JFK in Dallas Caught By Abraham Zapruder's Amateur Video
While at WFAA, Zapruder described on live television what he had seen:
JAY WATSON (Station WFAA Dallas): [...] And would you tell us your story please, sir?
ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER: I got out in, uh, about a half-hour earlier to get a good spot to shoot some pictures. And I found a spot, one of these concrete blocks they have down near that park, near the underpass. And I got on top there, there was another girl from my office, she was right behind me. And as I was shooting, as the President was coming down from Houston Street making his turn, it was about a half-way down there, I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this. Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn't say it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up [places fingers of right hand to right side of head in a narrow cone, over his right ear], all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting. That's about all, I'm just sick, I can't…
WATSON: I think that pretty well expresses the entire feelings of the whole world.
ZAPRUDER: Terrible, terrible.
WATSON: You have the film in your camera, we'll try to get...
ZAPRUDER: Yes, I brought it on the studio, now.
WATSON: We'll try to get that processed and have it as soon as possible.
Sale of rights
Late that evening, Zapruder was contacted at home by Richard Stolley, an editor at Life magazine (and first editor of the future People magazine). They arranged to meet the following morning to view the film, after which Zapruder sold the print rights to Life magazine for $50,000. The following day (November 24), Life purchased all rights to the film for a total of $150,000 (equivalent to $1 million in 2007). (Zapruder gave the first $25,000 to the widow of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit, who had been killed confronting Lee Harvey Oswald in the hours after the assassination.)
The night after the assassination, Zapruder is said to have had a nightmare in which he saw a booth in Times Square advertising "See the President's head explode!" He determined that, while he was willing to make money from the film, he did not want the public to see the full horror of what he had seen. Therefore, a condition of the sale to Life was that frame 313, showing the fatal shot, would be withheld.