Sunday, November 10, 2013

CBS's Angle

KRLD-TV (Dallas, Texas)

a 4:02 minute segment of KRLD-TV's "raw feed" from Sunday morning, November 24, 1963, when Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

The film begins with a view to the left and up a ramp, showing the open doors on back of an armored bank truck, which sat waiting at the Commerce Street exit of the drive through; then the camera pans back to its slightly oblique immobile view facing an alcove off the driveway where Oswald will exit the interior of the courthouse building shortly. Reporters and police mill about, while a row of eight younger student, or resident detectives of some kind, well dressed in civilian clothes, try to stand still and undercover along a wall facing the exit. The vantage point of this CBS camera, positioned the furthest to the right of the alcove, and the lowest of three cameras that filmed that morning, favors them



A large wheeled television camera marked WBAP-TV (a sister NBC affiliate in Dallas- Fort Worth) appears from inside the double doors straight ahead, and is pushed to the left across the view-frame. This ostensibly, will be the third camera filming that morning. They will shoot a view more parallel with the drive, higher up the ramp--a view compared to CBS's low rear shot of the action; with Tom Pettit and the NBC camera in the middle, having an almost perpendicular view into the alcove.

A man in a light-colored raincoat with his back to the camera looks back into the open double doors, and motions for someone to come out. A reporter carrying a 16mm hand-held camera scurries from inside then disappears off-frame to the left.


Tom Pettit's voice: Alright, we've got a little activity down there, I don't know what it is.

A Loud Voice calls out: "Stand by."


A uniformed officer in a white cap strode quickly out the doorway through this area and crossed to the parking lot.


Another uniformed officer in white cap appears in the frame motioning for the reporters to break their ranks and make way for an automobile to exit the ramp to the right.





It drives past, with an uniformed officer in a white cap at the wheel, but it appears to slow or even stop just before the camera lose's sight of it. (although we hear the tires squeal seconds later.) Is Jack Ruby in this car's backseat or trunk?


A uniformed officer appears from out of the police department's side door to the right of the open double doors that lead into the courthouse section. He apparently will be driving a second car out in just a few moments

At the sudden signal of a blond man in civilian clothes who was a clear leader in this undertaking, out scurry radio announcer Ike Pappas and two other reporters from inside the double doors, with Pappas falling into a rehearsed place beside Pettit. [Film shot from the other angle shows a reporter at the end of the line taking the wrong position, then quickly shifting down to his preassigned spot.]


This is just seven seconds before the first members of Oswald's party come into sight. I think the impression attempting to be made here, is the appearance that other journalists had accompanied Oswald on his journey out of the building. But instead, the side door he uses leads to a small vestibule and private departmental elevator up to the fourth and fifth fourth floors. Any route through the ground floor of the courthouse and up to the main entrance of the police department would have been circuitous, taking untold minutes. The activity and large crowds we see inside the building through the open doors gives a faked appearance that this scenario is taking place in an open, public space, but this is Sunday, the courthouse facility was closed, and Texas still had Sunday Blue Laws in 1963.

The first cop in a white Stetson moves into view and passes onto the ramp to the left; the older White Hat ranger is walking behind, then he motions to an automobile which is just seconds from backing into view. At the same time, from this angle, we just begin to see the cop in a white Stetson and light-colored suit who is accompanying Oswald.




In a tandem move to the backing up of the car, a hunched over man springs into view from the opposite direction, between the line of reporters standing on the right---and not in a headlong attack straight over the railing that separates the driveway and parking lot, which was where Tom Pettit told viewers he'd come from. An apparent jostling of the NBC camera also indicated the action was there.


Telecast "live" at 11:21 a.m., a shot rings out.

In a 58:42 minute televised segment maintained by the Paley Center for Media, NBC News Coverage of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (TV), which
begins at approximately 12:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with a report from St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, where funeral services for the late president will be held on the following day. McGee then cuts to Jensen, who reports on the Kennedy family in Hyannisport. After a brief discussion of plans for the public viewing of the president's body in the Capitol Rotunda, McGee switches to Tom Pettit in the basement of Dallas police headquarters. Pettit describes the transfer of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the Dallas County jail. Suddenly, confusion and panic breaks out, and we hear Pettit gasp, "He's been shot -- Lee Oswald has been shot." Amid the commotion, Pettit tries to obtain more information about what happened from other witnesses: Jeff Edwards of KXL Radio in Los Angeles, Frank Johnson of United Press International (UPI), Deputy Chief M.W. Stevenson of the Dallas Police Department and Officer Patrick T. Dean. From New York, McGee reports that the assailant has been identified as Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Coverage then switches to Washington....


Immediately, scuffling breaks out...both men fall on the far side of the still moving car, which appears to nearly run them over. An oblivious Pettit a few beats behind is beginning his report: "This is the basement..."


Oswald is already lying on the ground, while the attractive, young "Secret Service" agent who'd been standing at the end of the row of eight such fellows in civilian dress, (with his stylish, pointed-toe, "Beatle Boots," seemingly featured in the vast sea of open space that constituted the foreground of the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph taken here only five seconds before.) gives out Variations on Jazz Hands, while the men subduing Ruby dance him away to the right, so the camera will follow along, pointing at the action.



Good head shot of Oswald



3:22 As Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald are broken apart (and I heard Ruby scream along with the gunshot, "Whore! You son of a...")  A none-too-subtle task begins of blocking the CBS camera from the sight angle of Oswald and his ministrations, was performed by two figures working in cahoots. They tried to break it up a bit by shifting around once or so, but could almost hear someone mentally counting out, "one thousand one, one thousand two..."



This is where Tom Pettit begins to announce the famous opening line of his report: "He's been shot! He's been shot! Lee Oswald has been shot!"










Then an extraordinary act takes place, on par, in my estimation, with Jack Ruby's lunge for its speed and spontaneity. A hand comes down from the right side to force the linebacker off his feet and to his knees, in order to free up the view. And there we see he's a photographer too, with a camera and strobe-light in hand. Is this Frank Johnston?


3:36 b

3:36 c
3:37 b

3:37 d




Then for a second time, the hand pushes on the back of the photographer's neck in order to get him to take pictures---since this is certainly no time for rough oral sex!



Stunned, but realizing he's still figuring in the CBS coverage, he does what any normal professional photojournalist would do in the circumstance---he turns around and snaps a picture of the detective's crotch who's standing a few feet in front of him.

Then he sidles away the way professionals are taught to do in a crowd, below camera-shot range---except for him, that is!

The attack on Oswald lasted all of seven seconds, followed by 13 seconds of the police tussling with Ruby while the CBS cameramen were being blocked. It was during those 13 seconds that the angels of mercy snuck Lee Harvey Oswald away, back into the elevator lobby from whence he'd come. It will take about 5 minutes, and twenty seconds for an ambulance to arrive and Oswald's final appearance to take place. Tom Pettit mention's Oswald's condition, but not his whereabouts during this time, then suddenly, with medical care, it becomes a race for life or death. Not a drop of blood is spotted or mentioned in the drive


3:36 A soft news voice can be heard in the background, which I want to be Harry Reisner's in New York, saying "We're going to switch now to Bob Heffaker, down in the basement of the courthouse who's close to the scene. Go ahead Bob...." and the producer or director calling the shots here says, "Go ahead Bob,"  and with the greatest of sadness, Bob Heffaker, says, "Lee Harold Oswald has been shot.."

3:50: Alright, I'm going outside

This is why CBS's live coverage began ten seconds later than NBC's did and why they missed the live money-shot. As a requirement of the planning to remove Oswald from sight until an ambulance came, given its angle and view, the CBS camera was forced to go "dark."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you think that some Dallas Policeman helped Ruby enter the basement?