Newly broadcast Kennedy footage ‘fills in little gaps’

DALLAS (AP) — TV footage broadcast for the first time Tuesday depicts events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, including scenes of him holding hands with his wife — perhaps for the last time — about 45 minutes before his death.
The silent 16mm film, recently turned over to the independent Assassination Records Review Board, also captured a rare image of Jack Ruby attending Lee Harvey Oswald’s meeting with reporters the night of the assassination.
Roy Cooper Jr., a photographer for television station KTVT, now a CBS affiliate, went digging through the trash in the days following the assassination to save the outtakes, The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.
Portions of the film were aired Tuesday on the “CBS Evening News,” the network said.
The outtakes do not show the president’s motorcade under rifle fire on Nov. 22, 1963, and offer no obvious evidence toward settling the case’s many controversies, according to the few authorities who have viewed it.
The film does, however, show the chaos in Dealey Plaza after the president was shot.
“This film fills in little gaps,” said assassination historian Gary Mack, who was shown the tapes by Cooper in the 1970s. “But I didn’t see anything in there that changed any significant facts about the assassination.”
Cooper took home the clips he salvaged from the trash, and a few years later spliced them together with a friend, Eli Sturges.
Sturges and Cooper, who retired from KTVT in the early ’90s, tried to sell the film during the years, but the only buyer was a 1988 British TV program that purchased about two minutes.
Both men have since died, and the film, which was hidden beneath a house for years, was nearly destroyed in a fire a year ago.
A few weeks ago, Sturges’ daughter decided it was time to release the film after reading that the review board could use it. The board transferred the footage to videotape last week at the National Archives, where researchers and the public will be able to view it as part of the JFK Collection.
The film also includes the only known footage of Vice President Lyndon Johnson leaving Parkland Memorial Hospital after the president was pronounced dead, and another image of Jack Ruby waiting for Lee Harvey Oswald at an appearance before reporters the night of the assassination.
The archives of the Sixth Floor Museum, located at the site of the former Texas Book Depository, hold another photo of Ruby and Oswald at the same appearance. That shot was enlarged from another Dallas TV station’s film, but the image has not been widely seen.
Among the newly found clips’ most revealing moments, Mack said, was an image of Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holding hands when they arrived in Dallas at Love Field about 45 minutes before his death.
“It’s such a poignant moment because the Kennedys were famous for not holding hands,” Mack said. “It’s a wonderful scene for people who love, admire and respect President Kennedy.”