Tom Hanks asks a priest to do what JFK’s doctor would not: bless the lone gunman theory

Zac Efron will star in JFK flick, “Parkland”

The crew of “Parkland,” Tom Hanks’ forthcoming JFK film, recently met with a campus priest at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, as part of their effort to capture the reality of JFK’s death.

According to reliable Hollywood news reports, Hanks’ movie is based on the theory that President Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman. With the public widely skeptical of that conclusion, the producers evidently believe that the story of a priest who viewed JFK’s body shortly after his death will enhance the movie’s credibility.

Will it? The St. Edward’s University student news site reported:

“Rev. Louis Brusatti was contacted by the makers of the film because of his connections to Rev. Oscar Huber, the late pastor who anointed Kennedy’s body shortly after his assassination in 1963.”

But if the “Parkland” producers want historic verisimilitude about the condition of JFK’s body after his death, they should get also talk to people who know the story of Dr. George Burkley, JFK’s personal physician.

Unlike Rev. Huber and Rev. Brusatti, Dr. Burkley was acquainted with President Kennedy when he was still alive. Burkley also attended JFK’s autopsy on the night of November 22, 1963. Yet, oddly enough, he was never interviewed by the Warren Commission.

Why would U.S. government investigators not interview such a knowledgable witness? Probably because Burkley was unwilling to publicly endorse the Commission’s lone gunman theory.

Burkley’s story cast doubt on the whole premise of Parkland, the movie. Zac Efron plays one of the doctors at Parkland Hospital where JFK was declared dead. But who will play the role of JFK’s doctor in the film?

No word on that yet.

For more on the curious story of Dr. Burkley, see Rex Bradford’s excellent essay, “The MIssing Physician” at Mary

For more on “Parkland” the movie, watch this YouTube video about Zac Efron’s role.


12 thoughts on “Tom Hanks asks a priest to do what JFK’s doctor would not: bless the lone gunman theory”

  1. Excerpt from article which mentions Shirley Martin’s experience with Father Huber:

    “In one of the most incredible acts of homegrown intelligence ever seen, she secretly recorded her conversation with Huber where he described a bullet hole right above JFK’s left eyebrow. Father Huber, of course, denied ever talking to Shirley. That’s when Shirley went ballistic and went public with her tape. Then, she had Penn Jones publish an open letter editorial in the Midlothian Mirror in her name calling out the priest as the liar that he was. At the end of her 2/24/67 letter to Weisberg she wrote in longhand this most poignant note:
    “This hardly seems important anymore – however, it is for the record. God alone (and Huber) knows what Father Huber really saw – but I know what he told me!”

    If you need to see my references let me know.

  2. Just FYI about Dr George Burkley and the HSCA memo that states the Dr believed “… that others besides Oswald must have participated (in the assassination”…

    A colleague and I contacted the Illig law firm last year to ask if any files remained from Illig relating to Burkley while he was a client of the firm. Unfortunately the firm replied that all the records had been destroyed over 20 years ago…

  3. Bill – I think you make an interesting point. Peter Dale Scott believes that the plotters planned that the government would be terrified about the prospect of war, once the Mexico City stuff came out, which would lead to a cover up. I think this is too clever, and tend to agree that the plotters wanted to engineer an invasion of Cuba. This is a bit speculative, obviously. But the plotters could get revenge against JFK and get their invasion in one fell swoop. Instead, LBJ hastened to cover the whole thing up and persuade the public that Oswald did it and was a lone nut.

    We know the military was chomping at the bit not only to invade Cuba but to fight the Soviets. As James K. Galbraith has pointed out, some even wanted to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the USSR. Late 1963 would have been perfect timing for such a strike – the Soviets had virtually no ICBMs capable of hitting the US (the missiles were not in Cuba anymore either).

    LBJ must have been terrified when he took over the presidency. He may very well have thought that the military was planning a strike on Cuba/USSR and thus he moved quickly to cut off any justification for it. He then placated them by giving them the Vietnam war (NSAM 273), only a few days after the assassination. LBJ told Ken Galbraith that if he didn’t give the military the Vietnam War that he “wouldn’t believe” what they would do.

    It was a very dark time indeed, but it wasn’t unknown outside of Washington. After all, the movie Dr. Strangelove came out the next year.

    1. Although I have my suspicions about LBJ and consider that he very well may have helped orchestrate a plot to kill JFK, as he would benefit by taking the presidency, I also think you guys (Jason and Billl) might be on to something when you mention how there may have been two factions involved in the assassination. Clearly, Johnson did NOT invade Cuba, nor did he launch a first strike against the USSR with nuclear missiles, something General Curtis LeMay had advocated doing. I think Lyndon tried to ride the shaky horse of the military and intelligence, while at the same time corralling it from doing anything overtly dangerous, as you both surmise. This theory fits my overall feeling about humans and power: it’s not black and white, all good or all bad, but vying factions, use of blackmail when possible to shut down your opposition, combined often with some kind of bargain or deal hashed out, with no one faction getting everything they want, but where mutual gain can be achieved they maximize that gain. I think LBJ was crafty and capable of real evil, but he wasn’t stupid, and he wouldn’t fall for an argument made by someone like Curtis LeMay.

      It’s interesting to me as well to look at people like Robert McNamara, who clearly liked the Kennedys (he made himself available to RFK in 1968), but probably knew in rough form what happened in Dallas and in Bethesda Naval Hospital, but for the sake of career advancement kept their mouths shut. The Kennedy family may have been blackmailed too. Imagine Lyndon and J. Edgar, now in power by 1964, telling Robert Kennedy that if he said anything or did anything threatening to them, they would release all the sexual files on both JFK and Bobby, thus permanently derailing any chance for Bobby to run for the presidency or even a senate seat. I think this threat was used to keep RFK silent, and would explain why Bobby said to one of his aides that he couldn’t do anything about his brother’s assassination until HE became president.

    2. “LBJ must have been terrified when he took over the presidency.” LBJ told 3-4 people in real time on 11/22/63 that it was a “conspiracy” or an “international conspiracy” that murdered JFK. In fact, he was so hysterical over this (play acting in my view) that Gen. Godfrey McHugh had to literally slap him to compose him.

      The LBJ calls his tax attorney – in the midst of this “international conspiracy” to sell his “goddamn Halliburton stock.” Then he calls Abe Fortas to see what Don Reynolds had to say about his epic corruption at the closed meeting of the Senate Rules Committee. LBJ was scared all right – scared he was about to be politically executed.

      Then LBJ – a hawk who during the Cuban Missile Crisis wants to bomb Cuba – spents the next few months telling everyone behind the scenes it was Castro or Diem blowback that killed JFK.

      Public mood was not supportive of a Cuban invasion; rather after Oswald was murdered the air of conspiracy was justifiably in the air. LBJ’s good friend J. Edgar Hoover was covering up the JFK assassination within hours & LBJ and his aides were managing the Dallas situation insisting their was no conspiracy, meanwhile telling key government players it was a Castro plot.

      1. Robert – I do think there was some kind of conspiracy. But I’m not sure the LBJ stuff is really all that credible. If LBJ really had wanted war, why not play up the Cuban connection? It was all gift wrapped. I agree that LBJ was a hawk and continued to be a hawk in many ways after he became president. But perhaps it’s one thing to advocate a course that would lead to nuclear war when you are simply an adviser, and quite another when you have the ability to press buttons.

        Again, I’m not saying I know for sure, and LBJ was a very cynical man. But in terms of the evidence that’s out there, I think you could explain it in a number of other more innocent ways.

        1. LBJ didn’t want war. He wanted power. He gave them the Vietnam War to stay in power. One of the first calls he made from air force one was to his stock broker – J. Waddy Bullion to find out how the market was doing in relation to his Brown and Root stocks. Just what everybody does when facing nuclear destruction! Ha. Him and Connally were the only two politicians who publicly stated belief in a conspiracy. Why? Because they were populist politicians and when the whole country believes the President was killed by a conspiracy, why then so do I dagnabit!

          1. What is your source on Bullion? I thought he was a lawyer, and that Johnson had called him in regards his taking the oath of office, but was unable to reach him.

  4. In my opinion, Dr Robert McClelland is a most credible and convincing witness.

    Dr McClelland was present in the operating room at Parkland Hospital, and had a “vivid and close look” at the President’s head wound.

    Dr McClelland has always maintained that the wound at the rear of JFK’s head was an exit wound.
    He gave a radio interview in 2009, in which he stated:

    “That huge wound in the back of the head, that was an exit wound…That was my personal observation of that”

    He also goes on to talk about the first time he saw the autopsy photos in 1988, and his disbelief as it showed no wound in the right back part of his head, when what he believed he had seen was a “massive hole in the back of the head, at least 5 inches in diameter”

    I feel his credibility has stood up well over the course of time, and listening to the radio interview he sounded like an intelligent man who was convinced about what he had seen.
    An excellent witness.

    1. America’s establishment institutions including media are never going to reveal this country’s dark side, the banana republic coup that ended JFK’s life. The cover-up has always been about protecting the US government’s international credibility and reputation. It’s an image that would be destroyed forever if the assassination led back to the military-security-intelligence apparatus.

      I’ve come to believe that much of the cover-up, especially in the first few days, was the result of a determined strategy – by a very rattled civilian government – to prevent military propagandists from controlling the narrative and potentially starting a nuclear war. Next time you contemplate the possibility of brain substitution, or ponder the difference between the photo of JFK’s neatly groomed ‘cowlick’ wound and F8, or wonder how the throat entry wound at Parkland became, unassailably, an exit wound, try this for perspective. Perhaps there were two powerful government factions vying for control of the story in the first few days after the assassination. One faction, those responsible, wanted the hit to look like a sophisticated plot involving multiple shooters and Dirty Commies. The other faction successfully prevented that carefully-scripted (and dangerous) conclusion by manipulating the evidence to blame a lone assassin.

  5. “I would not care to be quoted on that.”

    – JFK’s White House physician Dr. George Burkley, when asked during a 1967 oral history whether he agreed with the Warren Report’s conclusion about the number of bullets that hit President Kennedy.

    Ben Holmes: “The failure to call some of these people is completely inexplicable… no Warren Commission defender yet has given a reasonable hypothesis to account for why the closest non-limo eyewitness, who was also a police officer, wasn’t questioned. Warren Commission defenders are also mute when Admiral Burkley is mentioned… there’s no possible reason why the person who was not only the President’s personal physician, and who was the only medically trained person to be present at *BOTH* Parkland and Bethesda, and who actually filled out the death certificate … wasn’t questioned.”

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