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PBS Remembers Kennedy With Two Releases

4 Nov, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

An assassin’s bullet claimed the life of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago on Nov. 22, 1963. PBS Distribution joins others in remembering Kennedy’s life with two documentaries, American Experience: JFK and Secrets of the Dead: JFK — One PM: Central Standard Time, both due out on disc Nov. 19.

American Experience: JFK, divided into two parts, explores Kennedy’s childhood years rife with battles against life-threatening illnesses, his decisive campaign that made him the youngest elected president in U.S. history, and the unfulfilled promise of his presidency caused by his assassination.

“John F. Kennedy is an iconic figure in American politics, known for his soaring rhetoric and the youthful energy and glamour he brought to the presidency,” said director and producer Susan Bellows. “However, he wasn’t a born politician, and he struggled with debilitating health challenges throughout his life. Our film looks at his journey to the Oval Office, the ambition that propelled him there, and how he navigated one of the most pivotal eras in American history.”

The documentary also recounts the failure at the Bay of Pigs, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the conflict in Southeast Asia with interviews from sister Jean Kennedy Smith; niece Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; historian Robert Dallek; author Robert Caro; administration officials John Seigenthaler, Thomas Hughes and Harris Wofford; civil rights leaders Andrew Young and Julian Bond; and journalists Evan Thomas and Richard Reeves.

American Experience: JFK airs on PBS Nov. 11 and 12 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., and will be available on DVD ($29.99) and Blu-ray ($34.99).

Focusing on the aftermath of Kennedy being shot in Dallas and rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital is JFK — One PM: Central Standard Time (DVD $24.99).

The program also centers on CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, who was on the story from the initial reports that Kennedy was hit to the emotional announcement of the president’s death at 1 p.m. CST that fateful day in 1963.

The special, narrated by George Clooney, features an interview with former President Bill Clinton, and memories from the producers, writers and reporters who were there on that momentous day, including Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Marvin Kalb and Marianne Means.

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