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handsomeharry
01-16-2006, 01:43 PM
Did Dan Rather really say that he had seen the Zapruder film and that Kennedy had been pushed forward by the sniper's shot?

If so, did he ever give a public explanation for saying it?

thanks,
hh

CalMeacham
01-16-2006, 02:02 PM
He apparently did. IIRC, he said something along the lines of "You try watching a film, running 15 mminutes to catch the broadcast, and see how accurate you are." (apparently he had to view the film in a locatioon far removed from the broadcast center).

M<yself, I think it's an honest mistake. I don't see any point in lying about something the physical evidence directly and checkably refutes. I'm still kinda surprised about it, though. The footage is pretty dramatic.

Crotalus
01-16-2006, 02:11 PM
In his 1977 book, he said "At the risk of sounding too defensive, I challenge anyone to watch for the first time a twenty-two second film of devastating impact ... then describe what they had seen in its entirety, without notes." I found this quote on this (http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/10th_Issue/d_rather.html) site. I haven't read this book. It does resemble CalMeacham's recollection.

bonzer
01-16-2006, 02:17 PM
Did Dan Rather really say that he had seen the Zapruder film and that Kennedy had been pushed forward by the sniper's shot?

The short answer is yes, though the circumstances are somewhat confused.]

Richard Trask's - obsessive, but sober and excellent - account of the photographic evidence from Dealey Plaza, Pictures of the Pain (Yeoman, 1994, p85-91), discusses Rather's involvement at length in his long chapter on the Zapruder film.
Quite when he said it is slightly unclear, but he said it twice on air, probably on the Monday 25th after the assasination. The context is that Rather was the New Orleans bureau chief for CBS and so became their representative in the bidding war for the rights to the film that weekend. As part of the negotiations, in order to see what he might be buying, Rather was shown the film - probably just once - by Sam Passman, Zapruder's lawyer. He then basically legged it to a CBS radio studio and told Hughes Rudd and Richard Hotelett what he'd seen on air. He then repeated his description on a TV report for Walter Cronkite.
The relevant bits of both transcripts are included in Crotalus's link.

If so, did he ever give a public explanation for saying it?

According to Trask, the only substantial account Rather has ever given of his involvement with the film was in The Camera Never Blinks.

Trask's conclusion on the matter is that it was an honest mistake on the part of someone watching the film under pressure and then trying to recall all the details of what he'd seen - Rather managed to be pretty accurate on the other details given the circumstances.

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-16-2006, 05:16 PM
I thought the shot did momentarily thrust his head forward. Is this observation now in dispute?

(After the forward motion, JFK's whips backward.)

bonzer
01-16-2006, 07:48 PM
No, that's not the issue here.

Why conspiracy theorists subsequently latched onto Rather's comments was not so much that he mentions the movement forwards but that in neither transcript does he mention the much more obvious movement backwards.
There are then two schools of conspiratorial thought on the matter. The first uses this as evidence that Rather was part of the cover-up: by omitting to mention the backwards jerk he colludes in hiding the "fact" that Kennedy was shot from the front. The second used it as evidence that Rather saw the "original" film, while the rest of us have since been pawned off with a doctored copy.

There's an obvious tension between these two schools: is the Zapruder film the authentic piece of evidence that "proves" a conspiracy or is it a compromised item whose (alleged) very inauthenticity demonstrates the same.
Neither of these schools of conspiracy advocate regard the initial forward movement of Kennedy's head as the shot hits as particularly significant.

bonzer
01-16-2006, 07:52 PM
Neither of these schools of conspiracy advocate regard the initial forward movement of Kennedy's head as the shot hits as particularly significant.

I should qualify that statement with an "in general". Some of the multi-shooter scenarios get sufficiently baroque, with multiple shots hitting from different sides near-simulaneously, that some do read crucial significance into the forward-then-backwards movement in those sort of terms.

handsomeharry
01-17-2006, 10:46 AM
I should qualify that statement with an "in general". Some of the multi-shooter scenarios get sufficiently baroque, with multiple shots hitting from different sides near-simulaneously, that some do read crucial significance into the forward-then-backwards movement in those sort of terms.
I wasn't aware of a forward snap, per se.
I did see a forward slump after the "back and to the left" jerk.

thanks for all of the info,
hh

Zebra
01-17-2006, 11:55 AM
I think he means more of the lean forward after the first shot comes out JFK's throat. When he emerges from behind the sign he is starting to lean foward and has his hands up to his neck.


Rather was sent by CBS to try and buy the film from Zapruder but he didn't know that a guy from Life magazine was hiding the closet and had promised Zapruder to beat any offer from Rather.

bonzer
01-17-2006, 02:09 PM
I think he means more of the lean forward after the first shot comes out JFK's throat. When he emerges from behind the sign he is starting to lean foward and has his hands up to his neck.

Both Carnac and myself were actually referring to something more specific: the argument that there's a sharp forward movement of the head in the few frames immediately before the notorious backwards movement.

There's a general consensus that Kennedy was already in the process of slumping forward when the "head shot" impacted, so his head was moving forward at that point. The claim is that there's then a brief, far move violent forwards movement. For example, the Dale Myers analysis (http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/intro.htm) used by ABC and the BBC for their 40th anniversary documentary included the conclusion (http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/faq.htm):

Despite popular beliefs, the medical evidence clearly shows the president was struck in the head from behind by one bullet. My dimensional analysis of that moment shows that the president's head was driven forward approximately two inches in 1/18th of a second by the impact of the bullet. Yet, the backward snap of the head took four times as long (1/2 second) to recover that same distance. This simply means that the force causing the backward head snap was not as powerful as the force of the bullet that struck him from behind. This fact alone is compelling evidence that the backward head snap was not due to a bullet fired from in front of the president, as some conspiracy theorists contend.

While this brief forward motion has been discussed for some time, the arguments about Rather's statement predate it being noticed. To my knowledge, nobody has ever suggested that it's what Rather was referring to. I certainly can't see anything so fleeting just by watching the film in real time and nobody expects him to have done so when he saw it in 1963.
By contrast, the subsequent backwards movement is obvious to even the casual viewer. Hence the OP's question.

Starving Artist
01-17-2006, 02:59 PM
Regarding the ABC/BBC quote: the problem is there was very little movement forward as far as I could tell, nor did Kennedy's head 'snap' back.

Kennedy seemed to me to slump downward while clutching his throat after the neck shot, followed by movement to his left and downward as he slumped toward Jackie's lap.

And his head didn't snap back; it was driven back and up to his left--so much so that his head instantly and violently changed direction (from down to up in the blink of an eye); and his left shoulder, pulled along by the force of his head being driven so powerfully in that direction, went up and over the boot of the convertible's top.

Starving Artist
01-17-2006, 03:09 PM
Regarding the ABC/BBC quote: the problem is there was very little movement forward as far as I could tell; nor did Kennedy's head 'snap' back.

Kennedy seemed to me to slump down in his seat while clutching his throat after the neck shot, followed by movement to his left and downward as he slumped toward Jackie's lap. Upon the head shot, his head didn't snap back; it was driven back and up to his left--so much so that his head instantly and violently changed direction (from down to up in the blink of an eye), and his left shoulder--pulled along by the force of his head being driven so powerfully in that direction--was pulled up and over the boot of the convertible's top.

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-17-2006, 03:46 PM
Regarding the ABC/BBC quote: the problem is there was very little movement forward as far as I could tell, nor did Kennedy's head 'snap' back.

Kennedy seemed to me to slump downward while clutching his throat after the neck shot, followed by movement to his left and downward as he slumped toward Jackie's lap.




What's your point, then?

Frankly, I don't understand the relevance (or direction) of the OP. In the grand scheme of things, an observation by one person--Dan Rather or no--is inconsequential compared to the mountain of eyewitness and scientific (not conjectural) evidence compiled that flatly refutes the conspiracy theorists.

What is the relevance of Dan Rather's observations? I'm much more baffled by the "Kenneth" and the "frequencies" claim.

CalMeacham
01-17-2006, 03:48 PM
Frankly, I don't understand the relevance (or direction) of the OP. In the grand scheme of things, an observation by one person--Dan Rather or no--is inconsequential compared to the mountain of eyewitness and scientific (not conjectural) evidence compiled that flatly refutes the conspiracy theorists.


I suspect it's curiousity. You can be curious about an anomaly without being a conspiracy believer.

bonzer
01-17-2006, 08:43 PM
Regarding the ABC/BBC quote: the problem is there was very little movement forward as far as I could tell; nor did Kennedy's head 'snap' back.

This is getting very off-topic with regards to the OP's question, but the picture at the bottom of this page (http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/concl1.htm) shows what Myers, in particular, is claiming as the extent of the forward motion between frames 312 and 313.
Compare this with frames 311 (http://www.assassinationresearch.com/zfilm/z311.jpg), 312 (http://www.assassinationresearch.com/zfilm/z312.jpg) and 313 (http://www.assassinationresearch.com/zfilm/z313.jpg) from the Zapruder film. There's little, if any, movement visible between 311 and 312, but the head is then further forward in 313, when there are fragments being visibly thrown and so the shot has already impacted. (Look at either the pink lining behind Kennedy or Jackie's hat as rough reference points.) The enlargements of 312 and 313 on this page (http://www.assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/wound.html) (which is using this movement as part of a pro-conspiracy case) show the movement pretty clearly.
Personally, this is far from proof that the shot was from behind, but it is suggestive.

You can be curious about an anomaly without being a conspiracy believer.

Completely agree.

filmyak
01-17-2006, 09:12 PM
SLIGHTLY off topic, Penn & Teller covered the "head snapped back, therefore he was shot from the front" theory on their Bullshit series on Showtime.

They put a pumpkin on a pedastal and shot a rifle bullet through it. Showed the results in slow motion. The bullet ripped through the pumpkin and sent a stream of pumpkin innards out the bullet hole. This stream acted, in a way, like propellant, sending the pumpkin backwards. It fell off the stand on the same side as the shooter, totally contrary to what common sense would make you believe (shot from one side, falls to the other).

Was amazing to watch in slow motion.

And no, I am not implying Kennedy was a pumpkin head.

douglips
01-17-2006, 11:22 PM
Someone put together the frames of the Zapruder film in a stabilized movie:
http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/KF/0512/zapruder_-_stable.mov

Diceman
01-17-2006, 11:35 PM
This is getting off-topic, but that site bonzer linked to with the enlarged images is really quite interesting. Scroll down to the bottom of that page (http://www.assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/wound.html) again, and look at the autopsy photo. Kennedy looks pretty good for a guy who's supposedly had his brains blasted out the front of his head :dubious:

That website argues that the Zapruder film is fake, incidentally.

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-18-2006, 12:10 AM
This is getting off-topic, but that site bonzer linked to with the enlarged images is really quite interesting. Scroll down to the bottom of that page (http://www.assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/wound.html) again, and look at the autopsy photo. Kennedy looks pretty good for a guy who's supposedly had his brains blasted out the front of his head :dubious:

That website argues that the Zapruder film is fake, incidentally.



Jeepers, a website that takes a contrarian, conspiracist position!

Starving Artist
01-18-2006, 12:16 AM
Interesting about the Penn & Teller experiment, filmyak, but it raises a couple of questions for me: i.e., in order for the pumpkin to mimic the movement of Kennedy's head, wouldn't it have had to fall on the opposite rather than the same side that the shot came from? And what did Penn & Teller's experiment show in regard to the force of the impact driving not only Kennedy's brains but his entire body sharply upward and to his left?

To me, this is the most damning evidence that the shot came from in front and to the right. I'm not a hunter, but I've been told by hunters who are familiar with happens when a high-powered rifle bullet hits a live target that there is no question that the movement of Kennedy's head, brain matter, shoulder and body is exactly what they would expect as a result of his having been hit by a bullet fired from in front of and to the right of the limousine.

To me, the movent of his head and body is pretty much what I would have expected had I stood on the right window sill of the limousine, swung a two-by-four like a golf club, and hit him squarely in the jaw. I cannot imagine how a shot coming from behind, high and to the right could cause this type of movement.

(And besides, Penn & Teller are skilled at making you think you've seen one thing when you've actually seen another, right?) ;)

Seriously though, I've always wondered why, if this kind of explanation was reliably certain enough to legitimately explain Kennedy's movement after being shot, why hasn't it been widely proven by scientists under controlled and provable conditions. One would think it would be fairly easy to prove to everyone's satisfaction that a gunshot would produce this kind of unexpected movement, yet anytime I've heard of this kind of experiment being conducted it's by a relative amatuer whose results cannot necessarily be taken as irrefutable proof.

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-18-2006, 12:17 AM
Check out: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/home.htm

Starving Artist
01-18-2006, 12:28 AM
And by the way, it isn't my belief that a conspiracy occurred in the sense that the Mafia, the CIA and Russia all participated in the assassination; but I do believe that the shooting was carried out by multiple shooters -- Oswald being one of them -- and that Kennedy was hit in the back (the throat shot) by a bullet fired from behind and roughly at street level, and in the head by a bullet fired from the front and to his right.

And on preview, thanks Carnac...I'll check it out.

Bomzaway
01-18-2006, 01:40 AM
Interesting about the Penn & Teller experiment, filmyak, but it raises a couple of questions for me: i.e., in order for the pumpkin to mimic the movement of Kennedy's head, wouldn't it have had to fall on the opposite rather than the same side that the shot came from? And what did Penn & Teller's experiment show in regard to the force of the impact driving not only Kennedy's brains but his entire body sharply upward and to his left?

No. The point of the experiment is to show that what really happens is counterintuitive. You'd THINK that the force of the bullets impact would drive the pumpkin away from the shooter, but the truth is, it doesn't. That's because as far as the bullet is concerned the pumpkin may as well be warm butter, it cuts right through the shell of the pumpkin so fast that the impact doesn't actually knock the pumpkin over. In fact, the impact is minimal. What does the trick is the jet action of the bullet coming out of the exit wound.

Just like the sucking action of the wind that drags behind a big truck, the bullet does the same thing as it travels through the head. So out of the exit wound comes blood and brain like water shooting from a hose, and like a hose, the head gets pushed in the direction opposite that of the stream.

Hence, back and to the left.



Diceman also mentioned how good Kennedy looked "for a guy who's supposedly had his brains blasted out the front of his head".

For one thing he had been cleaned up a bit by then, but more importantly, the exit wound was like a flap that closed semi-neatly, the opening of which was on part of his head where hair was, so it's not readily clear in that picture.

handsomeharry
01-18-2006, 11:15 AM
What's your point, then?

Frankly, I don't understand the relevance (or direction) of the OP. In the grand scheme of things, an observation by one person--Dan Rather or no--is inconsequential compared to the mountain of eyewitness and scientific (not conjectural) evidence compiled that flatly refutes the conspiracy theorists.

What is the relevance of Dan Rather's observations? I'm much more baffled by the "Kenneth" and the "frequencies" claim.
I believe that anybody looking for relevance or direction on this message board (or, perhaps, any other) is in for a sad disappointment.
A cursory glance at today's page one of General Question has one concerning Penis Yeast and a Penis pictured on currency.
In this context, I believe that my OP can be called not only relevant, but revelatory.
hh

handsomeharry
01-18-2006, 11:19 AM
A cursory glance at today's page one of General Question has one concerning Penis Yeast and a Penis pictured on currency.

hh
The "one' , of course, would be athe OP.
hh

Zebra
01-18-2006, 11:31 AM
One conspiracy theory book I read "Best Evidence" explained the slight foward movement like this.

The head sits on the neck. (duh) The neck is not a joint like a the knee with strict back anf forth movements. The grassy knoll is not only to the front and right but above the president in the motorcade. When the fatal shot impacted his head is alread going foward. The bullet hits and pushes his head down, bending his neck and pulling him foward and then the head rolls back. (Bend you neck like JFK and then try to imagin the head shot coming in near the hair line and from slightly above.

The book then goes on to say that before the official autopsey, JFK's body was 'borrowed' so the bullet could be removed and the wounds altered so as to look like it came from behind.

Riiiiiiight.

Starving Artist
01-18-2006, 02:25 PM
No. The point of the experiment is to show that what really happens is counterintuitive. You'd THINK that the force of the bullets impact would drive the pumpkin away from the shooter, but the truth is, it doesn't. That's because as far as the bullet is concerned the pumpkin may as well be warm butter, it cuts right through the shell of the pumpkin so fast that the impact doesn't actually knock the pumpkin over. In fact, the impact is minimal. What does the trick is the jet action of the bullet coming out of the exit wound.

Just like the sucking action of the wind that drags behind a big truck, the bullet does the same thing as it travels through the head. So out of the exit wound comes blood and brain like water shooting from a hose, and like a hose, the head gets pushed in the direction opposite that of the stream.

Hence, back and to the left.Thanks for taking the time for this detailed explanation, but again it raises some questions. (Sorry, Carnac, as you may be aware I have this problem where my monitor goes out for long periods of time, which happened right after nmy post to you. I just got back on and haven't had time yet to check out the page you linked to.)

I'm thinking that you are saying that a shot from Oswald could have caused Kennedy's movement. Is that right?

If so, according to your explanation wouldn't the shot have to have come from in front and to the right, given that the brain material from the exit wound (which in my opinion was caused by more of a glancing type of hit on the right side of his head as he slumped leftward toward his wife) flew up, back, and to his left? If the shot had come from Oswald, and according to the hose analogy, wouldn't the brain matter have exited downward and to Kennedy's left rather than up and back? And accordingly, wouldn't the jet action have driven his head back in the direction of the bullet's path?

Diceman also mentioned how good Kennedy looked "for a guy who's supposedly had his brains blasted out the front of his head".

For one thing he had been cleaned up a bit by then, but more importantly, the exit wound was like a flap that closed semi-neatly, the opening of which was on part of his head where hair was, so it's not readily clear in that picture.But even more importantly, his brains weren't blasted out the front of his head. He was hit by a glancing type of blow that barely managed to hit him at all, given that the shot was probably lined up just as Kennedy began to slump leftward toward his wife. (Had he begun to slump few thousanths of a second sooner, the bullet would have missed him altogether.) But be that as it may, the Zapruder film clearly shows that he was hit above his right ear and there was no damage to his face.

CurtC
01-18-2006, 06:11 PM
I'm thinking that you are saying that a shot from Oswald could have caused Kennedy's movement. Is that right?Yes, I think he's saying that, although I'm doubtful that it explains it entirely, and muscular spasms seem to fit the motion better.
If so, according to your explanation wouldn't the shot have to have come from in front and to the right, given that the brain material from the exit wound (which in my opinion was caused by more of a glancing type of hit on the right side of his head as he slumped leftward toward his wife) flew up, back, and to his left? If the shot had come from Oswald, and according to the hose analogy, wouldn't the brain matter have exited downward and to Kennedy's left rather than up and back? And accordingly, wouldn't the jet action have driven his head back in the direction of the bullet's path?No, not at all. The head shot wasn't as much a glancing hit, as simply an off-center hit. He hit above and to the right of the center of the head. The shock pressure, together with the bullet breaking the bones, ejected the top right portion of his skull, above the ear, I think a little behind it. The path of stuff ejected was perpindicular to the bullet path in this case. The ejection of that material would cause the remainder of his skull to get a push to the left. You can look at the physics as conservation of momentum, where the momentum of ejecta is balanced by a kick to the left, or you can think of it as pressures, and the concentric pressure wave that blew off the stuff to the right, pushed the remainder of the skull to the left without shattering it.

bonzer
01-18-2006, 07:59 PM
Completely surrendering to the pressure of most posters to force the thread away from the OP and towards GD ...

The point of the experiment is to show that what really happens is counterintuitive.

The ejection of that material would cause the remainder of his skull to get a push to the left. You can look at the physics as conservation of momentum, where the momentum of ejecta is balanced by a kick to the left, or you can think of it as pressures, and the concentric pressure wave that blew off the stuff to the right, pushed the remainder of the skull to the left without shattering it.

In the course of digging up links for one of my earlier posts, I happened to realise that a scan of Luis Alvarez's classic paper "A Physicist Examines the Kennedy Assassination Film" - which is the origin of these arguments - is now available online (http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol1/pdf/HSCA_Vol1_0908_4_Alvarez.pdf) (a pdf).

Starving Artist
01-19-2006, 12:03 AM
Thanks very much for the explanation, CurtC. I must admit that my notion of events has been shaken somewhat by the info I've learned from this thread. I've only just gotten back online still have to check out the link from Carnac and the new one posted by bonzer. I'll back out of here now, with apologies to the OP, and go do some research as to how to think about this.

Thanks again to everyone who posted regarding my comments.

Zoe
01-19-2006, 08:07 AM
bonzer: There are then two schools of conspiratorial thought on the matter. The first uses this as evidence that Rather was part of the cover-up...

I know that you are not saying that this is necessarily your viewpoint. But it is amazing how some people try to discredit him in that time period based on his fame now. Part of a coverup? He was such small potatoes then. I had never heard of Dan Rather until that day. The first time I remember hearing his voice ever was in a live phone call to Walter Cronkite from what I think was the emergency room area in the hospital. He was still wet behind the ears.

Walloon
01-19-2006, 10:07 AM
One (of numerous) problems with the idea of an assassin in front of Kennedy is that there was basically no place (http://www.texastwisted.com/attr/jfk/03/) where a sniper could shoot from in front of Kennedy's limousine unseen. A CAD rendition of Dealey Plaza (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/plazao.jpg).

The oft-mentioned stockade fence separating the grassy knoll from a parking lot was exposed on three sides. Zapruder and his secretary were standing parallel to and above that stockade fence. Behind the stockade fence was a two-story tower where railroad switchman Lee Bowers had an unobstructed view (http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/badgeman_4.htm)
of the back of the fence.

People were standing on the Triple Underpass only steps from the far end of the stockade fence.

Walloon
01-19-2006, 10:37 AM
He was hit by a glancing type of blow that barely managed to hit him at allNot really. The last forensic pathology drawing here (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/head.htm) gives an accurate representation of what appears on the autopsy photographs, which if you must, can be seen here (http://www.paulseaton.com/jfk/diagrams/kennedy_graphics6.htm). The photo at the top left shows the head entry wound as a pink circle, of bullet width, just left of center of the photo.