Was the McKinley assassination captured on film?

Because I did not even attempt to give evidence of a conspiracy. That’s how it’s not a conspiracy rant.

Not to mention just saying that something is possible does not mean that you are claiming that is what actually happened, nor is it claiming that it is a conspiracy.

Honestly, if it were true that someone filmed it, and then it was destroyed does not make it any sort of conspiracy. Historically stuff was destroyed all the freaking time, pictures, artwork [cough Bonfire of the Vanities wasn’t just a movie and book about uptime corruption and murder cough] People destroyed archives all the time for various reasons. If there was a movie, and it was destroyed, as someone posted above it was to keep it from being exhibited for money, disrespecting a famous person. Not a big deal, honestly. It isn’t like it was a huge element of some defense lawyers presentation that somehow mysteriously vanished, freeing the lone assassin.:rolleyes:

So, I picked up Two Reels and a Crank from our circulation desk this afternoon. Here’s what it has to say on the subject of the McKinley Assassination:

It has this photo in the book, but to me, that looks like it may well be a closer view of the first image on this page, captioned there as the day before the assassination.

So basically, Two Reels and a Crank provides no proof one way or the other.

Right. As I noted above, the assassination was indoors rather than in the open air.

That first photo is obviously outdoors. And it obviously isn’t of the events of the actual assassination, which is correctly shown in the third image, the drawing, in the second link. McKinley was not in a grandstand but on the floor in a receiving line. (Well, semicorrectly. Notice that the artist wasn’t there, didn’t get McKinley’s clothing correct, as evidenced by the second image, and composed the events so that there wasn’t the crush of bodies. But at least it’s an indoor receiving line.)

There’s no possible way to claim that first image as a photo of the assassination. And the carefully written glurge that the camera didn’t quite show the shot and the image deteriorated and they never let anybody know earlier and gosh darn it, they have no proof left, is proof enough of a tall tale for anybody with a particle of skepticism.

Thanks for going to the lengths to post this, Lsura.

Thank you Lsura.

Did you have any luck with Olson & Turner’s other reference?

Reference #1 is listed as such:

Gross, Hans. Criminal Investigation, 146. Richard Jackson (Ed.). Carswell Company, Ltd., Toronto, Canada (1962).

That one’s not in my unversity system, so I put in an interlibrary loan request - but it takes longer for those to get here, and depends on where they’re coming from so I don’t have a time estimate. I could have it tuesday, or it could be 3 weeks.

Ok, here we go. The second book came in yesterday and I picked up this morning.

There are no citations in this book, so this is all there is to go on in it. (It does, however, have a delightful chapter titled “Slang Expressions Commonly Used by Thieves”)

As a side note, in looking at the historical NYTimes that I have access to, Czolgosz was executed at October 29, 1901. That’s less than 60 days after the assassination. This seems amazingly fast to me, considering McKinley didn’t die until September 14th. But since Czolgosz admitted to the assassination, perhaps it’s not overwhelmingly fast?

Lsura, thanks for all the time & effort you put into this. It is much appreciated.

The quote is a very clear example of presentism, where the author inadvertently assumes that people in the past did things they way we do them now.

Filming was never a constant activity. Film was expensive (and probably more so back in 1896, adjusting for inflation). Film packs were short. Cameras themselves were expensive.

Before TV it was unheard of to film events constantly (try to find any footage of an entire baseball game before 1950). You only shot important events. At a place like the Exposition, you would probably have no more than ten people with film cameras at the event, and they would all be saving their film to shoot McKinley doing something interesting like making a speech, not just shaking hands (which presidents did routinely back then). Even if you wanted footage of that, you’d take about 30-60 seconds of it. You would not shoot the entire event in the hopes something interesting happened (and you wouldn’t waste an entire reel on it).

The assumptions in the statement show the author’s understanding of history is weak.

I find it interesting that there is at least some reason to believe that a film of his assassination once existed.

Maybe some posters could take a less patronizing tone when offering their opinions on what is and what is not possible.

I’m not saying that the footage ever existed, but there is at least some reason to believe that it is possible that his final moments were captured.

More thanks for LSura’s efforts in keeping to the spirit of this board.

Citation from 1901. Some pics before and after, but none reference the actual event.

Makes me wonder if copieis are available at the George Eastman museum in Rochester NY. Anybody checked with them yet?

One more time. I’ve read a huge amount on the assassination and searched for film of the Fair. My opinion is that no such film ever existed and I’ve explained in detail why I’ve come to that opinion. I would very interested to be proved wrong. But I say there is not “some reason” to think I am wrong but “no reason”. I’m sorry you think it is patronizing to tell people who are offering opinions based on no knowledge or research of any kind that those opinions are valueless, but that’s kinda the whole point of this board.

Maybe I’m imagining things, but the sense I got from your (admittedly well-reasoned and well-cited) posts was basically, “You’re an idiot to tell people that any footage of his actual death exists.”

And then a source is found from a person who was alive at the time and had access to the filming technology of the time who stated they filmed his actual death.

I would hope that might poke holes in the idea that it’s idiotiic to think that footage may have been made.

Again, perhaps you were just forcefully making your point and you never felt that there was no chance that a film could have been made and I apologize if that was your intention. I think it is in keeping with the spirit of the board to be open to new ideas if they have merit. I feel that LSura’s cite gives the argument that some footage may exist merit. I share your opinion that such footage does not exist, but I also acknowledge that LSura’s cite gives creedance that maybe there is some unfound footage out there.

I missed this before.

It’s in line with other major murder trials of the period. There were no long delays to amass evidence before trial, no appeals to the Supreme Court.

Tim Weiner’s Enemies: A History of the FBI mentions several quick executions. I thought remembered he said that one took place in eight days, the fastest ever but I can’t find that in a quick search. George Dasch, a Nazi saboteur, was convicted by a military commission and executed five days later, according to p113. But this was 1942, during the war.

I got my back up at patronizing, so let me give a closer analysis to that passage by Gross.

What I find most important is that it gets the setting entirely wrong. There was no speech. There wasn’t a crowd in the way they appear in the pictures of his outdoor speech of the day before. In Murdering McKinley, Rauchway sets the stage like this (p3):

What Gross is describing is the well-known scene at McKinley’s previous day speech. As I pointed out earlier, most casual commenters on the assassination confuse the two. But on Sept. 6, there was no speech, no way for a man to have slowly worked through the crowd. McKinley walked indoors - and we have no indoor casual film of the Exposition - went to the head of an orderly line and began shaking hands. If a real film existed of the entire sequence it would have shown this. Gross’ account is dismissible at a glance.

I have to say I’m not surprised. My opinion of Gross - and I’m well aware that this is on the flimsiest possible basis - is that he was a quack. That’s because every mystery writer of 30s used his book to concoct spectacularly ridiculous and improbable crimes and then say, well Hans Gross mentions a case just like this in 1892 in Antarctica. Or, Hans Gross says that a poison like this one can make a full-grown man convulse sufficiently to jump up from the road through a third-floor window and thus present the appearance of an impossible murder. Blather. When I saw the reference to Gross I leapt myself - to the conclusion that he would be wrong. Fortunately for my ego I was correct about this.

Well, Hans Gross died in 1915. The quote may be incorrect, but I think we can find him not-guilty of presentism.

:slight_smile: