On this day 60 years ago: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, while riding through Dealey Plaza in his motorcade, his wife Jackie by his side.
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WALTER CRONKITE: President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
MARTIN: That, of course, is the voice of Walter Cronkite. Six decades later, JFK's assassination remains a subject of fascination, mystery and even conspiracy theories for many people, as evidenced by the documentaries and specials released this year to mark the anniversary. TV and film writer Hunter Ingram has watched all of them, and he's here with us now to tell us which ones we might want to check out. Good morning.
HUNTER INGRAM: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: Thanks for coming. So as we said, JFK died six decades ago. From what you've gleaned while watching, is there any new information out there?
INGRAM: Well, we have a lot of trickling documents that have come out since 1992. Of course, that was the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Act, and that was spurred by the release of Oliver Stone's 1991 film "JFK." And up until last year, the government was still releasing thousands of documents related to the assassination. And so a recent documentary was done by Oliver Stone himself, "JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass," kind of sifting through those documents and trying to make sense of why they were important, why they were redacted and how they may or may not feed into some of these conspiracy theories that have persisted for six decades.
MARTIN: So did they come to any conclusions?
INGRAM: They come to the conclusion that a lot was not told to the American people. I think that was the prevailing theory. There's the talk of the magic bullet and how it doesn't add up to the single-bullet theories. I mean, there're so many things that have grown from that single moment in 1963 that people are still trying to reckon with today on so many levels, which is why I think we see some of these documentaries coming out like this.
MARTIN: So do you have - gosh, in this context, I hate to use the word favorite because, you know, given the subject matter - but is there one or two that you would particularly recommend?
INGRAM: Well, I think the ones that were released specifically this year. The ones that actually have come out within the last few weeks - and in one case, a few days - were really fascinating and come at this subject in a different way. The first one that I would suggest, and the one that I really enjoyed, was through National Geographic. They have a franchise of docuseries called "One Day In America." People may have seen the 2021 one about 9/11 for the 20th anniversary.
This one that came out a few weeks ago is "JFK: One Day In America," and it literally follows JFK and Jackie from the morning of November 22, 1963, all the way through the assassination in Dallas. And then it carries through the manhunt for Lee Harvey Oswald and even through the night and past midnight, as they're trying to get a handle on what to do with Harvey - Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. That was really fascinating because you live minute to minute, and obviously, today being an anniversary might be of interest to people to get a sense of how that day unfolded. But if they want a deeper look, I think one that is just as fascinating was the History Channel's new documentary, "Kennedy," which is eight episodes, and it digs even more deeply into his life, from birth all the way to his final day.
MARTIN: You know, obviously for some people, this - that day is seared in memory. I mean, people know where they were and what they were doing when they learned this news. But for people who don't have that memory, they're just starting to think about it, is there one of these specials, new or old, that you would recommend?
INGRAM: Well, I think that a good complement would probably be "JFK: One Day In America" because you get to see the whole day. You know, it is seared in so many Americans' minds. And for those who didn't live it, I think this is a way for you to understand the tragedy of the day. I mean, that is something that is inescapable in any of these documentaries, that this was something that has imprinted itself in American history in the minds of those who were there. And for those who weren't, I think we are reliving them every year with documentaries like this that get to preserve that moment in a way, that - it's not going to be as if you were there, but it will give you a sense of why it's important and why we are still seeing the reverberations six decades later.
MARTIN: That is Hunter Ingram. He's a freelance TV and film writer. Hunter, thanks so much.
INGRAM: Of course. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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