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(3) Moorman-in-the-street? Section 5, Copies AP/Zippo, FBI, Drum Scan

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A full-frame photo shows the Moorman Polaroid propped-up against a wall with a Zippo lighter along the right frame border.... hence the name “Zippo copy.”


This photo was taken by an unknown law enforcement officer without Moorman’s knowledge on the afternoon of November 22nd while she was being questioned. It was taken with an inexpensive “box camera” that used standard, grainy film. Therefore, enlargements from this negative are plagued by grain breakup and are of low resolution. As John Costella has pointed out, this is the “blurriest” of all Moorman copies. A copy from this version eventually found its way to the Associated Press and was distributed on the AP wire within a few days.



The FBI report of a 11/22/63 interview with Moorman ends with the remark “she furnished this photograph to bureau agents.” This may mean that she permitted the agents to view the photo or it may mean that she let them borrow it at this time. Either on November 22nd (or very soon thereafter), the FBI obtained Moorman’s photo and copied it. That copy languished in the files of the FBI Dallas field office for two decades.

In the early 1980s, Gary Mack was working with Jack White on their “Badge Man” theory. He was employed at KXAS-TV, the successor to WBAP-TV, the NBC station in Dallas-Ft. Worth. One of their reporters was curious, so Mack told him they were searching for better source material. The reporter, Ed Martelle, wondered if the FBI had one and contacted the Dallas FBI office. A copy was made of the Moorman photo and delivered to the reporter who gave it to Mack. He loaned it to Jack White who then made copies that he retained. The FBI print shows the entire Moorman photograph.



The Moorman photo became important to me during the production of Six Seconds in Dallas because it showed an anomalous shape along the stockade fence approximately fifteen feet west of the corner. Consequently, I searched various photo agencies for the best copies of the photograph. In addition, I contacted Mary Moorman and paid her to permit a Dallas professional photographer to copy her Polaroid. It was copied in February 1967 using a camera that produced 4" by 5" negatives even larger than the original Polaroid print. The photographer used those negatives to make several 8" by 10" prints.

In 1985, long before the Moorman-in-the-street controversy arose, I sent to Gary Mack and Jack White seven (7) copies of the Moorman photo from various sources. Included in this group of photos was an 8" by 10" print made by the professional photographer from his copy negative of the Moorman Polaroid. Jack White copied that 8” by 10" print and has retained a copy.

In January 2002, when Moorman-in-the-street came into controversy, I had the photographer’s original copy negative (not a print) scanned at 2400 dpi by Octagon Digital Media in San Francisco. Using a drum scanner on the original negative avoided any defects or artifacts introduced during the printing process. The work wasn’t cheap. CDs with the results of that scan were then distributed to anyone who wanted one including Jack White and James Fetzer. This scan was used by Joe Durnavich in his pixel-counting calculation using a method developed by John Costella. That calculation showed that the “Moorman LOS” was approximately seven inches higher at Moorman’s location than the “White LOS.” [NOTE: Durnavich’s study can be found at http://home.earthlink.net/~joejd/jfk/mgap/index.html. In making his calculation, he was able to identify more than 50 data points along the top of the pedestal... a fair indication of the precision of his calculation.]

Given the deterioration of the original Polaroid print both before and after February 1967 and the cropped nature of the UPI print, the drum scan copy of the Moorman photo may be one of the highest resolution copies in existence. Unfortunately, even by 1967 the badly deteriorated Polaroid had lost a lot of detail as indicated by the fingerprint that mars its surface.



This copy originates with Jack White and Gary Mack. In the mid-1980s, White asked a photographer friend of his, Gordon Smith, to copy the Moorman Polaroid. Mack arranged with Moorman to borrow the Polaroid and the Moorman camera. Smith, whose photography studio also provided “restoration” of faded pictures, did so and turned the results over to White. Since then, White has posted this copy several times on the internet. It is clear that between 1967 and 1985 (when this copy was made) the Polaroid original had decayed further.


GO ON TO FOURTH SECTION: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14094O

Edited by Josiah Thompson
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