Sunday. May 15, 2016.
Tom Craven was a CBS cameraman based in Washington. His film taken in Dallas, from Lovefield 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.
DAN RATHER ANNOUNCES THE DEALEY PLAZA FILM WOULD BE SEEN
The film was not shown, even though Dan Rather announced it was being developped and would be shown when ready. Watch the following video from 1:08. Note: Craven is seen in the middle of the image below.
DOES CBS HAVE THE FILM?
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.
“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”
“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.”
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.
Then, in front of the Eatwell Restaurant where Tippit murder witness Helen Markham was working (See “Steaks”).
Then in front of the building just East off the County Building. This is almost the last frame.
I inserted one of the last frames. The next ones don’t show anything else.
CRAVEN DISCUSSES HIS ACTIVITES IN DEALEY PLAZA
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)
JFK ASSASSINATION PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERT RICHARD SPRAGUE CLAIMS HE SAW THE MISSING CRAVEN FILM
“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.”
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