12-Year-Old Records History Moments Before Assassination
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The eyes of the world are on Dallas as the city prepares to commemorate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago.
Despite the cold and rain Thursday night dozens of people could be seen mulling around Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.
The infamous Zapruder Film of the Kennedy assassination is known by just about everyone, but a young boy also shot film of the President on November 22, 1963. It’s video he never shared publicly until now.
Johnny Haller was 12-years-old in 1963 and he was excited about seeing the President of the Untied States. He stood in the middle of the road, with a camera, as history approached.
“My mother in the background is yelling, ‘Johnny, get back here! Get back here!’ But no one else tried to move me, so I stayed as long as I could.”
Haller remembers parts of that day vividly. “It was indescribably horrific,” said the now retired Methodist minister.
Until now, Haller has never shared with the public the home movie he made of President Kennedy traveling down Dallas’ Turtle Creek Boulevard.
The movie was recorded mere minutes before one of the nation’s worst tragedies.
“I think the crowd was very celebrative, very excited,” Haller recalled. “It [the motorcade] was half a block away and I decided that rather than stand to the side, I was just going to stand out in the street.”
The President rode by in a customized 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible limousine and though the event was very public Haller had a moment that was very personal. “It’s very moving to capture his image, as he appears to be looking, at least, towards me.”
And then it was over. An excited young boy and his mother made the 10-minute walk back to their car. The pair got inside, turned on the radio and immediately heard bad news.
Fighting to hold back tears Haller said, “It made me feel devastated. I [still] feel those feelings today.”
The Haller’s have only watched the grainy home movie with family and close friends. There’s nothing shown that will change history, but with the 50th commemoration quickly approaching it adds a short chapter that Haller now wants to share.
“There’s no new revelation in this… there’s no smoking gun. But this might be interesting to somebody,” he said. “That day, along Turtle Creek Boulevard, along with hundreds of other people who were there, the President came by.”
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