Forty-nine years ago yesterday, the 35th President of the United States was brutally murdered in Dallas, Texas.
That's about all that most people can agree to be true about that terrible day.
I was not alive on that fateful day. However, from a very young age I was familiar with the products being sold by the myth-making machines: 1. that JFK was a savior cut down in his prime; and 2. that Oswald could not have possibly acted alone.
Time has marched on and 49 years after that terrible time, I think both of those beliefs are faded. I have read extensively about "The Sixties" in general and specifically about the Civil Rights Movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Suffice it to say that JFK didn't come off smelling like a rose in either of those histories. And a few years ago I read the excellent Case Closed by Gerald Posner. I had seen the movie "JFK" and I have seen the Zapruder film. I think now that it really was a terribly lucky son of a bitch named Lee Harvey Oswald who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was therefore able to change the course of the world. I also think that we will never, ever know with 100% certainty if this is true or not.
So moving on....how about looking at some of the Odd Facts About the Assassination?
President Kennedy was on his way to The Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon with civic and business leaders of Dallas. These guests were some of the last people to hear what had happened in Dealy Plaza.
Originally the limousine the President was riding in was going to be covered. It had rained in the morning and the plan was to keep him and Governor Connelly covered. However, the sun came out while the President was flying from Fort Worth to Love Field in Dallas, so the decision was made to "open" the car up.
The home-movie filmed by Abraham Zapruder is the most famous home-movie ever committed to film. It is available to the general public after being hidden away for years (some say out of consideration of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). I borrowed a digitally remastered version from the public library a few years ago. It is a very clear video of the motorcade in Dealey Plaza. Still, people let their imaginations get the best of them regarding what they think they are seeing. I have even heard that some people say that the driver of the limousine is the man who shot President Kennedy! The video is also available on youtube. I feel I must warn you, however, that it is not for the squeamish; you literally see President Kennedy being murdered.
The pilot of Gilligan's Island was filming in Hawaii the week of the assassination. According to Russell Johnson in his book Here On Gilligan's Island, the scene where the SS Minnow sets sail from its port was filmed on November 22. Look closely and you will see a US flag flying at half-mast.