The Official Government Reenactment of the Kennedy Assassination — Nov. 27, 1963

by Paula Bosse

reenactment_agent-at-windowAgent Howlett at window with “rifle” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday I received a comment on a previous post I wrote about the first official reenactment of the Kennedy assassination, and that got me to wondering if that film was online anywhere. The film was made as part of the Secret Service investigation and was filmed in Dealey Plaza and in the Texas School Book Depository; the motorcade sequence was filmed on November 27, 1963 (as reported in The Dallas Morning News), just five days after the assassination. Even though my knowledge of the events of November 22 is fairly limited (and what I do know is mostly due to osmosis), just growing up here, you kind of feel you’ve seen everything connected with the assassination. But I’d never seen this film or the one made a few months later with the production assistance of local TV station KRLD which included much of the same footage. Apparently the original film had not been made public until fairly recently.

It’s very interesting to watch, and the fact that there is no sound makes it appropriately eerie. I have to admit that I was most interested in seeing the footage of downtown streets. And the interior of the Texas School Book Depository beyond just the “sniper’s nest” we always see. (I can now say I’ve sneaked a peek inside the depository’s employee lunchroom.)

So here are the two films. The first one was made by the Secret Service, with the Dealey Plaza reenactment filmed on Nov. 27, 1963. It has no sound. I thought it was interesting, but a lot of people might find it a little dull and repetitive. Below this video is one which uses this footage to lay out the government’s findings, with lots of details and no-nonsense narration by KRLD’s Jim Underwood. (I’m not sure why — or for whom — this educational film was made. It doesn’t seem to have been screened for the public.) The silent film has more footage, but the narrated film is easier to follow. And below that are screenshots from the government’s “reconstruction.”

The 1963 film (silent):

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And the one from 1964, made with the assistance of KRLD.

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A few screenshots from the government footage (all of these are quite big — click for larger images). The one at the top shows Special Agent John Joe Howlett sitting at the sixth floor window, as if holding a rifle.

Below, Elm St. looking east from Dealey Plaza, with the white Records Building at center right.

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The one-car-two-motorcycle motorcade turning from Main onto Houston St. Looking south from … you know where.

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Houston St. looking  north, with the School Book Depository on the left and a disconcertingly empty space straight ahead.

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A nice artsy shot of the book depository and the old John Deere Building.

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Camera with “scope” attachment.

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Windows, boxes, looking toward the west end of the building from the “nest” end of the sixth floor.

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A trip to the second-floor lunchroom, with its vending machines which are, apparently, important in Lee Harvey Oswald’s alibi. These images show Special Agent Talmadge Bailey walking past the vending machines and sitting at a table.

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See Dallas Times Herald photographs that were shot while the Dealey Plaza “reenacting” was going on in my previous post, “The First JFK Assassination Reenactment — 1963,” here. (As for the comment that started me off on this, I’m still not sure whether the cameramen in the car are KRLD employees or not.)

All pictures are BIG. Click ’em.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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