The One about the JFK Documentaries

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Today’s cinema selection goes to…. no, it’s not Oliver Stone’s “JFK” but to filmmakers who have created JFK documentaries that air on television during this time to commemorate the death of President John F. Kennedy.

First, let me say that I enjoyed Oliver Stone’s “JFK” and when it comes to films about JFK that really fired up the conspiracy theories about his death, Stone’s film no doubt brought a firestorm of conspiracy theories but also more attention to November 22, 1963.

But for me, especially before I worked in politics long ago, I was inspired by JFK’s “Profiles in Courage” and then I began to listen to a lot of the speeches he had delivered. I didn’t really follow too much into any extramarital affairs he had, but I was often reading about the Kennedy family and their entrance into politics, as it helped me consider whether or not I wanted to work in the industry when I was younger.

But I can remember watching these documentaries about Camelot, the JFK family and of course the many documentaries about his assassination that I realize that every year that I became interested, it was not a film about JFK I would watch, it was a documentary and every few years, it would be a different documentary.

As for the photo, I do own and have collected JFK memorabilia and these magazines are from 1963. I usually frequent antique stores to look for classic cinema or JFK memorabilia and sure enough, during my travels, I saw an antique store in a small town and had to check what was inside. And sure enough I found magazines from 1963 and a few from November-December 1963 but also other years including, magazines from 1968 (death of Robert F. Kennedy) which I purchased.

After JFK’s death, a lot of the magazine publications released special issues in memory of JFK.

On the top left is a special issue from “LOOK” magazine from 1963 about “Kennedy and his Family in Pictures”, on the top right is the United Press and Chase Studio’s special “202 Photographs: John F. Kennedy – From Childhood to Martyrdom”, “The Saturday Evening Post” issue is from Dec. 14, 1963 in memoriam of JFK and featured Norman Rockwell’s painting of JFK on the front cover (the magazine cost 20 cents at the time), The “Look” issue is from Dec. 31, 1963 and was a “In Memory of John F. Kennedy” issue, the Life issue from 1963 was a “John F. Kennedy Memorial Edition” released not long after his death.

I also have a half dollar of JFK, for those who don’t know, in 1964 the JFK half dollars (Denver-made) were made in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver and they were the most desired piece for collectors. But because the Treasury’s stock of silver were being depleted, President Johnson reduced the amount of silver for coins, so by 1965, the half dollar went from 90% silver to 40% silver. There is a whole story behind the half dollar which you probably can learn more on wikipedia.

A recent card is from Graphique de France of Jackie, JFK and young Caroline from Jacques Lowe’s photo from 1960.

And also a few documentaries and a book added in the photo as well.


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Dennis A. Amith