To commemorate six decades since the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, 72 Films has produced a new One Day In America series, JFK: One Day In America, for National Geographic.
The three-part series produces a comprehensive account of “that tragic moment in American history and the ripples that followed.” The limited series premieres Nov 5th on National Geographic with three back-to-back episodes and streams on Disney+ and Hulu after.
The series is made by Emmy Award-winning 72 Films’ David Glover along with Academy Award-winning filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, the series is made in official collaboration with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. With exclusive permission to colourise the museum’s news footage archives for the first time, the landmark docu-series weaves archival footage with key testimony from some of the last surviving witnesses to create an immersive, minute-by-minute examination of that pivotal day that forever changed American history.
JFK: One Day In America features newly colourised footage and testimony from those on the ground in Dallas that day, some of whom are sharing their stories for the first time in a documentary. The newly colourised footage includes that of Lee Harvey Oswald when he is in police custody and when he is shot while being transferred to the county jail. Contributors sharing their emotional testimony for the first time in a documentary include Peggy Simpson, the only female Associated Press reporter working in Texas in 1963 and an eyewitness to Oswald’s shooting; Rusty Robbins, a Dallas police officer who knew Jack Ruby, the man who murdered Oswald; and Bill Mercer, a local reporter for KRLD who was the first to inform suspect Oswald that he had been charged with the president’s murder.
National Geographic also interviewed Clint Hill, a United States Secret Service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy, who famously jumped onto the moving car and tried to help the First Lady after shots were fired; Secret Service agent Paul Landis, who was on his first-ever presidential motorcade during the incident; White House correspondent Sid Davis, who was in the room at Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in on-board Air Force One shortly after the assassination; Buell Frazier, who drove Oswald to work that morning at the Texas School Book Depository; Dallas shoe store worker John Brewer,who helped law enforcement find Lee Harvey Oswald; Ruth Paine, a friend of Oswald’s wife, Marina, who lived with her at the time of the assassination; and the closest living civilian witnesses to the shooting, Gayle and Bill Newman.
Throughout the three episodes, viewers will also hear police radio recordings from on the ground on Nov. 22, 1963, as law enforcement searched for the shooter. This includes dispatch recordings from the moment Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit was shot to the search around the Texas Theater when Oswald was soon arrested. Additionally, live news broadcasts are featured over the course of each episode, echoing the fear, confusion and sadness that quickly swept the country in the wake of former President Kennedy and Officer Tippit’s deaths.
“JFK: One Day In America offers audiences a unique chance to hear from some of the last surviving witnesses of the momentous events of November 22, 1963,” said Tom McDonald, EVP of Global Factual and Unscripted Content, National Geographic. “Many of these witnesses are now in their 80s and 90s, so this may be the final chance to capture their accounts and hear their testimony. National Geographic aspires to be a brand of record for historic events – the interviews featured in the series are a unique body of work which shed fresh light on what it felt like to be caught up in the events of that day.”
The series chronicles in real-time not only the day JFK was assassinated but also the days surrounding it, including Nov. 22, when he arrived in Dallas; Nov. 24, when Oswald was shot; and JFK’s funeral on Nov. 25.
“This series is for all generations — those who remember staring at their television in disbelief in 1963 and those less familiar with former President John F. Kennedy and his assassination,” said David Glover, executive producer for 72 Films. “By bringing history to life through this unbelievable real-time footage and firsthand stories from those who lived this tragedy, our hope is for viewers to experience this moment that changed the course of U.S. history and better understand its impact.”
“Revisiting these tragic but impactful events in great detail is a privilege but always a challenge as we work to convey not just the historical impact, but most importantly, the human experience,” said executive producers T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay. “We are incredibly grateful to those who shared their intimate and emotional stories from that day in the series and couldn’t think of a better partner to handle with such care than National Geographic. Thank you to our friends at 72 Films for helping to create this essential time capsule and to The Sixth Floor Museum for such in-depth access to its incredible archive.”
JFK: One Day In America is produced by 72 Films for National Geographic. For 72 Films, David Glover is executive producer, and Ella Wright is series director. Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin executive-produced the series. For National Geographic, Carolyn Payne is executive producer, and Tom McDonald is executive vice president, Global Factual and Unscripted Content.
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