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What I want to see is a copy of the November 22? edition that was already in print when the assassination happened, and was pulped and a new edition put out.

The original edition is supposed to have an important story about Bobby Baker and his connections to LBJ that would have taken LBJ out of the game.

Since hundreds of thousands of copies of this edition were allegedly printed, someone along the line - editor, printer, printer's assistant, must have kept a keepsake, so I don't belive the story that they were all destroyed.

Whoever comes up with a copy of that edition gets Brownie Points in my book.


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James Wagenvoord was born in Lansing, Michigan. He graduated from Duke University and was employed in editorial management by Time-Life. He eventually became the editorial business manager and assistant to Life Magazines Executive Editor.


(1) James Wagenvoord, email to

John Simkin (3rd November, 2009)

Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major news break piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time. At the time LIFE magazine was arguably the most important general news source in the US. The top management of Time Inc. was closely allied with the USA's various intelligence agencies and we were used after by the Kennedy Justice Department as a conduit to the public....

The LBJ/Baker piece was in the final editing stages and was scheduled to break in the issue of the magazine due out the week of November 24th (the magazine would have made it to the newsstands on November 26th or 27th). It had been prepared in relative secrecy by a small special editorial team. On Kennedy's death research files and all numbered copies of the nearly print-ready draft were gathered up by my boss (he had been the top editor on the team) and shredded. The issue that was to expose LBJ instead featured the Zapruder film.

(2) James Wagenvoord, email to

John Simkin (5th November, 2009)

I didn't read the embargoed and destroyed material. My boss headed the reporting team and the material was kept under wraps and was seen by only those working the story. I did know that it included references to TV advertising kick-backs (mentioned to me because it was known that my father and brother were in the local broadcasting business - my brother had a TV station in New Orleans at the time.) I was asked about the frequency and how billings were recorded. And it was stated flatly that this was to be the end of LBJ on the 1964 ticket. Life had already run two Baker pieces, the first a general survey bad guy picture essay detailing the opening of the Carousel Hotel and his generally sleaziness, (issue originally dated Nov.22...on the news-stands around the 14-15) and a short follow-up as the story began to break. The story that got scrapped was the big one that would finally tie LBJ in directly to the compromises and graft. The issue dates referenced in my first e-mail to you were wrong. The story was in the process of being closed but the issue that would have carried the story would have been Dec. 2 or 3. on stands 5 or 6 days earlier. I don't remember Reynolds name as such but I knew that a Congressional hearing about to take place (Reynolds was the only immediate hearing) was the reason for getting the LBJ piece out. I had seen Department of Justice couriers coming in and out of the offices and knew that a lot of material was being fed directly to the magazine from the department.

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