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(2) Moorman-in-the-street? Section 5 Copies, UPI, NBC-TV

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5. Copies of the Moorman Polaroid

Given the fact that all extant copies of the Moorman Polaroid show the same thing and that “same thing” falsifies the Fetzer/White LOS theory, it is no wonder that Fetzer and White next attempted to cast doubt on the authenticity of the copies. At first, they only accused the so-called “drum scan” copy of being altered by me. Later, however, when it turned out that this copy matched all the others, they expanded their claim to embrace all copies of the Moorman photo. They further alleged that the copies had been altered in one particular area... that of the Zapruder pedestal and the window beyond. Why? Was this done just to give critics forty years later grounds for doubting their claim, a claim that depended both on the authenticity of the Moorman photo and on a particular relationship between the pedestal and the window? No, that would be a stretch. In their theory, the Moorman photo was altered to conceal the fact that neither Sitzman nor Zapruder stood on the pedestal that day. And what about the Willis, Bronson and Betzner photos that show two similarly-dressed people on the pedestal? They were altered too.

In any case, their attempt to impeach the authenticity of the Moorman copies led to fascinating research as to how and when the copies were made. This research will be the focus of this section.


After taking her famous photo, Mary Moorman moved back from the curb and dropped to the grass along with her friend, Jean Hill. Several photos and a WFAA news film show them sitting there. Later that afternoon, Moorman executed a Sheriff’s Department affidavit where she says, “When I heard these shots ring out, I fell to the ground to keep from being hit myself.” (19H487)


Seconds later, photos show Jean Hill’s red coat flaring as she runs up the steps of the grassy knoll. Moorman stayed on the grass. Moments later, Hill returned to find Moorman, standing at her original position and talking with James Featherston, court reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald. In 1993, Featherston told a reporters’ gathering what had been in his mind, “I wanted that picture, period. At the time, I thought that was the only picture in existence. Mary agreed to give me the film. I asked both of them to come back to the press room with me – which they did.” [NOTE: See ”Remarks by James Featherston at Reporter Remember Conference, Dallas, 11/20/93,” cited in Pictures of the Pain by Richard B. Trask (Danvers, Mass.: Yeoman Press, 1994), page 237.] Featherston spoke with the two women as they walked to Moorman’s car where she coated the Polaroids. Then he shepherded them to the “press room” in the Criminal Courts Building at the northeast corner of Main and Houston Streets. As he did all this, Featherston got their story. He also got from Moorman permission to copy her photo. Once in the press room, Featherston called his editor, Tom LePere, and gave him a run-down on what the two women had told him. The editor sent a runner over to pick up Moorman’s photo for copying and asked another reporter, Connie Watson, to take down Moorman’s and Hill’s stories over the phone.

Barb Junkkarinen is acquainted with Watson (now Kritzberg) and talked to her last week. Kritzberg recalled that Moorman clearly was upset that afternoon. “Stunned silence” were the words Kritzberg used in describing Moorman at the beginning of their talk. Kritzberg could not recall if Moorman said anything about where she was when she took her photo. Moorman didn’t remember how she got onto the ground and commented that she hadn’t seen anything since her eye was pressed to the viewfinder. In her book, Kritzberg commented that Moorman told her she “sank to the ground, or perhaps was pulled down.” (NOTE: Connie Kritzberg, Secrets from the Sixth Floor Window, (Undercover Press, 1994), page 15.)

The Dallas Times-Herald shared a photo lab with UPI. A copy negative of the Moorman photo was made by an unknown employee and quickly returned to Moorman via Featherston. The Times-Herald published the picture on Sunday, November 24, whereas UPI distributed the picture to newsrooms later on the 22nd. UPI purchased distribution rights to the photo from Moorman several days later. Through this distribution, the Moorman photo became an iconic representation of the assassination. The UPI copy, however, was usually cropped for distribution. Missing was the right side of the Polaroid print that shows Zapruder and Sitzman on the pedestal. In 1967, I searched in the files of UPI for the original copy negative and any full-frame prints. I found none. To my knowledge, neither the negative nor any prints of the uncropped Polaroid are extant in the UPI (now Corbis) files. The following photo came from the files of UPI and was used in producing the book, Four Days in November.


The following photo shows that a full-frame Moorman photo was distributed over the UPI wire on November 23, 1963.


NBC –TV Copy

The Moorman Polaroid was only absent from the Press Room for a short time while being copied at the Dallas Times-Herald/UPI photo lab. It was returned promptly to Moorman and was in her possession for an interview with NBC that occurred around 1:00 PM. A shot of her Polaroid was part of that interview and became one of the first photos of the assassination to be seen nationally when it was broadcast at 3:19 PM (CST) on the NBC network.


Gary Mack interviewed the freelance TV reporter who did the interview, Henry Kokojan. Kokojan had filmed the motorcade from the Adolphus Hotel when it passed on Main Street and went to Dealey Plaza immediately after learning what happened. He was working for NBC News that day and their local affiliate was WBAP-TV (now KXAS-TV). Unlike most of the news photographers, Kokojan had one of the few sound-equipped cameras. He was shooting black & white, 16 mm film, the standard for TV news in those days. After doing his interview with Moorman and Hill, he made his way to Parkland Hospital where he ran into NBC News photographer Dave Wiegman and WBAP photographer Bob Welch. All three had film and they wanted to get it processed and on the air. Either using a phone or Welch’s two-way car radio, they called WBAP and requested a runner to take their film to the station about 25 miles away in East Ft. Worth. This was done as quickly as possible and the film developed in the WBAP photo lab. It was put on the air at 3:18 PM fresh from the TV station’s processor.


GO ON TO THIRD PART: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14093

Edited by Josiah Thompson
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