Jump to content
The Education Forum

David Lifton teases Final Charade on the Night Fright Show

Recommended Posts

Some dates for Dr David Stewart's interviews and media appearances. Don't know if they're exact, but useful as a starting point:

1)  New Lebanon, Tennessee, Democrat", 3/30/67 
2) "The Joe Dolan Show", KNEW radio, Oakland, CA, 4/10/67 

3) Nashville Banner as reported in The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jan 30, 1967 






Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 707
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

DSL NOTE, 3/7/2018 (12 noon PST) This post has been considerably augmented (and once again "edited")  from the time it was first drafted, and posted.

Rick McTague: 

Starting with your commentary from a previous post:

Running the risk of being included in your insults and vitriol [directed at Michael Walton --DSL], I would like to ask your explanation of the three documented multiple casket entry times, multiple caskets (ornate bronze / pink shipping) and multiple conditions of JFK's body (covered in sheets, in a body bag) that are a matter of record and hard evidence, none of which match the condition of the body matched to the casket as it left Parkland.  

Thanks for your support. The fact that someone is voluble (but ignorant) does not mean that what they are saying is true (or that it has any validity). My advice: ignore that kind of uninformed "commentary."

For a detailed discussion of the discovery of the "empty casket" evidence (commencing on July 2, 1979, with my discovery of --and first conversation with--the late Dennis David), and how that conversation, plus the publication of the Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) just a few weeks later changed the structure of Best Evidence, scroll down a bit further on this thread, and to my post which begins, "DSL NOTE - 3/7/2018 - 6 PM PST".   

Thanks to all for your interest in my work.  DSL, 3/7/2018 - 6:05 PM PST) 

* * * *

On the subject of helicopters. . :

Many years have passed (and newcomers may not know this because we take for granted what we ourselves have done, and sometimes don't realize that the intervening years has changed as to who is in the audience [so to speak]). . but:

Back in 1996, I actually located the helicopter pilot who flew the mission to the starboard side of Air Force One.  It all happened by accident because, in a school somewhere in the western part of the U.S., a teacher was discussing the Kennedy assassination (6th grade, as I recall); and a little girl raised her hand and said "My daddy was there!"  The teacher proceeded to follow-up, established the facts, was quite excited by what he had learned and telephoned me. I was soon talking to the pilot, who was an Air Force Captain who --in 1963-- was part of a special unit that was on call to fly top government officials "to the mountain" in the case of a nuclear alert.  It was called the "HMX squadron" and his code name on the night he flew the mission  was "Nighthawk One."

We then made arrangements for a filmed interview, which occurred in late 1966. During the interview, he showed me his logbook, and did something I (pesonally speaking) would never have done. He let me take the log book, so when I returned to L.A., I could get it photographed.  Then we lost touch, and it was partly my fault.  Years later, he wanted it back, and I know he was very pleased when he called me up, and I returned it to him, via Express Mail or Fed Ex, within a few days. It had always remained right near my desk, on a special shelf on my bookshelf, and I always wanted to write a chapter called "The Flight of Nighthawk One."

At the time I did this interview, I had part of--but not the whole story--of the transportation of the body, from Dallas to the Bethesda morgue.  This particular chopper pilot--who met AF-1 on the starboard side (and you can actually see his flashing flights on cameras of the Andrews arrival--did not retrieve the body. He was sent there to get Bobby and Jackie off the starboard side, and fly them either to the White House or to  Bethesda (I think).  But the real point of the story was that Jackie refused to exit the plane on the starboard side (the "dark" side); she would not leave the coffin (which was offloaded, as is well documented) on the port side. The consequence of Jackie refusing to leave the plane on the starboard side--of refusing to leave the Dallas coffin--was a major contributing factor to the situation where she (Jackie) and the Dallas coffin ended up in a Navy ambulance, instead of she (Jackie, with Bobby) leaving AF-1 from the starboard side, and  so the Dallas coffin (being offloaded on the port side) was not flown to Walter Reed in the twin-rotor MDW chopper; which, apparently, was the plan, and what the "Walter Reed" radio transmissions were all about. (See Chapter 31 of B.E.; but also, what I have said about this subject in a previous writing on this thread).

I have already written about this previously on this thread, and--as I recall (but I may have the year wrong)--I showed a brief snippet of my filmed interview with the helicopter pilot at JFK (Lancer) Conference in either 1996 or 1998. (I believe that Doug Horne writes about this in one of his 5 volumes).

As to the rest of the story--my understanding as to exactly where the body was on AF-1 and how it was offloaded and transported etc--all of that will be set forth in Final Charade.

Stay tuned.

And again, thanks for your support and here's my advice: ignore those who talk loudly and vociferously, but don't know what they're talking about, and really don't have much to say.


3/6/18 - 2:15 PM PST; edited, 12 noon PST

Orange County, California





Edited by David Lifton
Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul Rigby:

Thanks. I'm using another archival source and attempting to get the actual newspaper story as it originally appeared in that Nashville, Tenn. paper.

We'll stay in touch, because there's other things we should talk about. . soon.


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, David Lifton said:

But there’s no “trace evidence” of any such event—i.e., no trace evidence of any suturing at Parkland.

So, with all due respect for the effort you have put into your post,  I believe you can (and should) set that aside and  “edit it out” of your possibilities.


Did you ask directly Dr. Perry or any other doctor who was in ER1 if they made any suture while doing the tracheostomy? The thing is that they may have done some stitches but did not tell because it was automatic and they would not describe all details of how they did the tracheostomy - for them it was a routine. Sometimes, two sutures are placed directly on the cut tracheal ring on both sides of the catheter, and sometimes two stitches are made on the skin on each side. These sutures help to keep the catheter stable in the trachea. The doctors could have told about making stitches were they asked, and they did not bother to tell if no one asked. Who knows.

However, I agree it would be strange that no one would report that any sutures have been made in the neck area.


Addition (07/03): I have now refreshed my memories of Best Evidence by re-reading Chapter 23 and some other chapters. Dr. Ebersole testified for the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he has seen "neatly sutured by a surgeon in Dallas".  I also got that you have asked Dr.  Clark about the possibility of applying sutures to any of the wounds which he has denied. Dr. Ebersole claimed that the neck wound has been sutured including the hole which he thought at that time that it was related to the tracheostomy. Your book says that the medical staff got into contact with Dallas doctors about 11-11.30PM and that was the time when they realized that there was sewing on the throat. Dr. Ebersole reasoned that a tracheostomy was made, the tubes were pulled out, and only then the stitches were made. Dr. Ebersole repeated this to the reporter Gil Dulaney.


Well, this opens one more possibility besides a body alteration after the body left Dallas and before it was presented for an autopsy. If there is a surgery causing opening of patient's body and even if the patient dies, all wounds caused by the surgeons would be sutured. Suppose there is a patient undergoing a cardiac surgery, and the patient dies during the surgery. The surgeons would not abandon the body as it was when the patient died, they would close the chest and suture the wounds. Could something similar happen in Dallas? Most of the doctors leave and while the body is being prepared for a transfer to the pathology department, stitches are applied to the neck. 

I am just trying to make any sense of the different testimonies regarding the neck wound, with not too much of success I see.




Edited by Andrej Stancak
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, David Lifton, for yet another very detailed and interesting response [via your post of March 6 at the bottom of Page 28 of this thread]. The things you have said about Robert Groden's possible reason(s) for not wanting to include in his book (TKOAP) the things that Dr. Perry allegedly told him in 1977 do make some degree of sense to me, but it's still a bit difficult for me to believe that a major conspiracy author like Bob Groden would have been willing to just ignore a series of allegedly contradictory statements being made by one of the doctors who had his hands on President Kennedy in the emergency room in Dallas.

Because even if Mr. Groden was not a believer in your "Body Alteration" theory, I would think he still could have found a way to utilize Dr. Perry's "bombshell" 1977 statements to his advantage in order to promote the two main issues that Groden advocates --- "conspiracy" and "cover-up". Instead, Groden just decided to drop the whole matter and sweep Perry's statements (which are statements that Perry supposedly made to Groden in person) under the rug?!? That seems very unlikely, in my opinion.*

* I'm not saying your explanation for Groden's reticence is totally wrong, but knowing of Mr. Groden's passion for spreading the "conspiracy" word (as I do), Bob's total silence in his 1993 book concerning this tracheotomy bombshell seems mighty strange to me.

David L., I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on various matters concerning the JFK case this week. And these discussions have provided some excellent additional material for my own archives of "JFK Assassination Arguments" at my website. So I thank you, DSL, for that.

But I have to also say that the many things you have said in this discussion have not caused me to be swayed a single bit into believing in any kind of "conspiracy" or "cover-up" or "alteration of videotapes" relating to Dr. Perry or any other part of the investigation into John F. Kennedy's murder. (But I'm sure that doesn't come as much of a shock to you.) :-)

Yes, there's an apparent discrepancy with respect to some of the things that Dr. Malcolm Perry said to various people over the years concerning the tracheotomy procedure that Perry performed on President Kennedy's body at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on 11/22/63. I cannot deny that discrepancy. But I also have a difficult time believing that if Dr. Perry was so committed to telling such blatant lies to the public regarding the details surrounding the tracheotomy (e.g., the "lies" you think he told to the Warren Commission, the ARRB, and to the CBS-TV audience in 1967), then I have to ask myself: Why on Earth would this alleged l-i-a-r be willing to tell multiple people—including AUTHOR Robert J. Groden!—something totally different from what he had said (i.e., lied about) numerous times in public and in his Warren Commission testimony?

Didn't he know that Groden was a WRITER OF BOOKS on the JFK assassination? And didn't Perry know that his "confession" (so to speak) about leaving the wound "inviolate" would likely end up being printed somewhere, and that such a "confession" would be totally at odds with what he told the Warren Commission and CBS News years earlier?

In other words, it's my opinion (which you might regard as silly as all get out) that even with such "discrepancies" existing in the record when comparing Dr. Perry's public vs. private statements, there MUST be, in my view, an explanation that can reconcile those discrepancies without having to resort to this conclusion: Dr. Perry lied.

As my very good friend and fellow "LNer" Jean Davison said (which is one of many “Common Sense” quotes by Jean that I have archived over the last several years):

"Although the solutions proposed by [David] Lifton and [Michael] Eddowes are more farfetched than some, they use the same style of reasoning found in other conspiracy books. All these theories are based on unexplained discrepancies in the record. .... Alternative explanations and the overall pattern of the evidence are given little attention, if any." -- Jean Davison; Pages 274-275 of "Oswald's Game" (1983)

In summary....

I enjoy discussing the JFK case with David S. Lifton. It's just a shame that all of that writing talent, and all of that detailed knowledge about the JFK case, and all of that research skill, and all of that decades worth of effort on the part of Mr. Lifton has been so misdirected and misguided (IMO). For, I ask with all sincerity, how is a reasonable human being supposed to take seriously a person who says things like this to them?:

"You might want to pick up and reread those sections of 'Best Evidence' which deal with the design of the sophisticated strategic deception which, I believe, was used in conjunction with the Kennedy assassination, in order to hide the true source of the shots, and point a false evidentiary vector in the direction of the so-called “sniper’s nest”. .... That is what Chapter 14, titled “Trajectory Reversal”, is all about. It is not titled “Strategic Deception.” Rather, it is titled “Trajectory Reversal: Blueprint for Deception” and I have no doubt it will stand the test of time. Long after Mr. Bugliosi's tome is viewed as an anachronism, the last hurrah of someone trying to defend the “Oswald-did-it-all-by-himself” thesis, “Trajectory Reversal” will be properly viewed (i.e., ultimately recognized) as the genuine blueprint for a strategic deception utilized in connection with the Dallas shooting, and the best description of what actually happened. (Which it is.) It is why the media reported one thing, whereas the President’s body provided evidence of something quite different." -- David S. Lifton; March 6, 2011

"If the President's body was altered, then this was a body-centric plot; that is, it was a plot not just to murder President Kennedy by shooting him, but then (i.e., afterwards) to alter the medical facts of the case (i.e., alter the wounds, remove bullets, etc.) -- all of that done to change the story of how JFK died. To alter the "medical facts" and thus change the "legal facts" as to how JFK died for the FBI, and for any subsequent investigation, whether it was a presidential commission, a congressional investigation, whatever. It would not matter. Viewed that way, this was a plot "with a built-in cover-up"--and was akin to a piece of domestic espionage." --David S. Lifton; May 4, 2013

"There was an attempt to alter the audio on that tape [of the 1967 CBS News program]. A clumsy attempt, which resulted in a tape (at that point) where Perry's lip movements are clearly out of sync with the audio track." -- David S. Lifton; March 2, 2018

The above quotes provide just three examples (among many) of the type of highly improbable and bizarre theories that Mr. Lifton has endorsed since the mid-1960s. And in order for me to place my faith (or belief) in either of those theories—particularly the first one—I would have no choice but to toss all of my common sense out the nearest window.

Here's what I said five years ago:

"The JFK case has a very curious effect on certain people (such as David Lifton of Los Angeles) -- They treat the evidence as if it's something that needs to be molded and crafted into something that it is not. In plainer terms, they simply IGNORE all the evidence of Lee Harvey Oswald's lone guilt in the assassination of the 35th President, and they expect the masses to fall at their feet and give thanks to these expert "researchers" like Mr. Lifton who have literally made a mockery out of the true evidence in this case." -- David Von Pein; May 4, 2013

The late Vincent Bugliosi summed things up pretty well too, when he said this:

"One theory that perhaps "takes the cake" is set forth by conspiracy author David Lifton in his book "Best Evidence". .... One could safely say that David Lifton took folly to an unprecedented level. And considering the monumental foolishness of his colleagues in the conspiracy community, that's saying something." -- Vincent T. Bugliosi; Pages 1057 and 1066 of "Reclaiming History" (2007)

Edited by David Von Pein
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, David Von Pein said:


Bugliosi has the most disappointing section on the medical evidence. This guy thinks that Humes and maybe even Boswell and Finck together chose to lie about the anatomical location of the small head wound next to the external occipital protuberance because they were embarrassed they wrote an estimate in the autopsy report rather than precise measurement. What bullcrap. Where does Bugliosi explain how to remove a brain from a human skull without also removing the "cowlick" portion of the skull? Because Dr. Finck always said that he arrived at the autopsy late after the brain had already been removed, and he could still examine the small head wound within the majority of the cranium that was not separated during the brain removal procedure. As neurologist Joe Riley has pointed out, the HSCA's "cowlick" interpretation of the open-cranium autopsy photographs is anatomically incorrect because it suggests the brain was somehow removed through a skull cavity that was only five inches wide (the length between their proposed entry and exit location, both of which they claim can be seen on the photographs). Let the brain breath, cowlickers.


The small head wound was near the EOP. Finck was arguing against that cowlick stuff since the trial of Clay Shaw "(the small head wound) was definitely not four inches above".

Edited by Micah Mileto
Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought Groden did mention the Perry interview in Killing of a President? The book From Parkland to Bethesda cites it as such.


Dr. Malcolm Oliver “Mac” Perry, Attending Surgeon (deceased 12/5/2009)


1979 interview with Robert Groden [“BE”, p. 706; Groden’s “TKOAP”, p. 77 (includes photo of Perry)]---photos of neck and head wound not as he remembered them to be: his trach was “neater”, and not the “larger, expanded” one seen in the pictures. Also, the head wound more closely matched the Dr. McClelland drawing in “Six Seconds in Dallas”; “When interviewed in 1979, he still maintained that the bullet had entered the President’s throat from the front…”

Palamara, Vincent. JFK: From Parkland to Bethesda: The Ultimate Kennedy Assassination Compendium (p. 5). Trine Day. Kindle Edition.




Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Micah Mileto said:

I thought Groden did mention the Perry interview in Killing of a President? The book From Parkland to Bethesda cites it as such.

Dr. Malcolm Oliver “Mac” Perry, Attending Surgeon (deceased 12/5/2009)

1979 interview with Robert Groden [“BE”, p. 706; Groden’s “TKOAP”, p. 77 (includes photo of Perry)]---photos of neck and head wound not as he remembered them to be: his trach was “neater”, and not the “larger, expanded” one seen in the pictures. Also, the head wound more closely matched the Dr. McClelland drawing in “Six Seconds in Dallas”; “When interviewed in 1979, he still maintained that the bullet had entered the President’s throat from the front…”

Palamara, Vincent. JFK: From Parkland to Bethesda: The Ultimate Kennedy Assassination Compendium (p. 5). Trine Day. Kindle Edition.

Thanks, Micah.

For the record....

I just now took a photo of pages 76 and 77 of Robert Groden's book "The Killing Of A President" [see below], and although a "1979 interview" with Dr. Perry is mentioned on Page 77, there is nothing in that brief section of text that says anything about Perry saying he left JFK's throat wound "inviolate", nor is there anything mentioned there about the trach wound looking "neater" than the wound seen in the autopsy photos. (That "neater" info must have come from Vincent Palamara's other listed source—"BE", p. 706—because it sure didn't come from "TKOAP", p. 77.)

Also (FWIW) .... Palamara probably has the date of that interview incorrect. From what I gather from Mr. Lifton in this discussion, that interview took place in 1977, not '79. (But maybe there was a second Groden/Perry interview in '79 too. ~shrug~)

Moreover, just as I quoted previously, Groden, on Page 76 of TKOAP [top left], positively endorses the idea that Dr. Perry did, indeed, cut through the bullet hole in President Kennedy's throat. And, as we can see on the two book pages below, the notion of Dr. Perry cutting through the bullet hole in JFK's neck is endorsed by Groden a total of three separate times in the text seen on pages 76 and 77 of his 1993 publication....

Click to enlarge to 2048 px....

Edited by David Von Pein
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Andrew Prutsok said:

I'm pretty sure the newspaper referenced would be the "Lebanon Democrat," not the "New Lebanon Democrat." I work for the company that owns the Democrat and will look into getting a copy.

I defer to you on the precise title, Andrew. If you do manage to obtain a copy of the piece featuring Stewart, please post.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/3/2018 at 3:01 AM, Denny Zartman said:

I apologize for intruding, since I have nothing to contribute to the conversation, but I wanted to say that this thread makes for absolutely fascinating reading, and I think it's cool to be on a forum with Mr. Lifton.

Thanks for posting so much, here, Mr. Lifton, and I look forward to your new book. Your dedication to research is astounding and inspiring.

I was having such thoughts when I came across this by Mr Zartman. Ditto.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

And you think the WC Report is any more reliable?

Stop twisting things around! You know the point I'm making here. The point being - and I'll spell it out to you - Perry went on record to what he did. And you're relying on a reporter who most probably got it wrong.  Look at the testimony...look at the photo...listen to his interview and stop twisting things around.  Sheesh!

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Paul Rigby said:

I defer to you on the precise title, Andrew. If you do manage to obtain a copy of the piece featuring Stewart, please post.

Will do. The editor tells me their old bound volumes are offsite at a local college. He's going on vacation next week but will try to locate when he gets back.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Andrew Prutsok said:

Will do. The editor tells me their old bound volumes are offsite at a local college. He's going on vacation next week but will try to locate when he gets back.

Fingers-crossed. Thanks for taking the time & trouble to run this piece down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

DSL NOTE - 3/7/2018 - 6 PM PST

For those readers who may be interested in background on the original discovery of the "empty casket" evidence (and the body bag)--which began in July 1979--and  how that changed the structure of Best Evidence (as originally designed) and the subsequent  process of publication of the book, the following information is provided.  Thank you all for the ongoing interest in my work. DSL

BEGINNING WITH Rick McTague  (i.e., starting with your commentary from a previous post):

Running the risk of being included in your insults and vitriol [directed at Michael Walton --DSL], I would like to ask your explanation of the three documented multiple casket entry times, multiple caskets (ornate bronze / pink shipping) and multiple conditions of JFK's body (covered in sheets, in a body bag) that are a matter of record and hard evidence, none of which match the condition of the body matched to the casket as it left Parkland.  

Thanks for your support. The fact that someone is voluble (but ignorant) does not mean that what they are saying is true (or that it has any validity). My advice: ignore that kind of uninformed "commentary."


FYI: The evidence of the multiple casket arrivals was first discovered (by me)  on July 2, 1979, when I first spoke with Dennis David (as described in detail in Chapter 25 of Best Evidence ["The Lake County Informant"]).  Then came the next event: it was corroborated by the release of the HSCA Report (within one or two weeks, which reported that JFK's body arrived at  Bethesda in a body bag, and then all of that was corroborated by my (first) conversation with Paul O'Connor [Aug 25, 1979]).  At that point, my literary agent (Peter Shepherd) arranged for a special meeting with the top executives at my publisher, Macmillan, because it became imperative to explain what I had discovered, and to change the "due date" for the book (and that was done).  A description of all this "high drama" will be contained in Final Charade.

As my interviewing continued, and the overall findings became apparent, the Macmillan executives became increasingly excited by the potential importance of the book. On the one hand, they were in the business of publishing a hardcover book; but on the other, they were dealing with something that had the quality of a "fast-breaking news story."  They wanted it to be accurate, but they didn't want to see it "stolen" or to be scooped.  They made clear to me that this would be the "number one" book , on their "A list", when it was published, and they even gave me an office on the main executive floor, at Macmillan [866 Third Avenue, NYC, if anyone cares to check]. Really: think about that.  After the manuscript was finally turned in (4/1/1980), I had an office on "executive row" at Macmillan!

The whole experience was surreal, and I've written it up for inclusion in Final Charade. I've never heard of a writer being given an office at the publisher, but that's what happened to me. Then Book of the Month Club stepped up and made arrangements for it to be a BOM Selection (an "alternate" for one of the Spring 1981 months).  Macmillan's executives realized it could be a dynamite book, but they also demanded accuracy.  The  publication of the information, even though in hardcover (which normally takes a year) had the quality of a fast-breaking news story, and to speed production,  the President (Albert Litewka) came up with the plan to split the 1877 page triple-spaced manuscript into two parts: each had a code name, and each went through the production process separately (e.g., copy-editing, legal, etc.) and then the two parts would be "joined" together towards the end of the production process. It worked, and B.E. was brought to market in record time.

Then Macmillan bought the cover of Publisher's Weekly , the industry trade magazine, around September 1980,  to announce the forthcoming publication of the book.  Also: they then agreed with my suggestion that the key witnesses that I had just discovered and interviewed by phone, ought to be re-interviewed on camera. I was worried that the TV program 60 Minutes would "re-interview" my key witnesses, do some tricky editing, and create the appearance that I had misrepresented their accounts. I was particularly concerned about Dan Rather, who was one of the top producers at 60 Minutes, and was CBS's so called "Kennedy expert."

So my suggestion was to, in effect, stage a "pre-emptive strike" against such a possibility. If we interviewed the witnesses first, and they confirmed their accounts, as told to me via telephone, that would greatly minimize the possibility of some "wise guy" editing, aimed at undercutting the credibility of the work.

October 1980 - - the creation of the Best Evidence Research Video

So I was thrust into the role of being a documentary film producer, without ever having had any film-making experience. Fortunately, I had a few great friends and associates and my learning curve was rapid.  I departed New York City, with a fully professional film crew (16mm cameraman, and first rate sound man) in late October 1980, when B.E. had already been sent to the printer. We visited five cities and interviewed five key witnesses, returning to New York City with thousands of feet of film that had to be processed (at Duart) and then properly edited. The editing expert was Arnon Mishkin, a recent Yale graduate who was also a key editor and producer at  WNET-TV, the New York City PBS  station. Mishkin and I spend hundreds of hours going over and over the footage, and constructing a "program" that used the style and technique of 60 Minutes. I vividly remember  spending many hours in a 10th floor editing room overlooking Broadway; and particularly the time we spent there on Thanksgiving 1980, at the time of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. As we worked making decisions and executing the edits, the Macy's float with the traditional (and very giant) Mickey Mouse balloon floated right by our window.  At one point, we had a visit from Dan Rather's producer (Steve Glauber) who was astounded at what we had found, and said--repeatedly, as he viewed our footage-- "Oh boy, Dan [Rather] is going to love this!"

Well it didn't work out that way. Dan did not "love" the footage--at all. To the contrary, he pretended "not to understand".

In other words, the same guy that misreported the Zapruder head snap would claim that he "didn't understand" why anyone would alter the body. (Read on. . )

DECEMBER 1980- DSL AT 60 Minutes (and meetings with Don Hewitt, and another with Dan Rather)

In mid-December [1980], I and the President of Macmillan (Albert Litewka) and the Editor in Chief (George Walsh) and Mishkin: all of us attended an important meeting with Don Hewitt, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, and screened the original "cut" of the footage. It was about 45 minutes long., When the lights went up, an incredulous Hewitt almost couldn't believe what he had seen; and  most specifically, as I later came to realize, that a private citizen had unearthed material of such importance, and was bringing it to him, already documented.,  "Did you pay these people?!" he yelled, very angrily. By this time I had had enough, and shot back, "Yes, a dollar for the release!" (You're supposed to get a legal release, before filming anyone, and of course we had done exactly that.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT. . .There was some back and forth, and then Mishkin, who had a personal relationship with Hewitt, said, "C'mon Don, calm down. This is important stuff, and David's got it on film" (or words to that effect).  In fact, Hewitt calmed down, and soon was an enthusiastic proponent of getting it broadcast nationally. He said that Dan Rather (then one of the key 60 Minute producers [there was so many of them that the show was called, by insiders, "60 Producers"] should be the next to screen the material.


Within a week, I was seated alone in a screening room with Rather, and  once again, and for the umpteenth time,  watched the film. When the lights came on, it became apparent that there was a problem. At first I almost couldn't believe it, and when relating what happened next, anyone reading this (net post) must understand that I was much more naive in December 1980, and than I am today. Here was "the problem":  Rather said (or pretended) that he was confused, and didn't understand why anyone would want to "alter the body."  At one point he actually said, ":Since Oswald killed the President, why would anyone want to alter the body?" This is the same Dan Rather who, back in 1966, had interviewed Humes in detail as to exactly how many holes there were in President Kennedy's body, and which ones were entrance, and which were exit. (See the CBS Program, broadcast in June 1967). Without question (I later realized, in retrospect), Dan Rather of course (!)  understood that "the body" was the key evidence, and that "the wounds" (i.e., the holes on the body ) constituted "a diagram of the shooting".

In retrospect I realized this (i.e., that Rather's reaction was disingenuous), but at the time, I didn't fully  realize it; and so initially, I was simply amazed, and flabbergasted.  I gave him (Rather)  the benefit of the doubt, and thought he was serious. So, believing that to be the case, I tried to explain,. .one point, after another, as if I was "explaining" the basic concepts of body alteration to a retarded high school student. (Privately, I was thinking: How can this be? How can a person who appears to be so dumb, such a complete blockhead,  be in such an important position at CBS?) Finally, after a few innings of this (of playing this "game", I asked him: "Dan,what do you think of these witnesses?" Oh, replied Rather, I just think you found some people who remember things a bit differently. 

Really, Dan Rather said words just about like that.,

In a future writing, possibly in FInal Charade, I will have more, a lot more,  to say about Dan Rather, because I now know considerably more about him, and  what he knew [on 11/22/63], and when he knew it.  As he told a media producer who is friend of mine, about the JFK's murder (in the late 1970s), and in that clipped repertorial twang: "I have a private and a pubic opinion about the JFK case."

Dan Rather declined to be "the producer" for the show,  which had been approved by Don Hewitt, and so Best Evidence was never aired on 60 Minutes, even though it became a New York Times best seller, was number 1 in several cities, was number one at least one of the two wire services (and possibly both). Meanwhile, and now going back to mid-January 1981, as publication date approached, TIME magazine expressed interest in buying the serial rights to the book (i.e., for magazine publication), but that didn't work out. (But it almost happened).  What did happen was that, in the January 19, 1981 issue, TIME devoted 2 full pages to Best Evidence, as a news  story, in the National Affairs section. "Now, a Two Casket Argument" was the headline. I will try to place exhibits, up here on this thread, to illustrate these events. (For context, please remember: this was the week that President Reagan was inaugurated).

mid- January 1981: Macmillan kicked off the publicity tour for Best Evidence with a major event at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C.  I screened the the full length Best Evidence Research Video for a roomful of reporters. (Seth Kantor was there).,  Also present was Jim Lesar, who never supported my work (and who had once tried to lock me out of the AARC offices, in Washington, after the late Bud Fensterwald (a good friend) had approved my visit, but then had to attend to some business, outside the country, leaving everything "in Jim's hands").  I watched as Lesar (along with a friend of his) were trying to walk off with as many copies of Best Evidence (the hardcover) as they could stuff into their jackets. It was not a pretty sight. 

Within a day or two, I departed NYC for a 20 city cross country book tour. About the second week of February, I was having lunch with a friend in Chicago, when the restaurant manager called me to a telephone (there were no cell phones back then). It was mid-week (about Wednesday), but the person in charge of publicity at Macmillan was calling to tell me the good news; that this coming Sunday, we would be on the New York Times best seller list.  That was extraordinary.  Hurray!

In the above writing, I have described some of the main features of the unusual experience I had between July 2, 1979, and my first conversation with Dennis David, and mid-January, 1981, when my book was featured, in two full pages, as a news story, in TIME. On July 2, 1979, and for the first time, I discovered the evidence that made it clear that the Dallas coffin, the one that was off-loaded from Air Force One, upon its arrival at Andrews Air Force Base at 6 PM, was empty. I know knew that to be true because, according to Dennis David's account, the body had arrived earlier, some 20 minutes prior to the coffin. In the space of 18 months, I investigated this radical thesis, found additional supporting witnesses, re-written the entire ending to Best Evidence (adding seven additional chapters, starting at chapter 25), and made a documentary film.  In July 1979, I was 39, living in my parents home in Rockaway Beach, New York, with no particular employment other than my Macmillan book contract and no major support except for Peter Shepherd, my literary agent;  Dr. Bernard Kenton, a dear friend and family man with a PhD in physics,  my parents, Pat Lambert, and JFK researcher Paul Hoch. By January 1981, I was 41.   The whole experience was akin to a roller coaster ride, in which many of the days were like a living nightmare, working against seemingly impossible deadlines; then came sleep, and then I'd wake up the next day to a continuation of the same nightmare, with the roller coaster always seeming to be about to come off the rails. 

Yes, there was a happy ending, a first -rate happy ending, but the journey to the finish line was unforgettable and very scary.

Today,  anyone can view the 37 minute "Best Evidence video" --containing the interviews conducted in late October 1980- - on the Internet. It now has almost 45,000 views. Here's the link:


DECEMBER 1982 to the present: I now have conducted many more interviews than I had back in 1980, and have much more footage.  With the assistance of family funding (my father, who emigrated from Russia, had four brothers, and my mother was the youngest of 8, so I had many cousins) I conducted major additional filmed interviews in 1989 and 1990, and then additional interviews as I thought necessary (and could afford) afford, over the years.  The total cost of my work on the JFK assassination, most of it plain ordinary expenses such a food, rent, auto insurance, etc., but extenting over a period that began in mid-1966, and has extended to the present, has been about 1.8 million dollars. (And that's not a typo).

Moreover. . : Final Charade has become not just a definitive book about Lee Oswald (which was its original design) but a full blown sequel to Best Evidence; and very possibly it may have to be published in two volumes, because both stories (the one about Oswald and the new info about the medical evidence [i.e., the body] are each rather complex, and, when conjoined, there is just too much information).

But it will be published, and I can assure you it will be well worth the wait.

They say you get only one chance for a such a "happy ending" in life. I'm hoping for a second one, and doing everything I can to bring it about.

Those who have honestly followed what I have published on this thread have gotten a good glimpse --but only a glimpse--of what is coming. Genuine feedback (and not the fulminations of an ignoramus) is always welcome. 

Stay tuned.

DSL, 3/7/2018 - 12:30 AM PST; Edited: I shifted the location of this writeup from a previous location on this thread, 3/7/18; 6 PM PST

Edited by David Lifton
Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...