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    Book Description:

    As the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches, the traumatic aspects of the tragedy continue to haunt our perceptions of the 1960s. One reason for this lies in the home movie of the incident filmed by Abraham Zapruder, a bystander who became one of the twentieth century's most important accidental documentarians.

    The first book devoted exclusively to the topic, Zaprudered traces the journey of the film and its effect on the world's collective imagination. Providing insightful perspective as an observer of American culture, Norwegian media studies scholar Øyvind Vågnes begins by analyzing three narratives that are projections of Zapruder's images: performance group Ant Farm's video The Eternal Frame, Don DeLillo's novel Underworld, and an episode from Seinfeld. Subsequent topics he investigates include Dealey Plaza's Sixth Floor Museum, Zoran Naskovski's installation Death in Dallas, assassin video games, and other artifacts of the ways in which the footage has made a lasting impact on popular culture and the historical imagination. Vågnes also explores the role of other accidental documentarians, such as those who captured scenes of 9/11.

    Zapruder's footage has never yielded a conclusive account of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Zaprudered thoroughly examines both this historical enigma and its indelible afterimages in our collective imagination.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-73551-4
    Subjects: Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)

    The motorcade turns onto houston street, and in the backseat of one of the cars sits President John F. Kennedy, smiling and waving to the crowds that have gathered along the road, his wife next to him. The car disappears behind a road sign, then appears again, and the president seems to be fumbling with his collar, clutching his throat, while Jackie Kennedy is watching with increasing attention (Fig. I.1). He glides slowly to the left, and then his upper body is jolted violently, his head exploding in a spurt of blood, and his wife crawls across the back of...

  5. ONE Owning, Showing, Telling
    (pp. 24-45)

    In the afternoon of november 25, 1963, the day of Kennedy’s funeral, Hughes Rudd and Richard C. Hotelett were speaking on CBS Radio when Rudd suddenly exclaimed, “Dick, ah, Dan Rather just came into the studio.” Rudd went on to ask Rather, “What do you have that’s new—anything?” Struggling to find the proper words, Rather began to explain that he had just attended a projection of the Zapruder film. “I . . . have just returned from seeing a . . . a movie . . . which clearly shows in some great detail the exact moments preceding, the...

  6. TWO Eternally Framed
    (pp. 46-68)

    The camera zooms in quickly on a bronze bust of Kennedy, and we hear a man declaring solemnly with a distinct British accent: “Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States has been the victim of an assassination.” Then there is a deep, collective sigh of disbelief as a rather poor black-and-white copy of the Zapruder film dated “November 22, 1963” fills the screen. Even if what we are seeing is clearly video, the sound of a projector can be heard vaguely in the background, and the dating lends a strange archival or even archeological feel to the scene,...

  7. THREE Inside the Zapruder Museum
    (pp. 69-78)

    The episode takes up only three to four of the more than eight hundred pages of Don DeLillo’s Underworld, yet a reader will never put away the book without remembering it: a painter and artist, Klara Sax, follows a film connoisseur, Miles Lightman, to the apartment of a video artist he knows; a crowd of visitors is sitting on the floor, on folding chairs, and on a sofa in an apartment filled with television sets. From all the screens flicker the images of an amateur film that lasts less than half a minute yet never seems to end. The “rare...

  8. FOUR No Hugging, No Learning
    (pp. 79-90)

    Jerry seinfeld is talking to his friends Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) about a new friendship he has struck up with Keith Hernandez (making a cameo appearance), and at the mention of the baseball legend’s name, Kramer recoils; simultaneously, a wild-eyed and exasperated Newman (Wayne Knight) appears in the open door to the apartment. “I hate Keith Hernandez!” exclaims Kramer.¹ Foaming with contempt, Newman adds: “I despise him!” Then the two begin to spin a wild tale. On June 14, 1987, they attended a baseball game at Shea Stadium, where the Mets lost against the Philadelphia...

  9. FIVE Pleasing to the Eye
    (pp. 91-101)

    A copy of the zapruder film is projected, and then large color prints of individual frames are exhibited in the room. Reproductions of Andy Warhol’s silk print Orange Marilyn (1964) and Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph The Steerage (1907) are then shown, the latter of which is compared with frame 182 of the Zapruder film. “The colors are beautiful,” Steve Johnson observes about the frame. “The ever-familiar hues of the tragedy—the pink of the First Lady’s outfit, the red of the wounds, the green of the grass, the bluish-black of the Presidential limousine—would not have been better if selected by...

  10. SIX Death in Dallas
    (pp. 102-117)

    Two or three people are seated on the floor, four on a bench in the back, and a couple lean against one of the black walls. They have all drawn aside a curtain and stepped into a small, dark room where a video projection provides the only light. The images are all too familiar. Once again, Kennedy smilingly waves to the Dallas crowds from the motorcade, unaware that the moment of his impending death—the very moment the audience is awaiting—is only seconds away. However, Zapruder’s images are not accompanied by the usual mélange of breathless radio and television...

  11. SEVEN Oswald’s Window
    (pp. 118-135)

    “We’re now going to go into the kennedy museum and talk to the curator,” the Artist-President says, waving to a small group of bystanders from the stairs to the Dal-Tex Building in Dealey Plaza. Flanked by his wife, he enters what was a Kennedy museum in 1975. As he walks into the lobby, several visitors turn to look, and many are puzzled by what they see. There is much muttering. The Artist-President walks over to the front desk, turns to the scattered crowds of guests, and addresses them: “I want to thank you all for coming to the Kennedy museum....

  12. EIGHT Traveling Images
    (pp. 136-152)

    In slow motion, a limousine guarded by two policemen on motorcycles arrives at a park in Los Angeles, and out of the car steps Bill Gates (Steve Sires). An opening title suggests that we are in Los Angeles, and that what we are going to see took place on December 2, 1999; the sound track, consisting of a fragmentary mix of journalese, hints that a “tragedy” is about to ensue. Carrying a large cardboard check, Gates smilingly walks to a podium, waving to the crowd that has gathered. Suddenly, a gunshot hits his shoulder, and he falls to his knees;...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 153-184)
    (pp. 185-200)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 201-211)