Saturday, 25 August 2007 22:37

"New" Film of JFK Route

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Just how extensively this new Jefferies film will be used to promote jacket-bunching to explain the jacket/body discrepancy remains to be seen, writes John Kelin.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza has made public a previosly-unknown home movie shot by a spectator along the motorcade route in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The film was shot by a man named George Jefferies and is currently posted to the museum's web site.

The eight millimeter color film was shot at Main and Lamar streets in downtown Dallas, about four blocks from the scene of the assassination in Dealey Plaza. According to museum archivist Gary Mack, it shows JFK and Jackie Kennedy about ninety seconds before the assassination.

George Jefferies apparently believed the film had no historic value, and so made no effort to publicize it in the decades since the assassination. But Jefferies' son-in-law Wayne Graham thought otherwise and contacted the museum in late 2005.

After they donated the film, the museum had it restored before making it public.

Press reports emphasized Mack's observation that it was "the clearest, best film of Jackie in the motorcade" that he had ever seen. The President and First Lady are seen only briefly in the film.

Much was also made of the fact that there appears to be a slight bunching of JFK's jacket in the area between his shoulders.

Speaking on, author Ron Rosenbaum said the Jefferies film is not very important. "The real mystery is why the person who took this film waited forty-five years, almost, to show us something that doesn't really show us anything," he told Slate's Andy Bowers.

But Rosenbaum also said the bunching of the jacket might help prove the Warren Report was correct in naming Lee Harvey Oswald Kennedy's sole assassin. "The question is the trajectory of the bullet that hit JFK," he said. "There's been a lot of controversy because the hole in the back of JFK's jacket and the hole in his body seemed to be at different points. But the fact that the jacket could have been bunched up might resolve this discrepancy."

"So this might debunk part of the conspiracy theory?" Bowers asked.

"I think the real mystery," Rosenbaum replied, "is not whether Oswald acted alone. I believe he acted alone. He was the only one firing the gun. The real mystery is what is going on inside Oswald's head: what prompted him, what his motive was, what his allegiances were. Those are still unresolved questions."

The discrepency between the holes in the jacket and the holes in the body up-end the Commission's entire case. The Commission placed a bullet wound high on Kennedy's back. But photos of JFK's shirt and jacket show holes further down, about five inches below the collar line.

Two very reliable witnesses, both Secret Service agents, placed JFK's back wound in line with the clothing holes. As Vincent J. Salandria noted in an article written in 1964, Glen Bennett was positioned behind JFK in the motorcade, and put the back wound about four inches down from the right shoulder. Agent Clint Hill was present at the autopsy and said this wound was about six inches below the neckline to the right of the spinal column.

Forty years before Ron Rosenbaum, Arlen Specter cited a bunched-up jacket to try explaining the discrepancy between the holes in Kennedy's clothing and the (presumed) holes in his body. It happened as Specter was interviewed by Gaeton Fonzi, and Fonzi described it in his 1993 book The Last Investigation. Using Fonzi as a stand-in for JFK, Specter asked him to wave as the President had done. "Well, see, if the bullet goes in here," Specter said, jabbing at Fonzi's neck, "the jacket gets hunched up..."

"Wasn't there only one single hole in the jacket?" Fonzi asked. "Wouldn't it have been doubled over?"

"No, not necessarily. It, it wouldn't be doubled over...when you sit in the car it could be doubled over at most any point, but the probabilities are that, uh, that it gets, that uh, this, this, this is about the way a jacket rides up..."

"Specter made a fool of himself with Fonzi in trying to defend the single bullet theory," Salandria recalled in 2007, when asked about the Jefferies film and the apparent jacket-bunching. "If he could not defend the single-bullet concept, then it is not defensible."

Just how extensively this new Jefferies film will be used to promote jacket-bunching to explain the jacket/body discrepancy remains to be seen.

Last modified on Saturday, 22 October 2016 15:51
John Kelin

A former public radio announcer and technical writer for Sun Microsystems, John Kelin co-founded Fair Play magazine in 1994, where he presented the work of many Kennedy assassination researchers and writers.  Along with a number of important articles on the case, Kelin is author of Praise from a Future Generation (2007), the untold story of the "first generation critics", based in part on correspondence from the 60s to which he was granted full access by Vincent Salandria.  Read more here.

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