TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: JFK Assassination

Re: JFK Assassination

Anthony Bellanga (
Mon, 28 Nov 2005 14:36:39 -0700

Pat Townson wrote:

> Just as a historical note, it was forty-two years ago this weekend
> (Thanksgiving weekend, 1963) that President Kennedy was gunned down
> in a motorcade in Dallas, TX.

Actually, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend of 1963.
Kennedy was shot on Friday 22 November 1963, the funeral being on
Monday 25 November 1963. You still had three more days until
1963's Thanksgiving on Thursday 28 November 1963.

> [...] Friday about 11:00 AM at the moment of his assassination,

The assassination occurred at approximately 12:30pm (afternoon)
Central Standard Time, in Dallas TX (same time zone as Chicago),
give or take a few minutes.

The radio and television networks started breaking into local
programming (or in the case of CBS Television, broke into the
live network presentation of "As the World Turns" for the Eastern
and Central time zones, CBS-TV breaking into whatever network reruns
were airing earlier in the morning (clock time) on the Pacific Coast
along with whatever NBC-TV and ABC-TV were also airing on the
West Coast at 10:30am PST), with the first bulletins, approximately
1:35pm EST, 12:35pm CST, 11:35pm MST, 10:35pm PST, give or take
some minutes.

With the technology of the day, the first news bulletins on the
TV-side were simply "slide-cards" for the video (CBS NEWS BULLETIN,
etc), with a voice-over (newsman Walter Cronkite for CBS-TV,
perennial announcer Don Pardo for NBC-TV). Vacuum tube technology
was still in use to a great extent (even though the three Bell Labs
physicists who won the Nobel Prize has invented the transistor back
in 1948), and the TV networks didn't keep the newsroom live cameras
warmed up until about a half-hour before their evening newscasts,
although they did have a small studio for their afternoon five-minute
newscast updates following "To Tell the Truth" (CBS) or "The Match
Game" (NBC). They did have "slide cards" set up being scanned by live
video-cams specifically designed for 16-mm or 35-mm motion picture
film or slides. But it wasn't until later on into the incident, after
the first slide-card/voice-over bulletins, that the three TV networks
could go fully live with video of a newsman or announcer, and even
later until they could get everything hooked up to have reports
live from Dallas TX.

Some of NBC's "we switch you now to our NBC-TV affiliate,
WBAP-TV Ft.Worth/Dallas for another report", were actually telecast
and fed in living color. NBC-TV's own reports from New York and
Washington DC were in Black & White, but the pick-ups from WBAP-TV
Ft.Worth/Dallas (at least the first few) were in color.

A lot of credit has to be given to the newsmen with the three TV
networks, the four radio networks (don't forget about Mutual), the wire
services (AP, UPI, etc), and... AT&T and its Bell operating companies
(and various independent connecting carriers) for their fast work
in gathering the news and reporting it to the best of their ability
considering the technology of the day, and for the technical resources
(co-ax, microwave, etc) as well. And not to forget the local radio and
TV stations (both network affiliates and independent stations), as well
as the staffs of the major newsmagazines and local newspapers throughout
the country for their newsgathering and reporting, based on what we
"knew" at that time.

- Anthony Bellanga

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