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Newfound film shows JFK before assassination

November 21, 1996
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly 33 years after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, a three-minute amateur film showing some of the final minutes of the president's life was made public Thursday.

Friday is the 33rd anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. The film of events during Kennedy's trip to Dallas on November 21 and 22, 1963, was made by his aide, Dave Powers. It does not show the fatal shooting.

Lost Film movie icon

Small screen version (22 sec. /728K QuickTime movie)
Large screen version (22 sec. /778K QuickTime movie)

Powers, who was riding in a U.S. Secret Service car directly behind the presidential limousine during the Dallas motorcade, ran out of film before the motorcade entered Dealey Plaza, where the deadly shots were fired.

But the color film does show Kennedy at the beginning of the ill-fated motorcade. The film was released by the Assassination Records Review Board, which is mandated by federal law to identify, secure and make available all records related to Kennedy's assassination.

Powers, now 84, began working for Kennedy in 1946, when the Democrat was elected to Congress, and was a special assistant to the president when he accompanied Kennedy to Dallas.

"I started taking pictures when we left Love Field," Powers said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday. He took his last pictures at 12:17 p.m., the time identifiable on a clock behind first lady Jackie Kennedy, he said. Kennedy was shot about 15 minutes later, about 12:30 p.m.

Powers said he lost the film, but interest in it was renewed recently when the review board saw an article Powers had written in an old Life magazine.

The article included a "couple of clips" from the film. Board members wanted to know where the pictures came from.

That prompted a search of papers that Powers had left to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, where Powers served as curator for 30 years before retiring two years ago.

"It was in with all my papers and we could never find the damned thing," he said. The film eventually will become part of the JFK Collection at the National Archives.


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