INSIDE THE FOUR DAYS THAT CHANGED AMERICA AND AMERICAN TELEVISION HISTORY IN “48 HOURS PRESENTS: AS IT HAPPENED: JOHN F. KENNEDY 50 YEARS”
ANCHORED BY “FACE THE NATION” AND CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT BOB SCHIEFFER
CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent and FACE THE NATION Anchor Bob Schieffer takes viewers inside the four days that changed America and American television history in 48 HOURS PRSENTS: “As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years” to be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 16 (9:00 PM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
The one-hour special delivers a portrait of a Presidency 1,000 days in, as well as of a Kennedy family that had captured the hearts of a nation. The assassination would change everything.
“Little could we know history was about to be made – time stopped cold, in that dark moment, on a Dallas street,” Schieffer says in 48 HOURS PRESENTS: “As it Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years.” “The horror of the assassin’s shots shattered dreams, and echoed through the decades, coloring our politics and our lives.”
“As It Happened: John F Kennedy 50 Years” is re-telling the past in present tense, with Schieffer, then a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, exploring the fear and tension surrounding that period in 1963 as it unfolds before their eyes. Viewers will hear legendary anchor Walter Cronkite deliver news of shots fired on the motorcade, and then Kennedy’s death, in a moment that has become part of American history. They’ll also hear – and see – the reporters who told the story that day: Charles Collingwood, Harry Reasoner, Charles Kuralt, Dan Rather and Mike Wallace.
“As the news spread people stopped what they were doing to go to the radio, mostly, but also to television,” says Sandy Socolow, Cronkite’s former producer. “It was the first instance of wall-to-wall news coverage.”
“That was the day that the news went live on television,” says Bob Huffaker, who covered the assassination as reporter for KRLD AM/FM/TV and the Dallas Times Herald.
Using the rich historic archives of CBS News and new interviews with people who were there, “As It Happened: John F Kennedy 50 Years” looks at the life of the young president, his impact in the nation, and how the events of 1963 continue to drive debates even today.
Indeed, 50 years after the assassination, the discussion continues on whether or not there was a conspiracy to kill the President of the United States and if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Emmy Award winning animator and Kennedy expert Dale K. Myers looks for clues by using computer technology to explore frame-by-frame the famous Abraham Zapruder film of the assassination, while Phil Shenon, author of “A Cruel and Shocking Act,” which exposed new information about the Kennedy assassination, examines the conspiracy theories.
“It's just – a difficult concept for folks that one, young, unstable man, with a $21 rifle could change the world,” Shenon tells Schieffer. “And yet it happened.”
“48 HOURS PRESENTS: “As it Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years” also features interviews with Dr. Kenneth Salyer, who in 1963 was a first-year surgical resident at Parkland Memorial Hospital and was on the team that tried to save the president and author and historian Robert Caro.
“It has been half a century, and so many lifetimes ago,” Schieffer says. “Yet the images from November 1963 remain haunting, burned into our national consciousness.”
Jamie Stolz is the senior producer of “48 HOURS PRESENTS: “As it Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years.” Taigi Smith, Pamela Mason Wagner and Kate Harrington are the producers. Mike Vele is the producer-editor. Atticus Brady and Basil Pappas are the editors. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
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