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NBC'S FIRST LIVE BULLETINS AND LIVE COVERAGE OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
David Brinkley, Chet Huntley, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Frank McGee, John F. Kennedy, Irving R. Levine, Merriman Smith, Charles Murphy, Don Pardo, Barry Goldwater, Richard Valeriani, Charles Brehm, Bill Ryan, Robert MacNeil, Jeff Pond, Ed Silverman, Tom Whalen, Phil Gries, Ron Simon, Andrew K. Franklin, Bill Mackey, Samuel Brylawski
Gries preserved lost NBC coverage of JFK assassination
NBC television recorded over 70 hours and 25 minutes of coverage on
President John F. Kennedy's assassination beginning on November 22nd
and ending on November 25th, 1963.
However, NBC failed to record the first two NBC television
bulletins on Nov. 22, the first a local WNBC (NYC) TV bulletin, voiced by Don Pardo, at 1:45:03 to 1:45:30pm EST (27 seconds) & then an NBC NATIONAL bulletin at 1:46:45 - 1:47:53pm EST (68 seconds), and then subsequently an initial 3 minutes & 53 seconds of continuous coverage by Frank McGee, Chet Huntley and Bill Ryan, commencing at 1:53:12 to 1:57:05pm EST, before NBC TELEVISON began rolling 2" Quad Video Tape.
Amazingly, when there existed over 50 million television sets in the USA, ONLY Phil Gries, from his Brooklyn New York home, was in a position to audio tape record first NBC television coverage of these initial world changing historic broadcast events off the air, at the moment when the television generation came of age.
The Kennedy Assassination coverage on television set a new standard for how breaking national stories could be delivered on TV. It was only in September 1963, that networks expanded their nightly news programs from 15 minutes to half-hour long broadcasts. Within an hour of the shooting, 68 percent of Americans had heard the news; within two hours, 92 percent had heard, and half of them found out from TV or radio.
NBC TV clocked the most on air hours (70 hours 25 minutes) during its four day coverage, followed by ABC TV (60 hours), and CBS TV (55 hours). CBS used 600 employees, ABC used 500 employees, and NBC used 400 employees to televise their coverage all at an estimated cost of $225 million by todays value.
Since 1963 the Television industry has greatly refined and expanded its abilities to deliver big and breaking stories, but with competition from the internet and social media, it will unlikely ever again hold a nation's attention the way it did that November weekend in 1963, when the first NBC TV bulletins broadcast by Don Pardo were to be the only historic recordings extant in broadcast history, recorded by one individual recording those historic moments on a tape recorder at his home in Brooklyn, New York.
Phil Gries, founder and owner of Archival Television Audio Inc. used "American" Brand 1/4" reel to reel audio tape, recording, direct line, on his 1959 WEBCOR Stereo 1/4" reel to reel audiotape recorder (speed 3&3/4" IPS) which was connected to a 1949 ANDREA television set during the actual live NBC television broadcast.
These historic soundtracks were donated by Phil Gries to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA, in 1995 (through archivist Bill Mackey), to Sam Brylawski representing The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. in 1997, and to archivist Ron Simon representing The Paley Center for Media in 2006.
In addition, Archival Television Audio, Inc. duplicated a copy
of these peerless bulletins and initial coverage to a stunned Don Pardo in 1998 on his 80th birthday...now confirming by ear and believing that a broadcast recording of his bulletins exist and not just as a memory. His May 1998 phone conversation with Phil Gries, recounting his memories announcing the first NBC TV bulletins can be heard on You Tube and on the ATA website (www.atvaudio.com)
Page at URL above contains letter from Gries describing how he taped
the first four minutes of the NBC coverage. NBC did not archive this
portion of its coverage, but Gries taped it and preserved it.
In November 2013 these peerless recordings were donated by Phil Gries to Andrew K. Franklin, Senior Producer of NBC NIGHTLY NEWS for use on their 50th anniversary telecast, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (November 22, 2013).
David Von Pein was given these recordings to be used on his definitive JFK website (http://dvp-video-audio-archive.blogspot.com) and uploaded to you tube in 2013.
These first live NBC News Bulletins by Don Pardo would precede regular program cancellations and continuous NBC live coverage of this 20th century tragedy (the assassination of President John F. Kennedy) for the next three and a half days. The first two bulletins are heard. Bulletin number one (Local in NYC) is broadcast at 1:45:03 PM EST and airs for 27 seconds. Bulletin number two (National) is broadcast at 1:46:45 and airs for 68 seconds, followed by the first two hours of uninterrupted News coverage with NBC anchors Bill Ryan, Chet Huntley and Frank McGee. Seventy-one hours and twenty-seven minutes of continuous coverage begins with voice only on NBC at 1:53:12 PM, developing into picture and voice at 1:57:05 PM with CBS and ABC both starting their live continuous live on air person coverage at 2:00pm EST. The American Broadcasting Company was the first to go on air (RADIO) at 1:36:50pm EST voicing a bulletin by Don Gardiner. Like CBS TV, ABC TV came on with their first on air TV bulletin with logo slide being shown at 1:40 PM, and 1:41pm respectively. ABC would further have three more Bulletins all four voiced by Ed Silverman between 1:41 and 2:00pm before going live with video and tape rolling at 2:00pm. NBC TV actually went live with video and audio at 1:57:05 pm and as confirmed on Phil Gries' audio air check recorded off the air on to his television set with adjoining tape recorder, we hear a station identification BEEP at 2:00 pm (further provenance of this tape's authentic origin) which is NOT heard on the extant NBC TV recorded direct feed video tape that we are all familiar with and which resides in the National Archives. Furthermore, the Gries original audio tape has additional recorded audio material NOT originally duplicated and given as donations detailed above, or ever distributed or shared by anyone.
There are live telephone reports from correspondent Robert MacNeil in Dallas, Texas. There are additional reports from Charles Murphy, David Brinkley and Marvin Agronsky. There is live coverage from the United Nations where the Secretary General expresses sorrow to all members of the Kennedy Family and to all the people in the United States. One minute of silence is observed by all delegates from the 111 member nations. There is continuing NBC coverage from station WBAP, the affiliate in Fort Worth, Texas with Newsman Tom Whalen. Eyewitness Charles Brehm recounts what he saw. There is the first live overseas report from Irving R. Levine from Rome and live coverage from outside the NBC building at Rockefeller Center, with its Mobile Unit searching out reactions from New Yorkers with reporter Jeff Pond. Correspondent Richard Valeriani reports live from the White House. There are statements from Senator Barry Goldwater and from former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It took an incident of this proportion to catapult television into the forefront as the world's number one communicator of news and special events. Television had come of age.
"FOUR DAYS: THE HISTORICAL RECORD OF THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY" compiled by The United Press International (Published by American Heritage Publishing Company, copyright 1964) details (reproductions of his teletype bulletins) United Press International's Merriman Smith, dean of the White House correspondents, description of his frantic rush to call the Dallas UPI bureau and communicate first reports of the JFK shooting. It was his UPI copy that came off an NBC Teletype machine in a newsroom in NYC that was read by Don Pardo.
Because in 1963 it took an NBC camera 11 minutes to become "active," transmitting a visual signal, an NBC Bulletin Card was viewed at first by those tuning in to this station. It was chaotic on NBC where staff announcer Don Pardo made the first mention of the shooting. News reporter Frank McGee was pressed into service and was receiving his information over the phone from correspondent Robert McNeil in Dallas.
TRIVIA NOTE: NBC's staff announcer Don Pardo's first local WNBC-TV bulletin interrupted the telecast of a Bachelor Father re-run which originally aired on May 26, 1960) Season 3, Episode 35 titled 'Bentley and the Beach Bum.'
NBC's television coverage, although informative, did not match the gravitas of Walter Cronkite at his desk at CBS Television, who would be visually seen on the air beginning at 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time, informing the country of the death of the president as he removed his glasses and struggled with his emotions.
Surprisingly, in the end, more people tuned into NBC’s coverage, anchored by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, than Walter Cronkite and the CBS crew. It would be several years before Cronkite was able to overtake NBC’s popular anchor duo in the ratings.
The first two NBC Television Bulletins (the first local WNBC, and the second National NBC) and the initial 3:53 seconds of continuous NATIONAL coverage commencing at 1:53:05pm EST was never recorded by NBC or by any other known broadcasting station or broadcasting archive. Amazingly, the only existing broadcast recording in the world of NBC'S TV historic television transmission was audio recorded off the air by Phil Gries, founder of Archival Television Audio, Inc., viewing his 1949 Andrea television at that moment, and fortuitously pushing the record button on his Webcor Stereophonic 1/4" reel to reel audio tape recorder during the actual live Television Broadcast.
To date, no other audio or video has ever surfaced documenting these moments, an incredible fact since 50 million American homes approximating 200 million viewers were tuned in to their television set comprehending that the President of the United States was shot in Dallas. In today's digital world where every minutia event is recorded and preserved, it is mind boggling to this archivist that I uniquely recorded a television broadcast related to an assassination of an American President, at a time in 1963, when there were over 55 million television sets in the homes of people living in the United States.
These historic sound tracks have been donated to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA, The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and The Paley Center for Media in NY and LA. The November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy NBC-TV assassination bulletins and the initial lost 3:53 seconds of NBC live coverage are the most significant treasure in our archive. They personify just a part of the many thousands of other Archival Television Audio original, off the air, television soundtracks which represent the only record of a specific TV broadcast known to exist. Archival Television Audio, Inc. is the largest repository in the world collecting, preserving and archiving "lost" vintage TELEVISION BROADCASTS surviving as AUDIO ONLY, focusing and representing the years 1946 thru 1982. The ATA website (www.atvaudio.com) initiated in 2002 offers the public access to searching for tens of thousands of programs by title, performer, and date.
TIMELINE of the John F. Kennedy assassination
Television and Radio Coverage
(from 1:36 p.m. EST - 2:00 p.m. EST)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The first national news bulletin of the shooting came over the ABC Radio Network at 12:36:50pm CST/1:36:50pm EST. The most complete recording of the initial ABC bulletins came from WRUL, a New York-based station transmitting to Latin America and Europe on shortwave, which was featuring a program of MOR album music when the shooting took place. At the time, Doris Day's recording of "Hooray for Hollywood", from the 1937 musical film Hollywood Hotel, was playing, when newscaster Don Gardiner broke in with the developments:
We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin from ABC Radio. [Takes a short pause] Here is a special bulletin from Dallas, Texas: (Reading UPI bulletin) 'THREE SHOTS WERE FIRED AT PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S MOTORCADE TODAY IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS, TEXAS.' This is ABC Radio. To repeat: 'in Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade today.' The president now making a two-day speaking tour of Texas. We're going to stand by for more details on the incident in Dallas. Stay tuned to your ABC station for further details. Now, we return you to your regular program.
4 minutes after ABC's radio bulletin, CBS was the first to break the news over television at 12:40pm CST/1:40pm EST. The network interrupted its live production broadcast of "As the World Turns" with a "CBS News Bulletin" bumper slide and Walter Cronkite, reporting from the CBS Radio flash booth, filed an audio-only report. Immediate live video of Cronkite wasn't possible at that time, as no camera in the CBS newsroom was active and ready. TV cameras of that era used image orthicon tubes which took approximately 20 minutes to warm up.
"Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas.' The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting. More details just arrived. These details about the same as previously: President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy, she called 'Oh, no!' The motorcade sped on. United Press says that the wounds for President Kennedy perhaps could be fatal. Repeating, a bulletin from CBS News: 'President Kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas, Texas.' Stay tuned to CBS News for further details."
Initially, the live broadcast of "As the World Turns," which included commercials, continued, with the actors unaware of the earlier pre-emption for the bulletin. Cronkite later filed two bonus audio-only bulletins to interrupt programming, the last of which interrupted a Friskies dog food commercial and pre-empted the remaining running time of As the World Turns. Only the bulletin bumper remained on screen while a television camera warmed up, until 2:00 p.m. EST. Cronkite stated in a later interview that this event was responsible for a new CBS network policy of always having a "hot camera" available to the newsroom to avoid this difficulty in the future.
At that time, As the World Turns was the runaway top-rated daytime show, and ABC and NBC made no concerted effort to compete with CBS in the time slot; as a result, the other television networks weren't on the air in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Various programs were being broadcast through their affiliate stations. From their main headquarters in New York, WABC-TV's first bulletin came from Ed Silverman at 1:41 p.m. EST, interrupting reruns of The Ann Sothern Show on the East Coast and Father Knows Best in the Mountain Time Zone. ABC-TV was not feeding programming to its affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone at that hour. At the same time of ABC-TV's first bulletin, NBC Radio reported the first of three "Hotline Bulletins", each preceded by a "talk-up alert" which gave all NBC-affiliated stations 30 seconds to join their parent network.
Three minutes later, at 1:45:03pm EST Don Pardo broke into WNBC-TV's local rerun of "Bachelor Father" with the news, saying (reading AP bulletin) 'PRESIDENT KENNEDY WAS SHOT TODAY JUST AS HIS MOTORCADE LEFT DOWNTOWN DALLAS. MRS. KENNEDY JUMPED UP AND GRABBED MR. KENNEDY. SHE CRIED 'OH NO!' THE MOTORCADE SPED ON.' (Videotape of the NBC bulletins have been assumed "lost" as they did not start recording coverage until minutes later. However, audio engineer Phil Gries rolled tape on a set of audio recordings on a 1/4" reel to reel audiotape recorder. These have been donated to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. However, NBC, in its book on the coverage of the assassination, mentioned the bulletins, as stated on the Associated Press wire report from which Don Pardo read.) At 1:53:12pm (EST), NBC broke into programming with an NBC Network bumper slide and Chet Huntley and Bill Ryan began informing the viewers what was going on as it happened. However, NBC's camera was not ready and the coverage was limited to audio-only reports as recorded by Phil Gries (3 minutes & 53 seconds), as CBS' coverage had been to that point. Other than for two audio-only bulletins (one following the initial report), ABC TV did not break into its stations' programming at all, instead waiting until the network was to return to broadcasting at 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time to begin its coverage.
At 1:57:05pm EST, just as Frank McGee joined the reporting, NBC began broadcasting the report as their camera was ready and working. Three minutes later, at 2:00pm EST, CBS' camera was finally ready and Cronkite appeared on the air after a brief station break, with ABC beginning its coverage at the same time. Radio coverage was reported by Don Gardiner (ABC), Allan Jackson (CBS), and (after a top-of-the-hour newscast) by Peter Hackes and Edwin Neuman (NBC).
ABC RADIO NEWS
John F. Kennedy, John Connally, Charles Murphy, Robert McNeil
Both Texas Governor John Connally and President Kennedy are in surgery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. New York Stock Exchange announces a 2PM closing. Report of a Secret Service agent killed.
From NBC-TV Robert McNeil reports on the JFK shooting. Charles Murphy reports that President Kennedy is dead.
ASSASSINATION OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD BY JACK RUBY: SPEICAL LIVE RADIO AND TELEVISION COVERAGE
Walter Cronkite, Frank McGee, John Chancellor, Bryson Rash, Gabe Pressman, Merrill Mueller, Howard K. Smith, John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Neil Strawser, Ted Kennedy, Roy Neal, Dan Rather, Charles Murphy, Tom Pettit, Frank Singiser, Edward P. Morgan, Sander Vanocur, Bill Ryan, David Frost, Robert Trout, Richard Dimbleby, Earl Ubell, Ike Pappas, Jack Ruby, Charles Quinn, Morgan Beatty, Lyndon Johnson, Lee Harvey Oswald, Henry Wade, Dr. Martin Luther King, Tom Shires, Jerry Landay, Lew Fisher, Jim Van Sickle, C.H. Combest, Myrna Oswald, C.A. Droby, John Fritz, Jesse Curray, Eli Abel, Bill Lord, Edwin Neuman, V.H. Combass, C.E. Drovey, Ed Voebel, Marie Tippet, Eva Grant, Tammi True, Adam Clayton Powell
TELEVISION & RADIO COVERAGE, in real time, of the
ASSASSINATION OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD BY JACK RUBY
Sunday, November 24, 1963. Broadcast coverage from Approximately 2:00PM (Eastern Standard Time) to 11:35 PM,
A total of 395 minutes of coverage.
This Special TV and Radio audio air check, originally recorded off the air at the time during its original broadcast, November 24, 1963, is one of the two most rare and valued archived broadcasts in the over 20,000 titled Archival Television Audio, Inc. collection. Second only to Phil Gries’ off the air recording of Don Pardo’s first two NBC TV bulletins announcing the shooting of President JOHN F. KENNEDY and the initial 3 minutes and 53 seconds of NBC TELEVISION coverage NOT RECORDED (AUDIO OR VIDEO) BY NBC or any other affiliate station, person, or archive in the United States.
NOVEMBER 24, 1963 original coverage on reel-to-reel AUDIO TAPE (RECORDED DIRECT LINE PROVIDING EXCELLENT SOUND REPRODUCITON) begins at approximately at 2:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time, one hour and thirty-nine minutes after Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being transported from the Dallas city Jail to an awaiting armored vehicle at 11:21 Central Standard Time, 12:21 Eastern Standard time.
Only recently rediscovered, by ATA founder/owner Phil Gries, originally thought lost, this six hour and thirty-five-minute audio tape air check has been monitored for the following summaries and names / details that are contained related to assassination coverage of Lee Harvey Oswald as it unfolds in Dallas Texas. This broadcast recording is not linear, focusing on only one station, but audio recorded by many TV and Radio stations at the time of the actual events, randomly channel changing and searching for salient station coverage (“channel hopping)” from TV to Radio back to TV, back to Radio, etc. This only extant broadcast record is a true TIME CAPSUL RETROSPECTIVE FEELING OF EVENTS OF THE DAY AS THEY WERE HAPPING IN REAL TIME.…RECORDING OVER SIX & HALF HOURS of audio tape covering a NINE & HALF HOUR period of time related to covered broadcasting air time on November 24, 1963 form 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time, ending at approximately 11:35PM, Eastern Standard Time.
Five Radio Stations are recorded (WJRZ, WINS, WNEW, WRR, MUTUAL, KLIF), and six television stations are recorded (CBS, NBC, WNEW, WFAA, ABC, WNTA), disseminating the news as each broadcast station presents programming from varied locations. 108 individuals can be heard or mentioned, in different capacities…news reports, interviews, subjects under investigation, and individuals connected to Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. Interspersed, there continues to be coverage of today’s event of President John F. Kennedy who lies in state in the rotunda at the Capitol in Washington D.C.
NOTE: 85% of the 395 minutes contained in this air check are unique representing “lost” broadcasts representing coverage of the Oswald assassination as presented on television stations, CBS, NBC, ABC, WNEW, WFAA, WNTA, and radio stations, WJRZ, WINS, WNEW, MUTUAL. 15% of the radio and television RECORDINGS contained in this tape can be found on YouTube, and are archived by museums and television stations. However, 85% of the air checks contained in these originally audio taped recordings are a one of a kind broadcast record. To date no other resource of media recordings (TV / Radio) such as detailed below, moment to moment on different Radio and Television stations in real time sequence, has been found to exist in any broadcast or transcript form other than the following air checks contained in the Archival Television Audio, Inc. archive.
In 1993 a 49-minute CD, narrated by Reid Collins of WNEW Radio News, was released containing highlights of media broadcast coverage related to the JFK assassination and additional news coverage Nov. 22 -25, 1963. Included in the ten different clips are a 6:34 audio tape recording (edited version) of Ike Pappas audio tape coverage at the scene as Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald. Included in this ATA air check is over one and half additional minutes of original audio coverage by Ike Pappas and additional on the air live post commentary and reporting by Pappas communicated back to Jim Van Sickle anchoring at station WNEW 1130 AM in New York.
The only other extant radio / television coverage of the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald are You Tube postings recorded by station KLIF- Dallas Radio at 12:18pm (EST) which begins after the shooting, prior to Oswald being transported by ambulance to Parkland hospital. It is interesting to note seen in this footage, recorded by station KRLD-TV, reporter Ike Pappas walks with his audio tape recorder over his left shoulder and gets into line, (only twelve seconds prior to Lee Harvey Oswald appearing, and being shot) with other reporters. Unknown to Pappas, Jack Ruby, stands in line, only a few feet away to his left. Also archived is NBC TV coverage with Tom Pettit reporting the shooting on live television, including KRLD, WFAA, and NBC TV coverage, AUDIO ONLY of the assassination. Note: all the above extant air checks are excerpts, some brief.
Audio air check coverage discovered on this off the air audio recording of TV and Radio coverage begins at approximately 2:00pm E.S.T. We are tuned to WJRZ RADIO:
“Reviewing details of today’s events surrounding the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being transferred from one jail to another. A crowd of journalists, photographers and police crowded around in the jail’s basement garage and watched as Oswald was led out and was about to be placed in a police car. As the report indicates, at this time, Oswald’s heart has stopped, and doctors are attempting to keep him alive using 15 pints of blood to save his life administering open heart message. Reporting is Mike Ludlum.”
CBS TV NEWS: A report by Neil Strawser at 2:05pm. “Doctors are fighting desperately to preserve the life of the accused assassin of the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was shot two hours ago (12:21 EST) is now undergoing surgery.
At 2:10 pm a CBS NEWS FLASH:
“This is CBS News Headquarters in New York. We now have a flash from Dallas Texas that Oswald is dead. (2:07 PM, Eastern Standard Time). He had been shot just two hours ago as he was being moved from Dallas City Hall jail to the county jail where the process of justice was about to be carried out, one step farther.”
At 2:13 pm (EST). NBC NEWS: “In the Capital of the rotunda ceremony for JFK is concluding. Members of the Senate and their wives are departing.”
Almost simultaneously, a “Flash” from the NBC Newsroom. United Press: “OSWALD IS DEAD.”
at 2:14pm (EST). WNEW TV Channel 5. “SPECIAL BULLETIN REPORT FROM THE WNEW CHANNEL 5 NEWSROOMS. “LEE OSWALD IS DEAD.”
NBC TV: Morgan Beatty reports. “Lee Harvey Oswald died of a gunshot wound at 12:07pm Central Time, 1:07 Eastern Standard Time. Dr. Tom Shires, chief of surgery at South Western Medical School was the surgeon operating on Oswald. He said that the patient was in massive abdominal injury with major vessel injuries. Oswald heart messaged but to no avail. The procedure is described taking place at 12:12 CST. after death.”
NBC’s Bryson Rash reports form the Capital as people are lined to pay respects to the fallen President and pass bye his casket at the Lincoln catapult.
WINS 1010 AM RADIO: From the central desk in New York, Jerry Landay and Lew Fisher report their evaluations of what has just occurred during the past two hours.
CBS TV. Walter Cronkite reports up to date news of the assassination of Oswald.
WNEW 11:30 AM RADIO. 2:15PM:
2 hours and 54 minutes after Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, on air anchor Jim Van Sickle states, “As reporter Ike Pappas, on the scene, described earlier most vividly, police are now holding night club owner Jack Ruby with the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald who was denying to the last minute his involvement killing the President. Police had checked out everybody including Jack Ruby.”
Jim Van Sickle then reminds his listening audience, “By way of a tape recording, reporter Ike Pappas describes the moment Oswald was shot. He was standing just 6 feet from Oswald when Ruby fired his pistol. In fact, he wondered himself whether he had been shot. Pappas called in to WNEW immediately and relayed his report.”
Jim Van Sickle replays the entire tape recording that Ike Pappas had made which was originally played earlier in the broadcast.
“We have a prisoner wearing a black sweater. He has changed from his T-Shirt. He’s being brought out toward an armored car, being led out by Captain Fritz.”
As Oswald nears Pappas IKE PAPPAS moves his right hand holding his microphone and asks LEE HARVEY OSWALD,
“Do you have anything to say in defense?”
IMMEDIATELY, A SHOT RINGS OUT as JACK RUBY shoots Oswald. Pappas continues to roll tape and we hear him describe the chaotic scene. “Oswald has been shot. There is a great deal of confusion at the moment. One of the wildest scenes I have ever seen,” exclaims, Ike Pappas.
NOTE: ON THE INTERNET ONE CAN HEAR 4 minutes and 47 seconds of this riveting account of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby as tape recorded by Ike Pappas on David von Pein’s exceptional JFK Channel on You Tube. On this Archival Television Audio, Inc. air check there exists additional minutes heard, totaling 8 minutes.
After the recording is rebroadcast, Jim Van Sickle goes live to Dallas and converses on WNEW AM with Ike Pappas who is still at the scene at the Dallas County Jail at 2:25pm
(EST)just a little over two hours since Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.
Ike Pappas live telephone conversation from Dallas Texas to New York with WNEW Radio anchor, Jim Van Sickle.
“Just after learning that Oswald had died Jack Ruby is being held in the 4th floor jail under extremely heavy guard. Latest development has been C.A. Droby, Jack Ruby’s attorney has arrived. He states that Ruby has been brooding and emotional ever since the President was shot. More and more he has been thinking about avenging the death of the president. Detective C.H. “Billy’ Combest stood opposite Ruby and saw the gun come out of the jacket of Ruby and saw the TV lights against the gun. Combest screamed, “JACK YOU S.O.B. DON’T DO IT.”
Pappas further reports “At the moment a press briefing is being held. In retrospect since Friday night Jack Ruby has had total access at headquarters here. An incredible thing for a man who is not a policeman.”
Ike Pappas continues to tell Jim Van Sickle, “Attorney C.A. Droby’s wife received a phone call from a man with a foreign accent and stated that he will be the next one shot.” Police chief Jesse Curray is following up on all leads whether this assassination is an organized plot or a one-man act? “
Back at the WNEW 11:30 radio studio, anchor Jim Van Sickle states, “Ike Pappas reporting from Dallas Texas doing a magnificent job.”
WNEW radio report is heard from science editor Earl Ubell who states that Jack Ruby shot Oswald with a 38-caliber gun. Also stated, “…frenetic efforts of surgeon and doctors to save Oswald’s life at any cost. However, the bullet penetrated the aorta and Oswald had no chance of surviving.”
Switching to MUTUAL NEWS:
Bob Jett reports. “Jack Ruby will be arraigned tomorrow at 2:00pm on a writ of Habeas Corpus for pre-meditated murder that could bring the death penalty under Texas law. And repeating, Lee Harvey Oswald died on the operating table in Parkland hospital at 1:07 pm Dallas time, 48 hours and 7 minutes after President Kennedy succumbed to shots by Oswald.” “Moscow Radio reported the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald after news agencies flashed the news.”
A repeat tape recording is played airing earlier on the Mutual Broadcasting System…breaking in on news broadcasting of the pre-funeral ceremonies of President John F. Kennedy with the first word related to Oswald’s death.
Announcer: “A report as recorded by Mutual News.”
Reporter, Bob Jett.
“This is Bob Jett from WRR-FM Mutual News Dallas where I just received and confirmed a report from Parkland Hospital that Lee Harvey Oswald has died.”
“THAT IS THE FIRST WORD AND MUTUAL LISTENERS HEARD IT FIRST.”
Mutual News reporter, Frank Singiser reports.
“We hear responses by the public related to today’s events by parents and relatives of Oswald who have all been absolved of any connection.
A report broadcast at 12:41 Eastern Standard Time: “Oswald has gone into surgery. His wife Myrna has not appeared at Parkland hospital. Jack Ruby still being questioned.”
We hear more on Jack Ruby and his background. Repeat and description of the shooting. Disbelief by Dallas police.
WINS RADIO NEWS. Reports of requests that JFK should be considered not to attend Dallas. Now, a sense of shame in Dallas in the death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
From Group Station Westinghouse reporting are Jerry Landay and Lou Fisher. “WINS RADIO STATION 1010 AM is suspending its regular broadcasting and dropping all commercials with coverage of events following the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald.”
Late report at 2:30PM of eyewitnesses. Interview with close associate and co-worker, Tony Zoppi, at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club.
WFAA TV coverage: More on Ruby…months ago acquitted in court of beating a man in his club. C.A. Droby Ruby’s attorney comments.
On ABC TV, Howard K. Smith comments about the “lunatic fringe” in our society. Edward Morgan comments related to the day’s events and the vengeance motive.
“What causes such actions are not the case in Western Europe. Associates of Jack Ruby state he was an admirer of President Kennedy and no warning that Ruby would kill Oswald.”
WINS RADIO. Reporting, Jerry Landay and Lou Fisher.
NBC TV: “Moscow reports Pravda communist propaganda” as covered and reported by John Chancellor from Berlin. Morgan Beatty and Chancellor talk to one another about how propaganda cannot be misused. They predict that both assassinations have been right wing plots…a big lie that nurtures Russian propaganda. NBC TV announces that the station will continue to cover the Assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald till Midnight, Eastern Standard Time and will resume broadcasting at 7:00AM on Monday, November 25th.
Dallas Police Chief John Fritz, the only person to interrogate Owsald prior to his assassination states that as far as he is concerned the case is “closed, period.”
Tom Perryman reports in Dallas.
Police Chief Jesse Curray press statement: “Oswald dead at 1:07PM.” (EST).
Report by police officer Roy Lee Lowery who states he saw the shooting and describes what he witnessed. Officer E.H. Convess (?) states that he witnessed Jack Ruby attempting to fire a second round into Oswald as Ruby was subdued.
NBC TV Reporting of John Connally convalescing and will be alright to leave Parkland Hospital in ten days. Returning, coverage to the Nations’ Capital in Washington D.C. related to JFK lying in state in the Rotunda. Robert McCormick reports.
From the White House, Richard Valeriani reports.
CBS TV Reporting from Dallas by Dan Rather and in the CBS Studios in New York, Walter Cronkite reports that Jack Ruby’s roommate is arrested.
NBC TV Reporting with anchor Frank McGee with the latest updated coverage from the Capital Rotunda. Comments from those attending and why they have elected to travel to attend this day to pay last respects to President John F. Kennedy as they file past the bier of the late President.
Reported are the “bizarre ironies related between Kennedy and Oswald which would ruin a lawyer for life.”
Currently there are three lawyers called to defend Jack Ruby.
Merrill Mueller and Elie Abel read part of the eulogy honoring the late President.
Report from the Vatican that there will be a solemn requiem mass in Rome on Monday.
From WINS RADIO:
Report on the challenges which lie ahead for President Lyndon Johnson.
We hear the song “Hallelujah” played in tribute to the memory of President John F. Kennedy. “Cancellations of all school’s tomorrow, a day of National Mourning.” A Report that a 38-caliber bullet was retrieved from the stomach of Lee Harvey Oswald. Interview with Doctor Malcolm Nelson McClelland who attempted to save Oswald’s’ life.
From ABC TV affiliate WFFA in Dallas, Bob Walker anchors. Bill Lord and Roger Sharp report. “How Does a City React to the Shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald?”
Citizens are interviewed on the street. Reporter Paul Good interviews Mrs. Eva Grant, sister of Jack Ruby. She states that Jack was terribly upset over the assassination of President Kennedy.
From ABC TV in New York: Murphy Martin reports.
Reporter David Jayne reports from Hyannis Port Massachusetts airport as Rose Kennedy, Eunice Shriver and Ted Kennedy are boarding. Kenney states his appreciation of all prayers by all Americans. Larry Newman, longtime friend, and neighbor of the Kennedy’s comments. He states that Joseph Kennedy is taking the news of his son’s killing very well. Others taking the two-hour flight to Washington D.C. are Ruth Kennedy, Ted’s cousin Joe Gordon and Lieutenant John F. Dempsey, State Police 40-year friend of the Kennedy family and secret serviceman Frank McDermott.
Other news story reported: “A statue of Kennedy begins to fund in London England to be constructed.
WNEW 11:30 AM RADIO: Report from Ike Pappas on Jack Ruby’s past infractions going back to 1959. Captain John Fritz states that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter of President John F. Kennedy.
NBC TV: Merrill Mueller reporting from Dulles International Airport that security in the Nations Capital has been doubled. At Washington International Airport world leaders are arriving for the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, including French President Charles De Gaulle, Japanese Prime Minister, Hayato Ikeda, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, others.
Frank McGee reports a summary of the day’s events till now. Tom Pettit reports from Dallas with updated news from the 3rd floor Dallas Police headquarters.
A report from John Scally relating comment from Cuban President Fidel Castro on both JFK and LBJ.
Reports from Edwin Neuman and Elie Abel.
Lorne Green is heard at the beginning of a special television broadcast “A TRIBUTE TO JOHN FITZFGERALD KENNEDY: AN HOUR OF DEVOTION TO OUR LATE PRESIDENT.”
WNEW AM RADIO:
Jim Van Sickle summarizes the events of the day, including how Jack Ruby entered the police precinct. Again, a replay of Ike Pappas’ tape recorder continuing to record the assassination and aftermath. Pappas states that since 1953 Jack Ruby has had a police record. Pappas interview with police at a press conference, Captain John Fritz confirms to Pappas that Oswald alone assassinated the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Asked if Oswald said anything before his own assassination, Fritz says, “No.”
Back at the WNEW- RADIO STUDIO, Ike Pappas communicates with anchor Jim Van Sickle. He states that on Friday night (November 23rd) he met Jack Ruby who befriended him and gave him his card. Ruby told Pappas that if he had any trouble getting news out of the police to just call him.
Jim Van Stickle states that:
“ Ike Pappas, who almost got in the way of that bullet directed at shooting Oswald was on the wire to WNEW within minutes of the shooting. At that point Ruby had been hustled off into the courthouse to be questioned. The police had not yet officially divulged the name of the shooter and in proper fashion Pappas had refrained in telling us just who it was and what kind of man he was. Here in New York, we had received a FLASH that it was Jack Ruby. I told Pappas, ‘Ike, we just received word that they have named the killer.’ ‘What is his name asked Pappas?’ “Jack Ruby,” I said. And, then Ike Pappas said this:
“Now I have just reached into my pocket when you said Jack Ruby, and I pull out a card called the Carousel Club. Now is this official, Jim, from the police department here?”
Van Sickle responds, “Yes, this has been reported here.”
Ike Pappas, “OK, on the basis of that I will continue. The Carousel Club located at 131 &1/2 Commerce Street; Dallas Texas is a club which puts on continuous shows. Glamourous Girls, Girls, Girls. And at the bottom of the card, it says ‘Your Host Jack Ruby.’ Apparently, this man, Jack Ruby, that you just told me about, and I was reluctant to release his name because it did not come out officially, runs this night club the Carousel Club. Now, the other night as I said, it struck me as extremely unusual to have this man, who is not a policeman, come up to me after the brief press conference we had with Oswald, who mumbled that he had not killed the President, and the police on Friday. This man, Jack Ruby had straight black hair with a bald spot on the top of his head. He is angular thin. He has a dark thick beard. He speaks in short, fleeting sentences. He knows the police very well here. Apparently, some of his best friends are on the police force. And, he had access to that room. He was running freely. As a matter of fact, when I wanted to talk to the District Attorney of Dallas, the equivalent of Louis Lefkowitz, the State attorney General of New York State, this man Jack Ruby went over, and he talked to him and told him this reporter wants to talk to you. And Jack Ruby brought this District Attorney over to me and got him on the phone. So, here as you tell us, Jack Ruby who I didn’t want to mention to you apparently has shot Lee Oswald.”
Further tape recording on the scene reporting by Ike Pappas is played.
Ike Pappas interviews policeman who was in the corridor when Jack Rugby is led by police after questioning him on the third floor.
Reid Collins of WNEW reports the days events from the Capital in Washington D.C. We hear “Hail to the Chief” music as the president lies in state. We hear a speaker giving a sermon, “We Must Become A Nation of Reason and Law.”
WNEW’s Jim Van Sickle continues to review the days events and other news in V this day, Viet Nam, Soviet Union updates…three-way tie in the NFL, first place New York Giants vs Cleveland Browns results, Vatican news.
Back to the assassination today of Lee Harvey Oswald, Van Sickle reports John Connally comments including those including his grief over the assassination of the President, Jack Ruby, other.
In summing up, at approximately 6:30pm EST, Jim Van Sickle addresses the topic “WHO NOTICED TODAY?”
He signs off, “Jim Van Sickle, WNEW NEWS.”
CBS TV: Robert Trout reports late news from Washington D.C. and the investigation into the assassination of JFK. The FBI continues to probe even though Dallas Police Department considers this case closed. Still probing all records related to Lee Harvey Oswald and all public evidence.
WNBT Channel 13 in New York:
“We are now rejoining ABC Channel 7. A tribute to John Fitzgerald Kennedy from the Arts all joining in this evening in ABC Studio One in New York to honor in their special way with the Boston Symphony Orchestra “A TRIBUTE TO JOHN FITZGERALD KENNED FROM THE ARTS.” Fredric March opens the program. We hear the opening six minutes.
Excerpts from Meet The Press are heard on which John F. Kennedy appeared on,
November 9, 1952 questioned by Murray Davis of The New York Telegraph and Sun. Laurence E. Spivak is moderator. Another excerpt from February 14, 1954 is broadcast, JFK responding to actions taken by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his effect on the nation. Marquis Chiles of the St. Louis Dispatch and Ned Brooks are on the panel.
ABC states that they will continue to broadcast latest developments until 2AM.
CBS TV with Robert Trout reports that Jack Ruby has been, in the past, a habitual street brawler, nick named “Sparky” referring to his violent temper. Ruby, a reputation as a “gate crasher.”
Steve Banka (?) reports at the National Airport in Washington D.C. Richard Nixon arriving along with 100 other dignitaries for the funeral cortege and grave site ceremonies to be held Monday. The names of Heads of State schedule to arrive is read.
President John F. Kennedy Biography broadcast is heard including JFK speech related to Fidel Castro Cuban Dictator…seven steps to initiate during Cuban missile crisis. Also, Kennedy on the phone congratulating Col. John Glenn.
NBC TV REVIEW with Bill Ryan:
Tom Pettit from Dallas Police station.
A biography of Lee Harvey Oswald is broadcast.
From NBC affiliate WBSU in New Orleans.
Reporter Jim Kemp interviews Jessie James Garner, landlady where Oswald resided, shedding light on his “distant” personality.
Reporter Bern Ratlee (?) interviews Ed Voebel a former Junior High School classmate of Oswald who states that Oswald was always concerned about his mother…get into fights…once painted a plastic gun to look real.
A Jack Ruby biography is broadcast.
Reporter Ray Neal interviews Nelson Saul who was a boyhood friend of Jack Ruby, who states that Ruby had two personalities. Also interviewed is Earl Norman comic at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club.
BILL RYAN states that we have witnessed the first Nationally Televised Murder…three connected murders in Dallas spread out over a period of 50 hours.
Reporter Charles Murphy from WBAT TV Fort Worth Dallas…funeral of J.D. Tippet, slain policeman by Oswald. He conducts an Interview with Tippet ‘s wife Marie. Also, we hear his interview with Jack Ruby’s sister Eva Grant, who visited with her brother today. Murphy also interviews Ruby’s attorney, Tom Howard, who states that his client is in shock.
Tom Pettit interviews Nancy Myers whose stage name is Tammi True, a stripper at Ruby’s Carousel Club.
NBC reporter Sander Vanocur reports from Washington D.C. with updates stating that the investigation goes on by the FBI related to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald.
NBC Studio anchor Bill Ryan closes this Special NBC News Report: “THE STRANGE STORRY OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD: THE MAN ACCUSED OF ASSASSINATING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”
NBC TV: Bryson Rash and Ray Shearer reporting. Return coverage at Rotunda at the Capital in Washington D.C. Arrivals including Peter Lawford, Eunice Shriver, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy. Coverage and observation of Jacqueline Kennedy walking to the rotunda in the streets of D.C. unrecognized.
Roger Sharm reports news events of this day recreating the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald using SLOW SCAN TV. He states:
“Watch the reporter holding the microphone on the right of your TV screen (referring to WNEW reporter, Ike Pappas). A flash bulb goes off, and the assailant steps into the picture in front of Oswald and fires. Another flashbulb goes off. Oswald winces and falls to the ground. Police immediately grab the man, the assailant identified as Jack Ruby, the man accused of killing Lee Harvey Oswald.
ABC’s Bill Lord reports form Dallas police headquarters on the 3rd floor.
He states that the transfer of Oswald was scheduled for 10AM (Central Time), but it occurred shortly after 11AM (11:21AM).
“This advanced publicity might have been a contributing factor. The presence of the News Media encouraged the police to cooperate fully. They thought of getting Oswald out a back door. But they decided not to. They wanted to cooperate. No one can write history. But we can all hope the lessons learned here in Dallas during the past three days will teach us something. History will not again be written by assassins.”
Lord continues, “Oswald was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital to emergency room 2 after being shot, trauma room 2 just a few feet from emergency room 1 where President Kennedy had died, almost exactly 2 days before these unbelievable events occurred. Lee Harvey Oswald never regained consciousness. At 1:07PM Chief surgeon Dr. Tom Shires let newsmen into the first floor of the hospital.
WNBC TV NEWS COVERAGE: Eli Abel reports, and is introduced by Edwin Neuman.
Peter Hackes reports that Mrs. Kennedy is with her children telling them to be strong like their mommy. Mrs. Kennedy may continue to live in Washington D.C.
NBC TV News: Frank McGee reports that the FBI has been ordered by President Lyndon Johnson to make a full investigation of the Oswald slaying.
District Attorney, Henry Wade has called a News Conference and has disclosed a great deal of evidenced that he has collected against Oswald.
Tom Pettit reports from
WBAT TV Fort Worth Texas.
-Palm print found of Oswald…
-Three shells have been recovered as well as the rifle with telescopic high-powered site…
-Pictures of Oswald found on him holding that gun…
-Myrna Oswald states rifle was gone from the apartment…
-Witness sees revolver and Oswald enter movie theater…
-Account of Oswald trying to kill police officer Nick McDonald in movie theater, but shell misfired…
and other details revealed during Q&A press conference.
Merrill Meuller reports the activities of President Lyndon Johnson this afternoon. Arrival of Dr. Martin Luther King at National Airport in Washington D. C. He comments.
Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING:
“This has been an extremely sad moment, and I am grief stricken.” He further states, “We should realize that President Kennedy was a victim of a development which has made hatred and violence a sought of popular pastime in all too many quarters of our nation. And I think that we are challenged to work with new vigor to rid the nation of all of the conditions that can make such a great tragedy, and an act like this, possible.” King also expresses his thoughts related to our new President Lyndon Johnson, and future Civil Rights legislation.
At National Airport arriving John Glenn is interviewed. Eli Abel reports from the Capital rotunda…arriving, Irish leader President Eamon de Valera, aged and virtually blind.
Ray Scherer reports at the Capital. He describes poignant moment of Mrs. Kennedy kissing the casket.
At 11pm Eastern Standard time, Frank Mc Gee, at NBC Studio Headquarters, introduces a replay of a broadcast televised in the UK last night (November 23rd) THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS. Richard Dimbleby joins McGee and after the complete program is broadcast Dimbleby mentions some facts about the host of this new satirical TV series hosted by, unknown in the USA, David Frost.
Frank McGee summarizes. “One of the remarkable things, this is a program that has devoted itself until now to the slicing political of figures, to ridiculing movements and ideas, and bringing to bear the weapon of wit. To destroy the pompous and to lay low the evil. This time they chose to make a program that gave tribute to the President of the United States. For me it was both flattering and reassuring to find that foreigners cand find us so well, and to put into words so aptly what so many of us have felt. Shattering, because it shows what they could make of our weaknesses. Reassuring, in that what they had chosen to make in a moment of sorrow.”
WNBC TV NEWS WITH GABE PRESSMAN:
Mayor of New York City, Robert Wagner addresses New Yorkers with his reaction to the past day’s events, 1000 Greek Americans will be on hand for a two- and half-hour Memorial Service at churches all over the City, Flags here all at half-staff for the next 30 days, reaction of New Yorkers in the street related to today’s events, Reactions by passengers on ship liner SS Bremen at Pier 86. Cardinal Spellman is interviewed.
Charles Quinn interviews Adam Clayton Powell who states, “President John F. Kennedy was the greatest friend the negro ever had and his effect on the Civil Rights movement.” Powell also states: “Given a chance President Johnson will prove himself as a great president.”
NOTE: WHAT MAKES THIS SIX AND HALF HOUR ORIGINAL AUDIO AIR CHECK COVERAGE SO REMARKABLE IS THE ONE-OF-A-KIND EXTANT SEQUENTIAL BROADCAST COVERAGE RECORDED OFF OF RADIO AND TELELVISON’S VARIED STATIONS, AS BREAKING NEWS DEVELOPED FOLLOWING THE ASSASSINATION OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD BY JACK RUBY, IN REAL TIME ON SUNDAY NOVEMBER 24, 1963. LISTENING CREATES A TRUE FEELING OF RELIVING THIS DAY OF TRAGEDY THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND INTO THE EVENING.
While some of the above audio material is extant as audio and video, archived in major museums, in private collections, and accessible on the internet via You Tube, 85% OF THE ABOVE TV AND RADIO AIR CHECKS DO NOT EXIST IN ANY BROADCAST FORM OR AS A TRANSCRIPT, AND IS UNIQUE AS AN HISTORICAL AND CULTRUAL BROADCAST, RECOUNTING A DAY WHEN AMERICAN JOURNALISM AND THE UNITED STATES TURNED AN IMPORTANT PAGE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY IN 1963.
PRESIDENT IN ASIA, THE: REPORT NUMBER 5
Frank McGee, John Rich, Charles Murphy, Elie Abel, Lyndon B. Johnson, Kenneth Bernstein
An NBC Radio news special. A report on the opening ceremonies and early activities of President Lyndon B. Johnson's trip to the Manila Conference.
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