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The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 28, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:13] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY TACKETT, REPORTER, SCRIPPS-HOWARD: In the average man's life, there are two or three emotional experiences burned into his heart and his brain. And no matter what happens to me, I'll remember November the 22nd as long as I live.

WALTER CRONKITE, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: There has been an attempt on the life of President Kennedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are combing the floors of the Texas Book Depository Building to find this assassin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oswald has been shot at point blank range, fired into his stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are working on the assumption that Oswald's murder was to shut him up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elements of the Central Intelligence Agency killed John Kennedy.

MARK LANE, AUTHOR, "RUSH TO JUDGMENT": This story has been suppressed. Witnesses have been killed. We have a right to know who killed our president and why he died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Dallas, preparations were already underway for extraordinary police protection when the President had arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you anticipate any trouble on the President's arrival?

JESSE CURRY, CHIEF OF POLICE, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Because of what has happened here previously, we would be foolish, I think, not to anticipate some trouble. I don't -- really, I don't anticipate any violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes Air Force Number One. The President's plane now touching down. There's Mrs. Kennedy. And the crowd yells. And the President of the

United States.


DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Looking at how things actually went, it wasn't just a trip to Dallas. It was a political trip preparing for the 1964 elections.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here comes the President now. In fact, he's not in his limousine. He has departed the limousine, and he is reaching across the fence, shaking hands.


ROBERT MACNEIL, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: In those days, everybody could get a lot closer to the president. I was standing behind Mrs. Kennedy, and I saw a hand reach through the chain link fence and break off one of the red roses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands of children now are swarming, trying to get over the fence. The Dallas Police trying to keep them back.

This is great for the people and makes the eggshells even thinner for the Secret Service, whose job it is to guard the man.


RATHER: Well, the trip had gone terrifically well in Texas. Pretty hard to write a script for it going any better.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands will be on hand for that motorcade now which will be in downtown Dallas.


LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR, "IN THE NEW WORLD": A number of my classmates were gone. They were at the parade. My father had been invited to have lunch with Kennedy at the Trade Center. There was a mood, a climate of excitement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The speech of President Kennedy at the Dallas Trade Mart will be broadcast by 570 Radio. Stay tuned for the President's Dallas speech at the Trade Mart on 570 Radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bulletin just in to the KILT news terminal, dateline to Dallas, three shots were fired at the motorcade of President Kennedy today in downtown Dallas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police radios are telling that the President has

been hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parkland Hospital has been advised to standby for a severe gunshot wound.

WALTER CRONKITE, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: This is Walter Cronkite in our newsroom in (INAUDIBLE). There has been an attempt on the life of President Kennedy.

[20:05:12] JAY WATSON, ANCHOR, WFAA-TV: Just turn the mic on. I can't hear you, Johnny. What do you want? Do you want me to move back a little bit? Is it all right now? Is this all right?

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce to you the chief cameraman and assistant news director of WFAA Television. This is Bert Shipp.

Bert, we have brought the people pretty much up to date. Would you tell them exactly what you know as of this point?

BERT SHIPP, ASSISTANT NEWS DIRECTOR, WFAA-TV: Well, Jay, I was standing at the Trade Mart waiting for his arrival there. All of a sudden, they -- we saw them approaching.

They didn't slow down. A matter of fact, they were going 70, 80 miles an hour and passed us. And then I jumped in the police car and went to Parkland.

AUBREY RIKE, AMBULANCE DRIVER, PARKLAND HOSPITAL: These two men came running in. One of them had a large -- it could've been a machine gun. And they were calling for stretchers and cots and everything. And the Governor, they brought him in first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened after this?

RIKE: Well, then the President come immediately behind him and they took him -- both of them back to the operating room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Albert Thomas, Democratic, Texas is standing outside the corner of the emergency room said he's been told the President was still alive but in very critical condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two priests who were with President Kennedy say he is dead of bullet wounds. This is the latest information we have from Dallas.

I will repeat with the greatest regret. Two priests who were with President Kennedy say he has died of bullet wounds.


BOB HUFFAKER, CO-AUTHOR, " WHEN THE NEWS WENT LIVE: DALLAS 1963": Malcolm Kilduff, the assistant press secretary, was filling in for the regular press secretary. And then he had to draw himself out to give the most fateful announcement that a press secretary might ever have to give. MACNEIL: All the cameras were rolling. And I remember, he put his

fingers like this on the desk and pressed very hard to stop his hands trembling.



MALCOLM KILDUFF, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSISTANT PRESS SECRETARY: President John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1:00 Central Standard Time today here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain.


KILDUFF: I have no other details regarding the assassination of the President.



[20:10:58] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just can't believe it. I just -- I feel like someone in my own family has died -- is died. I just can't believe it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a daze. You don't know what's going on. Why? Why did it happen? Who would have done such a thing, is the question.


RATHER: In the first minutes and hours, chaos and confusion was radiating out from the scene itself. It was very pervasive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secret Service agents thought the gunfire is from an automatic weapon fired possibly from a grassy knoll.


MACNEIL: I saw some police run up this grassy knoll, so I thought, they're chasing the gunman. I run with them.

I got to the top, looked around. A policeman went over the fence, so I went over the fence too. There was nothing there.


CRONKITE: The television newsman said that he looked up just after the shot was fired and saw a rifle being withdrawn from a fifth or sixth floor window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was originally thought that the shots came from him here. And now it's believed that the shots came from this building here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see police officers running back toward the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building. They are going to continue searching in that building for the would-be assassin of the President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The center of downtown Dallas is in a virtual state of siege. They are combing the floors of the Texas Book Depository Building in an effort to find the suspected assassin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the building on the sixth floor, we found an area near a window that had partially been blocked by boxes of books, and also the three spent shells that had apparently been fired from a rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crime Lab Lieutenant J.C. Day just came out of that building with a British .303 rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a 7.65 Mauser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A high-powered Army or Japanese rifle of 25 caliber.



RATHER: Much of the first things you hear are going to be wrong. And to some degree, you were constantly trying to separate out what seemed to be a fact.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Dallas, a Dallas policeman, just a short while ago, was shot and killed while chasing a suspect.


HUFFAKER: J.D. Tippit, a good, experienced police officer, was shot three times in the chest in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Then the manager of a shoe store saw the suspect walk into the Texas Theater.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone has been arrested in one of the downtown theaters. They don't know if it was the man who shot the policeman or the person who actually shot President Kennedy.

HARRY REASONER, CBS NEWS REPORTER: This is a picture of him. He probably does not look exactly like this now after he has been questioned. That's Lee Oswald.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERT CARO, AUTHOR, "THE PASSAGE OF POWER, THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON": The President was shot and a police officer was shot, then someone named Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested. Oswald may be a suspect in the assassination. Who is he?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee Oswald of Dallas, a former Marine who spent some time in Russia, who at, one time, had applied for Soviet citizenship.

SGT. GERALD HILL, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: The description that we had of the suspect in Oak Cliff was similar to the description we had and the man we were looking for as the assassin. But at that time, we had not been able to connect the two in any way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, there will be a great deal of confusion for Mr. Oswald, but -- through the door, I don't know if you saw him. Oswald is in 1026 North Beckley. He's an employee of a bookbinding firm in this building, which the police and Secret Service men believe the President was shot today.

CRONKITE: Mrs. Kennedy accompanied the body in an ambulance from the hospital to the airport where it will be flown back to Washington.


[20:14:59] HUFFAKER: Lyndon Johnson had ordered that the body be brought immediately to Air Force One, so there was a little tug of war. It almost shook the crucifix off of the top of the coffin as they were trying to get that coffin out of the hospital.


CRONKITE: Vice President Johnson is expected to be sworn in as president aboard an airliner before flying back to the nation's capital.


CARO: Johnson wanted to show the American people that the government was functioning without interruption. And also perhaps he wanted to show that his predecessor's family bore him no ill will for the assassination.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lyndon Baines Johnson is flying back to Washington to take the reins of government, in which time President Johnson will have to take into his hands the reins of the most powerful nation in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any doubt in your mind, Chief, that Oswald is the man who killed the President?

CURRY: I think this is the man who killed the President, yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any evidence that anyone else may have

been linked with Oswald to this shooting?

CURRY: At this time, we don't believe so.

OSWALD: I don't know what this is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren't you the black (ph) guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill the President?

OSWALD: No, sir, I didn't. People keep asking me that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren't you the black (ph) guy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you shoot the President?

OSWALD: I work in that building and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you in the building at the time?

OSWALD: Naturally if I work in that building, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, man. Come on, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill the President?

OSWALD: No. They're taking me in because of the fact that I mentioned the Soviet Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time did you leave?

OSWALD: I'm just a patsy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill the President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is room 317 Homicide Bureau here at the Dallas Police Station. As you see, they are bringing the weapon that was allegedly used in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy this afternoon at 12:30 here in Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 6.5 apparently made in Italy in 1940.


RATHER: In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, the Dallas Police, on the one hand, they were committing all of their resources to trying to solve the crime.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold -- so you hold him in the doorway. When you get him in the doorway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold it right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold him in the doorway for us.


RATHER: On the other hand, there were ill equipped to handle this tsunami of reporters.


OSWALD: Well, I was --


OSWALD: -- questioned by judge but I protested at that time that I was not allowed legal representation.


HUFFAKER: In bringing Oswald out, they were, of course, doing something that you would never see happen today. But they were trying to cooperate with the press with the understanding that there would not be questions shouted at him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill the President?

OSWALD: No, I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been charged with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody said what?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been charged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody said what?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say in writing (ph)?


OSWALD: A policeman hit me.

BILL LORD, ABC NEWS REPORTER: At 1:35 this morning, a complaint was read. It charged that, quote, Lee Harvey Oswald did, voluntarily and with malice of forethought, kill John F. Kennedy by shooting him with a gun, end quote.

Following the reading of the complaint, Oswald said, that's ridiculous.



[20:22:10] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, can you tell us in summary what directly links Oswald to the killing of the President?

CURRY: Well, the fact that he was on the floor where the shots were fired from immediately before the shots were fired. The fact that he was seen carrying a package to the building. The fact that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When was that he was carrying a package to the building (ph)?

CURRY: Yesterday morning.


VINCENT BUGLIOSI, AUTHOR, "RECLAIMING HISTORY, THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY": During 12 hours of interrogation by the Dallas Police Department over the weekend, he told one provable lie after another.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you fire that rifle?

OSWALD: Well, that's just passages you people have been given, but I emphatically deny these charges.


BUGLIOSI: Within a day or so thereafter, when they discovered what a complete nut this guy was, they were satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Oswald had acted alone.


CAPT. WILL FRITZ, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: There's only one thing that I can tell you without going into the evidence, that this case is synched. That this man killed the President, and there's no question in my mind about it.

CURRY: We plan to transfer this man not tonight. The man will be here but no later than 10:00 in the morning while it will -- that will be early enough for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, do you have any concern for the safety of your prisoner in view of the high feeling among the people of Dallas over the assassination of the President? CURRY: No, but precautions will be taken, of course. But I'm not --

I don't think that the people will try to take the prisoner away from us.

BOB WALKER, NEWS DIRECTOR, WFAA-TV: We're standing by awaiting the transfer of Oswald from city jail to county jail. And for that report, here is ABC's Bill Lord at the city jail.

Bill, what's the situation?

LORD: Well, I am presently in the basement of the Dallas Municipal Building, and it is like an armed camp. Police officials are frankly worried. They don't want anything to happen to Oswald.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the prisoner will march by us here. Just keep going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me have it. I want it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being led out by Captain Fritz. There he is.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been shot. He's been shot. Lee Oswald has been shot. There's a man with a gun.

It's absolute panic. Absolute panic here in the basement of Dallas Police headquarters. The detectives have their guns drawn.

There is no question about it. Oswald has been shot at point blank range, fired into his stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is shot. He is shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oswald is shot.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the man who shot the man, or do you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the man that shot the man.


HUFFAKER: Immediately after the shooting, our only witnesses that we could talk to were other reporters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[20:25:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did he go? Up here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did he go?

FRANCOIS PELOU, REPORTER, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE: But he was here. He just -- they just put the gun down. I saw the flash on the black sweater (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They probably fired right in his belly.

PELOU: Oh, yes, right in the belly. And they got dragged. Then -- oh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Point blank range.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see a gun pointed to his stomach?

PELOU: No, I saw him there. He was in the group of men right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were they pointing to him and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he one of us or what?

PELOU: No, no. I thought was he one of the detective, you know. He had hat.


HUFFAKER: The situation is now that Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot. The man who saw the shot fired said it was fired by a man wearing a black hat, a brown coat. A man that everyone down here thought was a Secret Service agent.

We can hear sirens outside and ambulance apparently is moving down now into the basement. Here comes the ambulance. And Oswald will be removed now. The ambulance is being pulled up in front of us here.

Here comes Oswald. He is ashen and unconscious at this time now being moved in. He's not moving.

He's in the ambulance now. In attendance, police are quickly climbing in. The ambulance is leaving Dallas Police headquarters. Where will he be taken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm assuming Parkland Hospital.

HUFFAKER: Parkland Hospital. The irony of ironies, the place where President John F. Kennedy died.

WALKER: The Dallas city hall is normally a public building, but today it was really under armed guard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack -- Jack Ruby, the Carousel -- of the Carousel shot --

WALKER: We -- is this a confirmed report as to who did the shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I know. I just got it from Vic Robertson.

WALKER: Vic Robertson from city hall reports that Jack Ruby, the owner of the Carousel, which is a bar in Dallas, did the shooting.

CURRY: My statement will be very brief. Oswald expired at 1:07 p.m.


CURRY: He died at 1:07 p.m. We have arrested the man. The man will be charged with murder.


CURRY: The man -- the suspect's name is Jack Rubenstein. I believe he goes by the name of Jack Ruby.

CRONKITE: And here at Associated Press, a still picture of the moment, the split second, as the shot was fired.

This is the man Dallas police have identified as Jack Rubenstein and this, of course, is Lee Harvey Oswald. You see the gun in the hand of Ruby and just about to be fired.


RATHER: I know my own feelings were, and I think they were widely shared by many, if not most, Americans. This can't be coincidental. The assassin is assassinated in the police station. What in the hell is going on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just learned from city hall from a very authoritative source that police are working on the assumption that there indeed is a connection between Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald. And that in some manner of speaking, Oswald's murder was to shut him up.

CRONKITE: Word also in just now from Dallas that homicide, the Chief Captain Will Fritz, has now said that the case of President Kennedy's assassination is now closed with the death of Oswald.

It may not, however, be the opinion of the U.S. Secret Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



[20:32:42] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EARL WARREN, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation is bereaved. The whole world is poorer because of his loss, but we can all be better Americans because John Fitzgerald Kennedy has passed our way.

Because he has been our chosen leader at a time in history when his character, his vision, and his quiet courage have enabled him to chart a course for us, a safe course for us through the shoals of treacherous seas that encompass the world.

And now that he is relieved of the almost superhuman burden, may he rest in peace.

LYNDON JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, all I have, I would have given gladly, not to be standing here today.


CARO: Johnson knows he has to show the country that the ship of state is sailing on under a new captain. But at the same time, he can't appear to be too anxious to assume power, and he has to keep the Kennedy people on board with him. So that speech means everything.


JOHNSON: No words are strong enough to express our determination to continue the forward thrust of America that he began.


CRONKITE: Investigations into all the facts of these last four days may not be limited to the state of Texas or the FBI. Some congressman already have suggested a congressional investigation.


CARO: Johnson realizes something has to be done. He realizes that he has to appoint a body that the public will respect to look into this.


DAVID BRINKLEY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The Warren Commission appointed Friday night will investigate and make a report on the murder. As yet, it has said nothing about how it will proceed or when.

[20:35:03] ALLEN DULLES, MEMBER, WARREN COMMISSION: Let's see, the time of day was about -- well, we're not very far from the floor in front of it.


HOWARD WILLENS, ASSISTANT COUNSEL, WARREN COMMISSION: The lawyers from the Commission took 395 depositions, and there were 94 witnesses that appeared before the Commission.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say if you still think it was one man? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we better not get into that area, you

know. The report will cover all of that in great detail.

CRONKITE: It is now 15 seconds after 6:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Sunday, September the 27th. As of this moment, the report of the President's commission is public record. For the next half-hour, we will search it for answers.

First must come the answers to the two great overriding questions. Who killed John F. Kennedy? The Commission answers, unequivocally, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Was Oswald acting alone, or was he a member of a conspiracy? The Commission answers, he acted alone.


EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN, AUTHOR, "THE JFK ASSASSINATION DIARY, MY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS TO THE MYSTERY OF THE CENTURY": The media had all concluded that this was a most exhaustive investigation, case closed. Oswald did it alone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Commission concludes that three shots were fired, all of them from this sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository.


WILLENS: The reaction to the report initially was very positive but that didn't last very long.


MERV GRIFFIN, "THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW" HOST: This book is the number one bestseller on the nonfiction list in the country, "Rush to Judgment" by Mark Lane. It's gained a vast number of readers in the recent groundswell of skepticism about the findings of the Warren report.


LANE: Tell me something about some facts to sell your deep faith in the Chief Justice. How about that?

SUSSKIND: You're accusing them of deliberate malfeasance.

LANE: You are part of the media which prevented the American people from finding out what happened.

SUSSKIND: You are alarming the American people. Speaking of testimony on public --

LANE: I say the American people should be alarmed. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LANE: The public had been kept in the dark for so long about this, but had an undying thirst, which could only be quenched by getting facts.


LANE: We have a right to know who killed our president and why he died. And we can't get that from reading the Warren report.


CLIFF MICHELMORE, BBC NEWS BROADCASTER: At the start, Lane was almost alone. Now, he's just one among a growing band of doubters. Their books and articles are on the newsstands. They're in the supermarkets.

Now, according to a recent poll, only one in three Americans remains convinced that the Warren report has the whole story.


BUGLIOSI: Because of the conspiracy theorists who have put this case under a high-powered microscope, splitting hairs and then proceeding to split the split hairs, the Kennedy case is now the most complex murder case by far in world history. Nothing even remotely comes close.


MICHELMORE: The Warren report said that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president from his window in the Texas School Book Depository.

Three years after Kennedy's assassination, the major question is still a simple one. Did the Warren Commission, with all that time and all these resources, get its answers right?

Tonight, we will go over those arguments one by one, area by area.

As the assassination was taking place, a Dallas businessman called Abraham Zapruder stood behind that low concrete wall looking down at Elm Street.

ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER, WITNESS TO THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: As the president was coming down from Houston Street and making his turn, it was about halfway down there, I heard a shot. And I heard another shot or two. I couldn't tell you whether it was one or two. And I saw his head practically open up, all blood and everything.

CRONKITE: Where did the shots come from? If the shots did not all come from the Book Depository window, then there was most likely some form of conspiracy.

WILLIAM TURNER, FORMER AGENT, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I think that the massive head wound where the president's head was literally blown apart came from a quartering angle on the grassy knoll.

He is struck and his head doesn't go directly back this way, but it goes back and over this way, which would be consistent with a shot from that direction and Newton's law of motion.


LANE: Unless the laws of physics were not working that day, the reaction of the president tells us where that shot came from.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some critics say by the very fact that, in the picture, you can clearly see the explosion of the bullet on the front side of the president, that that certainly indicates the bullet came from the front.

CHARLES WYCKOFF, HIGH-SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERT AND ANALYST: Well, I don't believe any physicist has ever said that. Quite contrary, it does indicate that the bullet was coming from behind. It's a minor explosion where pieces of material go generally in the direction of the bullet.


BUGLIOSI: If you look at the individual frames of the Zapruder film, at 312, frame 312, the President's head's OK. At frame 313, 1/18th of a second later, the President is struck in the head.

[20:39:59] And what direction is the President's head pushed? Not backwards, but slightly forward, indicating a shot from the rear where Lee Harvey Oswald was.


DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I would hesitate, really, to say that it is absolutely, 100 percent impossible, but it is highly improbable.

CRONKITE: Could a single bullet have wounded both President Kennedy and Governor Connally? The single bullet theory has become, perhaps, the most controversial aspect of the Warren report.


MAX HOLLAND, AUTHOR, "THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPES": If the Warren Commission couldn't prove that one shot had hit both men, it meant there were two shooters. Ipso facto, there is a conspiracy.

BUGLIOSI: The conspiracy theorists claim that the second shot was a magic bullet. They argue that a bullet would have had to make a right turn and then a left turn in midair. The reality is that Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy.


ARLEN SPECTER, ASSISTANT COUNSEL, WARREN COMMISSION: If you figure out the alignment of where the men sat, and if you look down the Mannlicher-Carcano, as I did, it is perfectly plain, I submit to you, that the bullet that exited from President Kennedy's throat would have to strike either the automobile, which it did not, or someone else in the automobile.


HOLLAND: To believe that it didn't hit Governor Connally, that would be a real magic bullet, one that disappeared in thin air.


[20:45:14] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGUERITE OSWALD, MOTHER OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD: I believe that Jack Ruby was a paid killer to close the mouth of my son, Lee Harvey Oswald.


WILLENS: Because Ruby knew people in criminal activities, there was a lot of investigation about a potential conspiracy.

BUGLIOSI: Ruby would have been one of the most unlikely and worst hit men that the mob could ever get.


PHIL BURLESON, ATTORNEY FOR JACK RUBY: On November the 24th, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to have been transferred at 10:00. At 10:00, the evidence is undisputed that Jack Ruby was at home asleep.

CRONKITE: The receipt shows that Ruby was sending a money order to one of his strippers from a Western Union office across from the courthouse at 11:17 a.m.

BURLESON: We know that at 11:20, three minutes later, a block away, Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

The evidence showed that he was down there anywhere from five to 15 seconds. Five to 15 seconds. If this is a hired assassin who is supposed to have some advanced information, he is the world's best timer.


HUFFAKER: Jack Ruby was a police and media groupie. Ruby thought he was our friend.

HOLLAND: Ruby's act was that of a vigilante. But he wanted nothing more to be known, you know, people to flock to his nightclub, to shake the hand of the man who killed the man who killed the President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not shoot President Kennedy?

JIM GARRISON, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW ORLEANS: I don't want to get involved in the speculations as to individuals, but I will say that there's no question about the fact that there was a plot, and there were a number of individuals involved.


EPSTEIN: In 1967, he announced, I've solved the case. I've found the real assassin.


GARRISON: We will make arrests based on that, and we will make charges based on that. And we will obtain convictions based on that.


EPSTEIN: Now, you wouldn't have paid much attention to this except he was District Attorney of New Orleans.


BILL GURVICH, AIDE TO JIM GARRISON: Arrested this evening in the District Attorney's office was Clay Shaw, age 54, of 1313 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Shaw will be charged with participation in a conspiracy to murder John F. Kennedy.


HOLLAND: Clay Shaw was a very well respected businessman in New Orleans. He had been a distinguished soldier during the World War II. He is also a homosexual and closeted, and I think that played a part. And then they realized the truth that there isn't anything there.


FRANK MCGEE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The case he has built against Clay Shaw is based on testimony that did not pass a lie detector test that Garrison ordered, and Garrison knew it.


BUGLIOSI: Garrison started bribing witnesses, intimidating witnesses.


MIGUEL TORRES, WITNESS AGAINST CLAW SHAW: He said I could be made to serve this whole nine-year sentence, or I could be cut loose right away.


BUGLIOSI: Hypnotizing witnesses.


GARRISON: We decided to give him objectifying machinery to make sure he was telling the truth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Leon have a last name?

RUSSO: Oswald.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say there methods were illegal?

GURVICH: I would very say illegal and unethical.


BUGLIOSI: And he had everyone and their grandmother involved in the assassination. At one time, it was oil millionaires. Then it was the minutemen. Then it was a homosexual killing.


GARRISON: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel that homosexuality or coercion through homosexuality was a factor in the planning or the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

GARRISON: No comment.


BUGLIOSI: At one point, he had 16 assassins in Dealey Plaza. With that many assassins, I don't know how Kennedy made it to the autopsy table.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Garrison announced he had discovered a code.

MIKE WALLACE, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Garrison says Jack Ruby's unlisted telephone number appears in address books belonging to Shaw and Oswald.

SEN. RUSSELL LONG (R), LOUISIANA: So if you take the "P" and the "O" and you use a telephone dial, "P" gives you 7, "O" gives you 6.


EPSTEIN: He just changed the digits around, added digits, added letters.


JOHNNY CARSON, "THE TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: Who is suppressing all of this information on whose order?

GARRISON: I'll tell you who's suppressing it. The federal government is suppressing it.

CARSON: Who in the federal government?

GARRISON: The administration. The administration of your government is suppressing it because they know that the Central Intelligence Agency --

CARLSON: On whose order?

GARRISON: On the order of the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clay Shaw came to court in good spirits today. With his long-awaited trial under way, Shaw seems almost relieved that his case is finally being heard.


ROSEMARY JAMES, FORMER REPORTER, WWL-TV: The trial went on for six weeks. It's important to note that not one witness produced by Garrison survived cross-examination.


[20:50:07] JAMES: In a unanimous verdict by a 12-man jury, Shaw was found not guilty of charges that he conspired to kill the late President John Kennedy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're first question's on me. You know, just --

SHAW: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you do it?


GARRISON: I would sum it up by saying that any society which allows a man like Jack Kennedy to have the top of his head torn off and then protects the assassins and obstructs any inquiry and attempt to find the truth is not a great society.




GARRISON: Information concerning the cause of the death of your president has been withheld from you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RATHER: As a reporter, you know, the greatest story for us would have been to find out somebody other than Oswald did it, and we tried hard to do that. But at every turn, with the Kennedy assassination, things pointed to Oswald as not only a shooter, but the shooter and the only shooter.

HOLLAND: Lee Harvey Oswald had these dreams or delusions that he'd been harboring for a long time of an act that would lift him from his obscurity.

[20:55:05] EPSTEIN: Oswald used to attend a small discussion group, and he began to rail against this right wing general, Edwin Walker.

HOLLAND: General Walker was about as right wing as you got in the early '60s. And Oswald saw Walker as an American Adolf Hitler.

EPSTEIN: And Oswald said someone should kill Walker. He then ordered a rifle with a sniper scope, and he planned, very meticulously, his assassination of General Walker.

PRISCILLA MCMILLAN, AUTHOR, "MARINA AND LEE": And then he went on the night of the 10th of April, took up his place and shot at General Walker. He was very disappointed to find out that he missed by less than an inch.

HOLLAND: It shows his ability to plan who his target was and that Oswald was capable of violence.

MCMILLAN: I think that was kind of the Rosetta stone. That if you understood the Walker shooting, you understood that Lee was like a cocked rifle, and he could go off anytime.


ERIC SEVAREID, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: What set the conspiracy notion about the Kennedy assassination among many Americans was the sheer incongruity of the affair. All that power and majesty, wiped out in an instant by one skinny, weak-chinned little character.


JIM NEWTON, AUTHOR, "JUSTICE FOR ALL, EARL WARREN AND THE NATION HE MADE": It doesn't satisfy our sense of narrative or justice that a small person of no distinction can be of such historical consequence as to kill the President of the United States.


CRONKITE: But would we be more comfortable believing that a shot was fired by a second assassin who materialized out of thin air for the purpose, fired a shot, and then vanished again, leaving behind no trace of himself, his rifle, his bullet or any other sign of existence?


LLOYD WEINREB, STAFF, WARREN COMMISSION: There were two groups of people. There's one group that will look at an extraordinary coincidence, a cataclysmic circumstance, and say, yes, that's the way the world works. There's another group of people for whom that's quite unsettling.

ROBERT DALLEK, AUTHOR, "AN UNFINISHED LIFE, JOHN F. KENNEDY": They don't want to believe that something so random could have occurred. Can you believe that you could step off a curb some day and be killed by an oncoming car?

Nobody believes in that kind of possibility for themselves, but it happens. Is life that fortuitous, that uncertain?

WEINREB: And for them, oddly, the notion of a conspiracy is more comforting than the absence of it because if there's a conspiracy, at least there's a plan.

BUGLIOSI: They've lost so much faith in government that they actually think that the government is an accessory, after the fact, for the President's murder. It can't get too much worse than that.

CARO: The assassination changed the trajectory of the '60s. America was a different place on the day before John F. Kennedy was killed.

So when you look at this America as a whole in the 20th century, you look at America in the '60s, you really say, that day was a dividing point.


TACKETT: I guess in the average man's life, there are two or three emotional experiences that he doesn't forget because they're burned into his heart and his brain. And no matter what happens to me, I'll remember November the 22nd as long as I live.

And it's impossible for me now to this day, and I'm sure ten years from now, to go out to Dallas without looking at the sixth floor of the School Book Depository building.

And it's impossible for me to drive by the Texas Hotel today and not think of that morning when President Kennedy spoke there. It will always be with us.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.



DALLEK: Kennedy's standing hold on the public, I think, will only fade if and when we get another president about whom they feel the same way as they currently feel about Kennedy.