Saturday, November 2, 2013

JFK Assassination Specials: A Guide to 50th Anniversary Television Programming


Get set for a deluge of fiftieth anniversary television programming over the next few weeks.  Looks like everyone is getting in on the act with some new and some encore presentations. 

Here are the highlights (EST). Be sure to check local listings for times in your area:

Sunday, Nov. 3

“JFK: The Smoking Gun,” 8, 10 p.m., 12 midnight, Reelz. Also broadcast: Nov.4 (8, 11 p.m.), Nov.5 (5:00 p.m.) The boldest of the bunch, with Australian investigator Colin McLaren concluding that the fatal shot was accidental friendly fire and the truth has been covered up.

 “America Declassified,” 10 p.m., Travel Channel. Ex-CIA officer Mike Baker and actor/author Richard Belzer explore JFK's assassination 50 years later with a historic sniper test in Dealey Plaza. Includes comments from Jim Marrs and eyewitness Sandra Styles Butler.

Monday, Nov. 4

“JFK: Inside The Evidence,” 10 p.m., 1:00 a.m. (Nov.5), Reelz. Hosted by nationally renowned journalist Bill Kurtis, this program closely examines and scrutinizes the key elements of the theory presented in "JFK: The Smoking Gun." Kurtis challenges the men behind that theory including veteran police detective and author Colin McLaren ("JFK: The Smoking Gun"), who spent four and a half years on the forensic cold-case investigation of JFK’s assassination.

Tuesday, Nov. 5

“Killing JFK: 50 Questions Answered,” 7 p.m., 2:00 a.m. (Nov.6), Reelz. A fast-paced show that unravels 50 top questions and mysteries surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. From his ill-fated trip to Texas to the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the show examines every aspect of the tragedy that rocked the world.

Friday, Nov. 8

“JFK: The Lost Bullet,” 7 p.m., 2:00 a.m. (Nov.9), 3:00 p.m. (Nov.10) National Geographic, Explorer. Home videos from that fateful day, including the restored Zapruder film, remastered in crystal-clear high definition and combined for the first time together in one film. The digital scans offer more than projected images ever could - including details in the areas of exposed film between the sprocket holes.

“JFK: The Final Hours,” 8 p.m., 12 midnight, 6:00 p.m. (Nov.10), National Geographic. Narrated by Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Bill Paxton, takes both in-depth and birds-eye views of the final day of Kennedy's life through firsthand accounts.

“The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination,” 10 p.m., 4:00 p.m. (Nov.10), National Geographic. Encore broadcast of the 2009 two-hour special culled from hundreds of hours of news footage, radio reports, audio recordings and home movies that captured history as it was chaotically unfolding. This unique eyewitness material was first stored by local news stations in Dallas/Fort Worth and then in the vault of The Sixth Floor Museum.

Saturday, Nov. 9

“50 Years of Questions: The JFK Assassination,” 9 p.m., 12 midnight, Fox News Channel. Bill Hemmer hosts with former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor John T. Orr. Witnesses to the assassination, medical and ballistics experts, researchers and authors including best-selling author Bill O'Reilly of "Killing Kennedy" will examine many of the conspiracy angles. Featured are the home movies, photographs and slides of the president's trip to Dallas and of Dealey Plaza when the assassination happened. Featured is a recently enhanced 'sprocket hole' version of the Zapruder 8 mm film -- the only film of the assassination including the rarely seen 'missing frames' from the Secret Service copy of the Zapruder film. Supported with a Fox News Channel 3-D animated re-creation of the assassination, this FNR special illustrates why much of the Warren Commission's evidence was flawed and other evidence ignored. John T. Orr's investigation and analysis of the rifle bullet trajectories clearly demonstrates that a second gunman conspired with Lee Harvey Oswald to kill President Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Sunday, Nov. 10

“Killing Kennedy,” 8 p.m., 10 p.m., 12 midnight, National Geographic. Dramatizing the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Kennedy begins in 1959, at major turning points for both the future president and his assassin. John F. Kennedy (played by Emmy-award winner Rob Lowe) is in Washington, D.C., preparing to announce his presidential candidacy, while Lee Harvey Oswald finds himself in the U.S. embassy in Moscow, renouncing his U.S. citizenship. These two events start both men—one a member of one of the United States’ most wealthy and powerful families, the other a disillusioned former Marine and Marxist—on a cataclysmic track that would alter the course of history. Throughout the film, we see their highs and lows, culminating in not one but two shocking deaths that stunned the nation.

Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 11-12

“American Experience: JFK,” 9 p.m., PBS. A four-hour special over two nights focusing on Kennedy’s legacy and speculation about what might have been.

Tuesday, Nov. 12

“Capturing Oswald,” 10 p.m., 1:00 a.m. (Nov.13), Military Channel. An admiring look at the work of the Dallas Police Department, including an interview with Jim Leavelle, the officer who was handcuffed to Oswald when he was killed. Produced by Leavelle’s granddaughter.

Wednesday, Nov. 13

“Nova: Cold Case,” 9 p.m., PBS. A fresh investigation into the physical evidence, using state-of-the-art forensics, including laser scanning, new ballistics tests by world-class expert Lucien C. Haag and son Michael, and a 3D digital reconstruction of the president's skull. Additional commentary by private investigator Josiah Thompson; medical examiner and forensic neuropathologist Peter Cummings; laser scanning specialist Tony Grissim; legendary newsman, Jim Lehrer, and historian and JFK assassination expert, John McAdams.

“JFK: One P.M. Central Standard Time,” 10 p.m., PBS, Secrets of the Dead. A minute-by-minute account of what happened from the time shots were fired until CBS anchor Walter Cronkite announced the President was dead. Included in the program will be moving memories from men and women who were with there on the day – in Dallas and New York.

Thursday, Nov. 14

“The Sixties: The Assassination of JFK,” 9 p.m., CNN. Putting the assassination into the context of the times.

Saturday, Nov. 16

“As It Happened: John F. Kennedy, 50 Years,” 9 p.m., CBS. A look at the assassination produced by the “48 Hours” team and hosted by Bob Schieffer.

Sunday, Nov. 17

“Sunday Morning,” 9:00 a.m., CBS. Hosted by Charles Osgood, looks at Kennedy's legacy.

“This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” 10 a.m., ABC. Tribute and panel discussion.

“Face the Nation” from Dallas, 10:30 a.m., CBS. Bob Schieffer anchors. 

“Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy,” 9 p.m., TLC. This two-hour film revisits the months following the assassination of President Kennedy, when the first lady became the heart of the nation. In response, thousands of U.S. citizens and mourners around the world reached out in support. In the film, celebrities lend their voices to give life to some of the powerful letters Jackie Kennedy received. Among the stars providing voices are Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway, John Krasinski, Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Octavia Spencer and Channing Tatum.

“The Day Kennedy Died,” 9 p.m., 12 midnight, Smithsonian Channel. The doctor who tried to save him. The Secret Service agent who was seconds too late. The man wrongly accused of his murder. And the woman who unwittingly sheltered an assassin. A minute-by-minute account of that day, narrated by Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey, and brought to life through rarely seen footage and rarely heard testimonies.

Tuesday, Nov. 19

“Frontline: Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?” Check local listings for time. PBS. Encore broadcast of the excellent 1993 documentary.

Thursday, Nov. 21

“JFK: The Lost Tapes,” 7 p.m., Discovery. New one-hour special featuring government tapes from Air Force One, Dallas Police Department recordings, and testimonies from those on the ground that day, including Clint Hill, the secret service agent responsible for Jackie Kennedy. 

“Faces of November,” 11:45 p.m., TCM. Part of Turner Classic Movies commemoration of the JFK assassination beginning at 8:00 p.m. This 1964 short film focuses on the assassination of JFK as seen through the faces of mourners at his funeral. 

“Four Days in November,” 12 Midnight, TCM. Part of Turner Classic Movies commemoration of the JFK assassination beginning at 8:00 p.m. This 1964 Oscar-nominated chronicle of the assassination and its aftermath is one of the finest films ever made about the subject. Narrated by Richard Basehart. Many rare films and interviews. Don’t miss this one.

Friday, Nov. 22

“JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide,” 8 p.m., History Channel. Includes insights and findings from Gerald Posner, Robert Groden, Vincent Bugliosi, Tom Stone, John McAdams, David Kaiser, Max Holland, Jefferson Morley, and Dr. Cyril Wecht.

“Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination,” 9 p.m., NBC. Two-hour special hosted by Tom Brokaw features interviews with persons connected to the assassination as well as celebrities, including Marie Tippit, Buell Frazier, Johnny Brewer, Ruth Paine, Robert Groden, Oliver Stone, Vincent Bugliosi, and many more.

“Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live," 10 p.m., 9:30 p.m. (Nov.25), History. This two-hour special traces Oswald's actions in the minutes, hours and days following the events in Dallas. Filmed at the actual locations, the special recreates the Tippit shooting, Oswald’s arrest, incarceration, interrogation, and murder at the hands of Jack Ruby. Featuring commentary from Steve Gillon, Brian Latell, Gary Mack, Dale Myers, Randy Roberts, Lisa Siraganian, and Larry Sneed.


Paul C. said...

Deluge is right - thanks for compiling the list. Even those of us with a serious interest in the event will find this overwhelming. I see several 3-D models are in the mix.

Paul C. said...

The PBS Nova special on Nov. 12 was quite good, but I have to single out the New Mexico team's investigation of the Mannlicher Carcano bullet ballistic characteristics - their videos and test results were stunning, some of the most important ever done on this subject. What are your thoughts on Sturdivan's belief that the Bethesda doctors got the low head wound entrance location correct? He makes a solid case in his book, but I'm not quite convinced.

Dale K. Myers said...

Neither am I.

Mark said...

Thank you so much for putting this together.

Robert Artwohl said...

I'm somewhat dismayed that none of John K. Lattimer's work is being mentioned. He did most of this ballistics work years ago, including most every thing we saw in the Nova series and more. (However, I'm not sure where this stuff is archived or if it's available to researchers.)

I still remain convinced that Humes and/or Boswell were confused on entrance wound on the back of the skull. I often wonder if they were looking at the apex of the lambdoidal suture but thought external occipital protuberance. If the bullet hit lower, I would expect to see much more damage to the cerebellum than just a small contrecoup injury to the left side of the cerebellum.

Looking forward to watching the Oswald documentary tomorrow.

Paul C. said...

I finally got to see "48 Hours to Live", five months after the fact. Outstanding program, one of the best ever produced on the subject, and one of the few to bring a fresh approach. My only real critique is that in declining to chronicle Ruby's full actions during this period, an opportunity was lost to further debunk the myth he was a ruthless, stalking hit man. The full details of his desperate, manic behavior with the press and police in the fifteen hours following the assassination are fascinating and always overlooked in documentaries (i.e., he bought sandwiches and food for reporters, and even stepped in to coordinate a press interview with DA Henry Wade). What everyone remembers are the video frame captures of him at the police station Friday night, where he seems far more sinister than his documented actions show him to be. I understand editing is necessary, but I still wish at least one documentary would include this info!