By : Mike Clark | Posted: 25 Jan 2010
As one historian notes for this documentary, few days left America more vulnerable than the events of Nov. 22, 1963.
This account replicates the feel of William Manchester’s 1967 essential read The Death of a President — possibly because the author himself compiled documents in 1964-65 that were sealed until last year and used here.
This 94-minute gripper notes that for far too long in the day, an average TV viewer in the Midwest probably had a better idea of what had happened regarding John F. Kennedy’s death than did new president Lyndon B. Johnson, who was actually in the Dallas motorcade. And though one never got the impression that Johnson was regularly inviting former attorney general Robert Kennedy down to the LBJ Ranch for ribs and tequila shooters in the first place, the day’s experience dumped fresh seeds of animus on their relationship with permanent results (the Kennedys, Jackie excepted, do not come off very well here).
Most amazing revelation: a power scuffle over JFK’s body between government and local authorities in the hospital, during which someone actually pulled a gun.
A&E has also just released a three-hour History Channel companion DVD, JFK: 3 Shots That Changed America ($19.95). Missing on DVD, though, is David Wolper’s still pulsating theatrical release Four Days in November (1964), which deservedly made some of the year’s 10-best lists and still really brings a dreadful weekend back.