Originally Broadcast November 21, 1997

Live from The Sixth Floor Museum

Air time: Three Hours

List of Participants:

Name: Position in November, 1963

Eddie Barker KRLD - News Director, Radio and TV

Bob Shieffer Fort Worth Star Telegram - police reporter

Bob Huffaker KRLD - Radio

Sam Pate KBOX - Radio

Ron McAlister KBOX - Radio

Mary Moorman Krahmer Dealey Plaza witness, Polaroid photograph

Bob Pierpoint CBS - White House correspondent

Wes Wise KRLD - Radio

Gerald Hill DPD Sergeant

Position in November, 1997

Charley Jones KRLD - Radio Talk Show Host

Bob Porter Sixth Floor Museum - Director of Public Programs

Gary Mack Sixth Floor Museum - Archivist

Russ Vann Played JFK in Oliver Stone film "JFK"

Marian Ann Montgomery Sixth Floor Museum - Director of Interpretation


1. The cultural and political environment in the Dallas/Fort Worth area

2. Presidential arrival at Love Field

3. Presidential motorcade route at Main & Akard

4. Scenes in Dealey Plaza, as observed by the Press

5. Shift between local and national media coverage

6. The President is dead

7. TSBD, the rifle and the shells

8. Manhunt, the arrest of LHO, the wallet and the ID's

9. Jack Ruby

10. Sunday morning shooting

11. The Sixth Floor Museum - description of the Museum mandate


Start Song playing (He's So fine)

Jones Aw, it's been a while since I heard that one. Wasn't that the Ronettes? He's So Fine. Or the Shirelles. I never can remember. Anyway, that was a tune a lot of people were thinking, boy, this was written for John Kennedy. And we were getting dedications for this song for that man while the presidential entourage was in Houston on the night before. And, at the time, there was a gentleman who was paying close attention to the motorcade, the route, the coverage and everything else because he happened to be the News Director for KRLD television and KRLD radio. And his name is Eddie Barker. Eddie, good morning.

Barker And a good morning to you, Charley.

Jones Welcome to the Sixth Floor.

Barker Nice to be with you, as always.

Jones Glad to have you, sir.

Barker Thank you.

Jones Now, Dallas was a very different place in 1963. And here you are, as News Director of a radio and a TV station. Did you need a chair and a whip to do that?

Barker Well, in those days, Charley, we ran a television newsroom and a radio newsroom with probably as many people, oh maybe a third of what the big television stations here have now. We just, everybody did everything.

Jones Does the term 'spread thin" ring a bell?

Barker Oh sure. Yeah. But that was kind of a way of life. And that really was one of the reasons that KRLD radio had so many people able to cover the assassination that day, because we were all doubling on television.

Jones You know, as I look at the paper here from that day, the Dallas Morning News, November 22. Here's Maalox for 86 cents. Here's Anacin for 76 cents. And here's the parade route.

Barker And they were already selling fruitcakes.

Jones And they're probably still around.

Barker Right.

Jones And here's the parade route on the front page.

Barker Well, you know Charley, one of the interesting things about the parade route was that originally there was not going to be a parade because the hierarchy in the city really, they just didn't want it to happen.

Jones Then how did it happen?

Barker Well, it happened because of a Methodist minister here by the name of Baxton Bryant, who was also very big in politics. Big Democrat in politics. And he raised so much furor saying that the little people of Dallas wouldn't get to see their President, only those who could afford to go to the lunch at the Trade Mart. So, after a lot of furor, the parade finally took place.

Jones Can you imagine a local outfit dictating the President's schedule today?

Barker No.

Jones Not at all.

Barker Not at all.

Jones Let me also say, if I may, some of the media that we were listening to at the time. I've got a piece to play for you that I ran across. Here's a name that you know. A guy named Ron Chapman. We've heard him on the radio for a million years. He was earning his living at the Mighty 1190 in those days. Get a load of the kind of production they were doing when they had a double bill at the Casa Linda Theater. Listen closely to this.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Chapman See the Man in the Iron Mask. See the famous Leopard Man as the sword of Spartacus flashes again in the hand of his valiant son. See THE SLAVE, the Son of SPARTACUS, staring Steve Reeves in color and cinemascope. Plus the second great feature. The CATTLE KING, staring Robert Taylor. Land robbers, hired killers. The whole Wyoming territory wasn't big enough to hold the gun slingers and the cattle king. THE SLAVE, with Steve Reeves. The CATTLE KING, staring Robert Taylor. Both now showing at your neighborhood Preston Royal and Casa Linda theaters. (all with dramatic background music)

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones What an incredible piece. Now, was KRLD using that kind of reverb or was it only the TOP 40 stations?

Barker We were basically getting into news very big then. We started talk radio back prior to that, back in the early 60's. In '62, early '62.

Jones Yeah.

Barker So we were moving all day long to news and talk, news and talk. Very much like what it is today.

Jones Got ya there.

Barker So we were very much into a talk format.

Jones And political items and politics in general becoming a large item for AM radio, even then.

Barker Oh sure.

Jones And I've got a great example of this and when we bring Ron McAlister in here later in the hour, I've got to rib him about this one. Now what you're about to listen to is not comedy. This is a straight piece. It's an anti-Communist promo that KBOX cut , as far as I can tell, it was during the missiles of October crisis in 1962. So this is about a year before the time we're actually dealing with here today. Listen carefully to the stance the station takes and what they have to say about and to President Kennedy. Listen carefully. Here we go.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

McAlister As the suffocating slime of Communism oozed into the heart of this hemisphere, we have hung our heads in shame as hate crazed zombies spit upon the Vice-President of our proud land and trampled our beautiful "Old Glory" under filthy savage feet. We have suffered in silent indignation as our nation, on every front, steadily retreated into the hills of humiliation and backed dangerously onto the cliffs of catastrophe. But now comes John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, to boldly decree "We Shall Retreat No more. On these fields we fight." With these intrepid words, the great American eagle again dons his war feathers and takes to the air. And as all America streams to the scream of the eagle, and young men across the nation again awaken to the call of bugles. We at KBOX gear for the crisis, mobilizing our communications effort in the service of the public and the republic. KBOX is, for the duration Mr. President, your Yankee-doodle station. We march united and KBOX joins with proud Americans everywhere in giving thanks to God that the drums we hear, drop together in the same reverberating beat.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Now, as you can tell, there was a lot of serious anti-Communist feeling in the country, but Kennedy had been president long enough that there was also a certain American sense of humor beginning to take place as well. Remember Vaughn Meader? And what had been, at the time, the best selling comedy album in history, "The First Family." Let me give you a couple minutes of this one. This is 'President Kennedy' talking about his bath toys at a fake press conference. The voice is Vaughn Meader. You're listening to news radio 1080 KRLD. Listen to this one.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Meader Next question.

Q Yes, I should like to ask a question regarding the daily bath.

Meader Identify yourself, please.

Q I'm the house nurse.

Meader All right nurse. Move ahead with your question.

Q There seems to be some confusion as to the toys to be taken into the bathtub. Now Caroline's toys are getting mixed up with John's. And I should like to know, once and for all, whose toys are whose?

Meader Yes. Well, let me make a judgment about that. Now, the following toys have been appropriated for tub use. Eighteen PT boats, 3 Yogi Bear beach balls, 2 Howdy Doody plastic bouncing clowns, a ball of silly putty and a rubber swan. Now, let me make a judgment on the dispersal of these items. Nine of the PT boats, 2 of the Yogi Bear beach balls, the ball of silly putty belong to Caroline. Nine of the PT boats, 1 of the Yogi Bear beach balls and the 2 Howdy Doody plastic bouncing clowns are baby John's. The rubber swan is mine.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones And there you have just a taste of Vaughn Meader's "The First Family". Actually Vaughn Meader, these days, is running a seafood shack up in the northeast someplace, very bitter about the way that his comedy has been, let's just say appropriated by other people. Now then, with this frame, this cultural context as a background, let's join Frank Gleiber as he describes the, as he describes the arrival of President ... okay, great. Here's what we have. I think I'm going to move this segue right up to a later point. Let me take us now to a person who has ..... I have just been informed that Bob Shieffer has joined us on line here. Mr. Shieffer, can you hear me?

Shieffer I can.

Jones Good morning, Bob Shieffer. Welcome to KRLD radio. Glad to have you here. You're the host of CBS' FACE THE NATION, as I recall.

Shieffer Yep.

Jones Welcome sir. Weren't you working for the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1963?

Shieffer I was. I surely was.

Jones Yes, sir. Had you begun your television career at that time?

Shieffer No, no. I was a news reporter. I was a police reporter for the Star Telegram.

Jones Yes, sir. Now, when President Kennedy came to town, how did you expect to cover the story?

Shieffer Well, I was the police reporter, so I didn't get off until three o'clock in the morning, and I was not assigned to cover him in Dallas. He came first to Fort Worth, as you may remember, and spent the night at the Texas Hotel. So, I was not assigned to that. I was on the police beat. But it was the next day, that the oddest thing happened to me that's ever happened to me in my life. Because I didn't get off until three o'clock in the morning, I was actually asleep at home when the President had left Fort Worth and went on to Dallas and was shot. My brother came in and said, "Wake up, the President's been shot in Dallas." And so I dressed as quickly as I could and went down to the Star Telegram. I was not due to go to work until six o'clock that night but this was obviously a huge story. And so I just went to the office. And just as I turned into the First National Bank parking lot, which is where we parked in those days at the Star Telegram, it came over the radio that the President was dead. And so I was completely overcome and I just couldn't believe that it had happened, that it had happened in Texas. But anyway, I went on upstairs into the city room and began trying to help people answer the phones there in the city room. This was the last of the great newspaper extras. In those days people didn't believe things when they saw it on television, it had to be written down in black and white ....

Jones Right.

Shieffer ...before they really believed it. So people were lined up all the way around the Star Telegram building, waiting for these extras that we were churning out. And, in the midst of all this, I answered one of the phones and a woman said, "Is there anybody there who can give me a ride to Dallas?" And I said, "Well, madam, this is not the taxi, it's the newspaper. And besides, the President's been shot." And she said, "Yes, I think it's my son who shot him." And it was Lee Harvey Oswald's mother.

Jones Unbelievable.

Shieffer She had heard on the radio that the President had been shot and that her son had been arrested. And so, to make a long story short, another reporter and I, I asked her where she lived, and we went out to her house, picked her up and took her to Dallas. As it turned out, I was the only one who interviewed her for the next couple of days. A weird thing, we never understood why she would call the Star Telegram. The only thing we could figure out was that when Lee Harvey Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union, we had written stories about her for the Star Telegram. I hadn't, but other reporters had, and so perhaps we were the only people in town that she knew. They hadn't lived there for very long. And the day got even odder as the day wore on. I always wore a snap-brim hat in those days, as the night police reporter at the Star Telegram. The obvious reason being to try to look like a policeman.

Jones Right.

Shieffer So, I, when I got to the Dallas police station, I just got to the first policeman I could find and I said, "Is there anyone here who could help me keep her away from reporters?" I said, "This is Oswald's mother and I'm the one who brought her over from Fort Worth." Well, they just automatically assumed that I was a detective and so they cleared out a little office in the burglary squad, and Mrs. Oswald, they said, "Will this be all right?" and I said, "Yes, this will be fine." So we went into this little office there that had been cleared out for us and I stayed there. The great advantage for us, at the Star Telegram, was that there was a phone there. So I could go out into the hallway where all the rest of our reporters were, gather up the information that our fellows had gotten together, go back to the phone and phone it in. So, it was quite a day.

Jones What an incredible story.

Shieffer You know, to tell you the truth, it really got even odder. As the day wore on, they finally brought Oswald's wife in, Marina, and since I was back there with the mother, they put her back there with us. And Captain Will Fritz, who was the Chief of Detectives in those days, was gonna let his mother and his wife see Oswald. And so they were gonna bring him down from the jail and so we all moved into a little holding room there. Myself, another detective named Charley Brown, Capt. Fritz, Marina Oswald and Oswald's mother. And as we were standing there I'm thinking, "I'm about to get the biggest story I've ever gotten in my life." I mean, this man has already been charged with assassinating the President. No one has talked to him. So as we waited for them to bring him down from the jail cell into this holding room, finally the detective named Charley Brown said to me, "Who are you with?" And I said, "Who are you with?" And he said, "Are you a newspaper man?" And I said, "Well aren't you?" And one thing led to another and, in those days, we never lied. I mean, we didn't always tell people who we were, but if we were asked, we never lied about it. And so, he said something about he was gonna kill me if he ever saw me again. And so I excused myself after that. But it was... I always look on it as the biggest story I almost got, and didn't. But what an odd and unusual day it was.

Jones Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Shieffer, host of CBS television's FACE THE NATION. Bob, thank you for joining us this morning. What an incredible story.

Shieffer Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

Jones Take care of yourself.

Shieffer All right.

Jones Ladies and gentlemen, we have more for you. You're listening to news radio 1080 KRLD. We'll be back with you in just a moment. Please stay close. We'll be right back.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (Our Day Will come)

Jones Kind of a statement on the standard of living the United States was enjoying in 1963 and some of the music being done, as you can tell, was some of the finest pop stuff ever made. Now, while all the previous events we discussed were going on, Frank Gleiber, the voice of the Texas Rangers, was out at the airport, awaiting the arrival of Air Force One. And when that huge, blue 707 finally touched down, well let's just join him now as we have that final moment of tension before the hatch swings open and the President and the First Lady step off the plane. Listen carefully. Frank Gleiber, Love Field, Air Force One has just arrived. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Gleiber US Air Force One, there it is. The President of the United States seal on the nose and the plane moving in almost, as we can tell, almost immediately in front of us. So we are probably going to get a real good look at the President and the First Lady as they step off the plane. A loud cheer goes up from the crowd. Almost drowned out, we might add, by the noise of the jet. Well it's a beautiful ship. A 707. The door of Air Force One has swung open and in a moment we'll be looking for the President and the First Lady to step through the doors of US Air Force One and be greeted by this Dallas crowd. We understand thousands more are lined along the parade route. And here's Jackie. And here comes the President of the United States. Jackie, down the stairs first. The President about three steps behind her. Mrs. Kennedy with a pink dress on, a wool dress. A pill box type hat. Accepting roses and now the reception line forming at the President's plane, the ramp to it. You know, protocol usually has it that the President gets off the plane first and walks three or four paces ahead of his wife, but this has been changed around somewhat on this trip. People have noticed that the President has been allowing the First Lady to get off the plane first, and walking three or four steps behind her. They have now moved the limousine around and here comes the lead car now in the motorcade. It is manned by the Chief of Police, Jesse Curry. Sheriff Bill Decker is walking alongside of it. Behind it looks to be the Presidential limousine. However, all I could see at the present time is part of the hood. It is a blue color, which it is supposed to be. It is a blue Lincoln Continental and of course, it has that bubble top which can be put on or taken off depending on how the weather happens to turn out and we might add, it has turned out beautifully here in Dallas this afternoon.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones So, as the limousine leaves the Dallas/Fort Worth, what is going to be Love Field later on. As the limousine leaves Love Field, right at that time, Bob Huffaker is downtown at Main and Akard awaiting for the arrival of the Presidential motorcade. And here's what that sounded like on that gorgeous day back in 1963. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Huffaker Frank, the mounting crowds packed along Main Street here in downtown Dallas are now eagerly awaiting a first glimpse of the Presidential motorcade. This caravan of limousines, of course, should be arriving here within the next few minutes. And these anxious crowds are straining against the police barricades to get the best possible vantage point for a view of President Kennedy and the First Lady. Of course it is a rare occasion when the chief executive comes to town and of course, this is the First Lady's first trip to the Lone Star state. So it's even more of a special occasion. And this, by the way, is Mrs. Kennedy's first tour with her husband since the campaign in which he became the Democratic presidential nominee back in 1960. Right now, the crowds have completely filled all of the sidewalk space here in downtown Dallas and they are packed from the buildings to the sidewalk. You can see anxious heads poked out of open windows in all of the downtown buildings here all the way up to the topmost floors. And it looks like it's going to be a real ticker tape job too, because a little bit of ticker tape is now floating out of the hands of some of the over-anxious people in those windows, who are holding on to it. And the first red lights are now visible, coming far down the street. Just having now turned, right-hand on to Main off of Harwood. And the large police escort is now ahead of the Presidential motorcade. There are five, six, seven motorcycles still here in front of the first cars. And the crowd at our point is surging forward. There's a big cheer going up as the President gets further down. And now the ticker tape and other confetti and such, is beginning to flow from the windows. Here comes the first car, with Police Chief Jesse Curry and Sheriff Bill Decker. And here is the President of the United Sates. And what a crowd and what a tremendous welcome he is getting now. We can... and there's Jackie. She's getting just as big a welcome. The crowd is absolutely going wild. This is a friendly crowd in downtown Dallas as the President and the First Lady pass by. There is Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird passing by in the second card behind more. And here come the congressmen in their automobiles. And there comes the press. They're shooting the entire crowd as they move along here. Here is KRLD's cameraman Jim Underwood, along with others and more press people coming by. As we can see, the presidential limousine, even further down the street, it's a tremendous welcome. Not a placard in downtown Dallas, these things having been ironed out. A wonderful welcome having been given to the President here in downtown Dallas. It was quite a spectacle. One that Dallas won't see for a long time to come. And any fears that might have existed in the minds of some about the alleged small handful of people who might have launched severe demonstrations to mar the President's visit. These were, apparently, unjustified or, at least, taken care of in good order by the Dallas police department, who had such a tremendous force in evidence at the downtown areas. And all over the city of Dallas as the motorcade moved through, that there was no danger whatsoever, and none in evidence, adverse reactions to the President's visit. Now this is Bob Huffaker in downtown Dallas returning you to Jay Hogan at KRLD studio.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones And now, through the miracle of radio, we are joined, from his home in San Marcos, by the gentleman who filed that report thirty four years ago, Bob Huffaker. Bob, good morning, sir. Welcome back to KRLD.

Huffaker Good morning Charley. Good to be here.

Jones Thank you, sir. So glad to have you on the program this morning. When you filed that on-the-street report, judging from the way you wrapped up, you really thought all the uneasiness people had about the Dallas visit had essentially been answered. Correct?

Huffaker That's right. I certainly did.

Jones And aside from the motorcycle escort, I got the impression from your report that most of the police presence was, really, at the airport. Was that true?

Huffaker Well, no. The police were in evidence all up and down Main and Akard streets there. There were a lot of police officers and, in fact, it was rather impressive that there were so many. Not simply at the airport. And we, of course, had been worried since the previous month when Adlai Stevenson, our United Nations Ambassador, had been treated so badly in Dallas. And we were hoping that there wouldn't be any incidents.

Jones Yes, sir. And listening to your report, I was fascinated that you said that people were hanging out the windows of the building that overlooked the parade route. Of course, that was back in the day when high-rise buildings had windows that opened. And no one thought this was a security problem at the time. I'm curious. How close to the street were the people being kept by the police lines?

Huffaker Oh, they were only feet away from the limousine as it passed. It was quite a crowd. We were... I, myself, was delighted to see such a turnout and such a warm welcome given by the city.

Jones Yes, sir. Bob Huffaker. Thank you very much for your time, sir. You were doing some tremendous work and as a current KRLD person to a former one, sir, I'm glad to follow in your tradition.

Huffaker Oh, bless your heart. Thank you, Charley.

Jones Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Huffaker. I'm Charley Jones, live from the Sixth Floor Museum on KRLD. Please stay close, we'll be right back.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (Walk Like a Man)

Jones News radio 1080 KRLD. Charley Jones here. There you have a tune that was pumping out of juke boxes across the country in 1963. We had a President that walked like a man and told Krushchev where to go. And Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons were echoing a rather familiar theme across the country. And while that was going on, while the radio stations were playing that during the hour, there were guys who were working like crazy to get stuff ready for the top and the bottom of the hour. And I am honored to have a couple of guys here that I listened to while these songs were playing, or actually after these songs were playing. None other than KRLD's own Ron McAlister and his cohort from his KBOX days, Mr. Sam Pate. Gentlemen, good morning and welcome to KRLD.

Pate Hi Charley.

Jones McAlister. Hello.

McAlister Yeah. I haven't seen you since yesterday.

Jones Gosh. Listen. I'm about to play a piece of tape here that is one of the most electrifying pieces of tape I've ever gotten to do on the air. I recorded this one, I carded this one myself. I listened to it. And every time I hear it, it's one of those pieces that just sucks you in. And it starts with Sam. It goes to Ron. And I want you guys to set the stage before I play it, if you briefly can.

McAlister Well, it started at Love Field. Actually, Sam and I had kind of planned a plan of attack for the Kennedy visit because there were only two of us, you know, and there was a lot of territory we had to cover.

Jones So you were going to do Love Field and the Trade Mart.

McAlister Love Field. And then Sam, who had lived here all his life, I had only been here like three months, three and a half months.

Jones Yeah.

McAlister He knew the streets and alleys better than I knew the back of my hand. So we figured he was the one to follow the parade because he could keep right up with it. And we wanted to keep him close by it too, in case of any eventuality.

Jones Sure.

McAlister You know, you just gotta plan ahead for something like that. It's a big deal. And so, I was at Love Field. We did this combination report of the plane coming in for KBOX and then Sam took the parade. And he took it on down to the School Book Depository, where we are now. And then I stationed myself at the Trade Mart, which is about three quarters of the way to Parkland Hospital. So you pick it up ....

Jones So when this piece of actuality starts, Sam, where are you?

Pate Actually, I started at Love Field and went down Cedar Springs instead of Lemmon Avenue, like the motorcade was going. And I was hedge hopping.

Jones Because you heard something had happened.

Pate Well, prior to, about a week prior, we had a little deal on my windshield that said, "Patriots, wear mourning clothes November 22nd. JFK's, the guy's coming to town, and we're going to, like, shoot him."

Jones But nobody thought anything was going to happen.

Pate No. Not really. As a matter of fact, I was working a split shift. I did a drive time, and I was supposed to get off at nine. But just prior to nine, I heard on the channel 2, that they were going to transmit all the transmittals on channel 2 and, I, nobody had one but me.

Jones So what did you hear?

Pate Well I just heard all the things that were happening. And then when we got to the Dealey Plaza area, I was given a location where the motorcade was.

Jones Where were you when this starts?

Pate It starts when the shots were fired?

Jones Yes.

Pate I had gone under the triple underpass and was heading up Stemmons Freeway.

Jones Okay, folks. We have the scene set. Here it comes. Listen carefully. You'll hear Sam Pate first and then Ron McAlister. Here's the way news sounded when it broke in 1963 with what was going to be the story of the century. On KRLD. Go ahead.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Pate It appears as though something has happened in the motorcade route. Something, I repeat, has happened in the motorcade route. There's numerous people running up the hill alongside Elm Street, there by the Stemmons Freeway. Several police officers are rushing up the hill at this time. Stand by. Just a moment, please. Something has happened in the motorcade route. Stand by please.

McAlister Put me on Phil. Put me on. Phil, am I on? We're here at the Trade Mart. The motorcade is coming by here. I can see many, many motorcycles coming by now. Police motorcycles. Just had a call on the radio for all units along Industrial to pick up the motorcade, Something has happened here. We understand there has been a shooting. The Presidential car coming up now. We know it's the Presidential car. We can see Mrs. Kennedy's pink suit. There's a Secret Service man spread eagle over the top of the car. We understand Governor and Mrs. Connally are in the car with President and Mrs. Kennedy. We can't see who has been hit, if anybody has been hit. But apparently something is wrong here. Something is terribly wrong. I'm in behind the motorcade now and following them. It looks as though they're going to Parkland Hospital. We're on the road to Parkland at this time.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Okay, and of course then, as now, KRLD had a lot of other people in the field. Here's what it sounded like when Bob Underwood did a quick shooting detail item from the scene. If we can roll Bob, Jim Underwood, please, on KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Underwood I was in a car, seven cars behind the President, during the parade from Love Field through downtown Dallas. As the car I was in made the turn at Elm and Houston and started down for the triple underpass, I heard three loud shots seemingly from right over my head. There was so much confusion with people running, I thought at first that some of the spectators farther down the street toward the Elm Street underpass had been hit. I saw many of them throw themselves flat on the ground and the police officers started blowing whistles and running for the scene. I leaped out of the car I was in in the parade and ran for the scene also. And then the chase, and it actually was not a chase at the time. But the crowd started streaming through the railroad yards just past the Texas School Book Depository Building. They searched through train cars and through the road yards and could find no one. The police are now surrounding the area down here. Sirens are screaming. And evidently, police believe that the man who fired the shots is still in the Texas School Book Depository building at the corner of Elm and Houston in downtown Dallas. This is Jim Underwood from the scene for KRLD news.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones That's how Jim Underwood and Sam Pate and Ron McAlister saw it. And I can testify to the continued power of this kind of coverage. As we were rolling these items here, the big speakers here in the School Book Depository Museum, a bunch of school kids had come through. And as the sirens begin to wail, you could see the looks of understanding on their faces as they stood here as the message about this piece of history is passed from one generation to the next. Quite a moment. Ladies and gentlemen, we'll have more for you live here from the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository on News Radio 1080 KRLD.


Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (Hello Stranger)

Jones You're listening to News Radio 1080 KRLD. Charley Jones coming to you live from The Sixth Floor Museum at The Texas School Book Depository. At this time, in the history of this event, it began to become obvious there was a stranger among us. A stranger with a rifle. And the reports were finally beginning to make it onto the national news wires as well. Let me do a piece for you. As far as I can tell, this is the first thing that Dan Rather filed on that day for CBS, from Dallas, Texas. There are a couple of pieces here. They're pretty short. Let's go to the first one here. Here's Dan Rather. The first thing that actually came from Dallas concerning the shooting. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Rather Three shots emerged from somewhere in the crowd. At the time of the shooting, the motorcade was passing at least three buildings more than three stories. One child, aged seven, told authorities that he saw a man lean out of the fifth floor of one of the buildings and fire the shots. Police and Secret Service agents now have that building surrounded and are going through the building in a systematic search. Dallas police say they have no information on the condition of either President Kennedy or Texas Governor John Connally. Several reporters who were in the motorcade said that Mr. Kennedy had blood on his head as he was rushed to Dallas' Parkland Hospital.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones And as always is with reports like this, you can tell where you are in the story by what the media knows. They know there's been an incident. They know about Parkland. They know there's been a shooting. And that's really all that happens. Now let's join the story a little later on that November 22nd. Here's Dan Rather. Listen to the way he talks about the building that they think is involved in the shooting. Here's Dan Rather. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Rather Dallas police and federal agents have completely surrounded a multi-story building which was on the motorcade route directly across the street from the scene where President John Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally were shot a short while ago. Police say they have found four empty cartridges on the fifth floor of the building.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones And of course, today we know that that is actually the sixth floor of the building. There were three empty rifle cases. And the way that we know that is a police officer for the Dallas PD was searching the building. His name is Gerry Hill. You'll hear his name in this next report from KRLD. You'll also hear his voice. We're going to talk to him live, in the next hour. But first, here's how the report sounded when Steve Perringer broke the news on KRLD that rifle casings had been found. It sounded like this.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Perringer A flurry of activity here. The Dallas Fire Department currently on the scene. Shotgun armed officers completely around this School Book Depository building searching it out. As we told you earlier, Gerry Hill with the Dallas Police Department, yelled from a fourth floor window that he had found some cartridges, spent cartridges in a fourth floor room. So that's about the wrap up from here, Jay. This 25 year old suspect has been taken to the Dallas County Sheriff's office for further questioning. Steve Perringer reporting for KRLD news.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Now, of course, with the story at this point, the national media was about to get into the act here and of course, America thinks about Walter Cronkite when they think about this event. Let's listen in here. Here's a CBS TV news feed done live. Cronkite breaking in about a shooting incident in the motorcade. And here's how it sounded on KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Cronkite Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.

More details, just arrived. These details about the same as previously. President Kennedy shot today, just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She called, "Oh no!" The motorcade sped on.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Now, at this point, Ron McAlister and Sam Pate, you guys knew a lot more about what had happened than Walter Cronkite did. But I'm fascinating when Ron says, "Am I on? Am I on?" An electrifying piece of stuff. Sam, how did you know to let Ron on? How could you hear him?

Pate Well, I was on two-way radio and I was headed toward Parkland Hospital. And I got up about Continental Street and made a U-turn when I found that Ron was on the way to Parkland. So, I came back down Stemmons Freeway the wrong way to get back up to the School Book Depository.

Jones So Ron was, essentially, guessing.

Pate Right. And then when I got behind the School Book Depository building, within about four minutes, then I was told to stay there by the news director.

Jones So, Ron, when you said, "Am I on? Am I on?" you had no idea.

McAlister I had no idea. I was totally guessing. I had a steering wheel in one hand and a radio, a microphone in the other and I was trying to follow two of Dallas' finest on motorcycles. So I was trying to keep up.

Jones Did you realize how incredible those sirens sounded behind you?

McAlister No.

Jones Did you even hear it?

McAlister I wasn't even thinking about it.

Jones You weren't even aware of it, were you?

McAlister No. I was just trying to figure out where I was going. And about that time I got to the end of Industrial, near Harry Hines. And I was driving a big station wagon at the time, I believe it was a Pontiac, if I'm not mistaken.

Jones Yeah.

McAlister And I went airborne and there was no runway on the other side. So I wasn't thinking about a whole lot except surviving and trying to follow that big limousine up there.

Jones Ladies and gentlemen, the voices, the guys who were there. Sam Pate and Ron McAlister. We'll have more for you. We're live from the Sixth Floor School Book Depository Museum on News Radio 1080 KRLD. We'll be right back.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (Abraham, Martin and John)

Jones Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. And welcome once again to the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository. I don't know if you've ever come down here and actually walked through the Museum. I had the first opportunity about a week ago. And like lots of us, many of us live in Dallas/Fort Worth all of our lives and never go to Six Flags or never go to the State Fair but in this particular case, when I walked through this place, the atmosphere, the feeling, the sense of, well, presence that this place commands is something that everybody is impressed by. And you know how cathedrals are. When you walk through a cathedral, it's kind of a hushed feeling and everybody's sort of adopts that kind of behavior? Same thing happens up on the Sixth Floor. If you come down here some time, and I urge you to do that this weekend. It's worth your time. You'll love it. At any rate, let me take you now. First of all, let me remind you, that I'll be inviting your telephone calls here a little later in the hour. Because I want to mix those of you listening into this, because everybody has a story to tell. Everybody was someplace. And for many of us, this was a turning point in our lives. And that is probably no truer for any particular person than it is for my next guest here. Somebody who just went down to downtown Dallas one afternoon to watch the President in a parade with a friend. Now, her voice may not be familiar to you because she has done, well to my. I think she's done less than five interviews in the last 34 years. She was questioned by police and reporters for about five hours after the event and maybe that just made her shy. But she has an interesting story to tell and it is my very good pleasure to welcome, she was then Mary Ann Moorman, today she is Mary Ann Moorman Krahmer, to KRLD. Mary Ann, welcome to the broadcast.

Moorman Thank you, Charley.

Jones So glad to have you ma'am. I know that you are a naturally shy person and I know we had to kind of invite you sweetly to get you to join us here. And that you so much for doing that.

Moorman Thank you for inviting me.

Jones Yes ma'am. You're one of the witnesses whose story has not changed across the years. And that was why I was so fascinated that I get to talk to you. When you took your Polaroid camera downtown to the parade route that day, you had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. And I'm curious, at what point was the parade, relative to you, when things began to happen.

Moorman Uh. Just immediately before the presidential car came into view, we were, you know, there was just tremendous excitement. And my friend who was with me, we were right ready to take the picture. And she's not timid. She, as the car approached us, she did holler for the president, "Mr. President, look this way!" And I'd stepped out off the curb into the street to take the picture. And snapped it immediately. And that evidently was the first shot. You know, I could hear the sound. And ...

Jones Now when you heard the sound, did you immediately think 'rifle shot?'

Moorman Oh no. A firecracker, maybe. There was another one just immediately following which I still thought was a firecracker. And then I stepped back up on to the grassy area. I guess just, people were falling around us, you know. Knowing something was wrong. I certainly didn't know what was wrong.

Jones What did your friend do?

Moorman She was just standing there, you know. At that point, didn't know what was going on. We watched Mrs. Kennedy, as she was going to the back of the car. And then this, I guess, Secret Service, you know, pushed her back down. And then, of course, by then the car had sped away. This all just happened in a matter of seconds and you really don't have time to think.

Jones Do you still have the Polaroid that you took?

Moorman Yes, I do. I think it's there at the Museum now.

Jones What does it show?

Moorman It does show the President slumping towards, you know, towards the middle of the car and then, Mrs. Kennedy, the back of her.

Jones And, to this day, do you still think it was a single gunman?

Moorman I really don't have a lot of thought. I do think that there was probably a lot more involved than just Oswald. But other, you know, other shooters. You know, I really haven't gave it a lot of thought on that.

Jones Mary Ann Moorman Krahmer, sure thank you for joining me this morning.

Moorman Thank you.

Jones I really appreciate your time. Take care of yourself.

Moorman Thanks.

Jones Yes, ma'am. Okay. Let me bring to you one quick little piece here. I think you're gonna find this particularly beefy. Listen carefully. This is what local coverage sounded like on one of the big top forty stations in Dallas at the time, the Mighty 1190 KLIF. Listen carefully to this coverage by the old Scotsman, Gordon McLendon on KRLD.


McLendon This is the latest. Congressman Jim Wright of Fort Worth has said that both President Kennedy and Governor Connally were seriously wounded, but were still alive. And now, here is KLIF's Joe Long.

Long Still no official word from Parkland Hospital. We were en route from Love Field where we had described the arrival of the Presidential party and that is when the first word of the shooting came out. We have been in the deep downtown area, in the area of Elm and Houston. And the dragnet continues. So far, Parkland Hospital, the report we have now. Here it is. Officially that Mrs. Kennedy, apparently, is safe. Mrs. Connally also safe. It appears, at least, to those witnesses at Parkland Hospital. And to state it mildly, both women extremely stunned. Mrs. Kennedy, reportedly, had cradled her husband's head in her lap during the speedy trip to Parkland Hospital. Kennedy, according to a member of his staff, was still alive ten minutes ago. Ten minutes ago we had word that the President was still alive. The blood was splattered all over the inside of the limousine which was flown in specially to carry the President.. Ordinarily, there is a huge plastic bubble which allows the public a view of the President and those in the car with him but gives those inside the limousine protection from the weather and would-be assassins. But because of the rapid beautiful turn in today's weather, the bubble had been removed. A call has been sent out for some of the top surgical specialists in the city. A call also has been placed for a priest to report to Parkland Hospital.

(End- Rebroadcast)

Jones Now, as you can clearly see, the local media is beginning to get the idea that something absolutely terrible has taken place. Listen to this next report. Also Gary DeLaune and Gordon McLendon on the Mighty 1190.

(Begin- Rebroadcast)

DeLaune Gary DeLaune back at the KLIF studios issuing the bulletin again for the man armed with a 30-30 caliber riffle. He was described as about five ten, hundred and sixty five pounds, of slender build, about thirty to thirty-five years old. This tragic incident occurred at Elm and Houston as the motorcade was en route to the Trade Mart for a noon luncheon. We're going to switch now to the Trade Mart and here is a statement from Gordon McLendon.

McLendon Here, the scene is wild pandemonium as two thousand guests waited anxiously for President Kennedy, Governor Connally and the Vice-President. Now, rumors run rampant. No one here knows what has happened, but the rumors continue to circulate that the President and Governor Connally both have been shot. And here at the Trade Mart, we have nothing but rumors and a wild scene of chaos. This is Gordon McLendon from the Trade Mart in Dallas.

DeLaune The latest report that we have from one press source. Clint Hill, a Secret Service agent assigned to Mrs. Kennedy said, "He's dead." as the President was lifted from the rear of the White House touring car. Mr. Kennedy was rushed to the Parkland Hospital emergency room. Other White House officials were in doubt as the corridors of the hospital erupted in pandemonium. When acting White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff was asked whether the President was dead, he said "I have no word now." And that is the word we are awaiting. "I have no word now." The latest.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones All right. At this particular time, there were still people who were in the motorcade. By this time reporters who had no idea that anything had happened. We'll talk to one of them in just a moment. Bob Pierpoint of CBS news. He was the CBS White House correspondent at the time. He'll join me next. Here on News Radio 1180 KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (On Broadway)

Jones Yes, Virginia, it's true that George Benson didn't write ON BROADWAY and wasn't the first to perform it either. News radio 1080 KRLD. I'm Charley Jones. Good morning. Welcome to the broadcast. Now there were many people in the entourage, the official motorcade, who at a certain point in time, still really didn't know much about what had happened. They had no idea, even at this point, as the news was beginning to break nationally that the President's been hit. And I've been fortunate enough today to be able to bring to you the CBS White House correspondent at the time, Bob Pierpoint of CBS news. Hey, Bob. Good morning.

Pierpoint Good morning Charley.

Jones Welcome, sir to the broadcast. Glad to have you.

Pierpoint Thank you.

Jones Now, as Cronkite is beginning to get the news from Dallas, where are you at this time?

Pierpoint Well, if I may say so, I don't know where I was when Walter went on the air because I was in the White House motorcade during the entire time.

Jones Right.

Pierpoint And what happened was, that as the motorcade approached downtown Dallas, it had been a very quiet morning. Mrs. Kennedy and the President had come out of the plane at Love Field and Mrs. Kennedy had looked lovely in this watermelon pink dress and pillbox hat. And she was doing something rather unusual. She was participating in greeting the crowds, shaking hands and actually politicking, which she had not been wont to do on previous occasions. And then we all got in the motorcade and I was in the front bus and there was a little bit of nervousness because some of the newspapers that we had gotten from Dallas had some nasty articles and some rather difficult editorials. Very critical of President Kennedy and his policies. And also, along the way, we saw people holding up signs of dislike and even hatred of Kennedy. So, and we knew what had happened to Adlai Stevenson and to Vice-President Johnson when they had visited Dallas previous to that. There had been some anti-administration violence, so we were a little nervous. But, nevertheless, it seemed like a fairly successful morning.

Jones Now, I know that previous in your ...

Pierpoint And then as the bus turned down toward Dealey Plaza, the motorcade swung to the right, at first, and then, just in front of the Book Depository, to the left. And at that point, our bus was still approaching the Depository. We were about six cars behind the President. I heard three shots. And I wrote in my notebook: "12:33 p.m. Sounds like rifle shots."

Jones Why did you think those were rifle shots?

Pierpoint And then we, the bus stopped, as did the motorcade, and I jumped out to run up to see what the President was doing, which is normally what we do. And at that point, I suddenly realized that the President's car had disappeared. There were people running around on the slope by the underpass there. And I jumped back on the bus and then there was, the motorcade started up again. And there was a discussion among the correspondents because some thought it was a backfire we heard. And I felt, because I had gone through the Korean War, I heard rifle shots and I knew what they sounded like. So the motorcade went on to the Trade Mart. And we got there and, of course, as Gordon McLendon just told you, there was a chaotic scene. I ran through all these people who were trying to figure out what was going on and up to the head table where there was a Secret Service agent. And said, "Where's the President?" And he looked very panic stricken and said, "Well, I thought he was with you." Meaning "with the press." So then I knew something was wrong. Badly wrong. And I ran up there, to the third floor and got a phone in the press room and called my office in New York and said, "Where is the President?" And they said, "He's at Parkland Hospital." They had received the news from the wire services, who had radio telephones in their cars and had followed the motorcade and the President right to the hospital. So, I jumped in a van that was commandeered by a White House transportation office person and went off to the hospital. And I suppose that all took about fifteen minutes or so.

Jones You're listening to Rob Pierpoint. He was a CBS White House correspondent in 1963. You heard the shots, had no idea that the President had been hit and found out from a Secret Service agent that something obviously had to be going on. He had called his office in New York to get the story from them. But while that was going on, here in Dallas, the first word that was broken anywhere in the country, was being broken by Eddie Barker on KRLD. And here's what it sounded like. Eddie Barker with the first word that the President was dead.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Barker As Dick Wheeler mentioned a moment ago, the shots apparently came from the Texas School Depository. School Book Depository, which is a building about eight floors in height that a .... yes .... And who are you, sir?

Anon I don't want to be identified.

Barker We have just been told by a member of the staff at Parkland Hospital, the President is dead. This is not.... What is the Governor's condition?

Anon He's been shot in the chest.

Barker In the chest. Do you have any report on that?

Anon Don't know.

Barker Thank you sir. This is a report of a doctor who is on the staff of Parkland Hospital who was here for the luncheon. He says that the President is dead. We do not have a confirmation on this. We only pass it along as the word of a man who we would take to be a good source at this time. The word we have is that President Kennedy is dead. This we do not know for a fact. The word we have is that he is dead. He was shot by an assassin at the intersection of Elm and Houston streets at, just as he was going into the underpass. The word we have is from a doctor on the staff of Parkland Hospital who says that it is true. He was in tears when he told me, just a moment ago.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Charley Jones here, with one of the things I love about doing radio, which is, that I can push a button, or in this case, shake a hand and talk to the guy that filed that report.

Barker Yeah.

Jones Eddie, In the middle of that report, you drop out for a second. And this guy's walked up to you. You didn't know him from Adam.

Barker I had seen him and I knew who he was. But I did not... You know, it's one of those things Charley, in the excitement of the moment, I couldn't remember his name.

Jones Yeah.

Barker And what he was telling me, when I went off mike, was that, he said, "I just called the emergency room and he was DOA." And so, that was what ...

Jones And you asked him who he was and he didn't want to be mentioned on the air.

Barker No, he didn't. But I just wanted to... I wanted somebody to know who it was I was talking to. That I wasn't just talking to somebody who came in off the street.

Jones And I could hear your voice. It had immediate impact on you.

Barker Sure. But he called the emergency room. He was on the staff up there. And he called and they told him he was DOA. When he came in, he was dead.

Jones And, of course, radio being then, like it is now, everybody listens to everybody else.

Barker Right.

Jones So while Eddie was saying those things on the air, the folks across town at Mighty 1190 were listening too. Let's listen in for just a moment as Gordon McLendon says, for the first time, that JFK is dead on Top 40 1190 Radio in 1963. Here on KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

McLendon We are in direct contact. We have been unable yet to verify the rumors, and to this point, they are strictly rumors, that the President is dead. We will not know until the word comes through officially, but there have been strong indications that the President has expired. But, again, we repeat, it is unofficial, President Kennedy and Governor John Connally of Texas, having been cut down by assassins' [assassin's?] bullets today at lunch. They were shot as they toured downtown Dallas in an open car. Specialists are arriving at the hospital, which, I might mention, is a scene of wild pandemonium. As we were coming from the Trade Mart a moment ago, in a Dallas Police car, there was a call for twenty additional police units at Parkland Hospital. And, incidentally, on the fifth floor of the downtown building from which the President and the Governor were shot, they have discovered empty rifle hulls. Should the assassination have proved a fact, it would be the first time, of course, since the assassination of President McKinley, that such an event had taken place in the United States. And it would also be the second time in American history that a Johnson had succeeded to the presidency upon the death of the President by assassination. The last time, of course, having been the succession of Andrew Johnson, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Well, of course, the major attention is being focused on the condition of the President, no one yet had any authoritative report upon the nature of the wounds to Governor Connally. Bullet wounds were plainly visible in Connally's chest, so we know that he was shot in the chest. His condition, however, remains more of a mystery than that of the President of the United States. The President is clearly, gravely, critically and perhaps fatally wounded. There are strong indications that he may already have expired, although that is not official. We repeat, not official. But the extent of the injuries to Governor Connally is a closely shrouded secret at the moment.

Long President Kennedy is dead. Gordon, ladies and gentlemen. This is official word. The President is dead.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Ladies and gentlemen. If you heard carefully the bells ringing behind Gordon McLendon before Joe Long, his news director stepped in there and said the President's dead. Those are bells from a teletype machine. You don't see those in news rooms anymore. That was hitting the national wire because, in his omniscient wisdom, Walter Cronkite had finally realized that Eddie Barker had been right nearly fifteen minutes before, that John F. Kennedy was dead. And here's what it sounded like when Cronkite finally officially reported for CBS as we heard it on KRLD. Let's listen in.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Cronkite From Dallas, Texas. The flash, apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m., Central Standard Time. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson has left the hospital in Dallas, but we do not know to where he has proceeded. Presumably, he will be taking the oath of office shortly and become the 36th President of the United States.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones So we've watched complete pandemonium following the shooting, boiling up to rumors and half understood items. And news directors stepping all over each other to the point that the entire nation suddenly realizes that President John F. Kennedy has expired in Dallas, Texas back November 22nd, 1963. More in just a moment, plus your phone calls, here on News Radio 1080 KRLD.


Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (If You Want to be Happy)

Jones Chances are that will never be the theme of the sensitivity academy. But the advice was pretty straight-forward back in 1963. Charley Jones here. News radio 1080 KRLD. Bringing you a very special broadcast and a look back at those three days that changed our world back in 1963. I want to play for you here, a piece that I dug out of the archive here at the Sixth Floor Museum. It's the only known recording of this particular event. It's the point at which the presidency passed from the 35th President of the United States, JFK, to Lyndon Baines Johnson. I'll set the scene for you. The microphone is inside Air Force One. Judge Sarah T. Hughes holds the bible. LBJ has his hand on it. And here's what it sounded like as the torch was passed to Lyndon Baines Johnson on Air Force One at Love Field in the afternoon, November 22nd, 1963. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Hughes I do solemnly swear.

LBJ I do solemnly swear.

Hughes That I will faithfully execute.

LBJ That I will faithfully execute.

Hughes The office of President of the United States.

LBJ The office of President of the United States.

Hughes And will, to the best of my ability,

LBJ And will, to the best of my ability,

Hughes Preserve,

LBJ Preserve,

Hughes Protect,

LBJ Protect,

Hughes And defend

LBJ And defend

Hughes The constitution of the United States.

LBJ The constitution of the United States

Hughes So help me God.

LBJ So help me God.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Now obviously, the quality isn't everything that we wished it was. But, you know, it might have been, if things had been a little bit different. In fact, I wouldn't even be sitting here, in this building if it wasn't for the guy who is sitting right here beside me, because it was his initial refusal to have this building torn down that caused it to be available for the museum to be created. He is a former mayor of Dallas. He was working for Eddie Barker at KRLD at the time this was happening. In fact, he was trying to get on Air Force One as the tape we just listened to was recorded. His name is Wes Wise. Wes, good morning sir.

Wise Thank you Charley.

Jones I've admired your work for years.

Wise Thank you very much. Thank you.

Jones So you were trying to get on Air Force One. Did you know what was happening in there?

Wise Not exactly. Al Harding, who was then the manager of Southwest Airmotive and had free run of the runways at Love Field, we commandeered him. One other reporter and I said, "We'd like to get on Air Force One." And we went out there, crossed over the runways. And as we approached, two or three Secret Service men came up with guns at the ready and they told us, just, they would not let me on.

Jones Just wasn't going to happen.

Wise No. And those would have been the only motion pictures of the swearing in had I been able to get on the...

Jones No kidding.

Wise I suppose, at that point, they didn't have time to clear me and so forth.

Jones Oh sure. Now, for motion pictures, would there have been any sound with that?

Wise No. There would not have been sound.

Jones Cause you guys had film.

Wise But with today's technology, you could have put that tape that you just played with my movie and ... But there is no movie of that swearing in.

Jones Now, tell me how it was, that it fell to you to save this building for the first time.

Wise Well, there was quite a movement at that time. Fred Zeeter, who was a member of the city council, and others wanted to ... felt this building was a blot on the city of Dallas.

Jones A shame.

Wise Yes. And, when, I had gotten word before this particular city council meeting that someone was going to propose a resolution. And I was ready with the gavel in hand and when she made the proposal, I said, "No. This is not an affair of the city of Dallas. We have no jurisdiction over this. Let's move on." And gaveled it down.

Jones Well, thank goodness. And you saved a national shrine in the process.

Wise Well, I don't know whether, I don't whether you could say that I personally saved the building, but certainly I was instrumental at that point in keeping it quiet.

Jones Mr. Wes Wise. Thank you, sir.

Wise Thank you.

Jones I appreciate your time.

Wise Thank you Charley.

Jones I'm glad you were there when you were.

Wise Thank you so much.

Jones You betcha. Let me take you now to an interesting piece here. This is something I've been dying to play for you all day. This is at the point where the rifle had been found and the cartridges. I want you to listen carefully. This is Dick Wheeler describing what we were soon to discover was Lee Harvey Oswald's weapon. Listen carefully to the terminology used. Here's the first visual we got, although it's a radio item, of the assassination weapon. Twenty, thirty four years ago. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

Wheeler Well, I'm down the hall from the office of Capt. Will Fritz, the Homicide Captain. We have a bit of information more about the rifle used in today's, or believed to have been used, in today's assassination of President Kennedy. This rifle is of a 6.5 mm size. We understand this is roughly equivalent to a, what we know as a 30-30 caliber. The rifle is, the make of the rifle is not definitely known. There was no name on the weapon at all, however, it was believed to have been manufactured about 1940 in Italy. The rifle was a heavy weapon. It had a bolt action type of action. It was, had a four-power scope mounted on the top of the rifle. And we understand that there is, or was, one live round of ammunition found in the rifle, when it was recovered from the sixth floor of the building from which the assassination is believed to have taken place. This weapon has not yet been definitely tied in with the suspect who is being held, now, in jail here, and in Capt. Fritz's office. He is being taken back and forth. However, the weapon has not definitely been tied in with the suspect as yet. That word, we thought we should bring you on the weapon because, of course, it could be extremely important in the solving of this very heinous crime. There is one other word. Our District Attorney, Henry Wade, about five minutes ago entered the office Capt. Will Fritz. We don't, of course, know why. But we do know he did go in there a few minutes ago. We hope to bring you another report very shortly. This is Dick Wheeler, KRLD News. Reporting from the police station. We switch you now to the studio.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones As you can see, the story was beginning to develop almost completely. Tell you what. When we return, I'm going to introduce you to a gentleman who was one of the people searching, what we now know to be the Texas School Book Depository, who found the empty casings. Who was there when the rifle was discovered. His name is Gerry Hill. He worked for the DPD at the time. He'll be my very special guest. Coming up in just a moment, here on News radio 1080, KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (title unknown)

Jones You know, that Motown stuff still sounds pretty good. News Radio 1080 KRLD. Charley Jones here live from The Texas School Book Depository Sixth Floor Museum. And I'll tell you, every once in a while, events conspire to help you do something really fun on the air. I want you to listen very carefully here in just a moment. I'm going to play a piece of radio for you. You haven't heard, probably in thirty-four years. Also, I'm sure that as the broadcast has proceeded this morning, it has jogged memories and you've had feelings. And you've probably wanted to contribute so let me invite your contributions. Phone number 787-1080. That's metro toll free for Dallas/Fort Worth. Or if you're equipped with an AT&T wireless phone, try us at #1080 and you'll talk to the lovely and talented Dawn Winer (sp?). And while you're doing that, let me set this up for you. Here comes the first piece we've heard. A serious piece about Oswald, about the assassination, and about the rifle This is Gordon McLendon. And listen carefully, the police with McLendon and listen to the name of the police officer here. His name is Gerry Hill. We'll talk to him live, right after this. Listen carefully. Here's how it sounded. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

McLendon Just to show you how swiftly action is taken, as it was upon the assassination of President Lincoln, Johnson, Lyndon Johnson is expected to be sworn in as President aboard an airliner, before flying immediately back to the nation's capital. So, possibly, at this very instant as we are speaking, Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson is becoming the President of the United States. aboard an airliner, at Love Field. Joe ....

Long Gordon, the suspect the Dallas Police Department has in custody, they will not at this moment tell us whether they have determined he is the prime suspect in the assassination of the President. He is believed to be the man who shot, and fatally killed, a police officer during the chase in Oak Cliff. And this police officer, reportedly, was in chase with a suspect in the assassination. But all Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence agents have been called in, those who were off duty. The entire area is being combed more thoroughly than ever involved in any manhunt or search in the history of Dallas, the state, and perhaps the nation.

McLendon Yes, let's review that again. Officer J. D. Tippit, 38 years of age, was killed today as he and a fellow policeman, M. N. McDonald, ran into a rear exit of the Texas Theater. We are now ready with our late report from Gary DeLaune at police headquarters.

DeLaune One of the arresting officers this afternoon, that took the suspect into custody after a shooting of Officer J. D. Tippit in Oak Cliff and perhaps, the assassination of President Kennedy, was Sgt. Gerry Hill. Sgt., tell us exactly what happened.

Hill We received information that the suspect was in the Texas Theater. When we arrived at the theater, we covered it off outside and about eight to ten officers went inside. And in, the center section of the lower floor, Officer M. N. McDonald was checking some people, talking to them, when he observed the suspect sitting in the third row. As he approached this man, the man jumped up and yelled, "This is it!" He then struck Officer McDonald and made a grab for a gun that was inside his shirt. Officer McDonald began to struggle with him and called for some help. At that time, Bob Barnett, from the FBI, Detective Bob Carroll, Officer Ray Hawkins from the Accident Bureau, Detective K. E. Lyons, Detective Paul Bentley, Accident Investigator C. T. Walker, T. A Hutson and I all responded to his call for assistance. We were all inside the theater. And after a struggle, the suspect was disarmed, was handcuffed and was immediately taken from the theater to a car outside and brought to the Homicide and Robbery Bureau here at the department.

DeLaune Sgt., was there any indication by the suspect's action that he had committed this heinous crime?

Hill No, sir. There was not. There was not any statement by him. The only thing that we could testify to, that actually happened in the theater, was the fact that he did grapple with the officer for possession of the pistol and in the process, he did pull the trigger. But luckily the hammer hit the primer but the bullet did not fire. While he was in our presence, he did not admit any crime to us. On the way either at the time of arrest, or on the way to the station, other than making the statement, "This is it!"

McLendon Capt. Gannaway told KLIF news a few moments ago, the suspect had visited Russia, was married to a Russian. This has not been immediately confirmed. The suspect's citizenship is unknown. But he was an employee in the Sexton Building, the building in which the rifle was found. We assume, and so do police officers, that this was the assassination weapon.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones And joining us here, live at the School Book Depository and the Sixth Floor Museum, is former Dallas Police Officer Gerry Hill. Good morning, Mr. Hill.

Hill Good morning. How are you?

Jones Glad to have you, sir.

Hill Thank you.

Jones I was watching the memories play across your face as you listened to that tape. You were one of the first people to actually get close to Oswald. What was his state of mind when you guys picked him up?

Hill When we picked him up, he was very belligerent. And, for a little man, a hundred and sixty five pounds or so, he was one of the strongest men I ever got a hold of.

Jones No kidding.

Hill We got him on the ground, got the handcuffs on him. Picked him up and he started screaming "police brutality" and all this.

Jones Did you ask him if he had killed the President?

Hill We got him in the car and we asked him who he was. We wanted to get him away from the scene because, by then, the crowd outside was getting a little wild. And as we came out, they were saying ... they were saying, "get him!", "let's take him away from them!" So we got him in the car and got him out of there.

Jones Yes, sir.

Hill On the way down, we asked him who he was. He wouldn't tell us. So Paul Bentley, one of the officers who came down with us, reached in his hip pocket and got out his ID in his billfold. And he had the Lee Harvey Oswald ID and then he had the Alex (sic) Hidell ID also.

Jones Yes, sir.

Hill And the only time he said anything other than, that gave me any indication that he might have something else or he might be involved in this even more than we knew, was the, when we started in the basement. We told him there were going to be photographers there and we would hold him in such a way that if he wanted to hide his head, he could. And he made the statement, "I haven't done anything I'm ashamed of."

Jones Holy cow. I've never heard that before.

Hill That's what he told us on the way from the car to the jail.

Jones Understood. Let me see here. We have one more short brief piece. As is so uncommon today, there was an actual moment for the press to talk to Lee Harvey Oswald. This is only thirty or forty seconds long. Listen carefully to what Lee Harvey Oswald had to say, live from jail right after Gerry Hill and the guys got him there. Listen carefully. It sounded like this. On KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

LHO Well, I was questioned by a judge. However, I protested at that time that I was not allowed legal representation during that very short and sweet hearing. I really don't know what the situation is. Nobody had told me anything except that I am accused of murdering a policeman. I know nothing more than that. And I do request for someone to come forward to give me legal assistance.

Anon Did you kill the President?

LHO No. I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones A question from the reporter, "Did you kill the President?" His answer, "I have not been charged with that yet." Gerry Hill, will you stay with us for a few more minutes?

Hill Sure.

Jones All righty. Ladies and gentlemen. More, live, from The Sixth Floor Museum, The Texas School Book Depository on News Radio 1080, KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing - (Pipeline)

Jones News Radio 1080 KRLD. The Shantes (sp?) there. The track is "Pipeline." They don't make 'em like that anymore. 'Course, if they did, people would get tickets. You drive fast when you hear music like this. Charley Jones, live from the School Book Depository, the Sixth Floor Museum, in the company of one of the few gentlemen who got to talk to, and maybe slug once or twice, Lee Harvey Oswald. Now, Gerry Hill, you were working for the Dallas Police Department. You were one of the team that apprehended Oswald in the Texas Theater. You were with J. D. Tippit when he was killed. Now, I heard Oswald say, in that press conference a few hours after you guys brought him in, when he was asked, "Did you kill the President?", And he said, "I haven't been charged with that." And that's the first time I've really heard that clearly. I mean, when I put this down on tape it was. You didn't look surprised at all. You think you got the right man, don't you?

Hill Oh yes. That day, plus thirty-four years since. I have lived with this thing and seen all the evidence. I've been to the Archives in Washington and I am firmly convinced that we got the right man.

Jones No doubt about it, huh?

Hill No.

Jones One thing that has always got me though is, we, as Americans, don't want to believe that some little skinny weasel with a junk rifle could kill the President of the United States. It just doesn't seem possible.

Hill A police fact that's known all over the world is that you can protect one man from a mob.

Jones Yeah.

Hill But you can't protect one man from one man who doesn't mind being caught.

Jones I guess we found that out in Dallas, didn't we?

Hill Sure did.

Jones Did you guys, did you guys take that rifle and try to shoot straight with it?

Hill I have never used the rifle. Our crime lab and the FBI used the rifle to determine that you could fire that many shots in the time that he took. And remember, he only was accurate with two out of three.

Jones Yes, sir.

Hill And then, later when we were working with channel, or KRLD, and channel 4 on the Warren Commission release. At the same time the Warren Commission was released, we test fired a similar gun. Same make, same model, same sight, probably a hundred times in getting ready for that show.

Jones So, in short, when you apprehended this particular perpetrator, he had all the earmarks of a guilty man?

Hill That's right.

Jones All right. And how much longer were you with the Dallas Police Department?

Hill I retired in 1979.

Jones And in thirty-four years, you haven't changed your mind?

Hill Nope.

Jones Gerry Hill, sir, I sure thank you for your time. And for the use of your memories and for this contribution you made to American history, sir.

Hill Thank you.

Jones You betcha. Ladies and gentlemen. Let me, if I may, urge you to join us. Phone number is 787-1080 for Dallas/Fort Worth. That's toll free from any location. Or if you're equipped AT&T wirelessly, please join us at 7, make that #1080. We'd like to know how this is grabbing you. I'd like to know what you're thinking about cause one of the interesting things, whenever you bring up this subject at any coffee maker, at any water cooler, at any kitchen, the stories that come together are all individual items people recall. And sometimes, it's amazing who's standing close by you happens to have a particular story that relates to someone else's. And, coming up in the next hour, we're going to bring some more of those things, closer to you. Also coming up in the next hour, a gentleman who was the Entertainment Editor for the, at that time, the Dallas Times Herald. He's got a story about Lee, about Jack Ruby, that you just won't believe. More about that in just a moment. I'm Charley Jones. You're listening to News Radio 1080 KRLD. We're coming to you live from the Sixth Floor Museum of the Texas School Book Depository. And if you'll stay close, we'll have more for you in just a moment. We'll be right back.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Jones Ladies and gentlemen. Good morning once again from the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository. Seven minutes after eleven o'clock. Charley Jones here. And one of the interesting ways that this particular show has shaped up, was my discovery that numerous of the people who do intensive labor for the museum, are people who are involved in the actual story. For example, let me welcome to this broadcast, the Director of Public Programs for the Sixth Floor Museum. His name is Bob Porter. Bob, good morning.

Porter Good morning.

Jones Welcome, sir.

Porter Thank you.

Jones I understand that you direct public programs, obviously, but also you have good reason to be sitting here with me this morning because, weren't you the entertainment guy for the Dallas Times Herald about thirty-four years ago?

Porter I was one of the people, which is how I came to knew (sic) Jack Ruby.

Jones So, Jack Ruby ran one of the local hot spots.

Porter He did. And he was, what we would refer to, I guess, as a newspaper pest in those days.

Jones A newspaper pest?

Porter Nobody had any security. People could walk into the front door of the Dallas Times Herald, get on the elevator,

Jones Boy, times were different, weren't they?

Porter Go up to the newsroom. Come up to your desk, as Jack frequently did. Say, we'd run a picture of, maybe Tony Bennett in the newspaper. And here'd come Jack with pictures of his strippers and third-rate comics. We'd throw him out of the office. And I discovered, after I got the Museum and began doing oral histories, that some of the editors and the publisher of the Times Herald, after he would, after we would throw Jack out, he'd go to their offices complaining about us.

Jones Oh.

Porter They never told us that in those days. And the publisher in particular, interestingly, said that Jack would come to his office and threaten to pull his ads out of the paper. And Jim Chambers, the publisher, would say, "Well, Jack. I wish you'd do that because we don't like to run your ads anyway."

Jones Okay. We're at that point in the story where the President has been killed. And Lee Harvey Oswald is spending a Saturday night in jail. And you get a phone. Of course now, Dallas/Fort Worth went into a state of mourning almost immediately. And radio stations all over the cities pulled all their Top 40 records, pulled all their Rock n' Roll, pulled their country and western, and everybody started playing classical music. I can remember. It was one of those .... That Saturday was one of the most unearthly days to listen to radio in Dallas/Fort Worth that I can ever remember. And at that time, many concerts ... there was a Peter, Paul and Mary concert scheduled that Saturday night.

Porter Yes.

Jones It was canceled.

Porter Yes.

Jones And uh, there were... there were...

Porter There were a lot of things that were happening. And what... We were the afternoon newspaper, recall, so this was, really, on our time. And so the newspaper, everybody in the newspaper got thrown into that process that afternoon of covering the event.

Jones So you had to call and find out who was going to be open and who wasn't?

Porter Yeah. I was primarily checking theaters. There were opera performances, symphony performances and so forth. And one of the lights on my telephone started flashing and I picked it up and it was Jack Ruby. This, I guess, would probably be about an hour after the assassination.

Jones Right.

Porter And, he was returning a call to Don Safran, who was our nightclub columnist at the time. And I looked over, and Don was on the telephone and I said, "Well, Jack, Don's on the telephone." And he said, well, what he was calling about. So I explained what we were doing, you know. Checking to see who was going to be open and who would close, that sort of thing. And he said, "Well, what about the nightclub people?" And I said, well, I'd only heard about a couple of them and they were going to close down for the weekend. And he said, "Close for the weekend?" And I said, "Well, that's what I understand." And he says, "What do you think I should do?" And I said, "Well, I don't know Jack. It's your nightclub. You'll have to decide that."

Jones Yeah.

Porter And it was a pause there for a while and he said, "Well, I guess I'd better close too." And I said, "Okay, I've got on my desk here: Open, closed. I'll put you in the closed column." "Yeah, yeah," sounding very indifferent at that time.

Jones So when you think about it in those terms, here's Jack Ruby finding out from you. Time to close for the weekend, do what everybody else does. Out of respect, out of shame, out of guilt. Which means he got plenty of sleep Saturday night. Which means he was quite able to be in the basement of the Dallas Police Department that fateful Sunday morning, which we're going to cover in just a moment. Mr. Porter, thank you, sir.

Porter Thank you.

Jones You betcha. More in just a moment. Live from the Sixth Floor Museum, the Texas School Book Depository. On News Radio 1080 KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (One Fine Day)

Jones News Radio 1080 KRLD and it certainly was one fine day. It was a gorgeous afternoon thirty-four years ago, much as the weather has turned out on this particular Friday, thirty-four years later. Charley Jones with you live from the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas, Texas. Now, you heard Bob Porter, Director of Public Programs, who also was one of the entertainment guys for the Dallas Times Herald in 1963, say that Jack Ruby was a "newspaper pest". He'd come up and pester you and you'd have to run the guy off. We have those people in radio too, and I'm sure many of you listening know what I'm talking about here. But, it also turns out that the newspaper pests were also the police pests. So it's not really a surprise that Jack Ruby, having closed his nightclub for the weekend, as almost all night spots did out of respect for the horrendous events that beautiful Friday afternoon in Dallas, was well rested and able to go someplace and take a look at the doings. And where should he find himself but in the basement of the Dallas Police Department at a particularly pertinent moment in history. When Oswald, probably the most serious prisoner in the world at that particular time, was about to be transferred in what was thought to be a secure way, to where was thought to be a more secure location. Now we're going to take a quick listen here to Bob Huffaker. He was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department when something happened that no one suspected and it occurred nationwide on television. Let's listen in. This is Sunday morning, November 23rd, November 24th, 1963. And here's how it sounded on KRLD.

(Begin - Rebroadcast)

DeLaune [This is actually the voice of Gary DeLaune, misidentified by Charley Jones as Huffaker] There are perhaps even a hundred newsmen are on hand. Secret Service, FBI agents and deputy officers along with police officers of the Dallas City Police Department are making sure that everyone stands a safe distance away from the path in which Oswald will take. And here he comes. Lee Oswald, the accused assassin. Capt. Will Fritz leading the way. Being escorted by police officers and sheriff [shot heard]. A shot rang out. A shot has rung out. And Lee Oswald falls. Lee Oswald has fallen. A shot has rung out here. A shot has rung out. And ladies and gentlemen, Lee Oswald. Lee Oswald has just been shot. A shot has rung out. The press is being gathered now. And everyone says, nobody out. Oswald fell.

(End - Rebroadcast)

Jones Now, as you can tell, this is clearly a historic piece of tape. Item one, you can clearly hear the gunshot. You can clearly hear Lee Harvey Oswald cry out in pain and then cry again as he crumples to the floor. And then absolute pandemonium that ensues. Of course, for those of us living in the security conscious 1990's, it's hard to imagine a police department that doesn't have metal detectors in place all over the place. You couldn't even walk in with a camera to the School Book Depository Museum here because that beep you've been hearing behind me, is a metal detector. So it's, security here is just as tight as airport security and those were lessons we first learned in this building. And in a building just down the street, the Dallas Police Department, back in 1963. One of folks who was in that room whose voice you just heard file that report whose microphone picked up what we just listened to, joins me on the phone from his home in San Marcos. Bob Huffaker, welcome back to KRLD, sir. Good to have you on.

Huffaker Thank you, Charley. It's good to be back. However, the clip that you just played was not my voice. That, I believe, was Tom Petit with NBC.

Jones Well, heck. I got my cues screwed. I'm sorry, sir.

Huffaker It's all right.

Jones Let me ask you this.

Huffaker I was down there and I was doing the broadcast for CBS.

Jones Were you amazed at what happened? I mean, did you know when you heard the shot, what it was?

Huffaker Yes, I did. It was a .38. That was my first register. And we were not, at least I was not particularly surprised. Nelson Benton, of CBS, who had been with me there at the police headquarters for the last couple of days, he and I had realized, since every one of our stations in town and all of the newspapers had at least a handful of bomb threats. We actually were sitting up on the third floor the day before Oswald was shot and one of us, I can't remember which, looked at the other and said, "What if those elevator doors opening there in front of us opened and someone came out spraying the crowd with an automatic weapon?" And at that time, we got up and moved and watched ourselves rather carefully. So, my tape did not sound as excited as Tom's did. I just said, "Oswald has been shot." Because we were sort of expecting anything by then. It was like one very long and very strange nightmare.

Jones I'm reminded by my producer that was Gary DeLaune's tape that we were just listening to. When the shot occurred and the police cordoned off the area, and how long, I mean, people grabbed Jack Ruby at once, did they not?

Huffaker Yes they did. They had him out of there so quickly that I didn't even really get a good look at him in the crowd..

Jones And would you have recognized him if you had seen him?

Huffaker I, in particular, would not have because I was only a country kid who had been in Dallas for about a year, at that time. Most of the other media people, however, from Dallas, would have recognized him since he was pretty much a media and police groupie.

Jones Understood. Bob Huffaker, thank you so much, sir.

Huffaker Thank you Charley. My best to Eddie and Wes, up there.

Jones Thank you, sir. They're listening and they're nodding back at you. Let me invite to our broadcast chair, the archivist for the Sixth Floor Museum here at the Texas School Book Depository, Mr. Gary Mack.


Mack Hello, Charley.

Jones Gary, welcome, sir. As Archivist, I'm sure that you get calls from people every day who think they discovered some new item or some new deal. And I'm sure you get calls from people wanting to know, well what about this piece of conspiracy stuff. Or what about this piece of Warren stuff. The mythology that has risen and the tradition, the legend, the heritage. It's, it, it sort of hangs over the event almost like a canopy, doesn't it?

Mack Well, that's true. The role of the Museum, though, is to preserve evidence and artifacts and information and make it all available to the public.

Jones Sure.

Mack We don't decide what's good and what's bad information. But there's no shortage of conspiracy theories out there. Some are interesting and some are clearly nonsense.

Jones Chances are you have probably assembled in your mind a top ten or a top five hit list of the most popular items pro and con in the conspiracy retinue, haven't you?

Mack Well, there are several that come up over and over again.

Jones Yeah.

Mack I think one of the most pervasive is this myth that there was a last minute change in the motorcade route.

Jones There wasn't?

Mack There was not. The motorcade route was decided by the Secret Service with the Dallas Police five days earlier.

Jones You mean the one that I'm looking at here on the front page of the Dallas Morning News is the very one the Secret Service okayed?

Mack Yes and No. The map is incorrect, but the text with it is correct. So what you had is both Dallas papers, the Morning News and the Times Herald, on the Tuesday before the assassination and on the Thursday before the assassination, all had the correct route. Exactly the route that Kennedy took. There was no last minute change. There was never a change at all. And yet, that's in many of the conspiracy books. It's in the Oliver Stone film. And that's one of the myths now that just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Jones So when people look at the picture and then look at the actual route, they go, "Aha! A change."

Mack That's right.

Jones And if you read the story, not so.

Mack That's correct.

Jones What's next?

Mack Well, a lot of people seem to hang their hat, so to speak, on the famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald with his rifle in the backyard of the house that he lived in several months earlier.

Jones The supposedly retouched photograph.

Mack Right. The photograph actually is one of a series of four. And Oswald's mother even told the Warren Commission that not only had she seen one of them, but she and Marina, Oswald's wife, tore it up because they didn't want the cops to find it. As it turns out, the cops found the others. So, here's Oswald's mother, who had every reason to want to say this is a fake, to help prove her son was innocent. And she admits, "Yes, I saw that and Marina and I tore it up and flushed it down the toilet."

Jones So, so much for the retouched photograph.

Mack That's right.

Jones What's next?

Mack We could go on and on and on. The important thing is, the conspiracy theories, the good ones which have some basis in fact, are out there. And it's getting hard now to tell which is which. So that's the difficulty that we're in, in the Museum. And our job is to try and help people understand which ones are worth listening to.

Jones Give me a quick example of one conspiracy theory item that has not been disproved that might be, that might be enhanced, or possibly given some, some underpinning by some archives you have amassed here in the Museum.

Mack Well, I'm not sure we have anything here in the Museum that's going to help answer some questions. We do have all of the videotapes and films from channel four and in fact, the original KRLD radio tapes are also in our collection.

Jones Yes.

Mack Back in the days when channel four and KRLD Radio were owned by the same company. So we're preserving those and people will be able to come in and listen and watch those things.

Jones One of those things you have I find absolutely fascinating, when Rob Pierpoint was, wasn't it Pierpoint who was talking to Cronkite from Dallas?

Mack Uh huh.

Jones And what was shown here on TV, it didn't look that way when it got to national. What happened?

Mack That's right. Early in the afternoon, Robert Pierpoint came in to the studio at Channel 4, and was sitting with Dan Rather.

Jones Yeah.

Mack And Bob did a report explaining what he'd seen from the motorcade and what he'd seen out at Parkland Hospital. And after he finished describing everything, he broke down. He's talking, then he tosses it back. He says, "And now back to New York and Walter Cronkite.

Jones Right.

Mack And he knew that by that point the camera would not be on him anymore and he literally broke down right there on the set.

Jones Well, he was the White House correspondent for CBS.

Mack Yes. CBS was taping that back in New York. When they played the tape back, they didn't show the breakdown part. Now we have both tapes here at the Museum so you can see that newsmen are people too. And they deal with this tragedy. And they're a newsman at one point and a real person crying, later.

Jones Gotcha there. Gary Mack, thank you, sir. We'll bring you in here again in just a minute.

Mack Thank you Charley.

Jones Let me go to the telephones here, if I may. I've been threatening you with phone calls all morning long. Let me begin in Forney, Texas. James, good morning sir. You're live at the School Book Depository on KRLD. Go ahead, please.

James Good morning sir. I was, at the time of the assassination, I was underneath... well, down by the service road where it goes on to Stemmons.

Jones Yes, sir.

James And was standing there, wanting to get my first glimpse of a president. When the three motorcycles came out from under the tunnel, and presumed, I thought the car would be behind it. And then all of a sudden, there was these shots that rang out. I didn't know they was shots at the time. Then, the cops went on by. For, oh I guess for about five minutes, the car came by. But the car wasn't going real fast. It was just, I'd say about five miles an hour, or less. The guy on the back of the left hand side had a rifle and was talking to the driver. Then the conversation that I heard as he passed was a little profanity and "Get the damn thing rolling." I peered into the car and I couldn't see nobody.

Jones You couldn't see anybody in the blue convertible Lincoln?

James No sir.

Jones James, I....

James I didn't see nobody. I saw the jump seat over on the left hand side that .. it was a car that I'd never seen one built like it before. It had a seat on the left hand side, that looked like a jump seat.

Jones Right, that's how they were built. James in Forney, sir. I thank you for your telephone call. That's the first time I've ever heard that particular story. We'll have more for you in just a moment. Charley Jones here live from the Texas School Book Depository Sixth Floor Museum. If you have never toured this Museum, this might be a very significant weekend to do it. Tomorrow being the 22nd. And wait until you get up to the sixth floor. I cannot prepare you for the way you are going to feel and the almost overwhelming way this event lies in way up there. Waiting for you to come in. Because no matter how much you think you're used to this, when you walk on to that floor, everything that you ever thought or remember about this will be right there with you. And when you look out that sixth floor window, well, more about that in just a moment. I'm Charley Jones, live from the Sixth Floor, News Radio 1080, KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (It's My Party)

Jones At 11:33, good morning and welcome back to News Radio 1080 KRLD, our live broadcast from the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository. And let me break a radio rule here and invite Officer Gerry Hill, who was a Sergeant in the patrol division at the Dallas Police Department in 1963, back to our microphones for a moment. Because you told me a story off the air, that I've just got to get on the air. One of the major items that most conspiracists dig into at one time or another is the speed with which the description of Oswald went out and then, moments later, him being cornered in the Texas Theater. How did you guys know to look in the Texas Theater, Officer Hill?

Hill A fellow who owned or managed a shoe store, named Johnny Brewer, who was immediately adjacent to the theater...

Jones Yes, sir.

Hill ... saw somebody come in his entry way and turn their face to the street while a squad car passed with its siren on.

Jones Oh, he realized the guy was hiding.

Hill He suspected that when he saw the guy turn back towards the street. And he followed him out to the street and watched him as he turned and ducked into the Texas Theater. Then Brewer went to the cashier and asked her, "Did that man buy a ticket?" And he said, "No." Or she said, "No." And so he said, "Well, you'd better call the police because the police are looking for a suspect and that might be the suspect they're looking for." And he had heard this on the radio.

Jones No kidding. Now, you told that to the Warren Commission, correct?

Hill Yes.

Jones And let me come to Gary Mack, archivist at The Sixth Floor Museum. How come this story? I've lived in Dallas all my life and have never heard this one.

Mack Well, it's been out there. And if it were not for Johnny Brewer, there's a very good possibility that Oswald might have escaped from the Dallas police.

Jones So, an alert citizen, listening to News Radio 1080, says, "Hey."

Mack I'm not sure we know which station he was listening to.

Jones Give me the benefit of the doubt here.

Mack I've gotta stick with facts, Charley. That's what we deal with at the Museum.

Jones Okay. And the facts are, that it's time for your phone calls. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd love for you to get through. It's 787-1080, or #1080, because whenever you bring up the subject of the assassination, everybody knows what they were doing on that day. Let's see if Congressman Martin Frost does. I'm informed that he's one of our first people to join us. Congressman Frost. Good morning. Welcome to KRLD.

Frost Good morning. Good to be with you.

Jones Yes, sir. When we take up the subject of the assassination, what are you thinking?

Frost Well, that day, I was in my senior year at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. And I had walked out of a course on the American Presidency. I was taking a political science course about the American Presidency and I walked over to the School of Journalism because I was going to work on .... we put out a daily newspaper, the Columbia Missourian that was for the town of Columbia, Missouri. And as I walked in the building, there was this elderly professor. A gray haired elderly professor, who was running down the hall. I'd never seen him move that fast and I said, "What's happened?" And he said, "The President's been shot in Dallas." And so, I then went back to the copy desk because I was helping put out the paper. And, of course, I was from Fort Worth at that time. That's where I'd grown up.

Jones Right.

Frost And I was just stunned that this had happened in Texas. And that it happened you know, thirty miles from where I lived. And I kind of, that three or four hours, I worked and helped put out the newspaper. We put out a Special Edition, just like I heard earlier when you were talking to Bob Schieffer, and they put out a Special Edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Well, we put out a Special Edition of the Columbia Missourian. Remade the whole paper, talking about the assassination.

Jones That's one of the amazing differences in America today. When something happens, we turn on the TV to see if it's real. In those days, until you saw it in print, you just didn't believe it.

Frost That's exactly right. And I, we were all stunned. And, I mean, I guess I was the only one from Texas, and particularly from the Dallas/Fort Worth area who was actually at the School of Journalism at that time and working on the paper. And I was just particularly stunned because I had family in Dallas. In fact, I came down to Dallas for Thanksgiving the next week. I was in Dallas the week after the assassination to visit my aunt, who still lives here in Dallas. And I just remember how eerie it was in Dallas then.

Jones It sure wasn't much of a Thanksgiving, was it?

Frost No and it was just, everybody was in shock. It was as if an immediate member of the family had died.

Jones Congressman Martin Frost, thank you for joining us this morning.

Frost Thank you.

Jones Yes, sir. Take care of yourself. Up next, let me try in Dallas, Texas. John, good morning, sir and welcome to KRLD. You're on with Charley Jones and the Archivist at the Sixth Floor Museum, Mr. Gary Mack. Go ahead, please sir.

John Hello?

Jones John, can you hear me? You're up. You're on the air. Go ahead, sir.

John Yes. I'm sorry. Where are you in the Sixth Floor?

Jones I am right at the entrance to the Museum.

John Really. You should probably walk over to the window where the shot supposedly came from.

Jones Oh, I did that this morning. It was overcast and I just couldn't resist going up there and taking a look out that window, because with the overcast, and the light like it is, it must have looked a lot today like it did to whoever stashed that rifle behind those boxes, probably early on in the morning of the workday, that Friday in Dallas. I just couldn't resist it.

John My dad's been hunting for a long time. And he told me that the weirdest thing was, is when you look up Houston there, if you were going to be hunting that day, you would have shot down on Houston instead of waiting for that big long turn to come down.

Jones How come?

John Because of an easy shot. Because if you would have missed him the first time, they could have sped up and could have still got him right in your sights again. He says well, he wondered, why did they wait for that big long turn?

Jones That's a good question. I happen to have the Archivist for the Museum here. He's nodding his head.

Mack Many people ask that. And Walter Cronkite visited the Museum earlier this year and he had the same question. In fact, that was the first question he asked. And many people do ask. They wonder why the gunman did not fire as the car headed directly toward the building.

Jones Right.

Mack The best thinking is, there's no way to know for sure. The Secret Service men in the car immediately behind him were all facing forward. They all, all they had to do was to look up. And it would just take a fraction of a second and they would see the gun sticking out of the window. So, the best thinking is, the gunman waited until the car turned the corner. And when the first shot was fired, the tree that blocks the view, blocked the view from the Secret Service men. So they couldn't see the gun after the first shot, when they started looking around. So that seems like it's very cleverly planned.

Jones So the live oak that's there, was just smaller. But it was still there in 1963.

Mack You bet.

Jones Wow. And because it's a non-deciduous tree, the leaves are still on it.

Mack The leaves are there and there's films and photographs, of course, that show it there.

Jones So somebody knew a little bit about sniping, whoever was up there.

Mack Well, you get the impression that, whoever did it, sat there and watched the traffic go by and thought it out.

Jones Calculated.

Mack Yeah.

Jones Gary Mack, Archivist for the Sixth Floor Museum. We're live at the Texas School Book Depository. More in just a moment. I'm Charley Jones on News Radio 1080 KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (Easier Said Than Done)

Jones News Radio 1080 KRLD. Charley Jones with you. Coming to you live, from the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas. A location all of us know, most of us from our elementary school days. And some of us know this location in a different way. I was telling you how, how cathedral-like and just plain unusual, how present the atmosphere is on the sixth floor. And I've got a guy who knows atmosphere. He played JFK in the "JFK" movie. His name is Russ Vann. He joins us now. Russ, good morning.

Vann Good morning, Charlie. How are you doing?

Jones Just fine, sir. Glad to have you. Looking at the pictures you brought, from the movie, what's it like to sit in that car, with someone who looks enough like Jackie that you do a double-take, outside this building on a day when the sun is the same, the shadows are the same. I mean, how did you feel?

Vann Let me tell you first of all, it was an honor to play that very small part in that major motion picture.

Jones Yeah.

Vann It was a very eerie feeling, especially on the very first take. Keep in mind, Oliver Stone tried to make it 99% authentic.

Jones Yeah.

Vann Speed of the vehicles. Time of day. Even the extras, the clothing they had on. The pigeons flying. Coming around for the very first take was extremely eerie. You had goose bumps coming down and cold sweats. As we made the first turn and the first shots were coming, that's when it all hit home. Thankfully, I survived it on the first take and all the forty or fifty takes.

Jones Yeah.

Vann For our beloved President, that's another story. It was frightening. It was also an honor.

Jones And when you saw the movie, what did you think of the direction it took?

Vann Have you ever had eggs and then had scrambled eggs?

Jones Yep.

Vann Okay. I'll leave it at that. Everyone has their own interpretations.

Jones I see Gary Mack, Archivist for the Museum, smiling. Gary, would you agree with Mr. Vann's synopsis of the flick?

Mack Well, I think the appropriate response would be that historians, of course, cringe at parts of the film.

Jones Sure.

Mack But the really fascinating part about the "JFK" movie that Oliver Stone made. It's his version of what happened. That's what he thinks based on the input that he trusted. The result of the film was a public outcry, strong enough so that Congress passed a law, that is usually referred to as the Oliver Stone law, but it's actually the JFK Act. The law forces the United States government, and every agency of government, to release any document it has pertaining to the assassination. And when you think about it, what country on the planet would pass a law forcing itself to tell the truth?

Jones And the conspiracist says, what government would release any incriminating information?

Mack Well, you can make that point, of course. But, in other words, in the last three years, literally several million pages of previously secret documents have come out. And the end result is, virtually every previously hidden secret document will be released and available for the public.

Jones And how much of that has supported or blown up conspiracy theory?

Mack Well, I'm not sure that it's done either. But it's certainly given a lot more texture and detail to basic events that we've all known about for a long, long time. But you never know where these individual trails will lead. And investigators and researchers know so much more about the assassination now than in '63 - '64, that they can plug these documents in and make some more sense out of this.

Jones We have people waiting, of course, to talk to us on the telephone. Let's begin with someone who was at the Trade Mart on that fateful day. His name is George. He's in Dallas. George, sir, welcome to News Radio 1080 KRLD, and welcome to the Sixth Floor Museum.

George Yes. I used to park right up under that window where Oswald shot from and I was working at that time over at the Post Office. There was a friend and I who had been invited and we were awaiting the President to come for dinner. And the, when the sirens came by, we thought that was him coming to dinner. And we found out a little bit later, everybody was listening to the radio, and somebody had said he'd been shot from the triple underpass. And it seemed as if, an awful feeling. It seemed as if the world was coming to an end when we found out it was the President had been shot. And it didn't seem like anything was as it was before.

Jones Yes sir. In fact, for many of us that particular moment, we remember where we were. And for some reason, the American media, the American way of life, our appreciation of ourselves and our place in the world seemed to mature after that. We'll be back in just a moment. Let's, let me take one more call, if I may. Who's waiting here? No? Tell you what. Let's go ahead and do this break early, and we'll have some more time with you on the other side. Charley Jones live at the Texas School Book Depository Sixth Floor Museum here on News Radio 1080 KRLD.

Station KRLD identification, news and commercials

Song playing (It's All Right)

Jones News Radio 1080 KRLD. There were... It was going to be a long time before Dallas/Fort Worth felt anything like all right, considering the events. And for a long time, the School Book Depository was the symbol of the shame and the disappointment that the people in Texas felt about the fact that one of America's Presidents had met his untimely fate in this place. And so, when you walk through the restored Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and you realize how closely we came to not having this piece of wonderful history, with the fact that an entire day in the life of America has been enshrined here. You realize the perspective, the understanding and the scope of the thinking that has to go into a project like this. And I always like to talk to people who can do stuff like that. And so, if you would please, let me welcome to our microphones here at the Sixth Floor, the Director of Interpretation for the Sixth Floor Museum. Her name is Marian Ann Montgomery. Dr. Montgomery, welcome to KRLD.

Montgomery It's nice to be here.

Jones Glad to have you here. You have a Ph.D. in Museum Restorations.

Montgomery In Museum Administration, yes.

Jones And boy, what a job you had with this one.

Montgomery Actually, Conover Hunt and Lindalyn Adams, our volunteer leader of that organization, had this all in place when I arrived three years ago.

Jones No kidding.

Montgomery And we wouldn't be here without those two ladies that just really came through and made it happen.

Jones Now, as Director of Interpretation, you have to tell a story that's a very sensitive part of a lot of people's growing up. Do you find that a tough job to do sometimes?

Montgomery I'm really blessed in coming to this job with a lot of background in museum work in other institutions and being married to a Texan who was here at that time. So, it's a little easier.

Jones Understood. I was looking up there. Is that the actual Zapruder? The camera that the Zapruder film was really taken?

Montgomery Can you believe it? It really is. It was...

Jones How can it be here?

Montgomery Well, it's because we worked so hard to develop good professional relationships with the National Archives.

Jones Yeah.

Montgomery And when I arrived, shortly after I got here, they loaned us the ten-foot by ten-foot model that the FBI built so that they wouldn't have to come here to investigate the assassination, they could do it...

Jones I saw that thing up there. That beautiful model of the street. But, as I looked at it, aren't the cars out of order?

Montgomery The cars are in order, and the shots are marked on the bottom of the... of where the FBI thought the car was when the shots rang out.

Jones Uh huh.

Montgomery But the FBI had it a little bit wrong, we think..

Jones No kidding. Wow. Also noticed, it was interesting, as Director of Interpretation, did you have anything to do with the fact that the strings that were made to represent the bullet paths, are not taut, like they came from any particular place, but they're coiled up at the location of the shot. That was an interesting adjunct.

Montgomery You have an insider who told you about that.

Jones I just wondered why they weren't there. And then I suddenly realized that if you put them through any particular place, it would suggest theory.

Montgomery It would.

Jones And I'm really impressed by the fact that you guys have stayed away from that as much as you can. To present just the facts.

Montgomery Well, I had to go to battle with the National Archives, unfortunately. Steve Tilley, he was a very understanding person. He is the curator of the JFK Assassination records at the National Archives. And I said, "Steve, if we pull those strings back the way the FBI had them, only considering trajectories from our building, people will say that we support the government's point of view. And we want our visitors to have an opportunity to decide for themselves. So let's coil them. Let's leave them on the base and then people can think for themselves about what happened." And he was very willing to go along with that.

Jones So many of the things that I find wonderful here. I find the teletype, a UPI teletype, a world wires teletype. I haven't seen one of those in twenty years. And here's one in practically perfect condition. And that was the teletype, and of course, you have the teletype paper that came out of it saying the President was dead. This is how most of us found out. What a great acquisition.

Montgomery It's very fortunate that some people have saved those things over the years. Even last year, when Sotheby's auctioned off that wonderful Dow Jones ticker tape, someone called Sotheby's and said, "Now, I have another one. Is there a museum that wants one?"

Jones How wonderful.

Montgomery And so, a Mr. David in New York called me on the phone and I said, "But Mr. David, I couldn't buy it last week. I can't buy it this week. I don't have that much money."

Jones Sure.

Montgomery And he said, "I want to give it to you."

Jones You're kidding.

Montgomery And we are really indebted to the people that save things. For instance, the Trammel Crow family, that owned the Trade Mart where Kennedy was supposed to go and have his lunch...

Jones Yes ma'am.

Montgomery ...sent someone down to save the place setting. To put it in a box. And the Harlan Crow family has now loaned that to the Museum. And so, the artifacts that the President was supposed to use right afterwards, right after he was shot, are here now for people to see. And it really brings home to people, what happened that day and how his life was cut so short.

Jones It's been said that many museums owe a lot of what they eventually have to the understanding by its customers of what is trying to be done and their willingness to contribute to it and make that happen.

Montgomery And we are certainly indebted to KRLD for thinking about us two years ago, and KDFW to give us the donations so that we have those tapes and those videos so we can preserve them for the future.

Jones Well, we wanted those things to have a place and we couldn't think of a better place. Dr. Marian Ann, thank you much for your time.

Montgomery Thank you.

Jones Would you do me the honor of joining me after eleven o'clock on Monday so we can finish this conversation?

Montgomery I'd be happy to.

Jones I'll have you and Gary Mack, your archivist. I think we're going to have a lot of fun discussion there.

Montgomery Thank you.

Jones Thank you, ma'am.

Charley Jones thanks his guests and signs off.