The Day Bill Paxton Saw John F. Kennedy

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Roy Cooper Collection, KTVT-TV/Courtesy The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The kid peeking out in this photo, taken in Fort Worth on November 22, 1963, is none other than actor-director Bill Paxton.

On Thursday night, during the AFI Dallas International Film Festival's opening-night wingding at Neiman Marcus, Bill Paxton regaled a few of us with tales of his having seen John Kennedy during the president's Fort Worth stopover the morning of November 22, 1963. Paxton, who was 8 years old at the time, recalled seeing Kennedy speak in the parking lot of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth; he said he'd been hoisted on the shoulders of an African-American man he'd only just met, who had offered the kid a better view of the president. He recalled having been there with his older brother, Bob, and their dad.

Paxton's but one of thousands of folks from around these parts with tales of having seen Kennedy during his fateful trip to Fort Worth and Dallas. My dad, who was then a student at SMU, saw him as the motorcade drove out of Love Field, and my mom was working as an X-ray tech at Parkland Hospital when Kennedy was brought in. But Paxton now has one thing those thousands do not have: proof he was there, in the presence of the president on his last day alive. He has the photos.

Friday afternoon, around 4:30, the star of such films as A Simple Plan, Aliens and One False Move left our interview so he could get a private tour of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. He was also scheduled to give an oral history -- to leave a permanent record of what, so far, had been nothing more than an interesting cocktail-party story. Paxton was also going to view some footage from a film taken by Roy Cooper, a cameraman for KTVT-TV in 1963. Paxton thought there was a chance he was in that footage.

He was right.






On Saturday, my wife and child and I ran into Paxton at the W Hotel. He was coming from lunch at Craft, with actors Chris Klein (who's in the Paxton-produced movie The Good Life) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Paxton's Big Love co-star). But Paxton had stopped to talk to some Craft employees -- more to the point, to show them his bounty from the Sixth Floor Museum.


In his hand he had a manila folder, from which he withdrew two black-and-white photographs, which were stills lifted from the Cooper film. "That's me," he said, pointing to the only child riding on a man's shoulder in the crowded parking lot.


"Bill, his older brother Bob, and his father were apparently close to the front," says Deborah Marine, manager of PR and promotions at the museum. "The image where Bill is looking straight into the camera came from the moment Lyndon Johnson introduced President Kennedy to the crowd. The smiling, clapping Bill in the other image was captured during Kennedy's brief speech." Marine says that in the 30-minute oral history, which has not yet been transcribed, "he describes the experience in detail." She also tells Unfair Park that Paxton was thrilled to find the photos: "We have over 24,000 items in our collection, and people can use them to track themselves or relatives, so we were also excited when he could identify himself and his relatives."


When Paxton's oral history is transcribed, it will be available for anyone to view. Till then, these photos are more than enough -- especially for Paxton, who, till only last week, had only a couple of stories he could share over a couple of beers. Now, he can take these photos and say to people, as he said to us Saturday afternoon, "That's me." --Robert Wilonsky



Roy Cooper Collection, KTVT-TV/Courtesy The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza


This photo was taken during John Kennedy's brief speech in the Hotel Texas parking lot. Paxton's at far right, on the shoulders of a kind stranger who wanted to give the kid a bird's-eye view of the president.



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7 comments
Joseph Mccurry
Joseph Mccurry

You raise the right points, unfortunately I do believe your analysis could be off base, fantastic piece though, great job. Amy

jethro
jethro

You all better look at the photos of Houston and Main sts that awful day, about 20 seconds before JFK is shot. The entire high command of the CIA's Miami JM Wave station are present at this street corner, there to witness the coup against President Kennedy. Present are Theodore Shackley, William Robertson, and Tracy Barnes, along with 6 others. This alone is massive evidence of conspiracy.

Chris Greco
Chris Greco

ROFL Bill Charleston is a mind-boggling moron. Every single issue he raised in his little diatribe has been repeatedly, thoroughly (did I mention repeatedly) debunked and discredited...not by some vast government "conspiracy," but by responsible historians who did primary source material research...and who didn't have an agenda to make money off of the assassination. Bill Charleston is typical of the conspiracy swallowing believer - uninformed, too lazy to do his own research (reading a conspiracy book is not research, it is regurgitation) and, worst of all, naive.

Keep it coming, little Billy. You give humanity a bad name.

naelowlife
naelowlife

Keep that tin foil hat on buddy.

Bill Charleston
Bill Charleston

Bill Paxton is going to appear in an HBO miniseries based on Vince Bugliosi's book on the JFK assassination. Unfortunately for him the series is based on a false premise that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots and killed President Kennedy and wounded two others with that those shots. The actual truth is that the last two shots were fired a fraction of a second apart, the first shot was fired from in front and hit Kennedy in the head which drove him back and to the right. The second shot was fired 0.7 seconds later from the Texas School Book Depository which missed Kennedy's head as he was knocked out of the way and the shot hit Governor Connally in the back, which drove him forward in his seat, just as we see in the Zapruder film.

The acoustic analysis of the Dallas Police Radio also identifies the same two gunshots, 0.7 seconds apart. Although discredited by a Federal Government desperate to conceal the truth, the acoustic evidence in the Kennedy assassination is valid and confirms the above scenario.

Since this information is now known without any doubt, it confirms a conspiracy as the shooter in the TSBD could not have fired two shots less that one second apart.

History will look at us as fools if we let this lie continue. It's time to face the fact that only one man could have pulled off this murder and then ordered the coverup as he did.

Sixpax
Sixpax

 I'm sure history won't actually care.

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