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National Geographic: Lost JFK Tapes-Assassination

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

To mark the anniversary of JFK's assassination on November 22,1963, hundreds of hours of news footage, radio reports, audio recordings and home movies have been released that captured history as it was chaotically unfolding. This unique eyewitness material was first stored by local news stations in Dallas/Fort Worth and then in the vault of The 6th Floor Museumwhich is dedicated to helping others understand the day Kennedy was killed. Now, National Geographic reveals this rarely seen archival footage that has been digitally captured and assembled into a detailed timeline. Included is footage capturing the real-time horror of parade-goers who witnessed the killing, the out-of-breath local anchors reporting the breaking news bulletin, the priest who describes administering the president's last rites and the ongoing, on-air speculation over who fired the fatal shots.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Nat'l Geographic Vid
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0032LV4MM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,289 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
As someone who lived through the event, and has been collecting the news coverage of those four days in November 1963 ever since, I almost decided not to purchase yet another video. I thought I had seen everything that was possibly available, but I am so glad I changed my mind. There are news clips (some have partially been available for years) but seen in thier fuller context, they become extraordinarily moving. The clips are simply fascinating to see in a more in-depth viewing, especially inside and outside of Parkland as well as the Trade Mart. The horror is in plain view, and it is a fabulous collection of American broadcast history. My only (minor) issue with this film and others who insist on using it is the picture of the yellow roses laying in the back on the limo after the president has supposedly been removed from the back seat. That cannot be the President's limo -- Mrs. Kennedy was given red roses that day (not yellow ones#, and obviously the seat would have been covered in blood and not publicly shown. I believe that is the limo that the Johnsons were riding in, as earlier clips show Lady Bird holding yellow roses at Love Field.

The film also reveals an America of mid-20th century, which has a look of innocence and almost bewilderment. Massively incorrect information... smoking cigarettes on air...much opinion instead of facts... just fascinating and just as I remember it). There is an immaturity to the broadcasts that are especially touching in view of the state of the industry today. The clips are essentially Dallas news personnel, with some national network break-ins. It therefore has a very immediate and local reaction. It all seeems another world, another time.
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As a former broadcaster and broadcast historian, I was very impressed with "The Lost JFK Tapes" and the effort that went into weaving together all of the vintage videotape, film, and radio reports to paint such a vivid picture of that weekend. Some of the footage I have seen before, such as in the recent "JFK: 3 Shots that Changed America". This program however, centered more on what was happening in Dallas and included scenes I have never seen before. One of them was the videotaped sequence of JFK's body leaving Parkland Hospital. Most of the television footage comes from WFAA, KRLD, and KTVT-TV collections, because they are currently owned by the Sixth Floor Museum at Deally Plaza, which co-produced the program. Absent was material from WBAP-TV and Radio in Fort Worth because they still have their footage and tape in their own archives. In addition, the Love Field arrival was also described for radio by Joseph Long of KLIF as part of a local radio pool that day. Apparently, the producers didn't have access to that recording either. The one thing I didn't like about the show was the audio description of the Oswald shooting. Who was that reporter who kept saying "Harvey Lee Oswald" and who displayed no emotion at all after the shot was fired? Aside from that, I highly applause "The Lost JFK Tapes" and look forward to its release.
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This program is done in the "As it Happened" style of documentaries with a smidgen of music and creative editing mixed in. Although I'm a big fan of watching videotape roll out in real time with no embellishments, in this case I felt the music and editing were both well done and unobtrusive.

The main claim of this DVD is that it has footage that has never been seen before. Actually about three quarters of this material has turned up in one form or another over the years, but,and this is a big but, there are two areas where this show does break new ground.

1-Somebody on this show must have waded through hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of audio tapes from Dallas radio stations and government sources. There's some fascinating stuff here, even including a radio conversation between LBJ and Rose Kennedy recorded as Air Force One was flying back to Washington. Much of the live Dallas radio commentary has been matched up to videotape of the event being described, so even if you've seen the video before it gives one a new perspective on it.

2-There's a wealth of videotape from Parkland Hospital which for some reason hasn't turned up before (or at least I haven't seen it). Apparently, at least one Dallas TV station had a live TV camera at the hospital while JFK's body was still inside. Among other things we get to see a haunting live shot of the hearse pulling out of the hospital and driving away to Love Field.

This is a fascinating look at how the local TV and radio personalities and technical people handled themselves when the were suddenly thrust into the center of the world stage.
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I was in Dallas the day President John Kennedy was murdered. School was dismissed early. That evening I went to the site of Kennedy's death.

Having grown up in the Dallas area, I was very familiar with Dealey Plaza on the edge of downtown Dallas.

But I was not prepared for what I found. As the shades of night fell, I recall seeing what appeared to be a blood-red nearly full-moon suddenly hovering over the horizon aligned with and in perfect view of the killing zone. On both sides of Elm street there were and still are grassy embankments. On the south-westerly side is the famous Grassy Knoll. But on this ominous and strange night, both embankments were covered with a solid layer - layers, no doubt - of flowers and hand-scribbled notes. They wafted and fluttered in the slight breeze that moved across the city of death. As if in slow-motion, people wandered, meandered and stood among the carpet of color. There was no sound but for the weeping of the mourners. Strangers to each other but bound now by the sadness and shock of mortality, history and mystery.

I'll never forget it. It's a moment that has yet to be properly defined. Was it a coup d'état as many still insist? I heard disturbing stories and theories by those who were there and from those who were in some way connected to the events and persons of that fateful day in Dallas.

There's not enough room on these pages to detail the amazing tales I heard first-hand, but to this day, I tend to think the simplest of all explanations is that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the lone killer - if he even pulled a trigger that sunny afternoon.
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