John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, popularly known as JFK, was assassinated on November 22, 1963 at 12:30pm in Dallas, Texas. Abraham Zapruder was the only person in the world who filmed JFK’s final moment. There are other films also available of that moment but Zapruder’s footage shows the gunshot hitting the President’s head. Today’s photograph is the frame number 313 from Zapruder’s footage which shows the President’s head exploding after being hit by the bullet. This is actually an infamous and gory photograph.
While filming the President’s motorcade on that fateful afternoon, Abraham Zapruder, a manufacturer of women’s clothing in Dallas, did not have even faintest of suspicion that he was going to see the President dying through his camera. Zapruder was a democrat and an admirer of JFK. He decided to go to Dealey Plaza to see the President’s motorcade. He was not going to carry his camera but on insistence from his assistant he did. The film shot by him, which later became famous as Zapruder Fim, contains 486 frames (26.6 seconds) of which 343 frames (18.7 seconds) show the President’s limousine.
By the evening of that day, Zapruder developed three copies of the film. He immediately gave two copies to the Secret Service. Next morning Zapruder sold the print rights of the film to the LIFE magazine for $50,000. Consequently the third copy was sent to the LIFE magazine’s production facilities in Chicago.
Frame 313 of Zapruder film is extremely graphic. It shows the moment when the bullet hit the President and exploded his head. Zapruder said that he had a nightmare about President’s head exploding. After that he put a condition that the Frame 313 will not be made public. He also put a condition that the amount he was making from selling the film would not be disclosed to the public.
Zapruder Film was a key evidence admitted by Warren Commission which was appointed for investigation into the assassination. Eventually it was found that a former US marine named Lee Harvey Oswald killed the President. He fired three shots at Kennedy of which the last one hit his head. Just after 40 minutes of Kennedy assassination, Oswald was arrested for the shooting murder of police officer J. D. Tippit, on a Dallas street. Two days later when Oswald was being shifted to a county jail —he was murder by a local night club owner named Jack Ruby.
Later, Zapruder donated $25,000 to the widow of J.D. Tippit. There are innumerable conspiracy theories surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination.
What do you think of this photograph and the story behind it? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring stories on more iconic photographs for you.