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Author Topic: An Additional Thought on the ?Missing? Darnell Film  (Read 1311 times)

Offline Thurman Lee Storing

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An Additional Thought on the ?Missing? Darnell Film
« on: September 19, 2018, 02:24:12 AM »
About a week ago, Duncan posted a great clip of a rarely-seen segment of the Jimmy Darnell film. I?ve been researching Darnell?s film (and others) for the past few years and was very excited to see it pop up in what is perhaps the ?best? quality I?ve seen. I thought I would take this time to share one of my thoughts on this film and invite the research community here into a discussion on this historical piece of documentation. I posted this over on Dennis Moricet?s Facebook group:

There is one detail that keeps bothering me concerning the Houston Street sequence of this film. In the schematic of the presidential motorcade created by Todd Wayne Vaughn in 1993 (available as pdf at, the author meticulously details the exact placement of not only the cars in the motorcade but the respective positioning of the occupants in the vehicles. On page 18, Vaughn displays Camera Car 3 with Darnell riding in the backseat on the driver?s side of the car. Malcolm Couch is shown to be in the middle backseat with Bob Jackson on the far passenger?s side. This same passenger chronology is also used in Richard Trask?s ?Pictures of the Pain.?

What I am getting at is this: if Darnell was on the far driver?s side and bailed from the car (moments later filming while running down Elm Street), then why is there another photographer (presumably Malcolm Couch) that partially obstructs the film as he pans over from the Book Depository to Houston Street? If Vaughn?s schematic is correct, no one should be blocking Darnell?s viewpoint. Or is Darnell already out of the car although the film  appears to be shot at the same level as the other cameraman in the car?

So this creates at least two (perhaps more) possibilities: A.) The schematic is incorrect. Darnell and Couch were either mislabeled or switched places in the car at some point in the motorcade. Or B.) This segment is actually not part of Jimmy Darnell?s film but actually from Malcolm Couch?s film. That somehow, through time and distance, these films, depicting the immediate action at the intersection of Houston and Elm, were mislabeled or misattributed. I will say, judging by the quality, the film resembles later clips by Darnell, in my opinion.

Online Royell Storing

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Re: An Additional Thought on the ?Missing? Darnell Film
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 05:51:03 AM »
     My guess would be that whoever filmed the footage you discovered, his filming position at the Beginning of that sequence was in the Middle of the back seat. He had someone on both his left side and right side. He filmed a portion of the guy on his left when he panned left. He was therefore sandwiched and when he decided to exit the vehicle, he was forced to climb out by going over the trunk/driver's side rear fender. You can see the filming eye level dropping at about the point where the Press Buses come into focus. We also loose sight of the skyline/rooftops at about this same point due to his Now being on foot/filming at street level.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 05:53:07 AM by Royell Storing »

Offline Sim Heninger

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Re: An Additional Thought on the ?Missing? Darnell Film
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 02:40:03 AM »
Darnell was in the middle of the back seat, Couch was on his left and does appear in this sequence of Darnell's film.  At about the end of the shooting, Darnell and couch both filmed the same things at the same time.  Comparing this part of their films shows that Darnell's lens is a couple of feet to the right of Couch's as they film the TSBD.  Couch then pans to his left and picks up the cars ahead of him on Elm Street.  One of these same cars appears in the very first frame of this newly discovered segment of Darnell's film.  Then several frames show Couch very close up as Darnell turns to his left to climb off the back deck of the convertible (the men in all three camera cars rode on the back decks with their feet in the back seats).  He does pan down, we see the round end of the reflecting pool wall, then the first two press buses on Houston Street, then another sequence starts showing the Dallas cop with his gun drawn...and pointed at the cameramen? 
A very few published Couch frames show Darnell walking on Elm Street near the south curb, and filming.  Darnell is recognizable in these frames, which clinches the identification of their two films as having been correct all along.
The mistake, an honest one, is in the relative positioning of Darnell and Couch in the motorcade schematic.
It is true that this is a good find, especially the press buses on Houston Street.


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