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W. Niederhut

Did LBJ Duck?

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I am posting this question as a follow up to the recent discussion on the NYT/Anthony Lewis thread-- with apologies to the JFK scholars here who have probably resolved this question long ago.

The subject of whether LBJ "ducked" out of sight as his limo approached the Texas School Book Depository on 11 /22/63 arose during that discussion.

Phillip Nelson claimed (in his book LBJ, Mastermind of the JFK Assassination) that an Altgens photo proved that LBJ had, obviously, "ducked" out of sight in the back seat of his limo, at a time when Lady Bird and Senator Ralph Yarborough are still seen sitting calmly upright and waving to the crowd from the limo.

Mr. DiEugenio mentioned that the Dealey Plaza photography expert Robert J. Groden had a better take on this subject than Nelson, in his book Absolute Proof.

Unfortunately, Mr. Groden's book appears to be out-of-print.

(Amazon only lists a few used hardback copies for upwards of $230!)

Are there any good, readily-available, on-line analyses of the subject?

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Posted (edited)

For a discussion of why LBJ ducked during the shooting,

see my book INTO THE NIGHTMARE, in which I interview Sen. Ralph

Yarborough about LBJ's behavior during the motorcade, including

at the time of the shots and immediately thereafter.

Edited by Joseph McBride

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However, former Texas senator Ralph Yarborough, who was sitting beside Johnson that day, told this author: 'It just didn't happen.... It was a small car, Johnson was a big man, tall. His knees were up against his chin as it was. There was no room for that to happen.' Yarborough recalled that both Johnson and Youngblood ducked down as the shooting began and that Youngblood never left the front seat. Yarborough said Youngblood held a small walkie-talkie over the back of the car's seat and that he and Johnson both put their ears to the device. He added: 'They had it turned down real low. I couldn't hear what they were listening to.'"

--Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy

Edited August 26, 2010 by Robert Morrow

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1 hour ago, Ron Bulman said:

However, former Texas senator Ralph Yarborough, who was sitting beside Johnson that day, told this author: 'It just didn't happen.... It was a small car, Johnson was a big man, tall. His knees were up against his chin as it was. There was no room for that to happen.' Yarborough recalled that both Johnson and Youngblood ducked down as the shooting began and that Youngblood never left the front seat. Yarborough said Youngblood held a small walkie-talkie over the back of the car's seat and that he and Johnson both put their ears to the device. He added: 'They had it turned down real low. I couldn't hear what they were listening to.'"

--Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy

Edited August 26, 2010 by Robert Morrow

So in regard to the initial thread question, per respected researcher Jim Marr's interview of Senator Yarborough he said "Johnson And Youngblood ducked down as the shooting began".  Is that a key point?  If they both ducked at the first shot and nobody else did... were they listening for shots, did they have fore knowledge?  Pure conjecture and speculation on my part.  But based in realistic possibility?

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I remembered right and wrong.  LBJ remained stoic throughout the parade, and shots, according to Yarborough.  Youngblood leaned back and LBJ forward to listen to the Secret Service walkie talkie like 2 channel radio as they headed under the triple overpass.  Yarborough is quite clear that the "cock and bull" story (his words) that Youngblood ever came over into the back seat or sat on Johnson.  Yarborough thinks LBJ was preoccupied about his future regarding the hearings going on at the moment in Washington over Bobby Baker.  I guess he could have been preoccupied if he had foreknowledge.  Mr. McBride thinks LBJ appears to be leaning forward in Altegens.  I still wonder if they might have heard the three clicks and a dash for victory going under the triple overpass. 

If as Yarborough told Jim Marrs LBJ and Youngblood both ducked at the first shot, then LBJ leaned forward with say just his ear over the top of the front seat as Youngblood turned to his left doing the same as he raised the radio...  Neither one of them would be visible in the Altegens photo, as they are not.  They would be hidden behind the motorcycle cop's shoulder.  Lady Bird and Yarborough are.  Pretty plainly.  Their white Caucasian heads stand out, you can even make out her hat.  But LBJ's, where it should be, does not.  He's not magically become some kind of dark blob.

Has anyone ever seen a blowup of the picture to pretty much just the back seat?  I guess it might get to grainy to tell much.

Edited just now by Ron Bulman

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Here's a video showing LBJ in the parade with him wearing his sunglasses, looking straight ahead, being stoic as Yarborough described to Mr. Mc Bride.  (look quick at the start, maybe repeat).

 https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ralph+yarborough+jfk+interview&view=detail&mid=593BB2DF4039CA3287C8593BB2DF4039CA3287C8&FORM=VIRE

Yarborough is smiling at the camera, arm up waving.  

He told Mr. Mc Bride:

"He hardly spoke.  The crowd would holler at him on the street, and even though he was a politician he did not smile or wave, he just looked straight ahead all day long.  Johnson was worried about some revelations that were supposed to come out that day before a congressional committee in Washington about Bobby Baker, Johnson's bagman.  Johnson was scared to death it was going to blow that very day.  I wondered Why He Was Being So Dour in the car, when the crowds were giving him so good a response.  I tried to butter him up and said, "Mr. Vice President, why don't you wave at them?  Look at how fond of you they are."  He never would respond, not a word."

If LBJ, had foreknowledge might he have acted and reacted similarly?  

And ducked, like Ralph Y told Jim M. 

 

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