JFK remains TV gold 50 years after Dallas

Our Lady of Peace had JFK’s official portrait

Are you old enough to remember the Kennedy assassination?
I was in Grade One at Our Lady of Peace school in Etobicoke. Because it was a Catholic school, there was a portrait of U.S. president John F. Kennedy in the hallway–near a portrait of The Queen. I think Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights hung in the school, too, but there were no portraits of Dief or of then prime minister Lester Pearson.
So, on that day in November, I thought the president of Canada had been shot. Mrs. Holland, the Grade One teacher, wheeled a big, boxy, black and white TV into the room, one of those that sat way up high on those chrome TV stands. We watched Walter Cronkite swallow hard and tell us Kennedy was pronounced dead that Friday, November 22, 1963.
I asked various celebrities to share their memories of that day. Here’s one from long time CTV senior news anchor and W5 host Lloyd Robertson:

LLoyd reported JFK’s death

I’d been here in the Toronto big-time for a year and was far down the list in the CBC announcer pool. My buddies and I were chatting over coffee in the canteen of the old CBC building on Jarvis St when I was told to get into the announcer booth quickly and be ready to go up on the full radio network. The moment I sat down an editor raced in with a bulletin that President Kennedy had been shot at Dealey Plaza in Dallas and was being rushed to hospital. After what seemed an interminable wait came the stunning news: The President was dead! I remember the moment like yesterday: the horrified look of the operator on the other side of the studio glass, my own attempt to pull together and gather my thoughts and the realization, sinking in that I had just happened to be around for the story of lifetime.

Robertson has many more memories from his front row seat on history in his book The Kind of Life It’s Been (available here from Amazon.) Read more memories from Jon Voight, Mark Harmon, Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale and others on the Kennedy assassination here at this feature I wrote for The Canadian Press.
There are several TV specials marking the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, including:

Goodwin and Lowe in Killing Kennedy

SUNDAY: Based on the less-than-groundbreaking book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Duggard, Killing Kennedy tracks both JFK and his alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald over the last four years of their lives. Rob Lowe plays Kennedy (with, ah, vigga), Ginnifer Goodwin plays Jackie, with Will Rothhaar and Michelle Trachenberg as the Oswalds. Premieres Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic Channel.
Prior to that at 6 p.m. ET, Nat Geo airs JFK: The Day That Changed Everything, which looks at the last hours of the president’s life that fateful day in Dallas. Bil Paxton narrates.
MONDAY & TUESDAY: PBS premieres JFK, a four-hour American Experience special Nov. 11-12 that offers a fresh assessment of the president and looks at his unfulfilled promise. Features interviews with family members and historians. Airs at 9 p.m. ET both nights (check local PBS affiliate).
WEDNESDAY: George Clooney narrates JFK: One PM Central Standard Time (10 p.m. ET, PBS). The documentary takes a look at two people, both 46, forever intertwined in history–John F. Kennedy and CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite.
Also on Wednesday, Nova presents Cold Case JFK, which asks whether modern investigators could have done a better job with JFK’s autopsy (9 p.m. ET, PBS)
There’s plenty more JFK coverage next week as we move closer to the 50th anniversary on the 22nd..

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