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Rick McTague

January 2019 MWN Interview with Doug Horne - Zapruder Film Provenance

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MWN Episode 107 – Douglas Horne on the Zapruder Film Alteration Debate

While much of this has been discussed in available films (such as "The Zapruder Film Mystery"), it is very refreshing to hear from Mr. Horne fresh and new this year.  He describes some of the reasons for his absence from the research community lately, and offers a very cogent discussion of the providence of the Zapruder film.  

The timeline:

  1. Zapruder had (3) unslit 16mm contact copies made on 11/22/63 from the camera original, at Jameson in Dallas, (4) total first day 16 mm films.
  2. He had the original and the (3) copies developed / slit by Kodak in Dallas in 8mm format.
  3. He gave (2) of the (3) 8mm slip copies to the SS in Dallas as a loan: 
    1. Max Phillips put one of these copies on a plane immediately to Washington, DC, arriving 11/23, before 3:00 am.
    2. He gave one of these 8mm copies to the FBI on 11/23; they flew it to BWI airport in Baltimore, DeLoach (#3 in the FBI) examines this after midnight, early on Sunday 11/24.  (NOTE: DeLoach says JFK's head moves violently FORWARD from this viewing).
  4. Zapruder showed his family the 8mm film (either the original or the remaining copy) Saturday 11/23 morning.  
  5. Zapruder also showed Dick Stolley at Life and the SS the camera original 8mm film Saturday 11/23 morning in his office in Dal-Tex.
  6. Zapruder negotiated a (1) week loan of the 8mm camera original to Life for $50,000.00 for print rights on Saturday 11/23.  He still has the one remaining copy.
  7. Stolley from Life sent the camera original to Chicago on Saturday 11/23.
  8. Zapruder shows several people his remaining 8mm copy to Dan Rather and others in Dallas, on Saturday 11/23.  (NOTE: Rather says JFK's head moves violently FORWARD from this viewing).
  9. Dino Brugioni at NPIC got the camera original, slit 8mm film Saturday night 11/23 from two SS agents to make briefing boards from 12-14 stills.  These boards no longer exist.
  10. Homer McMahon at NPIC in DC received from one SS agent, Bill Smith, an unslit 16mm film Sunday night 11/24 to make (3) briefing boards from 28 stills.  Smith says this is the camera original (lie #1), developed at Hawkeyeworks in Rochester, NY (lie #2).  One set of these briefing boards exist today; it is not the one Dino B made, with completely different images, content and format.  These briefing boards match the extant film that is available today.

From this timeline, it is evident that the extant Zapruder film available today is not the same film as the camera original. 

  • Who: Kodak, with the CIA. 
  • Where: Hawkeyeworks in Rochester, NY
  • When: During the day Sunday 11/24

Thanks

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Hi Rick,

I think we may have to find one more copy or the copy being loaned out on the late, late evening of Nov 22nd and given back to Zapruder first thing Saturday morning...

One of H.L. Hunts minions( I'm not going searching for his name now) stated that he obtained a copy late on Friday night 22nd Nov and paid Zapruder handsomely for it. Plus as a back up to this. there were statements made by many Dallas hob nobs over the next 5 to 10 years that they had seen a copy of the film shown by H L Hunt at functions.

Every thing else above i agree with 100%.

Adam

 

 

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8 hours ago, Adam Johnson said:

Hi Rick,

I think we may have to find one more copy or the copy being loaned out on the late, late evening of Nov 22nd and given back to Zapruder first thing Saturday morning...

One of H.L. Hunts minions( I'm not going searching for his name now) stated that he obtained a copy late on Friday night 22nd Nov and paid Zapruder handsomely for it. Plus as a back up to this. there were statements made by many Dallas hob nobs over the next 5 to 10 years that they had seen a copy of the film shown by H L Hunt at functions.

Every thing else above i agree with 100%.

Adam

 

 

Adam,

Thanks much for the reply.  Maybe I'll have to listen to it again, but I recall in the podcast, Mr. Horne says that HL Hunt's copy was a third generation one from the extant film generated at Hawkeyeworks, not from the camera original.  However, if he got that copy on 11/22, it would obviously be from a Dallas copy of the camera original.  It seems like everything about this case, from the films, to the medical evidence, to the evidence around LHO, appeared one way in Dallas and a completely different way once it hit DC.

Those additional hobnobs' viewing would be interesting to explore; Mr. Horne says he knows of just a few, one of which is Greg Burnham (sp?) who have seen the "other" Z film.  He didn't mention those others in Dallas.

Thanks

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Hey Rick,

Zapruder also stated that on the Friday night after leaving his office with his film he spent a couple of hours just driving around trying to collect his thoughts before arriving home at 11pm.

The Life magazine editor Dick Stolley says he was calling Zapruders home every 15 minutes during Friday night  trying to buy the film, until he finally spoke to him at around 11.15pm.

Zapruder would of known who H.L. Hunt was and someone saying they represent Mr. Hunt  and would like to purchase a copy of the film would probably get into see Zapruder or perhaps meet him on his way home and go for a drive to discuss it. They may have even gone back to the lab and had another copy made for Mr.Hunt, which could explain why it took him a few hours to get home after leaving his office.  

Also remember at this stage Friday evening Zapruder had not made any profit from his film. So perhaps Mr.Hunts offer was to good to refuse and his agent said we have a lab standing by right now to make a copy, it will only take an hour of your time Mr. Zapruder and you'll be a rich man...i would also suggest it wouldn't have been done at the same lab as before to keep it secret from FBI and  SS.  

Plus Mr.Zapruder offered up to Mrs Tippet $25,000 from his sale of the print rights which was $50,000, That's incredibly generous especially in 1963 for a dressmaker, but alot more understandable if just the night before he had picked up  $100k or more from Mr.Hunt.

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Check that number of copies again...  Z kept 2 films, not just the 1... and do you you know what happens to the Phillips to Rowley film after he gets it the night of the 22nd?  FWIW, I believe this was 0184....  counters don’t just skip numbers.. if 0184 is a complete and uncut film, in DC by the early morning hours of 11/23, how hard is it to get to hawkeyeworks so a sanitized version is delivered to Dino on Sat at 10pm

59a980da874fb_MaxPhillipsnotetoRowley-BESTcopy-withtypedtext-cropped.jpg.570b6e800e387ec4a2aead5671452fc7.jpg

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I think that unless and until we can see two versions of the Z film side by side, unedited and edited, it will remain a mystery. Someone correct me - has anyone seen both?

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The dark patch on the back of Kennedy's head in Z317 (in the link provided in the first post of this thread)  appears as a sure manipulation. This shape is neatly delinated and much darker than a natural shadow. Can only concur with the authors who analysed this high-res image. Further, to cover up this black patch, the back and shoulder and part of the upper arm were also darkened to make the hair patch less conspicuous and more natural.

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On 1/15/2019 at 9:37 PM, Rick McTague said:

From this timeline, it is evident that the extant Zapruder film available today is not the same film as the camera original.

These thread reports reminded me that earlier last year I secured a copy of a play, called FRAME 312 by Keith Reddin, which premiered in the UK in 2002 and in Chicago and Syracuse in the USA. It is a learned, witty and poetic encounter with JFK's murder. It references Zapruder's film in the title  and uses the film for a plot point. The drama depicts the same characters with flashbacks to the 1960's and the 1990's. I have not seen a production but I believe it could be haunting, as well as entertaining. On a larger scale, it examiners the injurious impact of this watershed moment on the concept of the nuclear American family itself. Characters ruminate on the blurring of personal lives and the State and their place in the system. In the 1990's portion of the play, the trauma of 1963 has morphed into a chilly indifference. It's inexpensive and in paperback and enough productions of it - along with showings of Stone's film - might get people to think about how they know what they know. Reddin never hits the audience over the head; he skillfully and indirectly evokes parallel emotions. A plot point revolves around a version of Zapruder's film, but to have lasting impact, a work has to be adaptable to perceptions of a current audience, and the play doesn't demand intricate knowledge of facts.

Earlier in the thread a figure of $25,000 was mentioned in relation to Abe's take home pay.The actual figure agreed upon with LIFE was $150,000. He did give $25,000 (@$203,000. in 2017) to the Widow and Orphans Fund for police, and he told that on TV and under oath at the Warren Commission. He neglected to mention that he pocketed 5 times that - $125,000 (@$1.1 million 2017) for himself.  I wonder what he declared to the IRS?( for those interested in more on Zapruder, I made extended comments in two different threads of the past year.

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Rick

This is great ... thanks for sharing.  It is, as you say, a cogent explanation of a very complex story.  The ZFilm (and other films) are the source of infinite controversy, but their provenance and accuracy literally shed light on the fundamental questions underlying JFK's murder. For me, there are a number of basic facts associated with the ZFilm that are, by themselves, powerful and compelling ... the film tells the entire story of what really happened in Dealey Plaza, and the powerful forces that orchestrated the assassination:

  1. The organization (Time-Life) that vigorously pursued purchase rights and copies of the film. Life spends a small fortune on the Monday following the original $50K purchase to secure motion picture rights and total ownership - of a primary piece of evidence in the President's murder - but never exploits the film commercially for 12 years. Clearly an act of suppression as opposed to profit. How is it that a private business can secure and purchase the evidence in a crime?

  2. While the popular chain of custody story is one of Zapruder negotiating with Time-Life over the weekend (which itself seems a cover story), the actual film is already in the hands of government authorities, being studied and altered ...its as though the Stolley story (and Time-Life's possession) is an intentional distraction for what's actually happening to the film. 

  3. In its first issue after the assassination, Life misrepresented the content of the film (the frontal throat wound, inaccurately described as the President turning his body to face the snipers nest) ... a practice that continued until its public release (albeit with bootleg copies) in 1975

  4. Since the film was altered, the conspirators had to manufacture altered copies as well ... so, the infamous "first-day copies" (made on Friday) had to be quickly switched out with replacements.  In this light, the additional sum of $100K can be considered, in essence, "hush money" ($25K annually each January, for the next five years). 

  5. How little the Warren Commission was interested in the film. The frames published by the Commission consist of 12 exhibits - less than one second of the 26-second film - in Volume XVIII. The Commission studied a grainy second-generation FBI copy in early 1964; they only viewed the ostensible "original" for one day (February 25th) and only after being provided the purported camera-original film by Time-Life.

  6. Certain scenes on the film had to be altered - the brief car stop, multiple hits to the head from both front and rear, exit debris leaving the skull from the rear, movement of Secret Service agents and motorcycle escorts, the edge of the Stemmons Freeway sign - to match other aspects of the cover story that are otherwise seriously in question (i.e. one shooter, 3 shots, autopsy) but the head snap could not be removed ... so the movie was suppressed for 12 years. 

  7. Few pictures exist of Zapruder himself doing the actual filming from that uniquely-positioned pedestal (I'm preoccupied by this) and where he was actually standing ... and why him?  And he immediately "donates" $25K to Tippit's widow ... an interesting choice. While many citizens had their cameras and film immediately confiscated in Dealey Plaza (some never to be returned), Zapruder's camera wasn't taken. 

  8. After the shooting, his associate Marilyn Sitzman walks towards the Pergola, while Zapruder heads straight to the TSBD Building (as depicted in the Bell Film). Zapruder also told the Warren Commission that immediately after the assassination, he went to his office and told his secretary to call the police or Secret Service because "I knew I had something, I figured it "might be of some help".  But according to Forrest Sorrels, he was alerted to the film by a reporter from the Dallas Morning News who contacted him and informed him that a man had made some movies that the Secret Service might be interested in.  As the body of JFK is being transported live, Zapruder is already on air to say he has a film and he remembers the shot exactly how the Warren Commission will say it happened ... but clearly different than the unaltered film he had just shot. They say they will air his film and then they don’t; WFAA will later say they had no equipment to air color film.  Something feels "off" about Zapruder's actions and statements, not just his film.

  9. The specter of Hawkeyeworks (see attached pictures taken this past summer while visiting Rochester) ... the facility remained classified until 2009, and has been unoccupied since.  The infamous windows on the 11th floor are where the covert government offices were located, where top-secret clearance was required for access.  Code-named 'Bridgehead' the facility supported the government’s overhead satellite reconnaissance systems and a sophisticated, state-of the-art Photographic Operations Center, which derived its code name from its location adjacent to the Driving Park Bridge that spans the Genesee River Gorge.

  10. In 1969, Jim Garrison subpoenaed the ZFilm from Time-Life, who fought it all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled handing over (grudgingly) a blurry copy for the Shaw trial. 

  11. The ZFilm has kept the assassination story alive and in the public eye for 50 years. Publicly revealing the film on Goodnight America (aptly titled) in 1975 stirred doubts and precipitated the Church Committee hearings in 1976, and the 1976-79 House Select Committee (i.e. "The Last Investigation"). 

  12. Including the ZFilm as part of Oliver Stone's 1991 JFK and the dramatic Frame 313, shown during Garrison's Shaw trial, reinvigorated public interest and in 1992 led Congress to pass the JFK records Act, ordering declassification of an enormous amount of records ... a process still going on today

  13. The weekend NPIC analyses - hidden from the official record - were first questioned in 1975, but then obscured by incomplete/inaccurate documentation. 

  14. Each NPIC team believed they were handling the original Zapruder film - one group working from an 8mm film reel, and the other from an unslit 16mm reel - and during the twelve-hour period between the two teams, the original film was likely altered at Hawkeyeworks. Adding to the intrigue of the covert operation, members of both NPIC briefing board teams were threatened by the "Secret Service" to not talk (even to their supervisors).

  15. If the film worked on by McMahon had been the same worked on the night before, there would’ve been no need for a compartmentalized operation ... the same duty crew that worked on Saturday night could have been called in again.  Use of two separate crews reveals a covert operation.

  16. It’s now evident that there were two separate briefing boards, and two different film formats.  The two events were only exposed (pun intended) during 1996-1999 AARB, and by later interviews in 2009-2011 of the principals who processed the film boards (Homer McMahon and Dino Brugioni). Only 40-50 years later does a full picture emerge of film provenance.

  17. Dino Brugioni's 2009 interview describes "Secret Service" agents arriving with the ZFilm at NPIC on November 23rd - directing the analysis “in individual stop frames” - with particular attention to the portion of the film showing the limousine just ahead of the Stemmons sign, its subsequent disappearance behind the sign, and then the frames after it reappeared. Homer McMahon's interview describes JFK reacting to "6 to 8 shots fired from at least three directions” (i.e. the flurry of shots described by Kellerman).

  18. In 2011, Brugioni was shown a good image of frame 313 from the extant Zapruder film - the so-called “head explosion” - obtained from the National Archives.  Brugioni was startled to find out that this was the only frame graphically depicting the “head explosion” in the extant film, which the National Archives has characterized as “the original film.”  He insisted that the head explosion he viewed multiple times in 1963 was of such a great size, and duration (in terms of time), that there should be many more frames depicting that explosion than “just the one frame” (Frame 313), as shown in the ZFilm today.  Furthermore, he said the “head explosion” depicted today is too small in size, and too low in the frame, to be the same graphic depiction he recalls witnessing on Saturday, November 23rd, 1963 at NPIC.

  19. The legal status of the ZFilm became uncertain with the passage of the Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992, and a legal battle ensured over the next 7 years to make the film an official record. There then ensued debates with Zapruder's heirs ($16M in "just compensation") over final ownership including copyright, only once again to be "protected" (in perpetuity) by the Sixth Floor Museum

  20. The AARB commissioned a limited authenticity study of the ZFilm, based on examination of its edge print (the markings and script imposed at the factory where it was produced, and after it was exposed). The AARB asked if Kodak would perform the Zapruder film study pro bono; Kodak agreed in 1997, and hired a retired film chemist, Roland Zavada.

  21. The ZFilm's private ownership continued to hamper its analysis. Zavada described “the tremendous complexity” introduced by LMH (Zapruder’s heirs) in their challenge to demand copyright license before any of the photographs could be used... similar to what Time-Life did to Josiah Thompson in 1967.  

  22. Researchers have pointed out that the CIA/FBI could have conveniently lost or destroyed the ZFilm (as with many other evidential items), yet it did not.  This suggests that everything associated with the film - from filming to distribution - was scripted.  And that perhaps Abraham Zapruder was no innocent bystander.

  23. In late 1999, LMH transferred the copyright and all of its holdings to the Sixth Floor Museum, where the myths are now perpetuated forever.  Author Phillip Melanson summarized the contentious history of the ZFilm best:

"It is possible that the film of the century is more intricately related to the crime of the century than we ever knew -- not because it recorded the crime of the century, as we have assumed, but because it was itself an instrument of conspiracy." 

Gene

 

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36 minutes ago, Gene Kelly said:
 

[...]

  1. The AARB commissioned a limited authenticity study of the ZFilm, based on examination of its edge print (the markings and script imposed at the factory where it was produced, and after it was exposed). The AARB asked if Kodak would perform the Zapruder film study pro bono; Kodak agreed in 1997, and hired a retired film chemist, Roland Zavada.  [...]

"It is possible that the film of the century is more intricately related to the crime of the century than we ever knew -- not because it recorded the crime of the century, as we have assumed, but because it was itself an instrument of conspiracy." 

 

 

I asked Roland Zavada way back when (2003-04?), if, KODAK double 8mm film stock, like the same film stock as the Z-film 'could' of been manufactured without edge markings and manufacturing ID symbols. His answer shocked me, he said, yes. 

Take that where ever you want...

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That his independent authenticity study was window dressing ... it proved little, and was essentially meaningless? 

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14 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

t is, as you say, a cogent explanation of a very complex story. 

Yours is also a great synopsis of things to consider. Zapruder's connection with Dresser Industries and that business's relationship with DeMohrenschildt's wife. Why did he keep the film when others were taken? How did he "at the last moment" get up on that pedestal? It took me 30 years to grasp - even encounter - the Bush connection and near 50 years to think of Abe as other than a Dad with a camera out for the event. Who told him to be there, at that spot and to keep filming no matter what?Why did he lie about the money he received?How come the police didn't take the film? Was the LIFE magazine stuff set up ahead of time?  Was it a case of "Look, Abe, be there at that moment, at that spot. Do not stop filming no matter what. Take the camera home with you. Someone will call and it will be worth your while."

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Randy Robertson made a pretty persausive match between the Dictabelt recorded shots and the Z film. The analysis for me has three weaknesses. He attributes the Z312 movement of JFK to a shot, but I understand all car occupants also moved slightly foward. He supports the idea of Barger (?) that there are two shots around 312/313 which isn't well supported, and finally he makes no attempt to explain the car-stop testimony. The study proves the validity of the acoustic evidence and to me supports film aleration 

There are a minimum of three changes to the momentum of JFK's head (braking , shot and acceleration) at the relevant period.

It is plausible to me that the sequence of movement from 312 was :

1. Slump forward from braking

2. Shot from rear causing bevel in delta fragment

3 shot from front .25-1 sec later blowing out delta fragment etc. As Kennedy is slumped the exit debris goes up (Brigioni)

4 Car accelerates violently throwing Kennedy back.

The extant film has number 3 (above ) removed so closely aligning JFK's movement with the first shot.

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Eddy/Robert

I've spent quite a bit of time reading and studying information about the Zapruder Film.  I've even put a few papers together, mainly for my own edification, to navigate through the complex history of the film. Its quite a complicated affair (still not sure I fully grasp what David Healy told me about Kodak manufacturing double 8mm film stock without edge markings).  There exist passionate debate and opinions about alteration.  What I am convinced of is that the film was "managed" in some way, to fit with the official storyline.  It's difficult to decide what to believe with the JFK case in general, with all of the conflicting the information (and skilled disinformaionalists),  but Abraham Zapruder is also an enigma to me.  Something about him - and his film's chain of custody and Time-Life negotiations - seems "off".  I wouldn't be that surprised if he isn't the innocent bystander that the history books paint him out as. Doug Horne plowed some very important new ground in the assassination story, that I'm sure of ... and the interviews (not too long ago) of NPIC's Brugioni and McMahon are quite amazing.  

I was in Rochester this summer, and took pictures at the retired Kodak facility where Hawkeyeworks is located (I'm having trouble uploading these to the EF). It gave me the creeps to be nearby ... a sinister feel and presence. I'd caution anyone from trying to use the ZFilm as a marker for timing, since I'm convinced its been altered and important information removed (Stemmons sign, limo stop, crossfire fusillade).  It's almost as if the film was itself a part of the plot, to throw everyone off, and support the other piece parts (3 shots, one shooter, wounds/autopsy, etc.).  More than 50 years later, we still talk about it ... and its been the stimulus of every attempt to get to the bottom of Dealey Plaza since Jim Garrison's trial (i.e. HSCA, Stone's JFK, the AARB and the Records Act).  The film is as well-protected today (with the Sixth Flor Museum) as it was when Time-Life took possession the week after the assassination. 

Gene

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Does anyone here or has anyone in the outside JFK assassination community ever heard of statements made that the JFK limo in the Z-film had been moved left or right, up or down, closer too or further away from Zapruders filming position? 

I haven't just making sure.

 

PS  Eddy your point #4 Car accelerates violently throwing Kennedy back.

Watch the Gif DVP posted showing slow mo  of Z311 to Z316  Connally and Kellermans heads are still moving forward while JFK is going backward, during the next 5 frames there movement continues further forward. Therefore  car acceleration did not throw JFK backward between Z311 - Z321    page 9 of topic

Regards,

Adam.

Edited by Adam Johnson

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