Long-Withheld Orville Nix Film
Of JFK Assassination Is Released In Dallas
second most important film of the assassination)
by Mike Crissey, The Associated Press, November
A L L A S, Nov. 22 The second most important footage
of the assassination of John F. Kennedy has been made available
to the public exactly 37 years after his presidency abruptly
ended in a hail of bullets.
About 200 people crowded into the Texas Book Depository Building
on Tuesday to watch the 24½-second film recorded Nov.
22, 1963, by Orville Nix Sr.
The footage is the only known motion picture of the assassination
that also shows part of the grassy knoll, the area where speculation
about a second gunmen persists.
Filmed from the south curb of Houston Street and the northwest
corner of Main Street, the footage contains three scenes: the
motorcade entering Dealey Plaza, the last shot of the assassination
in front of the grassy knoll, and the panic and confusion afterward.
The most well-known frames of the film show Jackie Kennedy climbing
over the trunk of the presidential limousine, scrambling to
pick up pieces of the presidents shattered skull, and
Secret Service agent Clint Hill climbing onto the trunk.
The Nix film is considered by historians and other experts to
be the second most important piece of footage because it was
filmed from the opposite angle of the Abraham Zapruder film
and shows what was going on behind Zapruder in the grassy knoll.
In Nixs film, Zapruder can be seen in a few frames.
Nix donated a first-generation copy and the copyright to the
color home movie to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
The 8 mm camera is also on display at the museum.
One of the things we hope for the Nix film is that as
technology advances ... hopefully we can find something,
said Jeff West, executive director of the museum.
Nixs son, Orville Nix Jr., told viewers his fathers
film was largely happenstance and took so long to reach the
public partly because the family wanted to keep their privacy.
He loved that camera, he was always taking pictures of
things and this was something that just happened, Nix
said of his father, who died in 1972. It was a sad thing
Now, I want people to see and draw their own conclusions,
it is part of history, he said.
At the time of the investigation, the FBI used the Nix film
to study the assassination and the Warren Commission reproduced
six frames. Portions of the film were used in Oliver Stones
1991 movie JFK.
Museum officials said the location of the original film is unknown.
United Press International purchased it in December 1963, but
when UPI returned the copyright to the Nix family along
with several duplicates of the film the original was
The Nix images were included with footage by Tina Towner Barnes,
who also filmed the motorcade, and Malcolm Couch, who rode behind
the president as a photographer for Dallas TV station WFAA.
Some of those who attended the invitation-only screening said
it gave them a firsthand glimpse of a tragedy many people remember
but didnt witness.
Many of us only had the radio to initially tell us about
the event, the films gave me a different perspective of the
assassination, said Mary Katherine Maddox, 65.