In my essay “SS100X” in CAR CRASH CULTURE (Macmillan, 2002) and in my recent presentation at JFKLancer titled “Midnight Blue to Black — the Vanishing Act of the JFK Presidential Limousine In Broad Daylight,” I talk about my viewing a copy of the Zapruder in 1964. That took place at the Charles Theatre, on the Lower East Side in NYC. It followed a screening of the David Wolper film 1000 Days, an upbeat documentary about the JFK administration, originally prepared for the Democratic National Convention.
My speaking up about this early viewing, however, has caused considerable controversy. In fact, two of those I once considered my heroes have insisted that this was ‘impossible’ and that I was ‘making it up.’
Yet even the entrenched WC defender Dan Rather, who confused us all by claiming he had seen JFK’s head moving forward when he viewed the “camera ready original” just hours after the assassination [though he later clarified his claim] has this to say about the lack of control over this precious film, that the government would have us believe had only been made available to researchers at the National Archives –[inserts, mine]
“What I did not know at the time was that LIFE no longer had the only copy in existence. Their security was so lax as to be almost comical. Any major executive in the Time-Life Building who wished to look at the Zapruder film could call down and order a print sent to his office.
For years it was not shown on television or in theaters [not entirely true]. But, frequently, whenever a Time-Life wheel ordered up a print for himself, offhandedly or otherwise, several bootleg copies would be produced. An underground industry soon developed.” THE CAMERA NEVER BLINKS, Rather, pp 127-8
I happen to think there were different copies available. That is why I call them the Zapruder film(s). I saw a clear one. It flowed smoothly. Those I have seen since did not.
A big disinfo question, IMO, is ‘was the Zapruder altered’? First of all, there were at least three films, the “camera original” and two copies. The “camera original” was spliced in at least two places. We know that it was altered. So there is no question in my mind as to whether or not at least one of these films was altered. The real question is just how malevolently it was altered.