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A New Look at the JFK Assassination
TV Guide ^ | 10/9/2009 | Michael Logan

Posted on 10/11/2009 5:14:51 PM PDT by mlo

Is there anything left to be said—or seen—when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? Just you wait. JFK: 3 Shots That Changed America, a two-part, four-hour special airing on History [Sunday, October 11, 9/8c and Monday, October 12, 9/8c] takes viewers back to November 22, 1963 and tells the story via a timeline using only archival news footage, much of which will be new even to assassination buffs. There is no narration (sorry, Peter Coyote). There are no talking heads. The project’s exec producers Nicole Rittenmeyer and Seth Skundrick used a similar technique in last year’s 9/11-themed special 102 Minutes That Changed America on History, which went on to win three Emmys. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Rittenmeyer about her so-retro-its-radical approach to the JFK tragedy.

JFK: 3 Shots That Changed America unfolds like a gripping, interactive thriller—all the more amazing considering we all know how things turned out. Watching it, you can’t help but feel that today’s documentary makers take the easy way out by relying too much on narration and experts to do the storytelling. It’s hard for me to watch documentaries with voiceover now, for that very reason. There’s a relief in not being told what to think by a narrator. When the audience is busy listening to what’s being said, and processing what they’re being told, a documentary can become like wallpaper. Without narration, there’s a whole different level of appreciation.

But much tougher to pull off, right? Listen, there were a couple of times when we were like, “God, if we could just write a couple of sentences to help us [bridge the missing material]. It would be soo much easier!” But when you don’t rely on a script to fill in the blanks, it forces you to beat the bushes and find more interesting footage. The JFK assassination was not like 9/11 where we have a video record of almost every second. But we did the best we could.

Your project really captures America trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. Now we live in such a shocking world, we’re always waiting for the next catastrophe. In 1963, the murder of the President was a very hard thing to grasp. It’s such a cliché to say it was a more naïve or innocent time, but the commonality of the experience is fascinating. The entire world stopped, and that just doesn’t happen anymore, except in the case of 9/11.

You’ve found some surprisingly obscure video and audio material that helps bring a fresh perspective to an overtold story. How’d you score that stuff? The material is there and available at the 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Also CBS is a goldmine of footage. The thing is, when traditional documentaries on the assassination are done they focus on finding video that matches the script they’ve written. They don’t need or want the material we used, like the Dallas talk show that was airing a fashion segment when news of the assassination broke locally. They don’t want the As the World Turns scene and the Nescafe commercial that was airing when CBS reported the news. For our timeline, that material is incredible. It reveals what life was like in America back then.

You rely on TV reports by a slew of anonymous Dallas newsmen, as well as the nationally known Dan Rather, Howard K. Smith, Harry Reasoner and Eric Sevareid to reveal the events of that weekend. What are your thoughts on the evolution of media coverage since JFK’s death? The assassination was the moment that changed TV news coverage forever. What’s interesting is how unbelievably professional and together the reporters were, given what was happening around them. Most of those guys were on air for 48 hours. Only a couple of times do they break down—and of course we include that—but there’s such a consummate professionalism about those old time news guys. I wonder if we’re that good anymore.

Is there a Holy Grail of JFK assassination footage—material you believe is out there somewhere that could change the story as we know it? There may be for 9/11. There is surveillance footage that the CIA and FBI and others swept in and took for their investigations and haven’t released yet. But in 1963, that sort of thing didn’t happen. Still, when you see shots of the crowds at Dealey Plaza there are a lot of people with cameras capable of shooting the assassination from a million different angles. You just know there’s more footage out there. There has to be. Hopefully, it’ll turn up before it disintegrates. Is there footage on the level of the Zapruder film? I don’t know. Perhaps. To this day, new Hitler footage is still turning up.

There are some eerie, prophetic moments early in your film, such as the video of JFK’s last speech given at a Fort Worth breakfast on the morning of the assassination in which he says “This is a very dangerous and uncertain world…” You come across footage like that and the hairs on your arms stand up. And when the boys choir at the breakfast sings “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” it freaks me out no matter how many times I watch it. And you can’t help but get in the action. Every time the guy walks through the Dallas jail holding Oswald’s rifle in his hand you’re like, “Get your fingerprints off that!”

You purposely avoid using some commonly seen material, like footage of the presidential motorcade riding into Dealey Plaza and Walter Cronkite confirming the death of JFK on CBS. What’s up with that? I think that when you start seeing that motorcade, or you see Cronkite take off his glasses and look at the clock, you literally stop engaging because you’ve seen it so often. You kind of shut down. You watch it and go, “I know what this is. I don’t need to participate in it.” Our collaborators at History said, “Everybody wants the Cronkite shot.” But we said “Let’s be cooler than that. Let’s defy that expectation.”


TOPICS: Conspiracy; History; Reference; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: assassination; conspiracy; conspiracytheory; history; jfk; jfkassassination; kennedy; kennedyassassination; kennedyfamily; presidents

1 posted on 10/11/2009 5:14:51 PM PDT by mlo
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To: mlo

He’s dead, Jim.


2 posted on 10/11/2009 5:17:01 PM PDT by PLMerite (Speak Truth to Stupid.)
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To: mlo
Going to watch.

Their 9/11 documentary was really well made.

It's nice to see a new history channel show that isn't about some monster or space aliens that don't exist.
3 posted on 10/11/2009 5:17:50 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: PLMerite

I’m so over the JFK assassination industry.


4 posted on 10/11/2009 5:18:22 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny (ALSO SPRACH ZEROTHUSTRA)
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To: mlo
Is there anything left to be said—or seen—when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

NO.

5 posted on 10/11/2009 5:19:03 PM PDT by jessduntno (Tell Obama to STFU - Stop The Federal Usurpation.)
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To: mlo
The link to the History Channel page for the show: http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=488302
6 posted on 10/11/2009 5:20:18 PM PDT by mlo
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To: mlo

Related story:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2360252/posts


7 posted on 10/11/2009 5:21:54 PM PDT by mlo
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To: mlo

OK, that wasn’t right. :-)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2360251/posts


8 posted on 10/11/2009 5:22:43 PM PDT by mlo
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To: PLMerite

I am only 23. and I have heard older folks made the same point. After 46 years.

Doesn’t it seem like the USA has declines in so many ways since JFK was killed ?

That was an opening for the far left to take over the Democrat party and they did. That was an opening for LBJ to escalate the Vietnam war and he did. That was an opening for a lot of unintended events that happened in the years that would follow.

I think America was at her peak in 1963.

now we are looking more and more like just another weak member of the European Union every day. That is where we are headed at best.


9 posted on 10/11/2009 5:23:46 PM PDT by se_ohio_young_conservative (Palin 2012)
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To: mlo

From TV Guide—need anything more be said? Give it a rest folks.
JUST IN—Michael Jackson was just spotted in Cleveland.


10 posted on 10/11/2009 5:24:37 PM PDT by taillightchaser (When a democrat says "The American people" you know the next words out of his mouth will be lies.)
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To: mlo

I was in a nuke unit in Germany at the time of the assassination and our unit was called out on alert 1 hour before the assassination. I monitored the assassination FLASH on the teletype “Shots fired in Dallas” while setting up our missiles.


11 posted on 10/11/2009 5:33:47 PM PDT by ArtyFO (I love to smoke cigars when I adjust artillery fire at the moonbat loonery.)
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To: mysterio
"monster or space aliens that don't exist"


12 posted on 10/11/2009 5:35:27 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: mlo

I am only 23. and I have heard older folks made the same point. After 46 years.

Doesn’t it seem like the USA has declines in so many ways since JFK was killed ?

That was an opening for the far left to take over the Democrat party and they did. That was an opening for LBJ to escalate the Vietnam war and he did. That was an opening for a lot of unintended events that happened in the years that would follow.

I think America was at her peak in 1963.

now we are looking more and more like just another weak member of the European Union every day. That is where we are headed at best.


13 posted on 10/11/2009 5:38:06 PM PDT by se_ohio_young_conservative (Palin 2012)
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To: mlo
Drag JFK out of the grave for one trip around the block, just one more time...until the next time when Teddy can reminisce about “..Dallas” and then a series about people reminiscing about Teddy reminiscing about JFK and then a series about “where were you?” and then..and then and then ........
14 posted on 10/11/2009 5:40:23 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: JoeProBono

15 posted on 10/11/2009 5:42:41 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: mlo; All
"A New Look at the JFK Assassination"


16 posted on 10/11/2009 5:45:40 PM PDT by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: mlo

I figured something unknown would be revealed after Ted was dead. But I guess not.


17 posted on 10/11/2009 5:47:03 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: se_ohio_young_conservative

>>>I think America was at her peak in 1963

I think a better argument can be made that the turning point was 1960, when an alliance of big city bosses and the Cosa Nostra stole a presidential election putting in place a weak and inexperienced man as president.

When glamor in a politician became more important then competency or integrity. When the Monroe Doctrine still held sway and had not yet been abandoned as the price of de-escalating a nuclear crisis initiated by Soviet leaders relying on the failure of American presidential leadership. And when family dynasties were not the defining characteristic of US presidential politics.


18 posted on 10/11/2009 5:48:50 PM PDT by tlb
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To: Sawdring

I think I recall sometime back hearing that 50 years after JFK’s death information can be released about his death. That would be in 2013


19 posted on 10/11/2009 5:51:12 PM PDT by mware (F-R-E-E, that spells free. Free Republic.com baby.)
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To: mlo

no offense, but there were many more than three shots, so I won’t be viewing this trash


20 posted on 10/11/2009 5:51:47 PM PDT by The Wizard (I support Madame President)
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To: The Wizard
"no offense, but there were many more than three shots, so I won’t be viewing this trash"

None taken, but it's probably not what you think. The conspiracy questions are only part of the show.

21 posted on 10/11/2009 5:53:46 PM PDT by mlo
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To: All

Where is the photo of the “not this sh*t again” guy ?


22 posted on 10/11/2009 5:57:55 PM PDT by sonic109
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To: Sawdring
"I figured something unknown would be revealed after Ted was dead. But I guess not."

I don't know that there is anything left to reveal.

23 posted on 10/11/2009 6:02:00 PM PDT by mlo
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To: se_ohio_young_conservative
I think America was at her peak in 1963.

. I think there is some validity to your statement. America was still a can-do country in 1963. We were still fighting Communism abroad and racism at home, but a society populated by war proven WW2 vets was building the most modern nation non earth. Roads, colleges, schools, consumer goods, inventions, improvements in the standard of living were happening regularly and expected to continue.

By the end of 1963, America was still the major hope of the world and the major influencer of culture for a world eager to recover from the destruction of WW2.

The golden age of rock and roll and pop music, 1956-1963, seemed like it would continue unabated.

The assassination of JFK was like the innocence and unbridled optimism of America was assassinated as well. You knew that nothing could or would ever be the same after such a horrible deed, one that was played out on our TV screens. You knew also that something had been taken away forever, a bright future track that would never be the road America would travel again.

Two and a half months later, the Beatles would land in NY, taking a depressed America by storm and changing the flavor of music forever. Also in 1964, the race riots began in the summer, forcing America to confront racism.That same summer, the Gulf of Tonkin incident involved us in a war that would shake the very foundations of our civil society, and start a decline that would not even abate until Ronald Reagan insprired us to greatness in the campaign of 1980.

In 1965, there were more race riots in the inner cities, and the images of battles in a far away jungle land called Vietnam, and mounting casualties would shock a nation. The British invasion of culture, art, and music intensified.

By 1966, folk music, long hair, hippies and the beginnings of flower powerstarteed to take hold. These were foreign tokens of culture, not even imaginable three years before. The stress cracks in society were beginning to form.

By 1967, the war in Vietnam was going full tilt, with success being assured by mounting body counts of the Viet Cong. Facial hair on men, sideburns,tie-dyed clothes, psychodelic pop art, Eastern influences on music, more race riots in the summer, the emergence of war protest, hawks and doves on Vietnam seemed to continually drive stakes into the heart of mainstream AMericanism and culture. Change was coming.

In 1968, multiple assasinations of political figures, the Tet offensive in Vietnam, the My Lai massacre,war protests, hawks and doves beating each other in the streets, sit-ins, protests against all authority, especially on college campuses was unchecked all over the country. It felt like America was coming apart at the seams. Like Humpty Dumpty, it was about to fall and explode, never to be put back together again.

From 1969-1972, the same old, same old happened again, with America seeming to fracture more and more.The popular music reflected the national mood, nothing like the upbeat innocent songs of a five or six years before.

Then in 1973, there was an end to America's war in Vietnam.There was hope that Vietnam could be put behind us, a war widely viewed as the first we had ever lost. But then the Watergate break-in had been exposed, and this cancer ate away at us daily until Nixon finally resigned the next year in disgrace.

As 1973 turned into 1974 we then had our first oil crisis, gas lines, doubt that there would ever again be enough energy for America, this uncertainty, a first in American history, lasted until June when oil and gasoline supplies returned to normal. Even with gas 50% higher than before the shortage, America was just happy to return to normal.Then in August, 1974, Nixon resigned the Presidency in disgrace, leaving behind a split country. It seemed to me a day as dark as the day JFK died,as this was another American first.

I could go on, but the 1970s continued a slide in American prestige, national will, and identity, helped along by another oil crisis and a national economic meltdown in 1979-1980, the Iranian hostage crisis during the same time period,leisure suits, and one bright spot--the rise of disco around 1977. The 70s also introduced us to "issue" and "relevant" TV sitcoms, wherein we were bombarded and indoctrinated on the proper way to think by the likes of Norman Lear and his cohorts in Hollywood.

Only a B-movie actor who came along in 1980 made us believe in America again. He fought Communism relentlessly, overcoming it, and making it possible by 1991 for the breakup of the Soviet Union and freedom for over 500 million peoploe behind the Iron Curtain.

It is hard to believe that 20 years after Reagan left the White House, it is inhabited by Marxist Muslim who hates everything this country has championed and accomplished for over 200 years.

But yes, I would agree with your statement. The 1963 America of my boyhood I saw again only during the ascent of Reagan and briefly again after 9/11/01, when this country was united, before the Democrats started again to tear the country apart for their political purposes. 1963 was a golden year. I am grateful for the America of my boyhood, when dreams could be dreamed and optimism knew no bounds.

I only wish it again for others, knowing full well that the present leadership in Washington is committed to the demise of what this country was destined to be.

Take a look at the music and TV sitcoms of 1963--that will give you a glimpse of the America I remember, faults and all.

And remember the one thing that has remained constant all that time--Democrats are the enemy of freedom.

24 posted on 10/11/2009 6:15:03 PM PDT by exit82 (Sarah Palin is President No. 45. Get behind her, GOP, or get out of the way.)
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To: mysterio
It's nice to see a new history channel show that isn't about some monster or space aliens that don't exist.

Or a documentary that isn't about Hitler.

25 posted on 10/11/2009 6:17:01 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: tlb; Orestes5711
When the Monroe Doctrine still held sway....

Kennedy was already too busy with his own "twist" on what was meant by the Monroe Doctrine.

(BTW twist is just "lisp-synch" for "tryst")


26 posted on 10/11/2009 6:26:09 PM PDT by Agamemnon (Intelligent Design is to evolution what the Swift Boat Vets were to the Kerry campaign)
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To: Agamemnon

Let’s see, John was doing Marilyn, Bobby was doing Jackie...

I don’t know if I want to know what Teddy could have revealed.


27 posted on 10/11/2009 6:33:28 PM PDT by PLMerite (Speak Truth to Stupid.)
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To: mlo

3 shots tells me all I need to know, but we’ll see.....someone here will watch it...


28 posted on 10/11/2009 7:55:05 PM PDT by The Wizard (I support Madame President)
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To: mlo
Why in hell do some want us to relive this crap every November!

Kennedy died on Nov.21, 1963!

Enough of the Kennedy's already!

We as a nation have a future to look forward to. No more!

29 posted on 10/11/2009 8:13:02 PM PDT by Randy Larsen ( BTW, If I offend you! Please let me know, I may want to offend you again!)
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To: Randy Larsen

There are a lot of cable channels to fill.


30 posted on 10/11/2009 8:14:10 PM PDT by mlo
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To: mlo

I don’t watch them anymore...

In fact, I don’t watch them at all.


31 posted on 10/11/2009 8:19:31 PM PDT by Randy Larsen ( BTW, If I offend you! Please let me know, I may want to offend you again!)
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