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The Zapruder Film and NPIC/Hawkeyeworks Mysteries


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4 hours ago, Roger Odisio said:
 The biggest flaw in your argument, Jeremy, is that you think my contention that the CIA was running the bid for the film through CD Jackson at Life magazine can be rebutted by citing "documentary evidence" that shows that Life was acting on its own.  Life was  just an ordinary news org chasing a buck when it won the bid in your view. 
 
Plus you find no tangible evidence that shows the CIA was directing, or even involved, in the process, except for allowing the SS to use its labs, including HW that no one else knew even existed, to do whatever you think was done at those labs. (It's not credible to think the CIA would have allowed another agency to use its secret HW lab in a way that could reveal its existence, while keeping even the name of the place classified for almost 50 years after the murder).
 
As if after all these years you have no idea how the CIA works on a day to day basis.  As if the CIA's stonewalling and ultimately blocking both official investigations into the murder tells you nothing about their desire to to cover up, rather than find out, who killed their boss, JFK.  You think if the CIA was running the bid and directing what was done with the film, available documents would reveal that, if you searched hard enough. My mind is boggling.
 
Before we go on, let's get the basic facts of the deal Life had with Zapruder straight.  Life bought limited rights to the *original* film, not including copies, and a representative left with it to go somewhere. Zapruder originally had three additional copies. One of them was earmarked to give to Life a few days later in exchange for  Life returning the original to him. 
 
The briefing boards Brugioni did late Saturday night were targeted for the director of the CIA and the SS.  That, with copies of the film at some point from Zapruder, would give each agency their own copy of both the films and the boards that were done at the NPIC. The briefing boards were the key to understanding the film.  That's why they were called briefing boards.
 
Your whole story begins to unravel, however, when you examine the history of Life's actions until they returned the film they had to Zapruder in 1975. That history belies your story about their purpose in buying the film. You say they were acting on their own, solely in their business interests, to bring the news to the public and make a buck doing it. They used the film to publish some selected stills in some issues of their magazines and sold a few more issues.  I said publishing those stills were designed to convince the public they had seen everything about the murder without seeing the actual film. It's now clear, Life had no intention of allowing anyone to see the film. An early clue as to Life's role.
 
Showing the film to the public was the best way to reveal what actually happened, as well as Life's best, perhaps its only, way  to reap real profits on such a large investment they had made.  Concealing the film's evidence was what the killers wanted, but why did Life ultimately do that?
 
CBS also bid for the film rights.  Apparently their headquarters capped their bid at $10,000.  Life's $50,000 initial bid blew them out of the water, and the eventual price of $150,000 was 15 times more than CBS was willing to pay. The second deal raising the price was after the first  briefing boards clearly showed what the film had captured. One of those bidders had access to virtually unlimited funds and it wasn't CBS.
 
But suppose CBS had won the bid for the rights to the original film. They didn't have a magazine to divert attention from the film by publishing some selected stills. They would have been planning to show the film, probably that weekend in a show hosted by Walter Cronkite. for the scoop of the century.  To show the world clear evidence of what happened. That would have blown the Oswald story.  Ponder how that would have changed things compared to what Life did with the film.
 
Who didn't want that film to be seen?  That's right, the killers.  They knew they had to do everything possible to prevent the public from seeing the original film, particularly that first weekend when their Oswald story was just getting off the ground and Oswald, for part of that weekend, was still alive to contradict it.
 
You don't try to claim that LIFE was part of the  gang that planned the murder and whose neck was on the line.  Quite the opposite.  In your story, they were just a business  unconnected to anyone else, with seemingly unlimited funds ($150,000 was a lot of money in those days), who won the bid, but for some reason was singularly uninterested in either a return on their investment or showing the film to the public. Their actions just happened to coincide with what the killers wanted.
 
It is with this incoherent and incomplete story that you base your claim the film was never altered.
 
How do we know your story is accurate?  Your answer is that's what the "documentary evidence" left behind that you have collated for us shows. My mind is still boggling.
 
Let's go back to look at the details of the bid Saturday morning. Yes, Richard Stolley did the bidding representing Life, no doubt with instructions from CD Jackson, running Life at the time. What were those instructions, besides win the bid and don't worry about what it costs?  There is no document that shows Jackson's plan, and we shouldn't believe it if it did exist. Need I mention Jackson was a long time CIA asset?
 
You admit it's not clear whether Stolley accompanied the original film on the plane to wherever its destination actually was. So how much did he know at the time about the purpose of winning the bid?  II's quite possible he was told nothing about that.  He had no need to know. 
 
It's clear someone, said to be representing Life, left that Saturday with the original film.   Whom did he represent, what was his purpose and where did he go? Alas, again there are no reliable documents that tell us that. That's why the original story that the film was quickly flown to Chicago so Life could start working on it was essentially unquestioned for decades (as far as I know).  Until the briefing boards story broke almost 50 years later. We have to figure that out based on what we do know.
 
One thing is clear.  If it was the CIA taking the film to its NPIC lab, there would  be no documents to verify that.
 
Offering your story that Life was, on its own bidding for the rights to the original film and sent that on Saturday to Chicago, has at least one benefit to you.  It allows you to avoid all the discordant questions that we have learned to ask about what was done with the film at the two CIA labs. 
 
The film was taken there by SS agents, you say.  It was just a copy.  Furthermore, you contend the CIA was willing  to let the SS use its secret HW lab and risk its existence being exposed by raising questions about what was done there.  That's not credible.
 
The basis for your claim that it was the SS who twice delivered the film to NPIC is the word of the two messengers themselves.  I'm Bill Smith from the SS the person told Homer McMahon. 
 
Actually there's more to that episode. McMahon claimed it was "Smith" who decided what frames of the film to use for the second board, not him.  Unlike what Brugioni did on the first set, whose purpose was to clarify what the film showed.
 
MacMahon said he thought there were shots from more than one direction.  But Smith ignored his suggestions. Whoever Smith was working for was involved in the coverup.  If you believe Smith was really from the SS,  you've got them embroiled in the coverup. 
 
I concluded early on it was CIA itself who directed what went on that weekend at its own labs.  To claim it was someone like the SS (no conspirators they!) doesn't wash.  Unless you want to claim the CIA and SS as one, were working together on the murder, in which case the question of which one delivered the film wouldn't matter.
 
Before the pasting of enlarged prints of the key frames on to the board was finished at NPIC early Sunday morning, the film was sent off the the secret HW lab .  It was clear by then what the film showed.  Quick action was needed (by the killers!) to deal with that evidence.
 
Your initial answer to the question of alteration, Jeremy, was to suggest that the killers would not have tried it because they would have preferred to just destroy the film.  But by altering key elements, they *did* destroy the original film. It no longer exists. Which left them with a fake they could pass off as the original.  Obviously that was a better option than to be left with nothing, when the whole world was learning of the film's existence and what it could show about the murder.. 
 
There are many questions your scenario allows you to avoid but that require answers based on things we now know.. Why was the HW lab secret?  What was done there?  You don't say apparently because your scenario does not lead you there.  You have no documents to give you the answer. The purpose of what was done at HW surely was not to do further study on the Z film, as has been suggested. What the film showed was already clear from Brugioni's work, and a second set of boards was done after the film was returned to NPIC.
 
No, they must have been doing something else at HW.  Are you curious what that was? And why the name HW was itself classified until 2010, making it difficult, if not impossible for years, to even find out the film was sent there.  Why did whoever took the film to HW want to prevent us from finding out about it?
 
Why was a second set of boards done at NPIC if the same unaltered film was used to do them as was used to do the first set?  The first set was made by Brugioni, the CIA's preeminent photo analyst.
 
Why was Brugioni's first set of boards destroyed later when he revealed he still had a copy in his safe, if his boards didn't contradict the second set ?  If no alteration was done at HW after he did the first set?
 
After whatever was done at HW, why did Life go back to Zapruder and pay him another $100,000 for the full rights to the original film, instead of exchanging it for a copy as the original deal required?  Did Life now see an opportunity to make more money to justify the extra money it was going to pay Zapruder?? 
 
No. They refused all requests to show the film publicly and locked it away for 12 years.  There must be some reason for Life to strike another deal with Zapruder.  Do you know what it was?  Why did Life never show the film?
 
On a side note it has been suggested that the fact the extant film can still be used to contradict the Oswald story proves that alteration was never tried. You can see the logical fallacy here, can't you? Failure to alter the film sufficiently to meet their purpose is *not* proof it wasn't tried. It just means the alteration didn't succeed.
 
If Life was acting on its own as a profit maximizing news organization, why did they give the film back to Zapruderin 1975 for $1?  After their job of hiding the film was ended when a bootleg copy was shown on TV.
 
Are you getting the picture? Virtually nothing Life did corroborates your story they were acting on their own, in their own self interest.
 
Your story about Life's role doesn't hold water and doesn't address many of the questions about the process that need answers. And looking for documents that would implicate the CIA in the story and basing your conclusion in part on not finding them, is, as I said to Tom, a fool's errand.
 
A final word to establish context. Imagine yourself as one of the killers. Your top priority in accomplishing the murder is that JFK not escape the hit.  So you plan multiple shots from different directions to maximize your chances.
 
But in your coverup, you plan to blame Oswald as the lone shooter from behind.  This glaring discrepancy causes you to have to plan for how to deal with several problems.  To murder Oswald before he can talk to a lawyer.  To snatch the body from Parkland and take it back to DC where the autopsy can be controlled.  To create an official body that can be relied on to find Oswald guilty.  
 
Then, on the afternoon of the murder, you hear about this Zapruder guy on TV talking about how he had captured the murder with his camera.  Standing right across from the fatal head shots. Plans were quickly developing for a media bidding war the next morning for the rights to show the film to the public.
 
Would you do nothing?  Of course not.  You would find a way to win that bid so you could keep the film from the public instead of showing it.  And to alter it when you got a chance, which it turns out was your only viable long term option.

I understand your point, Roger, but I think you miss a couple of things. 

1. The CIA was an ant compared to the military (a bear) and even the NSA (a praying mantis). The idea the CIA was running everything from behind the scenes is ahistorical, IMO.  I mean, WHO, in the CIA? McCone? A Kennedy appointee? Or are we talking about Helms, and that he was doing this stuff behind McCone's back?

2. You underestimate the value Life obtained from the Zapruder film. Life was THE biggest magazine in America at the time, and their having an exclusive on the film allowed them to sell millions of additional copies over the years. Heck, the fiftieth anniversary brought a new book by Life with clear images never before seen, etc. It would surprise me if Life made less than 10 million off their what? 150k? investment. 

3. It's like baseball. The value of a player is more than what he does on the field. By spending bucks galore on a prestige player, it allows the team to 1. sell more tickets 2. get higher ratings and charge more for advertising, 3. entice other players to join in on the fun, and 4. prevent a competitor from receiving advantages 1, 2, and 3. . By having the Z-film...the Ohtani of marketable materials in its day--Life assured its position as the number one newsmag for a decade. If, say, Look had got the Z-film, this may not have been the case.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Apparently there is documentary evidence relating to the NPIC Z-film analysis. Here is Doug Horne in a memo to Jeremy Gunn in 1995, stating: 

Page 9 of the NPIC analysis has a data column titled Life Magazine, and in the data column the following phrases appear in quotation marks when describing frames in which shots occur: “74 frames later” and “48 frames after that”. This wording, which appears in quotes on the CIA document, is identical in wording which appears on page 52F of the December 6, 1963 issue of Life magazine in Paul Mandel’s article about the assassination, strongly suggesting (but not proving) that NPIC did its analysis after December 6, 1963. 

The next paragraph relates a quote from I think Richard Trask that mentions documents obtained on the NPIC analysis in the 70s, and it includes this: 

…though the released documents are inconclusive as to when the examination took place other than in late 1963, internal evidence does point to it being performed after November 29 and probably before mid-December. 

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=201295#relPageId=2

What internal evidence? 

Here’s Horne again stating that the NPIC analysis occurred after 12/6/63, this time in a letter to the CIA. He even requests NPIC personnel rosters only from December. 

 https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=162795

So if I’m reading this right, Doug Horne himself found a direct quote from a 12/6/63 article on the Z-film in a document prepared during the NPIC’s analysis, and naturally concluded that the analysis occurred after that date. 

It looks like there’s a bit of ambiguity, but this seems like much better evidence than the recollections of a nonagenarian and an admitted alcoholic with memory issues. Here’s the NPIC document itself, with the “Life magazine” data column and direct quotes cited by Horne: 

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=31994#relPageId=7

The last page even states “based on 18 FPS as reported by Life magazine”, and repeats the two direct quotes. 

Again, I’m not an expert on this topic. What evidence is there that NPIC studied the Z-film on the weekend of the assassination? Unless I’m missing something here, which is quite possible, we appear to have actual evidence that the analysis occurred much later. 

Edited by Tom Gram
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On 6/13/2024 at 2:56 AM, Jeremy Bojczuk said:

The definitive account of the history of the Zapruder film is David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination (University Press of Kansas, 2003).

Mr. Bojczuk, you state that David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination (University Press of Kansas, 2003) is the "definitive account of the history of the Zapruder film, but in light of the issues Doug Horne raises with the book in pages 1226-1230 of Volume IV of his self-published book, Inside the Records Review Board (2009), it is difficult to take this claim seriously. Horne documents a series of misrepresentations and omissions made by Wrone concerning the critical subject of the evidence of a broken chain of custody of the camera-original Zapruder film the weekend of the assassination, and even demonstrates that Wrone's criticisms of the ARRB interviews of NPIC's Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter (which Wrone misrepresents as instead being the claims of Doug Horne himself) contradicted evidence Wrone presented earlier in his book concerning his (Wrone's) interview of Dino Brugioni which, unbeknownst to Wrone, had established that Brugioni had made briefing boards using the camera-original Zapruder film at NPIC during the weekend of the assassination. 

Starting at the top of page 1229 (see below), Horne points out that Wrone, on page 125 of The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination, recited the findings of an interview he had conducted of Dino Brugioni on May 12, 2003, duringh which Brugioni had recounted that the Secret Service had presented the Zapruder film to him in 8mm format, and that Brugioni had to wake a local merchant to requisition an 8mm projector, because NPIC did not possess one to show the film. Wrone evidently did not realize the significance of this: The copies of the Zapruder film were in 16mm format, and it was only the camera-original film that was in 8mm format.

When Doug Horne would himself interview Dino Brugioni on film six years later, Brugioni would tell him the same story about getting a local merchant to open his store late at night so that NPIC could requisition an 8mm projector, as follows:

 

When Peter Janney and Doug Horne conducted their interviews of Dino Brugioni six years later, they discovered that Brugioni had led an entirely different briefing board session than the one described by Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter that had been so completely compartmentalized that the two separate crews had no knowledge of the other briefing board session, and David Wrone completely missed this, and simply conflated the two briefing board sessions into one. 

David Wrone had stumbled across the definitive evidence that the Zapruder film that was at the NPIC the evening of Saturday, November 23, 1963, was in fact the camera original Zapruder film, and yet he completely failed to realize its implications.

David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination (University Press of Kansas, 2003) is therefore anything but the "definitive account of the history of the Zapruder film."

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On 6/13/2024 at 2:56 AM, Jeremy Bojczuk said:

If you're after a detailed account of the is-it-a-fake-or-isn't-it debate, this article might be worth reading (I couldn't have put it better myself):

http://22november1963.org.uk/zapruder-film-genuine-or-fake

That this article is extremely biased and one sided is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that it provides links to every significant anti-alteration article and website available, but fails to mention or provide a link to the best source of information about the two NPIC events available on the web:

"The Two NPIC Zapruder Film Events: Signposts Pointing to the Film’s Alteration" by Douglas P. Horne

And that, for example, it includes a link to Rollie Zavada's response to Doug Horne, and fails to include a link to Doug Horne's reply to Zavada's response:

DOUG HORNE'S 5/29/2010 RESPONSE TO ROLLIE ZAVADA'S CRITIQUE OF 'CHAPTER 14: THE ZAPRUDER FILM MYSTERY'  OF  "INSIDE THE ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD"

https://insidethearrb.livejournal.com/4900.html

 

Edited by Keven Hofeling
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30 minutes ago, Keven Hofeling said:

Mr. Bojczuk, you state that David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination (University Press of Kansas, 2003) is the "definitive account of the history of the Zapruder film, but in light of the issues Doug Horne raises with the book in pages 1226-1230 of Volume IV of his self-published book, Inside the Records Review Board (2009), it is difficult to take this claim seriously. Horne documents a series of misrepresentations and omissions made by Wrone concerning the critical subject of the evidence of a broken chain of custody of the camera-original Zapruder film the weekend of the assassination, and even demonstrates that Wrone's criticisms of the ARRB interviews of NPIC's Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter (which Wrone misrepresents as instead being the claims of Doug Horne himself) contradicted evidence Wrone presented earlier in his book concerning his (Wrone's) interview of Dino Brugioni which, unbeknownst to Wrone, had established that Brugioni had made briefing boards using the camera-original Zapruder film at NPIC during the weekend of the assassination. 

Starting at the top of page 1229 (see below), Horne points out that Wrone, on page 125 of The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination, recited the findings of an interview he had conducted of Dino Brugioni on May 12, 2003, duringh which Brugioni had recounted that the Secret Service had presented the Zapruder film to him in 8mm format, and that Brugioni had to wake a local merchant to requisition an 8mm projector, because NPIC did not possess one to show the film. Wrone evidently did not realize the significance of this: The copies of the Zapruder film were in 16mm format, and it was only the camera-original film that was in 8mm format.

When Doug Horne would himself interview Dino Brugioni on film six years later, Brugioni would tell him the same story about getting a local merchant to open his store late at night so that NPIC could requisition an 8mm projector, as follows:

 

When Peter Janney and Doug Horne conducted their interviews of Dino Brugioni six years later, they discovered that Brugioni had led an entirely different briefing board session than the one described by Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter that had been so completely compartmentalized that the two separate crews had no knowledge of the other briefing board session, and David Wrone completely missed this, and simply conflated the two briefing board sessions into one. 

David Wrone had stumbled across the definitive evidence that the Zapruder film that was at the NPIC the evening of Saturday, November 23, 1963, was in fact the camera original Zapruder film, and yet he completely failed to realize its implications.

David Wrone's The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination (University Press of Kansas, 2003) is therefore anything but the "definitive account of the history of the Zapruder film."

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xPFwy53h.jpg

iRR9IF6h.jpg

6gxE0Wgh.jpg

C6JHGDnh.jpg

That this article is extremely biased and one sided is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that it provides links to every available anti-alteration article and website available, but fails to mention or provide a link to the best source of information about the two NPIC events available on the web:

"The Two NPIC Zapruder Film Events: Signposts Pointing to the Film’s Alteration" by Douglas P. Horne

And that, for example, it includes a link to Rollie Zavada's response to Doug Horne, and fails to include a link to Doug Horne's reply to Zavada's response:

DOUG HORNE'S 5/29/2010 RESPONSE TO ROLLIE ZAVADA'S CRITIQUE OF 'CHAPTER 14: THE ZAPRUDER FILM MYSTERY'  OF  "INSIDE THE ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD"

https://insidethearrb.livejournal.com/4900.html

 

So if I’m understanding this correctly, and bear with me here, the entire case for the Z-film being processed at NPIC the weekend of the assassination rests on the notion that the timing analysis and briefing boards were prepared at different times? 

McMahon and Hunter remembered handling the film that weekend, but could they have been wrong about something that occurred over 30 years earlier? Does this document not suggest that the briefing boards and timing analysis were performed at the same time?

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=31994#relPageId=10

This document from the NPIC analysis appears to have an estimate on it for how long it will take to prepare the prints, and some shot timing calculations, on the same page, in what looks like the same handwriting. 

Could someone have used the same sheet of paper as a scratch pad two weeks later? Sure, but it doesn’t really look like it.

Also, didn’t McMahon and Hunter state that NPIC did not make copies of the actual film? How would they do a timing analysis two weeks later? Did they get another copy delivered? Is there any evidence of that? 

EDIT: Do you have the McMahon and Hunter’s ARRB interviews? Links would be preferred to the entire testimonies pasted in a forum comment. 

Edited by Tom Gram
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Tom, the narrative is that the film showed up, specific frames were selected for briefing boards, the boards were created and taken away.  Brugiani was there for that and made his own personal observations, no formal analysis was done and no comments were solicited.  The following evening the film was returned,  he was not told or invited to the selection of a second set of frames and a second set of boards were taken away - those ended  up at NARA ultimately.  The first set got stashed away and when somebody asked it they should be turned in to the HSCA the order was given to destroy them....apparently that had been ordered in the first place.  Its not necessarily that the film changed but rather the selection of frames for the story boards was changed to support a particular scenario.  And that was done in a very low profile manner. If you have SWHT 2012 its all there, most of it from Doug's work but a few more tidbits from some of my own research.  While this does not seem to be an argument for a major alteration, it certainly does seem to argue that a new shooting scenario was being pitched and needed to be officially supported.   NARA's official examination of the film occurred much later is not well documented and was not a major part of the WC narrative as far as I recall.

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Just as a passing side note. In 2011, Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, #3 at the FBI and LBJ's personal henchman at the FBI, told me over the phone that that top hierarchy of the FBI were watching the Zapruder Film at midnight of Saturday night November 23rd at FBI headquarters.

Also, when I asked DeLoach to describe Lyndon Johnson, DeLoach replied, "He was a family man."

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1 hour ago, Tom Gram said:

EDIT: Do you have the McMahon and Hunter’s ARRB interviews? Links would be preferred to the entire testimonies pasted in a forum comment. 

The following file contains the ARRB Homer McMahon interviews of 6/12/1997 and 7/14/1997, and the ARRB Ben Hunter interviews of 6/17/1997 and 6/26/1997 (I was unable to locate the ARRB joint interview of McMahon and Hunter dated 8/14/1997):

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10336-10024.pdf

Transcript of ARRB Staff Interview of Homer A. McMahon (Former CIA/NPIC Employee) conducted on July 14, 1997 at Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Interviewers: Douglas P. Horne and T. Jeremy Gunn.
(Transcribed by Douglas Horne in May 2012):

https://dickatlee.com/issues/assassinations/jfk/homer_mcmahon_transcript_reformat.pdf

 

Pages 1220-1226 of Volume IV of Doug Horne's self-published book, Inside the Records Review Board (2009), containing summaries and analysis of Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter ARRB interviews follows:

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26 minutes ago, Keven Hofeling said:

The following file contains the ARRB Homer McMahon interviews of 6/12/1997 and 7/14/1997, and the ARRB Ben Hunter interviews of 6/17/1997 and 6/26/1997 (I was unable to locate the ARRB joint interview of McMahon and Hunter dated 8/14/1997):

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10336-10024.pdf

Transcript of ARRB Staff Interview of Homer A. McMahon (Former CIA/NPIC Employee) conducted on July 14, 1997 at Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Interviewers: Douglas P. Horne and T. Jeremy Gunn.
(Transcribed by Douglas Horne in May 2012):

https://dickatlee.com/issues/assassinations/jfk/homer_mcmahon_transcript_reformat.pdf

 

Pages 1220-1226 of Volume IV of Doug Horne's self-published book, Inside the Records Review Board (2009), containing summaries and analysis of Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter ARRB interviews follows:

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Thank you for the links, Kevin. I will check them out. I noticed one other thing that could be of interest. This document suggests that ROCKCOM met with NPIC officials to “go into some of the background” in 1975. 

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=31994#relPageId=4

There are a lot of ROCKCOM records that are not online. Has anyone gone through the NARA database to see if there are any interview records, summary reports, etc.? I wouldn’t be too optimistic, but it’s worth a look at least. 

EDIT: I’m going to sleep, and will read everything tomorrow, but I noticed in a quick skim that McMahon actually did recall being personally involved in the shot timing analysis to the ARRB. I thought I’d seen an ARRB memo or something suggesting otherwise. He also prepared the internegatives and blow up prints. Since there is hard evidence the NPIC shot timing analysis was performed after Dec. 6th, does that not suggest that he might have just misremembered the date? 

Edited by Tom Gram
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12 hours ago, Tom Gram said:

Thank you for the links, Kevin. I will check them out. I noticed one other thing that could be of interest. This document suggests that ROCKCOM met with NPIC officials to “go into some of the background” in 1975. 

https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=31994#relPageId=4

There are a lot of ROCKCOM records that are not online. Has anyone gone through the NARA database to see if there are any interview records, summary reports, etc.? I wouldn’t be too optimistic, but it’s worth a look at least. 

EDIT: I’m going to sleep, and will read everything tomorrow, but I noticed in a quick skim that McMahon actually did recall being personally involved in the shot timing analysis to the ARRB. I thought I’d seen an ARRB memo or something suggesting otherwise. He also prepared the internegatives and blow up prints. Since there is hard evidence the NPIC shot timing analysis was performed after Dec. 6th, does that not suggest that he might have just misremembered the date? 

This was pointed out to me as well--that the strong likelihood is that McMahon and Hunter studied the film a few weeks after Brugioni. I had said something about the possibility they'd worked together but someone reminded me that some of the notes make reference to the 12-6 Life Mag article which was nowhere near completion on 11-24. 

So McMahon and Hunter worked on the film separately from and a later date than Brugioni. 

It doesn't rule out that the film was altered. It just cuts into the timeline holding that it was altered overnight between two viewings of the film at NPIC. 

Edited by Pat Speer
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Chris Davidson writes:

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 I didn't know the WC was formed before the film was damaged.

One possibility is that the FBI's expert had forgotten about the splice by the time the memo was written, more than three years after the event (the memo mentions Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment, which was published in August 1966).

Another possibility is that the expert gave the matter no importance at the time. He would surely have been interested in what the film contained, and the quality of the detail, rather than on the lookout for damage to the film. And, according to the memo, the expert only examined the film "briefly".

It's reasonable to assume that the expert at the showing on 25 February 1963 was Lyndal Shaneyfelt, who testified about the occasion to the Commission in June 1964 (Hearings and Exhibits, vol.5 pp.138-165 : https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=40#relPageId=148). Shaneyfelt appears to be unconcerned by details such as which generation of the film he is seeing. He mentions on p.177 of his testimony that the film he is in the process of showing the Commission is "The original Zapruder film", then changes his mind and describes it as "the first copy ...  This film we just viewed is a copy made directly from the original Zapruder film of the actual assassination". But it appears that it wasn't even a first-generation copy. The film in question was designated Commission Exhibit 904, but upon later examination CE 904 turned out to be further removed than Shaneyfelt claimed (see Wrone, p.54, who cites an interview with Harold Weisberg as well as Weisberg's Whitewash II, p.213).

A more remote possibility is that the film which Herbert Orth, who was the number two guy in Life magazine's photo lab, showed to the commission on 25 February wasn't the original but Life's first-day copy, which didn't have a splice. Or it could have been a later copy made from the original. Life does appear to have represented this film as the original, but I'm not sure we can completely rule out a bit of subterfuge: at the end of the memo Chris provided, we see that "Life was reluctant to release it [the original film] to the Commission." And it's unlikely that anyone at the meeting would have spotted the difference, especially after only examining the film "briefly".

Edited by Jeremy Bojczuk
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Pat Speer writes:

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I thought Zapruder made three copies of the original, and gave two to the Secret Service.

Correct. This took place on the evening of the 22nd.

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And that the Secret Service then gave one to the FBI, which in turn made copies that were sent back to Dallas.

Yes. The FBI took possession of one copy on the afternoon of the 23rd. This copy was sent to FBI HQ that afternoon (see Robert Morrow's comment).

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He then sold the original to Life. It was my understanding he held onto the third copy and that this copy remained in the hands of his family,

Zapruder handed over the original film and the third copy to Life on the morning of the 23rd. Technically, what he sold on the 23rd were "exclusive world wide print media rights" to his film, rather than the physical film and the physical copies. His contract with Stolley on the 23rd mentioned that Life would return the film to him at some unspecified point. This deal was superseded by the one agreed on the 25th, in which Zapruder sold the physical film and all three copies, two of which he still owned up to that point even though he had allowed the Secret Service to borrow them for non-commercial use.

We know from at least two sources that Zapruder's first-day copy was handed to Stolley on the 23rd:

  • Stolley's account in Esquire (https://classic.esquire.com/what-happened-next/  "I picked up the original of the film and the one remaining copy and sneaked out a back door of the [i.e. Zapruder's] building."
  • Zapruder's contract with Life, dated Monday 25th: "You [C. D. Jackson] acknowledge receipt through your agent [Stolley, on the 23rd] of the original and one (1) copy thereof,"

That sentence continues: "and it is understood that there are two (2) other copies, one (1) of which is with the Secret Service in Dallas, Texas, and one (1) copy of which is with the Secret Service in Washington, D.C." Zapruder and Jackson were unaware that the Secret Service in Dallas had handed their remaining copy the previous day to the FBI, who had sent it to FBI HQ in Washington. It is this copy which must be the one examined at NPIC on the Sunday (if anything was in fact examined there that day).

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Is this correct? And, if so, do we know the current whereabouts of his personal copy? Is this discussed in his grand-daugher's book?

As far as I'm aware, one of the two first-day copies which were handed to the Secret Service on the 22nd is now in the national archives. I don't know what happened to the other one. Life's first-day copy was given to the Zapruder family in 1975, and was later handed over to the Sixth-Floor Museum, where I presume it still resides. As for Alexandra Zapruder's book, it is on my shopping list, but it might be a while before I get around to buying it.

The history of the various first-day copies after the weekend of the assassination is confusing but not of much relevance to the claims of alteration, which can only plausibly have been carried out that weekend. Any later, and second- and third-generation copies start accumulating, all of which would have had to be rounded up, reproduced using a hypothetical altered 'original', and replaced without anyone noticing, a close to impossible task.

Edited by Jeremy Bojczuk
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To paraphrase Roger Odisio's comment: there's no documentary evidence for any of this, but I'm going to keep believing it anyway.

Of Roger's many unsupported assumptions, one in particular interests me. It's that whoever was behind the assassination:

  1. did the job properly by using more than one gunman firing from more than one location;
  2. and wanted the public to believe that the assassination was committed by a lone assassin;
  3. and had control of the Zapruder film;
  4. and decided to conceal evidence of more than one gunman by altering the Zapruder film.

I wouldn't argue with the first claim, and I've already pointed out the problem with the fourth claim. But I'm not sure anyone has managed (or even attempted) to justify the other two claims.

Claim no.2 in particular is puzzling. It's clear that bureaucrats in Washington, for straightforward institutional reasons, wanted the public to believe that only one gunman was involved. But why assume that the conspirators would want this? After all, if the conspirators wanted the blame to fall on the Cuban or Soviet regimes, which seems plausible to many people, given the history of the chosen patsy, wouldn't evidence of multiple gunmen be exactly what they wanted the public to see?

This thread isn't the right place to discuss this point, by the way. I'm just curious about how the alteration of some or all of the Dealey Plaza photographic evidence fits into a coherent account of the assassination.

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Keven Hofeling writes:

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Brugioni had recounted that the Secret Service had presented the Zapruder film to him in 8mm format, and that Brugioni had to wake a local merchant to requisition an 8mm projector, because NPIC did not possess one to show the film. Wrone evidently did not realize the significance of this: The copies of the Zapruder film were in 16mm format, and it was only the camera-original film that was in 8mm format.

No. Although the first-day copy which Stolley took possession of on the 23rd was certainly unslit, at least one and probably both of the other two first-day copies was slit, along with the original. According to Wrone, pp.26-27:

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Of the three copies, Zapruder permitted an 8mm copy to be shown to the [Kodak] employees of the new shift. Chamberlain [the Kodak production supervisor who processed the original film] used one of the duplicate copies that was slit, which had to be either copy 1 or copy 3, which Zapruder later gave to the Secret Service. An 8mm copy 3 was sent to Washington that night, leaving copy 1 with the Dallas Secret Service. The next morning, Saturday, Kodak opened its office specially for two FBI agents to view for two hours, "over and over" again, the Zapruder film on its 8mm special projector that would permit frame freeze stops without damage to the film. That would have been copy 1, copy 3 being in Washington and copy 2 at Zapruder's office being sold. They could only have borrowed it from the Dallas Secret Service; it was obviously slit.

Wrone cites interviews with Erwin Schwartz and Phil Chamberlain (e.g. "Chamberlain video interview. He is adamant on this.").

The fact that Brugioni dealt with a slit 8mm film does not imply that he was dealing with the original. It looks as though both of the copies which Zapruder gave to the Secret Service were slit on the evening of the 22nd, and Brugioni was dealing with one of them. Thirty-plus years later, he assumed wrongly that it was the original, and a far-fetched conspiracy theory was born.

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18 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

I understand your point, Roger, but I think you miss a couple of things. 

1. The CIA was an ant compared to the military (a bear) and even the NSA (a praying mantis). The idea the CIA was running everything from behind the scenes is ahistorical, IMO.  I mean, WHO, in the CIA? McCone? A Kennedy appointee? Or are we talking about Helms, and that he was doing this stuff behind McCone's back?

Not McCone.  He was out of the loop in cold war policy at the CIA, as I suspect Booby verified when he talked to him at Hickory Hill for two hours the afternoon of the murder because the CIA as the culprit was his first instinct. As CIA director, McCone would have seen Brugioni's briefing boards that Sunday and it's my understanding at some point he told Booby he thought there was more than one shooter.  Another indication he was out of the loop at the agency.
 
As David Talbott showed, Allen Dulles was still running key parts of policy at the agency from his home in Georgetown after Kennedy fired him. He was widely respected at the agency and known as "the old man". Talbott also showed that on the weekend of the murder, Dulles was holed up in the CIA hideaway in Virginia he had established for himself when he was director (how did he have access?).  As the cover up began.
 
Yes, I'm referring to Dulles and whoever he needed to help him plan and execute the murder.  A distinct member of Salandria's "top echelon" of Kennedy's own government.
 
Kennedy  came to regard the military--particularly the JCS he dealt with--as ignorant buffoons and resolved to pay little  attention to them. He realized Dulles and the CIA were the real threats to him.  The guys who had been overthrowing governments in other countries. The CIA was involved in attempts on DeGaulle in the early 60s and Kennedy sent DeGaulle a message apologizing, saying he couldn't control elements of his own government.  He meant mainly the CIA.
 
18 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

2. You underestimate the value Life obtained from the Zapruder film. Life was THE biggest magazine in America at the time, and their having an exclusive on the film allowed them to sell millions of additional copies over the years. Heck, the fiftieth anniversary brought a new book by Life with clear images never before seen, etc. It would surprise me if Life made less than 10 million off their what? 150k? investment. 

My point about Life showing frames of the film in its magazine but refusing to show the film itself was not about the relative financial effects of each. Though I think you exaggerate the numbers.  Life sold for 25 cents an issue in those days and the profit on each issue was a small fraction of that. But I digress.
 
I doubt if Life was using its own money to buy the rights to the film.  Then and to today does anyone know  what the CIA's budget is, or keep track of what they spend money on? As a government agency, for the most part the CIA spends; its not looking to make a return on the money it has.  But I'm still digressing.
 
I made two points. (1) Life showed *selected* stills in the mag to convince people they had seen everything and distract from questions like can we see the intact film, and (2) why did they bury the film itself, the better evidence of what happened, for 12 years, if they were merely acting as a news organization?
 
18 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

3. It's like baseball. The value of a player is more than what he does on the field. By spending bucks galore on a prestige player, it allows the team to 1. sell more tickets 2. get higher ratings and charge more for advertising, 3. entice other players to join in on the fun, and 4. prevent a competitor from receiving advantages 1, 2, and 3. . By having the Z-film...the Ohtani of marketable materials in its day--Life assured its position as the number one newsmag for a decade. If, say, Look had got the Z-film, this may not have been the case.

You've noticed my bio. Yep, there is such an effect.  I don't mean to say Life's fronting for the CIA was solely due to the fact that its publisher was a long time CIA asset. They got some benefits too.

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On 6/14/2024 at 6:53 AM, Chris Davidson said:

 I didn't know the WC was formed before the film was damaged.

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Mr. SPECTER. At any time in the course of the examination of the Zapruder film, was the original of that movie obtained?
Mr. SHANEYFELT. Yes; it was. On February 25, Mr. Herbert Orth, who is the assistant chief of the Life magazine photographic laboratory, provided the original of the Zapruder film for review by the Commission representatives and representatives of the FBI and Secret Service here in the Commission building.
Mr. SPECTER. And what was the reason for his making that original available?
Mr. SHANEYFELT. Life magazine was reluctant to release the original because of the value. So he brought it down personally and projected it for us and allowed us to run through it several times, studying the original.
Mr. SPECTER. Was that because the copies were not distinct on certain important particulars?
Mr. SHANEYFELT. That is correct. The original had considerably more detail and more there to study than any of the copies, since in the photographic process each time you copy you lose some detail.

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