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« Big D | Main | Truth in a Lie: Forty Years After the 18½ Minute Gap »

11 December 2013


R Kirkpatrick

Mr Scearce's analysis is arguably supported by the Robert Croft photo of the president's limousine and passengers. It was taken across the street from Zapruder, at the time of frame Z160, according to Stephan Barber in "A New Look at the Zapruder Film." In the photograph Mrs Kennedy looks directly into Croft's camera. When I first saw this striking photo, I thought her face to be blank or frowning, a "microexpression" of her unhappiness at the ordeal of public political parading, which she was known to dislike. The Texas trip was the first of its kind she had attended in years. She had a smile riveted to her face most of the time in Dallas, no doubt to comply with her husband's wish that she be seen and admired by spectators. That required a lot of polite smiling to make it seem she was happy to be there, the unhappy lot of politicians' spouses. (In the limousine he had repeatedly told her not to wear dark glasses despite the harsh sunlight, that her face not be masked.)

The phony smile vanishes at Z160 in Croft's photo. Scearce's analysis prompts a look to the left side of the photo, showing Governor Connally's expression unmistakably as a frown. Unlike Mrs Kennedy, he was a political animal with every reason to be beaming in the company of the president of the United States.

In this "reading" of the photo, under the circumstances explained by Searce, the expressions on both Connally's and Mrs Kennedy's faces may express their unhappiness, not at parading, but that they are being shot at. Occulted by Mrs Kennedy is the president's profile; the visible part of his left cheek is clearly contracted. That may indicate the smile that Scearce suggests, but the Zapruder film is not clear enough to justify the observation. If the president is not smiling with relief that he has not been shot, the logical alternative is that, sharing the reaction of his wife and Connally at the rifle report, he was grimacing.

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