The Missing Craven Film Taken in Dealey Plaza

Created on May 15, 2016.

Last updated on September 17, 2019 with the following information from researcher Ken Rheberg:


The claim, by anyone, that Tom Craven’s film was lost in the developing process at KRLD is incorrect and easy to disprove.

In Gary Mack’s Email 1, KRLD processor operator Henk Dewit (correct spelling) told Gary a few reels of film were damaged early that afternoon during processing at KRLD.

So, Gary concluded, Craven’s film was apparently one of them.

Then in Gary’s Email 2, Gary expanded on what Henk had said.  Early that afternoon, the first one or two reels of film were ruined while being processed.

But Craven’s film wasn’t one of the first one or two reels of film to find its way in to KRLD that day.  Craven’s two rolls of film were among the last, if not the last, of the pre-Oswald films to show up.  They were finally in the studio and being developed around 2:30 pm Dallas time.  In fact, all of the early films were taken by KRLD photographers.

It’s as simple as that.

There’s more proof than this that the Craven film was not ruined, and Gary became aware of it before he passed away.

Of course, the above begs the question: Why did Craven’s film take so long to arrive at KRLD, and how did it finally make its way there?  The answer should be obvious to anyone who really wants to get to the bottom of what happened in Dealey Plaza that Friday.

By the way, I also interviewed KRLD film chief Henk Dewit.  That was in 1999, twenty years ago, the year before he died.  Henk was the one who processed and saw up close all of those KRLD and CBS films.  It was an enlightening conversation to say the least.


Tom Craven was a CBS cameraman based in Washington. His film taken in Dallas, from Love Field to Parkland, was shown on CBS within a few hours after the assassination. He filmed in Dealey Plaza after he heard the shots, but that part was not aired. Some people claim to have seen it.  

This is the Craven film as shown on the day of the assassination. 

From 0:22 through 16:31. The motorcade portion is from 5:45 through 7:28. Immediately following is the sequence at Parkland.


The film was not shown, even though Dan Rather announced it was being developed and would be shown when ready. Watch the following video from 1:08. Note: Craven is seen in the middle of the image below.


Trask inquired with CBS News Archives in New York about it. It could not be located. I followed Trask’s footsteps a decade later. Same response.

Gary Mack talked to KRLD employee Henk Dewitt who shed some light on what could have had happened to the film. Basically, the film was probably destroyed by a water leak or heat. 

Email 1: 

“Tom Craven’s film never got on the air; it was damaged during processing at CBS’s Dallas affiliate, KRLD-TV.  I interviewed the station’s film processor operator, Henk Dewitt, who said a few reels were damaged early that afternoon due to low water pressure at the building.  Craven’s film was apparently one of them”

Email 2:

Craven’s film was apparently misidentified.  Some years ago, Henk DeWitt, the man who operated KRLD’s film processor, told me he had mechanical problems that day and the first one or two reels were ruined.  There was a problem with very low water pressure and the heat of the dryer or something damaged the films. 

At one point early on, Dan Rather introduced film taken by Craven, but no film appeared.  Rather said they’d try to get to it later.  I think the Craven footage was damaged and discarded before ever being seen.”

Skaggs-Slide 5-Photographers identified

Craven pointing his camera. Skaggs photo taken on Houston, just off Main Street

Skaggs 6 VS My photo

Thanks to researcher Steve Roe’s sold knowledge of Dallas streets, I was able to determine that Craven stopped filming in front, or so, of the County Building which is located on Main and Houston. 

A few moments, Craven will arrive in Dealey Plaza. First, he passed the corner of St. Paul and Harwood, in front of the Dallas Finest Hamburgers.

DCA VS Craven

Then, in front of the Eatwell Restaurant where Tippit murder witness Helen Markham was working (See “Steaks”).

Craven-Cafe where Ms Markham was working

Then in front of the building just East off the County Building. This is almost the last frame.

Craven-Building next to County Building

I inserted one of the last frames. The next ones don’t show anything else.

Craven-County Building, Google map


According to Craven, he was running after the last shot. He told Richard Trask that he ran up the grassy knoll to follow a policeman who running up the hill. He found himself with SS agent Thomas “Lem” Johns, an agent originally with Vice-President Johnson. Not seeing anything special, Craven started filming the people on the ground (TPOTP, page 375).

Craven believes he took some film of the limousine going under the overpass. He also recalls getting back in he car with SS agent Johns. Just beyond the overpass, near the ramp leading to the freeway, Dan Rather was standing holding a bright yellow grapefruit bag. He was waiting for any film thrown to him. “Our production crew in the motorcade was going to throw me several reels of exposed films as they passed. I had a cab waiting to rush the film to KRLD. Although I did not see the president, I knew that something was wrong, so I jumped into my cab and went straight to KRLD studio”. (TPOTP, pages 375-376)

Craven added, “I know I was rolling as we made the that right turn coming up to the Depository- I thought  I had seen a flash or a puff of smoke, but it never showed up, because I had a wide angle lens on, and it was so far away, you wouldn’t have seen it” (TPOTP, page 383)


“The Craven sequence — film footage by the CBS photographer (who had been in the parade’s camera car # 1) of a car driving out of the Elm Street extension (left-to right in front of the Texas School Book Depository) within 20 seconds of the assassination — was seen by the author and Jones Harris in New York, but was cut out of the film where it appeared prior to the time the author and Richter began searching for it.”


My other blogs

Witnesses and Suspects in Dealey Plaza

The Activities of Dallas TV and Radio People on the Weekend of the Assassination

Denver Post. November 22, 23, 24 and 25 Editions

Cameramen and Photographers Along the Motorcade Route

The Parkland Hospital Transcripts

DCA Film

Map of Photographers and Cameramen in Dealey Plaza During the Shooting

Locating Media People (Other than Photographers and Cameramen) in Dealey Plaza

Locating Professional Cameramen and Photographers in Dealey Plaza

Locating Amateur Cameramen and Photographers in Dealey Plaza

Is Beverly Oliver the Babushka Lady Taking Pictures of the JFK Assassination?

Bad Luck with Cameras in Dealey Plaza and Photographers not Taking Pictures at the Right Time

Where are the Original of these Films Taken in Dealey Plaza?

Lost, Missing, Over-Exposed, Unavailable Photos and Films and Dubious Claims

Unidentified Photographers and Cameramen in Dealey Plaza

The Mary Moorman Photos

6th Floor: Photos and films taken inside

The Oswald Films: An Outline

Roger Craig, Deputy Sheriff

Known Amateur Cameramen and Photographers in Dealey Plaza




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See Robin Unger’s photo and film blog

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