Tuesday, May 10, 2016

11.22.63 -- Is it worth your time (travel)?

David Isaacs and I once wrote an episode of CHEERS where a famous Czechoslovakian hockey player defected. Here’s how we explained it:

SAM: Yeah, it’s an incredible story. He dressed up like a woman, hid in a hay wagon, crawled on his belly under barbed wire, swam across a couple of rivers and stowed away on a tramp steamer to get here.

DIANE: That’s amazing.

CARLA: They very next week the rest of his team came over on the Concorde.

That’s my problem with 11.22.63 (now streaming on Hulu). It’s a big shaggy dog story where a character must go to extraordinary lengths when far easier solutions are available.

The suspense goes away when you say, “Wait a minute. Superman’s not trapped. He can just punch a hole through the wall.” Or “She’s not marooned downtown in the middle of the night. She has her phone. She can call Uber.”

The premise of 11.22.63 is that James Franco has to go back in time to try to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Fair enough. It’s always fun seeing a modern day character existing in a different time period. Who doesn’t love BACK TO THE FUTURE? Or HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2?

But in this case, Franco is armed with tons of research and is told he needs to go through many elaborate winding steps in order to complete his mission. The series is based on a Stephen King book, which I haven’t read, so I don’t know how faithfully it follows the novel. But the series feels like a whole lot of padding mixed with arbitrary rules (“you fuck with the future and the future fucks with you.”)

Franco has to track down Russian ex-pats and determine if they’re in cahoots with the CIA and if there was another similar murder and were they related and who recruited Oswald, and did Oswald eat borscht, and did he buy the gun with S&H Green Stamps, etc.? And along the way Franco has to save kids in rural Kentucky.

No spoiler alert necessary because I don’t ultimately know how Franco planned to thwart Oswald or even if he did because I stopped watching. The Trivago commercials alone were enough to chase me away.

But the story, as told, requires him to return to 1960 and do three years of extensive preparation.


On 11.22.63 he anonymously informs the FBI and Dallas police of a possible assassination attempt. Please have them send officers to the book depository.


Throw something in the street, which blocks the motorcade’s path so it has to take an alternate route. Alternate routes are always in place.

Or this…

They establish that he can bring his iPhone along on the journey. And certain features still work like playing videos. Download the Zapruder film, march into the FBI, say you’re from the future, show the iPhone to prove it, teach them how to play Angry Birds, take a few selfies, explain that there will be an assassination at the appointed time, and show the film. I think that would be sufficient for the FBI to send Mulder & Scully to the book depository for a look-see and re-route the motorcade.

He wouldn’t have to murder anybody himself (always a good thing – and “I was just preventing an assassination” is not a good defense for a jury), and he would have three years to kill in the early fun Don Draper days. He could use the time to keep Marilyn Monroe alive, go to Europe and sign the Beatles before Brian Epstein, and most importantly, go to Dodger Stadium before game three of the 1962 playoffs between the Dodgers and Giants and tell Dodger skipper Walter Alston to NOT put Stan Williams in in the ninth. He’s going to be wild, walk a bunch a guys and throw a wild pitch, and cost us the pennant. They could rename the show 10.3.62.

What’s most disappointing is that I was really looking forward to 11.22.63. Great cast and I love the time period. But to paraphrase: Fuck with storytelling and storytelling fucks with you.


H Johnson said...

I watched the whole thing and must admit to being a bit disappointed. For me the story got off course by getting so close to Oswald that they actually talked to him.

To be fair, he couldn't go to the FBI because of their possible involvement.

A lot of missed story opportunities. They kind of left the whole modern guy in the past angle behind as they pursued the love interest. Nice ending to that part though.


The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

It sounds like a unfun version of a Rube Goldberg machine.
Why build an intricate, complicated contraption using dominos, shovels, can openers, pulleys, strings, flame throwers, gears, levers... just to turn on the coffee maker! There's a switch right there, dummy!

Here are some fun Rube Goldberg devices: http://coolmaterial.com/roundup/rube-goldberg-machines/

Bugdun said...


Poor Stan Williams. He will always be a goat because of his performance in game 3. But don't forget that he had an inning and two-thirds of hitless ball in relief the prior day, and got the win, to keep the Dodgers alive.

Anonymous said...

minor correction: its on Hulu, not Amazon

Carol said...

'People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.'

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Mike said...

Red Dwarf. Tikka to Ride. 1997.
Now to go back in a time machine to get this in first.

Richard said...

Hey Ken, I have not seen the series but I have read the book -- which I really enjoyed btw. I am a JFK assassination buff so it was right up my alley.

But I think the book sort of touches upon the stuff you listed. It would be easy to just phone in a tip to the FBI, but the idea that history is resistant to change -- 'the future fucks with you' -- stops him from doing that. The diner owner tells him that before he goes back and I think Franco's character realizes it won't be that easy.

If I remember correctly, there are a number of scenes where the forces of time/future fight him from changing stuff. There is one scene where he could just drive to a place and stop something bad from happening, but his car just breaks down out of nowhere.

Love the blog!

Terry said...

Ken, I have read the book but not yet watched the series because I don't have Hulu. Anyway, in the book King explains that an anonymous tip wouldn't work because, well, who'd believe him? What evidence does he have? As for the alternate route, well, that's a possibility but in the book things get complicated because one of the main themes is that history doesn't want to be changed and so every time he tries to change something he's fighting upstream. Also, it's pretty well explained that the reason he has to do so much research is to make 100% certain that Oswald was actually the killer lest he kill the wrong guy (his initial plan was to kill him but like I said it kept getting complicated because history doesn't change easily). I loved the book, but I can't speak for the series.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Remember when Hulu used to be good? When it was essentially an alternative to YouTube? And you didn't have to pay for it?

Steve Pepoon said...

The book pretty much explains all of your concerns. Franco's character's first idea is to kill Oswald immediately when he goes to the past but the guy who sends him on this mission isn't 100% sure Oswald killed Kennedy. So he must wait until an event six months before the assassination, where Oswald was suspected of trying to kill a Colonel Walker, firing from the guy's back yard into his house. Bullets from that (real life) incident matched the ones that killed Kennedy. As the book explains, the past doesn't want to be changed and therefore mysterious forces fight you. Which is why simply calling the police etc. might not work; you'd find yourself unable to find a phone that works. Then you'd have to do this all over again, which, in the book took five years, the portal to the past dumping Franco's character in 1958. The bigger the change you're trying to effect, the more dangerous the mysterious forces react. Too bad this show apparently didn't make this all clear, I was really looking forward to seeing it.

Johnny Walker said...

Sounds like a great idea for a story (I know, I know, it's been done many times before -- The Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, Red Dwarf, etc.), but I can see how King could make it work and do a good job with it. I love the idea that the more you change, the more problems you have: You've changed the thing you've studied, after all, and now it's different. It didn't work for you Ken, but I think I might pick up the book! :)

Probably the biggest flaw is that the evidence against Oswald is pretty much watertight to anyone who looks in it (and not the conspiracy theory websites -- which, as usual, distort and omit), but hey, protagonists need obstacles! :)

Johnny Walker said...

Possible Friday Question:

Just how big of a budget did WINGS have, exactly? The stage was gigantic, offering an unnecessary and mostly unused second (and third?) floor. At the beginning of Season 3 they trashed a whole set... Which surely was expensive enough, but then they rebuilt it, and did it again in the next episode. And then AGAIN in the episode that followed. And that's not mentioning the fact that it must be the only sitcom in history with its own private airplane!

Stephen Marks said...

They have it backwards. You send a guy back to kill Kennedy in the 50's to change history, then save numerous innocent lives, like the following:

-Men killed in Vietnam
-Men killed in botched Cuba invasion
-Ted killing Mary Joe Kopecknie in botched, drunken, right turn on bridge
-JFK ordering the CIA to murder Marylin Monroe
-JFK Jr. killing his wife and her sister in botched, drunken, nose dive landing of plane
-Oswald lives to lead productive life boxing up books and teaching Russian as a second language in Dallas
-Ruby lives to continue giving Dallas nude chicks dancing
-Numerous people that New Orleans prosecutor Garrison hounded to death, otherwise known as the Clay Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
-Bobby elected President, eliminates Mafia, 100's of lives saved
-Kennedy cousin Skakel doesn't kill young girl with a 9 iron
-Old man Joe Kennedy doesn't support Hitler, saving 1000's of lives
-RFK Jr.'s wife, Mary, doesn't commit suicide because he cheated on her
-Etc, etc, etc.

To go back and save one life for what? Armstrong walked on the Moon anyway, Nixon was elected anyway, and Levine and Issacs help make Kelsey Grammer famous, so he could guest star in Swing Vote..........as the President, anyway. Stephen King is a hack!

VillageDianne said...

Does the series give credence to the long-discredited lone gunman theory? If so then IMO it's just more propaganda disguised as entertainment. If Franco can't stop the assassination, let him at least stop Jack Ruby from killing Oswald before he could tell his story.

Earl Boebert said...

The absolute best speculative fictional treatment of the JFK assassination remains, IMHO, "The Tears of Autumn" by Charles McCarrey. No gimmicks, no time travel, just an experienced intel hand constructing an alternative mosaic from the known facts.

Jason said...

I suppose I should've expected that the comments would bring out the conspiracy theorists and haters.. but wow.

thomas tucker said...

Disagree. I tohught the show was very good, and had a great ending. I won't repeat the explanations gven above that answer your criticisms. I wil say that the book is better than the show. I've never read a King novel, and this was s o good, and thought-rpovoking, that I was ready to start it over as soon as I had fninshed it. I highly recommend it.

BA said...

I'm a fan of Don DeLillo's "Libra" novel, and I can't imagine its "plausibility" would be given respectful treatment in a film, knock on wood. I understand that many classic books were made into turdly movies.

Anonymous said...

VillageDianne, in the afterword, King explains that he thinks Oswald acted alone and his wife, Tabitha, believes in the conspiracy. He explained that he leaned the book towards his theory because...he wrote the book. If his wife disagrees, she can write her own book. Love the guy's sense of humor.

Pam, St. Louis

Jim said...

If you find that weird, try a couple of similarly themed Czech movies from the Seventies. In I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen an atomic bomb leads to all women becoming infertile and bearded. The solution, obvious when you think about it, is to send a group of people back in time to kill Einstein before he came up with his theories. And the method? Apparently at some time early in the nineteenth century he was at a party where a heavy chandelier fell from the ceiling. So they have to makie sure that he is under that chandelier. 'Cause a gun would be just too easy.

Or a bit better plotted but still weird is Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea. A group of ex-Nazis hiding out in South America are planning to travel back to 1944 to give the besieged Hitler an atom bomb (that just happens to fit nicely in a briefcase). But when their pilot accidentally chokes to death on his breakfast his twin brother unwittingly becomes part of the plot because he's always wanted to be a pilot. But he takes them to 1941 instead, when the Germans are still unbeaten and don't understand why they need any other help. A great comedy but one you probaly have to watch to understand why.

David in Cincinnati said...

Whoa. 3 October 1962 was the day I was born. You're freakin' me out, Ken....

VP81955 said...

Some years back, I toyed with a time travel story...though my theme was far lighter. It took place about 2002, and the premise was that a Washington think tank sent a man back to 1960 -- not to prevent the JFK assassination, but to keep the original Senators in town after that season, rather than having them move to Minnesota, where they found success as the Twins with essentially a roster developed in D.C. (After several years in the AL cellar, the '60 Senators gave a harbinger of things to come with a strong second half that led to a fifth-place finish in that last pre-expansion season.)

Alas, the guy, equipped with plenty of money, can't persuade Calvin Griffith to stay, so he uses plan B, becoming owner of Washington's expansion replacement AL franchise and, secretly armed with a pocket electronic baseball encyclopedia (something that actually was produced about 1993 or so -- I owned one), turns the Nats into champions -- he signs many soon-to-be stars and D.C. becomes a genuine baseball town, the think tank's original plan from when conventional belief decreed winning baseball in Washington was impossible. (The Redskins were at their nadir in the early '60s, largely the result of racist owner George Preston Marshall's refusal to sign black players.)

Our guy also becomes the next-generation Bill Veeck, using many current-day techniques to market baseball in the early '60s. Some of what he does changes the course of history, both for good (JFK surviving past 11/22/63) and bad (fictional people he's close to in his life die before their time). An alternate-history '60s Washington, using baseball as the focal point, could make for an intriguing story.

Anonymous said...

HAven't seen the film but the book is 900 pages. 600 pages of extraneous love story, 300 not bad pages.

BTW- the long discredited lone gunman theory has one significant disadvantage - it happens to be true.
A couple of simple questions for anyone with a counter theory:
1. How did John Connally get his wounds if a bullet did not go thru JFK? Explain the trajectory.
2. How did a grassy knoll gunman shoot JFK in the right side of the head and not have any damage or exit wound to the left side?
3. How did a gunamn from the front shoot JFK in the throat and not damage the windshield and miss the Secret Service agent in the front seat and Connally in the jump seat in front of Connally. What assassin would even attempt that shot?.
4. JFK's trip to Dallas wasn't planned until early October.This was before Oswald took his job at the book depository. Why would anyone give any Oswald the time of day before that if they had no idea the two men would ever be in the same spot?
5. The motorcade route wasn't devised until a week before and wasn't announced publicly until three days before 11/22- how could anyone devise any type of conspiracy in such a short time and leave no concrete evidence -phone calls, money trails, fingerprints etc.
6. How could Jack Ruby leave only 90 seconds between the time he left the Western union office and the time he shot Oswald? How did he know Oswald would go back to his cell for his jacket?
7. Why wouldn't the most powerful law enforcement officer in the country, Bobby Kennedy, expose a conspiracy that killed his brother and best friend?
8. How could so many people, their relatives and ancestors keep the biggest secret of the century for fifty years?

I'll hang up and listen to my answer from anyone with a conspiracy theory that explains all those things.

Pat Howard said...

Big fan really like your reviews and your baseball stories.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I'm with you on those Trivago ads. I'm not sure why I find that guy creepy, but I do.

gottacook said...

The novel Timescape by Gregory Benford (1980) doesn't deal with time travel per se, but 22 November 1963 does prove to be a crucial and unexpected turning point in the story. The idea is that physicists in the ecologically doomed future (Cambridge, UK, 1997) attempt to send faster-than-light messages to the point in the sky where Earth was in 1963, specifically to an experiment known to them at UCSD (La Jolla, CA) that should pick up the message (which concerns how to avoid the catastrophe, which is turning the oceans into huge plankton blooms, etc.). It's a really intriguing book that can be reread with pleasure - something I haven't yet found to be the case with the Stephen King books I've read.

thomas tucker said...

Just a crack at the last two from anonymous: regarding number 7, there is evidence that RFK privately thought that it indeed was a conspiracy and one of his children just confirmed that publicly not long ago. Perhpas he didn't expose it becasue he didn't have enough proff, or he was afraid. Gee, I wonder what ever happened to him. Regarding number 8, I have two words for you- Jimmy Hoffa.

Klee said...

I've been putting off this mini-series because the book is so wonderfully written. I'm still curious but Stephen King is guy whose stories sometimes are better the ones we create in our heads. For example, Pet Sematary is such a scary book and the movie is pure crap with awful acting (except Fred Gwynne's).

Mike said...

I was going to say that Red Dwarf did it best, but @Johnny Walker got there first. Still, all I need is a time machine.

Roger Owen Green said...

I didn't see the series, but LOVED the book. Part of the best part was showing yup in 1958 and figuring out how to live for 5 years, no credit cards, only limited amount of cash. Where do you go, how do you get there? How will people you meet affect everything?

Anonymous said...

@ Thomas tucker
RFK publicly endorsed the official version and as Atty General had the disposal of every law enforcement operative in the country to investigate. RFK Jr. has a tendency to go off the reservation on a lot of things (vaccines). If you knew about RFK he didn't intimidate easily. He once called a Mafia chieftain a little girl on national television in front of Congress. And this was his brother. (BTW - no link between his assassination five years later and his brother's).

Jimmy Hoffa- killed by a couple of people with only a few more who might possibly have known. Body destroyed so no forensics and at most ten people in the world knew what happened. Not a massive coverup involving hundreds. That's what the JFK assassination would have taken.

But let's suppose I give you those two - what about the other six?

D. McEwan said...

Well I read the book, which is why I'm not bothering to watch it on TV. "A whole lot of padding mixed with arbitrary rules" is a very accurate description of the novel. It had a wonderful first act, an interminable and boring second act full of the sort of crap you're rightly complaining about on the TV version, and an entertaining but utterly unhinged third act.

Really. You stopped watching? I understand as, if the middle is anywhere near as boring as it was in the book, it would be awful, but once he does prevent the assassination (Because if he doesn't, you REALLY have no story) the story goes nuts, batshit insane, off the rails. First off, JFK not being assassinated causes a mass-death giant earthquake in California that same day, because Time don't like being screwed with. King's understanding of the relationship between presidential assassinations and seismology, two hitherto believed unrelated things, is - well - let's say "Original," as "Stupid" sounds rude. So the only reason you and I didn't die in a huge earthquake on 11/22/63 is because fortunately, Kennedy was killed. It lost me right there, and it only gets more insane.

At least when Red Dwarf did this premise (In only 30 minutes, not a gigantic novel and a miniseries), the bad consequences that they then have to go back and fix are CREDIBLE! King's are not. Plus RD came up with a brilliant fix: bringing back JFK to assassinate himself, once he'd seen why it was necessary, so the second gunman on the grassy knoll was JFK himself. MUCH better than the way this lox of a book ended.

I like King, and I liked Under the Dome very much (The book, not the crapola TV series), but the novel 11/22/63 was a massive disappointment.

Stu Best said...

Since you're a huge Good Wife fan, I was looking forward to your review of the season finale. If you still think it's pertinent, would love your take on it. Do you think it pulled a Sopranos, or was it a graceful exit that left viewers with a few thoughts about what women must do (to each other) to reach their goals?

thomas tucker said...

@anonymous: there is more evidence of RFK's doubts than the reflections of RFK Jr. As to why he didn't go on a rampage, there are many who have spoken about how RFk was a depressed and broken man after the asassination. From a psychological standpoint, he just didn't have the energy and willpower to do it. he wa also a lame duck, under a President that he despised, just adding to his depression.
More later.

Anonymous said...

@ Thomas Tucker:
The problem with stuff like what RFK might have believed is the problem with all the conspiracy theories, which the theorists drown out logic with. We could argue all day about what RFK felt or didn't feel. Pointless. It does nothing to explain the actual evidence we have.

What does it have to do with concrete evidence - forensics, ballistics, weapons, actual perpertrators and accomplices? In fifty years there has never been s aingle conspiracy theory that does any more than postulate what might have happened. Not a single one proposes a counter theory that explains the timing, bullet wounds, physical evidence forensics and things like trajectories. The logic behind basically every conspiracy theory breaks down if you think about it of more than five minutes.

Whatever RFK may have felt, he offered no concrete evidence that it was anyone other than Oswald, despite five years in which he could have done so with every resource at his disposal That is a fact. Why he didn't is a matter of opinion.

I will speculate here that RFK felt guilty that his brother was killed by a Marxist with Cuban sympathies - in part as a result of the two brothers' antipathy toward Castro. Just speculation and has nothing to do with actual evidence.

Casey H. said...

For the record, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that JFK's death was probably the result of a conspiracy.

thomas tucker said...

@anonymous: I don't think we should hijack Mr. Levine's blog to argue this, so I'll drop it after this. There are friends and family who have corroborated that RFK thought the hit might have been a conspiracy. I just named RFK Jr above, and yet you question his authenticity . His comments are evidencem unless you would only accept RFK's own videotaped memoirs as the only evidence that you claim to need. As for the other issues, there are still way too many strange occurences that don't fit the lone gunman theory. As for some your speculation about trajectories, the slope of Elm Street, and the rise of the grassy knoll would not require firing through a windshield, just as asn example. I have no problem with the idea that Oswald was a shooter. That he acted entirely alone, wtht what we know now about his FBI and CIA contacts, Rubys' Mob contacts, etc- I doubt it. I'll leave any further comments to you, and just ask why you're posting anonymously.

Brian said...

I liked the series, but I read the book, which I highly recommend reading before watching the series. I think the series didn't have time or didn't do a good job explaining things. I also recommend "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly (don't worry, its not political)

MikeN said...

I remember a USA movie with that plot. Don't know if Stephen King went with it, but too many are stuck on this idea that Vietnam would have been avoided if only Kennedy hadn't been shot.

McAlvie said...

Read the book, and loved big chunks of it because, hey, Stephen King can write. But but but, he broke a cardinal rule for writing, which is, don't wander so far astray that your reader forgets what is going on. It was essentially two different stories. I've always wondered if King didn't just want an excuse to relive his youth. The book was about a million pages, and the same story could have been told in about 1/4 of that, and hold my interest. Not that I didn't enjoy the walk through the past, because it's my past, too.

Johnny Walker said...

Ha! Mike! Very good :)

Jahn Ghalt said...

Interesting coincidence that I gave a Toastmasters speech this week which speculates that Ken Grimwood, who wrote Replay a Time Travel novel probably saw Back to the Future and fantasized about using knowlege of the future to bet on known sports outcomes. The chain continued, speculating that Groundhog Day's writer(s) in turn read Replay .

In Replay the protagonist relived his last 25 years over and over. "Early on" he tried to save Kennedy by interfering with Oswald which of course (given that we have Zapruder's film) we know would not prevent the shooter(s) from the front.

Oliver Stone got at least one thing right: "back and to the left".

@ Stephen Marks: You may be interested to know that Grimwood knew about (believed in, with the time travel trope) secondary effects as he demonstrated in Replay .

Killing JFK before Joe Sr. bought the 1960 election would no doubt extend thousands of lives, but no one knows the secondary effects - the so-called "unintended" effects that lawmakers seems to be so surprised about over and over.

With the time travel fantasy, as with social engineering, causes and effects are not straightforward. The way forward (or "backwards") is clear only in forgettable fiction - not clever enough to be worth writing.

Good to know Stephen King wrote that novel - Franco indulgences notwithstanding.

Jahn Ghalt said...

McAlvie wrote:

"I've always wondered if King didn't just want an excuse to relive his youth."

Ken Grimwood made his time travel story autobiographical in at least two known ways:

His protagonist died and resurrected at Tulane University in 1963 at age 18 - just like the author.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Jim wrote (about I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen ):

The solution, obvious when you think about it, is to send a group of people back in time to kill Einstein before he came up with his theories.

If one knows a only a little about the history of modern physics in the early 20th C., this is not obvious at all. Einstein's big contribution was to sign a letter (as the most famous scientist) written by others to notify FDR about the risk that the wrong country might first develop fission bombs. The idea was well known to physicists - Oppenheimer and Teller being the "famous" ones (though perhaps not to that screenwriter).

Without that we might be multi-lingual, with Russian and/or German all too familiar.

Anonymous said...

Pace Mr. Tucker, I was going to let sleeping dogs lie but referencing Oliver stone is too much. No, Oliver Stone did not get it right with back and to the left.

1. a slow motion of the relevant frames show that the initial movement is clearly forward. Only the secondary reaction is back and to the left. It is only back and to the left if you look full speed.
2. There is no conceivable place where a high velocity missile could have come from that would have caused the damage it did to the right side and none whatsoever to the left side. None. Try and draw it.

3. If you look at any picture of the motorcade you will see that Kennedy was sitting behind a windshield, a Secret service Agent and Connally. A straight on shot to the throat without an exit wound to any angle is impossible. Not improbable, impossible, Look at the pictures. He is completely shielded straight on.

4. the House Committee on Assassination postulated a conspiracy based on four shots from an acoustic analysis that has been discredited by the National Academy of Sciences.. No one ever said what happened to a fourth shot and there is no ballistic evidence of one. On that basis alone they said conspiracy. Again no conspiracy explains the actual physical evidence or lack thereof.

Jahn Ghalt said...

An old time (long dead) SF author, Fritz Leiber, wrote a series of time travel short stories collected in "Changewar":


One of these involved a philandering SOB who was killed in his apartment as a result of his stepping out. He was 'resurrected' by the Time Corps and pressed into their service. Like many who were so conscripted he tried to go back, save himself from the mishap that killed him, and resume his life.

In this story, Leiber posited the idea of Temporal Reluctance - if you mess with history, the universe will conspire to minimize the impact.

The protagonist tried several times to save himself, each time something else happened to kill him. With each new attempt the mishap became more and more fantastic (unlikely).

Finally, he was killed yet again - this time by a bullet-sized metorite that crashed through the apartment window and "shot" him in the head.

Jahn Ghalt said...

@Anonymous Anonymous -

Oh Boy, JFK Conspiracy Time!

I am not a well-schooled apologist for the multiple-shooter theory, but I'll give it "shot" (and please excuse the grisly pun).

The most compelling bit of evidence (to me) is the horrible head shot in the Zapruder film which indicates a shot from about 1:30 (with 12:00 straight ahead in the limo). Oswald (LHO) was exactly where the Commission said he was. One of his shots got JFK in the back of the neck (causing him to lift his hands to his throat)

1. How did John Connally get his wounds if a bullet did not go thru JFK? Explain the trajectory.

Not so sure this is relevant to the two wounds (at least) JFK suffered - or to shooters (other than LHO).

2. How did a grassy knoll gunman shoot JFK in the right side of the head and not have any damage or exit wound to the left side?

Lifton in "Best Evidence" addresses this in some detail. Short Version, there was post-mortem surgery.

3. How did a (gunman) from the front shoot JFK in the throat and not damage the windshield and miss the Secret Service agent in the front seat and Connally in the jump seat in front of Connally. What assassin would even attempt that shot?.

LHO shot JFK in the neck from 6:00. Not so sure the rest is relevant to the multiple-shooter theory

4. JFK's trip to Dallas wasn't planned until early October.This was before Oswald took his job at the book depository. Why would anyone give any Oswald the time of day before that if they had no idea the two men would ever be in the same spot?

I'd guess that Oswald was not the leader - but a "patsy" as he said before Ruby got him.

5. The motorcade route wasn't devised until a week before and wasn't announced publicly until three days before 11/22- how could anyone devise any type of conspiracy in such a short time and leave no concrete evidence -phone calls, money trails, fingerprints etc.

Three days seems to be plenty of time. As for flying under the radar, covering tracks, secret cash transactions, etc. you may like The Americans - lots of tradecraft in that.

6. How could Jack Ruby leave only 90 seconds between the time he left the Western union office and the time he shot Oswald? How did he know Oswald would go back to his cell for his jacket?

Not so sure this is relevant the the multiple-shooter theory - but to the coverup, which according Mad Men, was televised to millions. Dead Men Tell No Tales.

7. Why wouldn't the most powerful law enforcement officer in the country, Bobby Kennedy, expose a conspiracy that killed his brother and best friend?

According to "The Dark Side of Camelot" RFK was first concerned with sanitizing JFK's papers before anyone else got them. I'm hazy on the history but I believe LBJ soon fired that powerful law enforcement officer.

8. How could so many people, their relatives and ancestors keep the biggest secret of the century for fifty years?

Loose Lips Sink Ships - a good motto for conspirators.

Anonymous said...

@Jahn Ghalt:
Rather than the boring anyone still reading with a point by point refutation, I would point out that the hallmark of every conspiracy theory is, as you demonstrate, why the Oswald/lone gunman theory must be wrong, not why another theory must be right. Usually it involves things like altering the autopsy with post mortem surgery or editing the Zapruder film. Remember these would take scores of people to maintain a coverup (not like a Jimmy Hoffa hit). And the kids and grandkids of those people because someone is going to tell his kids he was in on the JFK surgery.Ultimately It means the silence of hundreds of people.
Sorry, not plausible.

But most importantly, no one gives a counter theory that explains who was shooting- how and from where, compatible with the forensics. Let me know what the best one is.
As for Oswald as a dupe- what's his motive? Why would the Mob use Oswald- and why would Oswald use the Mob? The man was a self-confessed Marxist. He would have hated the Mob.
Yes, the Cubans could have used three days to co-opt Oswald- but there has never been a shred of evidence that anyone contacted him in the last three days - and the FBI has a very good track of his movements and contacts in that timespan. The FBI would have to be covering for the Cubans, s would anyone else who saw Oswald contacted by them. Not plausible in three days.

Anonymous said...

Let me say something about Lee Harvey Oswald you don't read much about.
It's easy to consider him a sad-sack, a patsy. He got kicked out of the Soviet Union, attempted suicide, had trouble finding a job, beat his wife and was a general incompetent. All of that is true.
Except for one thing - he was the perfect cold-blooded assassin. He had a plan, carried it out, escaped, and shot a policeman in front of witnesses without remorse. He was a practiced shot and shot well enough to hit his target under pressure and he had an explanation for his every action. He probably had an escape plan to Mexico.

When he was captured, he showed absolutely no fear - think about that. Anyone, whether guilty or innocent, is going to be scared in that situation, yet watch his press conference- he didn't show any emotion. He even gave a Communist salute to the press. He didn't admit anything to his brother, who strongly suspected he was guilty- and he managed to frustrate one of the best veteran homicide investigators in the country for an entire day and a half. (BTW -Why would his handlers allow him to be captured and interrogated?)

He may have been an incompetent malcontent at a lot of things -but he was a quite competent assassin.

Kaleberg said...

The National Lampoon had a special if JFK had not been assassinated issue back in '77. Apparently his wife died instead. At first things were great. There as no war in Vietnam. The government set up the Federal Spare Change program for kids who wanted to hitch hike around the country. Pablo Casals was still the hot ticket. I think in his third or fourth term though, we got involved in a War in Ireland complete with propaganda to gin up pro-war feeling. I loved the poster of the dead leprechauns captioned: "Yes, even the little people".

Still, my favorite time travel movie pitch is at SMBC: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3266