The short clip, shot on 8mm film by a 15-year-old student, provides a rare, high-quality color close-up of John and Jackie Kennedy as they arrived in Dallas. The Sixth Floor Museum put the film on display for public viewing on Presidents Day.
Kennedy was killed Nov. 22, 1963, as his motorcade made its way through downtown Dallas. The footage shot earlier that day by William Ward Warren mainly shows Air Force One and Air Force Two arriving, and briefly features the Kennedys making their way through the crowd at the airport.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles Kennedy’s life and death and is located in the old book depository building from where Lee Harvey Oswald fired at the president’s motorcade.
He said he transferred the footage to a VCR tape about 15 years ago but largely forgot about it, keeping it hidden on top of his grandfather clock.
The final few seconds of the three-minute film show JFK passing through the crowd, smiling at cameras. Jacqueline Kennedy follows, carrying a bouquet of red roses given to her by local officials.
The clip offers interesting historical perspective, showing the suits and dresses of the day and the old-style TV cameras. It briefly cuts to a shot of students flying a Texas flag and a Confederate flag.
The event was captured by local black-and-white TV cameras. There were numerous other cameras at Dallas’ Love Field that day, but most of that footage hasn’t been released to the public, Mack said.