In 1963

Silence like a cancer grows

Did you know that Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was a response to JFK’s assassination? I didn’t.

Those Kennedy Kards

The now poignant Kennedy Kards deck was published in early 1963 when the public infatuation with JFK had been revitalized by his statesmanship in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

JFK was the Jack of Hearts, First Lady Jackie the Queen of Hearts, and Bobby Kennedy, the King of Diamonds.

“Long live the King, Queen and Jack,” proclaimed an informational card that came with the deck.

Within the year, the Jack of Clubs, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, would be president. Read more

A glimpse of 1963

The current issue of the Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery of 1963, a reminder of the deeply divided United States of America over which JFK presided.

 

Jan. 28, 1963: Jack Ruby pursues an exotic dancer

The business card of the man who silenced Lee Harvey Oswald.

On this day in 1963, Jack Ruby, owner of the Carousel Club in Dallas, returns to Dallas from Wichita, Kansas, where he visited the T-Bone Club to see Gail Raven, an exotic dancer. Read more

Jan. 27, 1963: Oswald thinks about buying a gun

On this day in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald is thinking about buying a gun. The CIA is paying attention to him and his wife.

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Jan. 15, 1963: Jackie Kennedy dazzles at State of the Union

The press coverage of President Kennedy’s State of the Union address, on the morning of Tuesday January 15, 1963, while generally positive could not match the adulation shown his wife and family.

Jackie at the State of the Union address January 1963

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrives at the Capitol to listen to her husband’s State of the Union address on January 14, accompanied the Architect of the Capitol, J. George Stewart. The man gesturing with his had in the background is Secret Service agent Clint Hill who would be at her side when JFK was killed eleven months later. (JFK Library and Museum)

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Jan. 14, 1963: JFK dowplayed Cuba as he prepared for State of the Union

JFK signsOn Monday morning, January 14, President John F. Kennedy woke up prepared to give his third State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. He would never give another.

The past few days had been spent in intense preparation. JFK had shaped the address to focus on managing the Western coalition arrayed against the Soviet Union while proposing a three-year $10 billion tax cut to sweeten prospects for his liberal agenda on Capitol Hill. Read more

Jan. 7, 1963: Under U.S. government eyes, Oswald goes to work

On Monday January 7, 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald reported to his job at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, a graphic arts company in Dallas, where he had started working in October 1962. He would work there through April 1963.

Oswald’s time card

At the time Oswald was quarreling with his wife and corresponding with several leftist organizations. Various agencies of the U.S. government were also keeping track of him. When Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev wondered “What really happened?” in Dallas and doubted that U.S. security forces were so “inept,” he had a point:  When it came to watching Lee Harvey Oswald, the U.S. government was not inept.

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Dec 18 1963: The Times and Post’s stories on the JFK autopsy that wasn’t

The first newspaper accounts of JFK’s autopsy, published on December 18, 1963, gave a consistent account of the gunfire that was widely believed at the time (and became the basis for the postcard from  Dallas reproduced here). But these accounts, published in the Washington Post and New York Times, vary dramatically from what pathologists later said. This version of the gunfire that struck JFK would be abandoned and forgotten by the two newspapers and defenders of the official story, all of whom later settled on a very different ballistic theory.

JFK Postcard

The original story of gunfire that was abandoned.

One possibility for this major discrepancy is that the Post and the Times stories were based on the original autopsy report that was later rewritten surreptitiously.

The Times story came from the Associated Press and was attributed to “a reliable source familiar with the autopsy findings.” The Post story was based on “the unofficial report of pathologists,” The stories were consistent with each other, both asserting that: Read more

In 1963: a blog about the events leading to the assassination of JFK.

I’m Jeff Morley and I am going to start blogging this week about the events of 1963, recalling key developments in the JFK assassination story as they unfolded day by day, fifty years ago. All these posts will appear under the ”In 1963″ tab on the home page navigation.

The plan is to note and explain the most significant events, by date, that led to the assassination of JFK? Email me your suggestions about important dates of 1963 and I’ll add them to the chronology .

For the rest of this month (Dec. 2012), Rex and I will be posting about the events of December 1963 in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination.

Come January 1, 2013. I will start blogging about Read more

Dec 9 1963: FBI report completed, evidence lacking

On December 9, the FBI completed its five-volume report on JFK’s assassination. The 400-page report was long on Lee Harvey Oswald’s background and the evidence tying Oswald to the shooting, and notably short on evidence regarding the assassination itself. Regarding the basic account of the shooting, Warren Commissioner Hale Boggs after reading it remarked, “There’s nothing in there about Governor Connally.”

Boggs’ statement was not literally true, but the lack of explanation of the basic evidence of the shooting was really even worse –for example, the FBI Report never once mentioned Kennedy’s throat wound, the one which Parkland Hospital doctors had called a wound of entrance. The FBI’s “three shots, three hits” scenario ignored the throad wound, and also failed acknowledge the wounding of bystander James Tague. A report that failed to mention all of the victims’ wounds had credibility problems from the start.
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Dec 6 1963: Life magazine addresses JFK “rumors” with bad reporting

The national media, much less diverse and fragmented in 1963 than today, joined the campaign to assuage doubts and dispel “rumors” about JFK’s assassination. Pollsters were already finding that a majority of Americans suspected conspiracy. Life Magazine’s Dec. 6 issue was devoted primarily to photo coverage of the Kennedy funeral, but also included a piece by Paul Mandel entitled “End to Nagging Rumors: The Six Critical Seconds.”

Life Magazine

The article began with a quote from Dallas DA Henry Wade: “I would say without any doubt that he is the killer”, and referred to Oswald as “the assassin.”

Life Magazine had earlier purchased rights to Abraham Zapruder’s famous home movie of the murder in Dealey Plaza, and in a November 29 issue had shown frames from that film in black-and-white. Now the Mandel article tried to reconcile the film with Oswald’s guilt.
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Dec 5 1963: Warren Commission meets, urged to address ‘rumors’

On this day in 1963, the Warren Commission had its first meeting behind closed doors in Washington. As the seven commissioners began to discuss how to proceed, they grappled with the question of whether they should endorse the FBI’s upcoming report on JFK’s murder, or conduct their own investigation. After some discussion, they chose the latter.

The public was demanding explanation of the incredible and baffling events of Nov. 22-24. The FBI’s findings were already being leaked to the press; Asst. Attorney General Katzenbach said the FBI had denied leaking but “I can’t think of anybody else it could have come from.”
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Nov 29 1963: Warren Commission announced

Once President Johnson decided to back the idea of a Presidential Commission, he moved swiftly. By Friday, November 29, his selections had solidified, reluctant participants arm-wrestled into service, and the Commission was announced. It was to be headed by the most reluctant participant of all, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, and the story of how Johnson got him on board is revealing.

Warren Commission

First, the names had to be run by the all-powerful FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Johnson was coy, asking if Hoover was “familiar with this proposed group they’re trying to put together?”
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Nov 28 1963: LBJ backs Commission to investigate the assassination

Three days earlier, President Johnson had resisted the idea of a Presidential Commission inquiry into President Kennedy’s assassination, telling Joe Alsop “we don’t send in a bunch of carpetbaggers” and “the President must not inject himself into, ah, local killings.” To which Alsop had replied “I agree with that, but in this case it does happen to be the killing of the President.” Read more