NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TO COMMEMORATE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY’S ASSASSINATION WITH 2ND INSTALLMENT OF THE EMMY® AWARD-WINNING ONE DAY IN AMERICA FRANCHISE WITH JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA
IN OFFICIAL COLLABORATION WITH THE SIXTH FLOOR MUSEUM AT DEALEY PLAZA, THE SERIES CHRONICLES THE EVENTS OF THIS HISTORIC MOMENT IN REAL-TIME WITH FIRST-PERSON TESTIMONY FROM THE LAST SURVIVING WITNESSES AND FEATURES NEVER BEFORE SEEN COLORIZED FOOTAGE
From Emmy Award-Winning 72 Films’ David Glover and Academy Award®-Winning Executive Producers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin
Johannesburg, 21 September 2023: To commemorate six decades since the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy on 22 November, 1963, the Emmy Award-winning, critically acclaimed franchise ONE DAY IN AMERICA returns with its second instalment, JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA. The three-part series produces a comprehensive account of that tragic moment in American history and the ripples that followed. The limited series will premiere across Africa on National Geographic (DStv 181 Starsat 220) on Sunday, 5 November, 21:00 with the first two episodes broadcast in a double bill, with episode 3 premiering on Monday 6 November at 21:00 (CAT).
From Emmy Award-winning 72 Films’ David Glover along with Academy Award-winning filmmakers Dan Lindsey and T.J. Martin, the series is made in official collaboration with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. With exclusive permission to colorize the museum’s news footage archives for the first time, the landmark docu-series weaves archival footage with key testimony from some of the last surviving witnesses to create an immersive, minute-by-minute examination of that pivotal day that forever changed American history.
JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA features newly colorized footage and testimony from those on the ground in Dallas that day, some of whom are sharing their stories for the first time in a documentary. The newly colorized footage includes that of Lee Harvey Oswald when he is in police custody and when he is shot while being transferred to the county jail. Contributors sharing their emotional testimony for the first time in a documentary include Peggy Simpson, the only female Associated Press reporter working in Texas in 1963 and an eyewitness to Oswald’s shooting; Rusty Robbins, a Dallas police officer who knew Jack Ruby, the man who murdered Oswald; and Bill Mercer, a local reporter for KRLD who was the first to inform suspect Oswald that he had been charged with the president’s murder.
For the series to serve as a comprehensive oral history, National Geographic also interviewed Clint Hill, a United States Secret Service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy, who famously jumped onto the moving car and tried to help the First Lady after shots were fired; Secret Service agent Paul Landis, who was on his first-ever presidential motorcade during the incident; White House correspondent Sid Davis, who was in the room at Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in on-board Air Force One shortly after the assassination; Buell Frazier, who drove Oswald to work that morning at the Texas School Book Depository; Dallas shoe store worker John Brewer, who helped law enforcement find Lee Harvey Oswald; Ruth Paine, a friend of Oswald’s wife, Marina, who lived with her at the time of the assassination; and the closest living civilian witnesses to the shooting, Gayle and Bill Newman.
Throughout the three episodes, viewers will also hear police radio recordings from on the ground on Nov. 22, 1963, as law enforcement searched for the shooter. This includes dispatch recordings from the moment Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit was shot to the search around the Texas Theater when Oswald was soon arrested. Additionally, live news broadcasts are featured over the course of each episode, echoing the fear, confusion and sadness that quickly swept the country in the wake of former President Kennedy and Officer Tippit’s deaths.
“JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA offers audiences a unique chance to hear from some of the last surviving witnesses of the momentous events of November 22, 1963,” said Tom McDonald, EVP of Global Factual and Unscripted Content, National Geographic. “Many of these witnesses are now in their 80s and 90s, so this may be the final chance to capture their accounts and hear their testimony. National Geographic aspires to be a brand of record for historic events – the interviews featured in the series are a unique body of work which shed fresh light on what it felt like to be caught up in the events of that day.”
The series chronicles in real-time not only the day JFK was assassinated but also the days surrounding it, including Nov. 22, when he arrived in Dallas; Nov. 24, when Oswald was shot; and JFK’s funeral on Nov. 25.
The three episodes include:
President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, travelled to Texas with an eye on the 1964 elections, along with a team of secret service agents. During a motorcade in downtown Dallas, JFK is brutally shot in broad daylight and later tragically pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital with his grieving wife in the next room. America changes forever.
The race is on to track down JFK’s killer, but before he is arrested, the assassin kills again. Meanwhile, Jackie Kennedy boards Air Force One to return JFK’s body to Washington. Still wearing her bloodstained dress, she witnesses LBJ sworn in as president. As the net closes around suspected killer Lee Harvey Oswald, his co-workers and family face interrogation.
President Kennedy’s body arrives back in Washington, and a grieving Jackie Kennedy leads the funeral march to honour him. In Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald is charged with JFK’s murder, but the world is shocked again when Oswald himself is shot dead while still in police custody by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. With Oswald dead, there is no reckoning, and America will never be the same.
“This series is for all generations — those who remember staring at their television in disbelief in 1963 and those less familiar with former President John F. Kennedy and his assassination,” said David Glover, executive producer for 72 Films. “By bringing history to life through this unbelievable real-time footage and first-hand stories from those who lived this tragedy, our hope is for viewers to experience this moment that changed the course of U.S. history and better understand its impact.”
“Revisiting these tragic but impactful events in great detail is a privilege but always a challenge as we work to convey not just the historical impact, but most importantly, the human experience,” said executive producers T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay. “We are incredibly grateful to those who shared their intimate and emotional stories from that day in the series and couldn’t think of a better partner to handle with such care than National Geographic. Thank you to our friends at 72 Films for helping to create this essential time capsule and to The Sixth Floor Museum for such in-depth access to its incredible archive.”
JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA is the second instalment of National Geographic’s Emmy-winning ONE DAY IN AMERICA franchise, which retells crucial moments in U.S. history minute-by-minute using only exclusive archival footage and first-person testimony from those who were there. The first instalment, 9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA, won an Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary in 2022.
JFK: ONE DAY IN AMERICA is produced by 72 Films for National Geographic. For 72 Films, David Glover is executive producer, and Ella Wright is series director. Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin executive-produced the series. For National Geographic, Carolyn Payne is executive producer, and Tom McDonald is executive vice president, Global Factual and Unscripted Content.