Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Zapruder film is the 8mm home movie footage made by an assassination witness, Abraham Zapruder in Dallas, Texas within Dealey Plaza while standing next to the grassy knoll during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The film has been used by the Warren Commission and all followup investigations of the assassination. The Zapruder frames used by the Commission consist of exhibits 889-899 plus exhibits 901 and 902 (totaling less than 1 second of the actual 26.6 second film), published in the commission supporting volume XVIII. Frames of the film have also been sporadically published in several magazines, and utilized in several movies.
Some persons claim that only altered versions of the Zapruder film have ever been published. They point to, allegedly, impossible movements by persons in the background and limousine, and irregular limousine signal-light flashing as evidence of film cuts. There are 59 witnesses affidavits that claim the limousine came to a near or complete stop during the shooting, but, the film does not show this, and shows the limousine slowing from 13 miles-per-hour to slightly less than 9 m.p.h. at Z-313 when President Kennedy's head first explodes. Some of these claims are almost occult, finding "golden ratios" in the film frames splicing.( "page 2") Others are convinced that the Secret Service copies made the evening of November 22 that are also stored in the United States National Archives are unaltered.
Zapruder's film is probably the clearest and best-known movie of the assassination, and provided us an elevated-above-the-President point of view. It is not the only film that captured President Kennedy's last seconds of his life during the multiple shots. There were at least seven others in Dealy Plaza with home-movie cameras— F. Mark Bell, Charles Bronson (not the actor), Robert J. Hughes, John Martin, Charles Mentesana, Patsy Paschall, Elsie Dorman, Tina Towner, Marie Muchmore, and Orville Nix, along with the unidentified "Babushka Lady". Nix's, Muchmore's, and Bronson's films include the fatal shot, and films of Bronson and Hughes show the 6th-floor window of the book depository. .
The film advanced through the Director Series Model 414 PD movie camera camera via a spring-wound mechanism at an average tested speed of 18.3 frames-per-second. The entire Dealey Plaza exposed film frames lasts 26.6 seconds, with the presidential limousine assassination sequence lasting 19.3 seconds.
Three copies of the film were made on the evening of November 22 for investigative authorities. Within days Life Magazine purchased the original film and all rights to the film for an initial payment of $25,000, which Abraham Zapruder freely donated to Dallas Policeman J.D. Tippit's widow and children. Thereafter five annual $25,000 payments were made to Mr. Zapruder by Life.
After acquiring the film, Life made large photo prints of individual frames. Sometime in their possession several film frames were accidentally damaged. (private copies were made for "Life" executives) A few frames of the film were printed over the years, but mostly the film was kept locked away from public scrutiny and was never publicly shown in motion by Life.
In 1966 Dr. Josiah Thompson , while working for Life, tried to negotiate with Life the rights to print important individual frames in a book he wrote, Six Seconds in Dallas . Life refused to approve the use of any frames, even after Thompson offered to give away all profits from the book sales to Life. When Thompson's published book included very photo-like, very detailed charcoal drawings of important individual frames, Life filed a lawsuit against Thompson and his publishing company.
Prior to the 1969 trial of New Orleans Clay Shaw, a copy of the film was obtained by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison for use during the trial. Copies of the film were allowed to be made, and were soon being further copied and shown throughout the United States, and the world.
In March of 1975, during the late-night TV show Goodnight America (hosted by Geraldo Rivera) still-dedicated assassination researchers Robert Groden and Dick Gregory presented the first-ever, mass audience, public TV showing of the Zapruder film in motion.
The publics response and outrage to that first public showing led immediately, and directly, to the forming of the Hart-Schweiker investigation, contributed to the Church Committee Investigation on Intelligence Activities by the United States, and led to the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation.
In 1975 Life sold the film back to the Zapruder family for $1. The Zapruder family soon asked the U.S. government to store the film safely and help protect it from the sands of time. The U.S. government has stored the film in the National Archives.
In 1998 the original film was purchased by the United States government under the doctrine of eminent domain, and Zapruder's heirs sued to increase the amount paid for the film to $16,000,000. The Zapruder family still retains all showing rights to the film. The Zapruder family at that time also donated one of the copies and Life photo prints to the Sixth Floor Museum in what used to be the Texas School Book Depository building.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details