedy flinches as the first shot strikes him.

    Mrs. Kennedy takes her husband in her arms.

    The second shot strikes the President in the side of his head, toward the back. His head becomes a blur.

    Mrs. Kennedy crawls out over the trunk compartment in the rear of the car trying to escape the line of fire. Her husband slumps to the floor. A Secret Service agent runs to aid Mrs. Kennedy.

    This historic picture of the assassination of President Kennedy is recorded on 8-millimeter color movie film shot by Abraham Zapruder, dress manufacturer of 3909 Marquette.

    Perched on a concrete pillar in a plaza a few feet away, Zapruder took perfect pictures of a terrible tragedy.

    Saturday, Dick Strobel of the Associated Press, Los Angeles; Jack Klinge of United Press International, Dallas, and Dick Strolle, Los Angeles representative of Life Magazine, negotiated with Zapruder for still picture rights to his film.

    Rights finally were sold to Life for more than $25,000, Zapruder told one of the other men who were bidding for the film.
    3) Richard J. H. Johnston, “Movie Amateur Filmed Attack; Sequence Is Sold to Magazine” New York Times, November 24, 1963, p.5

    An amateur movie camera enthusiast in Dallas recorded a 15-second close-up sequence showing the actual impact of the assassin’s fire on President Kennedy.

    The 8-millimeter film clip in color was sold by the photographer, Abraham Zapruder, for about $40,000 to Time-Life, Inc.

    Life magazine will publish the pictures in its issue dated Friday, Nov. 29. The issue will be on the streets next Tuesday.

    The editors said that time limitations did not permit reproduction in color. The pictures will be printed in black and white.

    Mr. Zapruder, president of Jennifer Juniors, Inc., a dress shop in downtown Dallas, declined yesterday in a telephone conversation, to discuss the film or the arrangement for its sale.

    A secretary to Mr. Zapruder, speaking from the offices of the dress shop, said that the Secret Service had sent agents to examine Mr. Zapruder’s film and had permitted him to keep or sell it.

    The film was developed Friday night. Time-Life editors said yesterday that it had been studied by their Dallas representatives, who were authorized to make the purchase. The film was sent by air to the Chicago laboratories of the magazine.

    From a description give by the Life representative in Dallas, the editors said, it appears that the pictures were taken with a telephoto lens.

    Mr. Zapruder’s secretary said that Mr. Zapruder was “one of hundreds” who were taking pictures of the Presidential motorcade.

    Life editors here said that they were unable last night to give precise details as to what the film showed, but that they were assured that it depicted the impact of the bullets that struck Mr. Kennedy.

    The photographic department of The Associated Press in New York acknowledged late yesterday that the AP had bid for the pictures but that Mr. Zapruder had sold the film to Time-Life, Inc. A spokesman said he understood the price was in the vicinity of $40,000.

    Mr. Zapruder’s secretary would neither confirm nor deny the figure, nor would Time-Life spokesmen discuss it. The AP spokesman, however, said the figure was “well over $25,000 and close to $40,000.”
    (4)Moscow TASS International Service in English 1519 GMT 25 November 1963—L

    (Text) Moscow--Tonight millions of televiewers could see sequences from a documentary showing the tragic death of U.S. President John Kennedy. The last speech of the President at a reception in Houston and his arrival at the airport in Dallas were shown. The televiewers could see how the car with John Kennedy was moving among the crowds that gathered in the street.

    The cameramen also filmed the very moment of the villainous assassination.

    The program included a story by one of the eyewitnesses who, with his small son, was only five meters away from the President when the latter was killed.

    The televiewers also saw Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin, at the moment he was shot by Jack Ruby.

    The televiewers could also see how the members of the U.N. General Assembly observed a minute's silence in tribute to the memory of the American President, and how the coffin with his body was brought to Washington. New President of the United States Lyndon Johnson was shown making his first address to the American people.
    5) UPI, “Film Showing Assassination Is Released,” The Valley Independent, (Monessen, Pennsylvania), Tuesday, November 26, 1963, p.5

    NEW YORK (UPI) — United Press International Newsfilm early today was first on the air with exclusive film showing the assassination of President Kennedy.

    The film is 16mm enlarged from 8mm. It was shown on a New York City television station.

    The sequence, shot by an amateur photographer in Dallas Friday, begins with motorcycle police coming around the corner followed by the Kennedy motorcade.

    The President is then seen leaning over when the bullets strike. Mrs. Kennedy puts her right arm around the President and he slumps out of view. The film then shows a Secret Service agent running toward the car.

    The film was shown in slow motion and also stopped at key points in the assassination. The scene was shown four times at different speeds and under different magnifications.

    Copies have been rushed to United Press Newsfilm clients all over the world.
    6) AP, "Movie Film Depicts Shooting of Kennedy,” Milwaukee Journal, November 26, 1963, part 1, p.3

    Dallas, Tex.-AP - A strip of color movie film graphically depicting the assassination of President Kennedy was made by a Dallas clothing manufacturer with an 8 millimeter camera.

    Several persons in Dallas who have seen the film, which lasts about 15 seconds, say it clearly shows how the president was hit in the head with shattering force by the second of two bullets fired by the assassin.

    Life magazine reportedly purchased still picture rights to the material for about $40,000.

    ("The film also was being distributed by United Press International Newsfilms to subscribing stations. WITI-TV in Milwaukee is a subscriber, but will reserve judgment on whether to show the film until after its officials have viewed it.")

    This is what the film by Abe Zapruder is reported to show:

    First the presidential limousine is coming toward the camera. As it comes abreast of the photographer, Mr. Kennedy is hit by the first bullet, apparently in the neck. He turns toward his wife Jacqueline, seated at his left, and she quickly begins to put her hands around his head.

    At the same time, Texas Gov. John Connally, riding directly in front of the president, turns around to see what has happened.

    Then Mr. Kennedy is hit on the upper right side of the back of his head with violent force. His head goes forward and then snaps back, and he slumps down on the seat.

    At this time, Gov. Connolly is wounded and drops forward on his seat.

    Mrs. Kennedy then jumps up and crawls across the back deck of the limousine, apparently seeking the aid of a secret service man who has been trotting behind the slowly moving vehicle. He jumps onto the car and shoves Mrs. Kennedy back into the seat. Then he orders the driver to speed to the hospital where the president died.

    The elapsed time from the moment when Mr. Kennedy is first struck until the car disappears in an underpass is about five seconds."
    7) UPI (London), “World Press Raises Doubts About Assassination Case,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 November 1963, p.4A

    …The Milan newspaper Corriere Lombardo…referred to a movie of the actual shooting and said it showed that “not more than five seconds elapsed from the moment Kennedy was shot and the moment his car sped away.”
    8) AP (Dallas), “Amateur captures death shot,” The Province (Vancouver, BC), 26 November 1963, p.1

    A strip of color movie film showing the assassination of President Kennedy was made by a Dallas clothing manufacturer with an eight millimetre camera.

    Several persons in Dallas who have seen the film sat it clearly shows how the president was hit in the head with shattering force by the second of two bullets fired by the assassin.

    Life magazine is reported to have purchased still picture rights to the material for about $40,000.

    The film, made by Abe Zapruder, is reported to show how, as the presidential limousine comes abreast of the photographer, Kennedy is hit by the first bullet, apparently in the neck.

    Then Kennedy is hit on the upper right side of the back of his head with violent force.
    9) Express Staff Reporter (New York, Monday), “The Man Who Got the Historic Pictures,” Daily Express, Tuesday, 26 November 1963, p.10

    Amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder, owner of a Dallas dress manufacturing business, took the assassination pictures in 8mm colour with a normal lens.

    When Mr. Zapruder went to work on Friday he had no intention of watching President Kennedy drive through Dallas. So he left at home his new camera. But his secretary urged Mr. Zapruder to go out and take movies.


    He was not very keen, but she pressed him and he drove home to collect his camera.
    He returned to the route and took up a position overlooking the road standing on a concrete parapet eight feet above the pavement.

    When the procession came into sight he began filming. Just before the President’s car got to him he heard the rifle shots and saw that Kennedy was hit.


    Zapruder said that he stood absolutely transfixed. He knew what was happening and yet he continued to go on filming.

    He remembers screaming: “My God! He’s dead!”

    Zapruder was in a state of complete shock. He remembers going back to the office, but for a while he was not really aware of what he had recorded. But when the film was hurriedly processed and when he had screened it on Friday evening, he realised its importance and value.

    The secret service sent agents to examine the film and permitted him to keep it.

    C 1963 Life Magazine Time Incorporated. All rights reserved.

    On same page, 4 stills from Z-film; on opposite, a further 7.
    10) UPI (Dallas), “Movie Film Shows Murder of President,” Philadelphia Daily News, Tuesday, 26 November 1963, p.3 (4 star edition)

    An amateur photographer shot an 8-MM movie film that clearly shows, step-by-step, the assassination of President Kennedy.

    The film was made by Abraham Zapruder, a Dallas dress manufacturer. He is selling rights to the film privately. It has been seen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and representatives of the news media.

    It is seven feet long, 35 seconds in colour, a bit jumpy but clear.

    It opens as the Kennedy motorcade rounds the corner from Houston Street and turns into Elm Street.

    Then it picks up the President’s car and follows it down toward the underpass. Suddenly, in the film, Kennedy is seen to jerk. It is the first shot.

    Mrs. Kennedy turns, puts her arms around him. A second later, the second shot. The President’s head becomes a blur on the film, lunged forward and up. The second bullet has torn into the back of his head.

    He rolls towards Mrs. Kennedy and disappears from sight. Mrs. Kennedy lurches onto the flat trunk deck of the Presidential car as a Secret Service man races to their aid. She is on her hands and knees. She reaches for him. He leaps up on the bumper. She pulls him up on the bumper or he pushes her back as the film ends.

    Other films show the car never stopped, but raced to the Parkland Memorial Hospital with Mrs. Kennedy cradling the President.
    11) UPI (Dallas), “Movie Film Shows Murder of President,” Philadelphia Daily News, Tuesday, 26 November 1963, p.3 (4 & 8 star edition)

    On page 1, under the headline “Man Who Came to See JFK Makes Tragic Movie,” there is the following blurb above 4 stills: “These dramatic pictures are from an 8mm ‘home movie’ reel, shot by Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder who went to see President Kennedy ride through cheering throngs in Texas city. His camera recorded one of the most tragic moments in American history. Story page 3.”

    Below are 4 stills from…the Muchmore film!
    12) Arthur J. Snider (Chicago Daily News Service), “Movies Reconstruct Tragedy,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, (Evening edition), November 27, 1963, section 2, p.1

    Chicago, Nov. 27 – With the aid of movies taken by an amateur, it is possible to reconstruct to some extent the horrifying moments in the assassination of President Kennedy.

    As the fateful car rounded the turn and moved into the curving parkway, the President rolled his head to the right, smiling and waving.

    At that instant, about 12:30 p.m., the sniper, peering through a four-power telescope sight, fired his cheap rifle.

    The 6.5 mm bullet – about .25 caliber – pierced the President’s neck just below the Adam’s apple. It took a downward course.

    “If you were wearing a bow tie, the position is just about where the knot is,” said a Dallas neurosurgeon who saw the wound.

    The President clutched his throat for a bewildered instant, then began to sag.
    A second blast from the high-powered rifle ripped into the right rear of his head at about a 4 o 'clock position.

    It was a violent wound. As a motorcycle officer described it: “It just seemed as if his head opened up.”

    The President swerved to his left and collapsed into the arms of his wife.

    Mrs. Kennedy climbed onto the trunk to beseech aid from a Secret Service man. The President slumped against her leg, bloodying her skirt and stocking.

    Meanwhile, Gov. John Connally had turned to see what happened. A third shot rang out.

    It struck the governor in the back. The bullet was deflected to his right wrist and lodged in his left thigh. A fragment of rib, fractured by the bullet, punctured a lung.

    Sequence pictures of the tragedy were taken by an amateur Dallas photographer and were purchased by Life Magazine. They were published in this week’s Life.

    They serve to deny a rumor that the President may have sustained the throat wound from a shot fired at ground level.

    They also indicate the President was shot first. It had been conjectured by some that Connally was the prime target.

    Identification of two points of entry, the throat and the skull, was made by Dr. Kemp Clark, neurosurgeon, and Dr. Tom Shires, chief of surgery at Parkland Hospital.

    They said neither bullet was recovered in the hospital emergency room. One bullet was said to have emerged from the left temple.

    If any bullets were lodged in the body, they would have been removed at an autopsy in the Bethesda Navy Hospital, where the President’s body was taken immediately on the return to Washington.

    White House Assistant Press Secretary, asked if an autopsy had been performed, said: “The question has been deferred for reply later.”

    Officials at Bethesda Naval Hospital declined to comment.

    Medical personnel at Parkland Hospital said, however, that a post-mortem examination was performed at Bethesda but no report had yet been received there.

    Pathologists in Chicago also expressed the “virtual certainty” that an autopsy was performed.

    “It would have been necessary for medical-legal reasons,” one said. “In a trial for murder, it is necessary to state in court how death came about, whether by massive haemorrhage , cell destruction, or whatever.”

    “Permission from the family is not needed, although in this case it might have been sought.”
    13) John Herbers, “Kennedy Struck by Two Bullets, Doctor Who Attended Him Says,” New York Times, November 27, 1963, p.20

    “…The known facts about the bullets, and the position of the assassin, suggested that he started shooting as the President’s car was coming toward him, swung his rifle in an arc of almost 180 degrees and fired at least twice more.

    A rifle like the one that killed President Kennedy might be able to fire three shots in two seconds, a gun expert indicated after tests.

    A strip of color movie film taken by a Dallas clothing manufacturer with an 8-mm camera tends to support this sequence of events.

    The film covers about a 15-second period. As the President’s car come abreast of the photographer, the President was struck in the front of the neck. The President turned toward Mrs. Kennedy as she began to put her hands around his head.

    Connally Turns Around

    At the same time, Governor Connally, riding in front of the President, turned round to see what had happened. Then the President was struck on the head. His head went forward, then snapped back, as he slumped in his seat. At that time, Governor Connally was wounded.

    The elapsed time from the moment Mr. Kennedy was first struck until the car disappeared in an underpass was five seconds.”
    14) Richard K. Doan, “Now the Task of Righting Upset Schedules,” New York Herald Tribune, 27 November 1963, section 1, p.21

    “WNEW-TV (Channel 5) claimed it was the first TV station in the country to televise an amateur photographer’s film footage of President Kennedy’s assassination. The film was distributed by United Press International and aired by Channel 5 at 12:46 a.m. yesterday.”
    15) Rick Freedman, “Pictures of Assassination Fall to Amateurs on Street,” Editor & Publisher, November 30, 1963, pp.16,17 & 67

    $40,000 Film Clip

    “…It was an amateur movie camera enthusiast in Dallas who recorded a 25-second close-up sequence showing the actual impact of the assassin’s fire on President Kennedy.

    Abraham Zapruder, president of a dress shop in Dallas, sold the 8-millimeter color film clip to Time-Life Inc. for about $40,000. Life editors said that deadline limitations did not permit reproduction in color and the pictures were printed in black and white.

    Harry McCormick, police reporter of the Dallas Morning News, rushed to the scene of the assassination. He found Abe Zapruder , who said he had taken movies. Seeing a Secret Serviceman he knew, McCormick tried to get the films confiscated, hoping thus they might become public property. Zapruder refused to give them up, and with the S.S. man and McCormick went to the Eastman Kodak plant were the films were processed.

    Others by now had heard about the film. Spirited bidding for the rights started McCormick went up to $1,000 for one of the still frames. It showed that terrible second when the bullet hit the President’s head. Time outbid everyone and gained rights to the film.

    ‘In Zapruder’s room he has a placard on the wall with “Think” but that word is marked out by “Scheme,”’ McCormick said.

    ‘I’m going to get me one like it,’ the reported remarked.

    The picture sequence ran as a four-page spread in Life’s Nov. 29 issue, which came out Nov.26. Taken from about 40 feet away with a normal lens, according to Life, most of the sequence is slightly dark and out-of-focus. But it does show in dramatic fashion the entire fatal few seconds – the President and Mrs. Kennedy riding in the car, the President getting hit, Governor Connally getting hit, Mrs. Kennedy cradling the fallen Chief Executive in her arms, and Mrs. Kennedy jumping up to help a Secret Service man into the President’s limousine.”

    Later in the same piece, we find the following description of an untitled/unattributed film shown presumably on Tuesday, 26 November:

    “By Tuesday, numerous pictures, both still and movie, were being offered to news media. At least one television station was besieged with protests after it had shown scenes of the President’s motorcade at the moment of the shooting. Many viewers considered them to be too gruesome.”
    16) “The Man Who Killed Kennedy,” Time, December 6, 1963, p.29

    The Murder

    “…At 12:31 the President’s Lincoln limousine passed by at a speed of 12 to 15 m.p.h. In the car, Texas Governor Connally, who was seated directly in front of Kennedy, heard a shot. ‘I turned to my right,’ he recalled later, from his hospital bed. ‘The President had slumped…Then I was hit, and I knew I’d been hit badly. I thought, my God, they’re going to kill us all.’

    What actually happened was made horrifyingly clear in color films taken by Abraham Zapruder, a Dallas clothing manufacturer and an amateur movieman. The strip runs for about 20 seconds – an eternity of history. Kennedy was waving to a friendly crowd. Then came the first shot, and he clutched at his throat with both hands. Connally turned around, raised his right hand toward the President, then fell backward into his wife’s lap as the second shot struck him. The third shot, all too literally, exploded in Kennedy’s head. In less than an instant, Jackie was up, climbing back over the trunk of the car, seeking help. She reached out her right hand, caught the hand of a Secret Service man who was running to catch up, and in one desperate tug pulled him aboard. Then, in less time than it takes to tell it, she was back cradling her husband’s head in her lap.”
    17) “As Warren Inquiry Starts – Latest on the assassination,” U.S. News & World Report, 30 December 1963, pp.29-30

    News films of the shooting remove any doubt the actual sequence of events.

    United Press International, on December 16, gave this account of what happened in and around the Kennedy car, based on study of UPI news film:

    Here comes the shiny blue Lincoln, closely followed by the ‘Queen Mary,’ the limousine carrying Secret Service agents.

    The first shot. Mrs. Kennedy, smiling and waving in her bright pink suit and bright pink pillbox hat, abruptly leans toward her husband, seated on her right in the back seat.

    Another shot. Governor John B. Connally…is hit. He raises up and falls toward Mrs. Connally. She is facing the First Lady. Mrs. Connally leans toward the Governor.

    Clint Hill, a Secret Service man on the left running board of the ‘Queen Mary,’ sees it. He is running ahead. The ‘Queen Mary’ almost hits him as he cuts in front.

    The third shot. The President’s head snaps to the left. His hair flies up. Mrs. Kennedy leans closer toward him. Her right arm swings protectively around him.

    Hill is at the rear of the car now, clutching. His groping left foot misses the foothold built into the rear of the limousine. He slips and is running behind the car, clinging to it. Four, five, six great steps, he hopes to keep up as the car picks up speed with a rush.

    Mrs. Kennedy wheels to her right.

    She sees Hill is not aboard. Mrs. Kennedy’s arm lifts up from around her husband. She spins up and out, onto the truck. She is on all fours, right hand out to Hill.

    Their arms link. He is on the trunk now. The car is speeding off, pressing both of them back. He is on the trunk now and pushing her back to the seat.

    These and other films, plus FBI studies of bullet trajectories and other evidence, are conclusive on several basic points as far as officials are concerned.

    • The three shots came from one place and one rifle, regardless of skepticism about one man’s ability to fire so many shots so fast.
    • The marksmanship involved was not uncanny. For a trained rifleman who had been practicing, the moving targets in the presidential car did not pose great difficulties, in the FBI’s opinion. Oswald got his basic training in the Marine Corps. After he left the Marines he continued target shooting with rifles. Witnesses have placed Oswald at a rifle range near Dallas where he was practicing shooting before the assassination.
    • The presidential car was moving slowly enough for one rifleman to keep it in his field of fire during the time involved. Much has been made of differing press accounts that put the speed of the car as high as 25 miles per hour and as low as 12 miles an hour.

    The motorcade had slowed for a turn just before the shooting began, and the occasion was similar to a political campaign parade, with maximum exposure of the President and Governor Connally to the public as a goal.

    Who was the target?

    One point not subject to conclusive proof, apparently, is whether the assassin intended to hit only the President, or Governor Connally, or whether he was aiming for both.

    After seeing films, which clearly show Mr. Kennedy making only a clutching movement toward his throat when the first bullet struck him[/b], some officials incline to the view that the assassin thought his first shot has missed Mr. Kennedy, and that he fired twice more, hitting Governor Connally by accident.

  2. Default

    thanks for the recap, Paul

  3. #3


    It's amazing how many in the press saw this and even reported the backward head motion yet still held to the WC lie. Idiots? No controlled. Soulless bastards.


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