Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nearly famous

See the book on the left? When the News Went Live. Buy it.

Four of us (Bob Huffaker, Bill Mercer and Wes Wise) wrote the book. Huffaker is the principal author. It's about our experiences reporting on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We were reporters for KRLD-Radio/TV in Dallas.

I was the newest, greenest reporter in Dallas. A skinny 24-year-old kid from Lubbock. Six weeks on the job and the world turned ugly real fast. Already, I had been knocked down three times by retired Gen. Walker, and that was in the first month.

Our book is a first-person account of what it was like to cover those terrifying events. We were so busy that we didn't even have a chance to cry until days later.

Even though I was a cub reporter, I am proud of my responses, often just gut instinct. Twice I hitched rides with strangers to get the story in.

When Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas police department, he was standing just to my right. I never saw him come down the ramp. Nor was I aware of him standing next to me when he stepped out and fired that fatal bullet. The camera I was using had those big Mickey Mouse film-holder ears on top and blocked my vision.

Although other photographers had a wider, better angle, the Warren Commission was interested in my footage because Oswald appeared to look at Ruby just before getting shot. The conspiracy theory was born.

Lest you think I got rich selling that piece of film, my Christmas bonus was $8.62. True story. The bonus was based strictly on the amount of time I had worked for the station.

Footnote to history: You may recall that more than 20 other people met mysterious deaths. People on the tangent to the story. My then-wife always said she thought I was going to get murdered.

But I think she was just building an alibi.

3 comments:

Denise said...

I loved your book as did my managing editor. The narratives are tight, bring the reader right into the action and give the readers a point of view from a different angle. Also, your title of the book is absolutely on the money. That was the day the news went live. It was the day life changed for many Americans and it was the saddest day in Camelot. Great book. Great read.

ArchGrafiX said...

George, your co-authored book was almost like the four gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was way interesting!

annie'sbuddie said...

i am proud to have an autographed copy of this book and proud to be able to call myself a friend of your daughter.
i vividly remember sitting in mr. tatema's 7th grade algebra class when the announcement about president kennedy's assination was broadcast over the school pa system. seemed so callous.
and i was glued to our b&w television watching those events of the following days including Ruby shooting Oswald. as a kid it shook me to the bone...couldn't believe what i was seeing happen.
thanks to all 4 of you for putting the being there into perspective.

National Politics

News on Aging

Geriatric Medicine News

Senior Health Insurance News

Social Security & Medicare News

Posts From Other Geezer Blogs