Saturday November 26, 2016
26 seconds: The history behind Zapruder's JFK assassination film
Where were you on Nov. 22, 1963?
Abraham Zapruder, a dressmaker in Dallas, was aiming his 8 mm home movie camera at the presidential motorcade passing in front of him.
For 26 seconds he filmed a murder — the assassination of John F Kennedy.
After having copies of the film made for the authorities, he returned with his film to his house that night, his mind filled with concerns about what he should do with his gruesome home movie.
"I think he feared it would be exploited ... it would be splashed all over the television," Abraham Zapruder's granddaughter, Alexandra Zapruder tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
Her book, Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film, takes a close look at the at the film her grandfather shot and the controversy that's followed it since.
"And that there would be a lack of respect for the Kennedy family, and their grief."
Abraham Zapruder was also concerned about an anti-Semitic backlash if it became known how much he was paid by Life Magazine for the rights to the movie.
"Dallas was a very reactionary city at the time," says Alexandra. "And he was worried that old stereotypes about Jews making money, from not just terrible events but any events, that those types of stereotypes would come back to haunt him."
Alexandra tells Tremonti the obsession some people have with the film is because it doesn't give an absolute answer to what happened that day.
"The film itself embodies these compelling conundrums. It both shows us exactly what happened and it doesn't show us exactly what happened. So people keep looking and looking to try to find the answers."
"And as long as America doesn't have an agreed upon story of how our president got murdered, that remains an open wound."
Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.