November 22, 2010

We Interrupt This Program...

It was 47 years ago today that a live broadcast of the soap opera "As The World Turns" on CBS was interrupted at 1:40pm.  What followed was the first audio report out of Dallas, Texas about an assassination attempt on President Kennedy.  It is riveting stuff and truly, as they say, the first draft of history.

The announcer is not Walter Cronkite and his voice is uncertain.... he even stumbles a couple times as he clearly reads copy that he just ripped off the wire.  The soap was interrupted twice more during it's half-hour broadcast as more details came in, like the number of shots, the fact that the Texas governor was wounded, and a report of assassins on the infamous grassy knoll.  What is most striking about these early reports is how clear it is that the president's wounds are grave. There is even the inclusion in the third bulletin of a Secret Service agent reportedly saying, "he's dead."

While we're all familiar with Uncle Walter's official video pronunciation of Kennedy's death roughly an hour later, I had never seen/heard these live bulletins before. A friend posted them on FB and they are worth watching today as, once again, we remember a president who was shot down in his prime.