Thursday, November 18, 2010

Being There

Sometimes I feel like Peter Sellers in the movie “Being There.”

Things just “happen” to me.

Strange things.

Take for example the day I was sitting in my office minding my own business when three men walked in and handed me the original, most famous, and most studied film in history:

The Abraham Zapruder film of the JFK assassination.


Now admittedly, there wasn’t much I could do with it, like sell it or anything, since all three gentlemen were heavily armed. Two were uniformed US Capitol police officers and the other was a Secret Service agent.

This happened in 1976.

I was working for a motion picture lab in Washington at the time and my office was on K Street in downtown DC. Mine was the first office you came to after you passed the reception area.

Rita, the receptionist had the annoying habit of sending anyone and everyone who ever entered the Byron Motion Picture building straight to my office with the following instructions;
“Oh, Mr. Shephard will handle that.”

She sent one lost soul to my office one day who said he had come for his clarinet lesson.

Anyway, the three visitors that day had been sent by Congress to have a new copy of the original Zapruder film made to help in their reinvestigation of the Kennedy murder.

If you recall, 1976 was the year the House Select Committee on Assassinations undertook reinvestigations of the murders of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Later, in 1979, a single Report and twelve volumes of appendices on each assassination were published by the Congress. In the JFK case, the HSCA found that there was a "probable conspiracy," though it was unable to determine the nature of that conspiracy or its other participants (besides Oswald). This finding was based in part on acoustics evidence from a tape purported to record the shots.

Bottom line was that my lab was unable to make a copy of the Zapruder film. By 1976 we had converted to processing and printing only super 8 film. The Zapruder film was regular 8mm.

 Knowing the film lab business like I did.....and recognizing all the things that could  ...and regularly DID... go wrong with mechanical processes, I was very happy to see my three visitors leaving the building with film in hand..

That's the closest I ever want to get on any "conspirators" list. -Ed