ALAN FRAME invites you to spend considerably more than three and fourpence to fund a brilliant new documentary on the assasinations of Jack and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King
Everyone over the age of 60 will remember vividly the day of the assassination of JFK and most will recall exactly where they were and what they were doing. In my case I was in the Lower Sixth and queuing for the only prize I ever got at school which, believe it or not, was the Fullerton Temperance prize for an RE essay! Where, as they say, did it all go wrong from that high point?
Anyway, where was I – ah yes, queuing to go on the stage to receive my prize. A whisper was doing the rounds that President Kennedy had been shot. But by the time it reached me I assumed it fell into the ‘pass it on’ category of “Send reinforcements”…”Send three and fourpence”.
It wasn’t of course and when we day boys emerged into the cold evening we were greeted by news sellers and bill boards bearing the simple legend Kennedy Assassinated. The great Jack Sayers, legendary editor of Belfast’s evening paper the Telegraph, had trawled the pubs for staff and a late, late edition was produced at about 9pm.
Over the Irish Sea at 120 Fleet Street David English, later my hero and my mentor at the Sketch and then the Mail, was on the phone to the foreign desk from the Express New York office. Which was strange because his by-line on the splash the following morning was From David English in Dallas. An old trick of the trade of course and ‘justified’ by the fact that by the time we were reading his copy David was on a flight to Texas.
Five years later I was working for the Express in Manchester and enormously proud that I had made it to what was still regarded as one of THE great newspapers. Across the Atlantic the US was in turmoil: Vietnam, racial tension and the Cold War being a lethal concoction. For those who thought it couldn’t get worse it did in the space of just two months: Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis on May 4 and Robert Kennedy in LA on June 6.
King was 39, Kennedy 42 and JFK when he was killed 46. All young men and each one the future of a better America.
Their lives had been crucially intertwined (and not just in terms of their chronic infidelities) because they were all a major problem to ultra conservatives, segregationists, the unions, the Mafia and the rich mix of fruitcakes bred by a society based on the ‘freedom’ to bear arms. In short, they had to be silenced.
We have spent decades perfecting the film and have 60 days to reach our funding goal. The only thing standing in the way of general release is £200,000 to buy the copyright of the footage
Now, 48 years after the Robert Kennedy killing, an amazing and truly moving documentary has been made telling the complete story of this tragic saga. It is told in a unique fashion with NO actors, NO talking heads and NO commentary, just archive footage. In other words, told as if were just happening contemporaneously in front of you. It is called King Kennedy and is the brainchild of a friend, Howard Goldstein, and Ronan O’Rahilly, another significant 60s figure as founder of Radio Caroline, who has directed this inspirational movie.
I saw an earlier iteration several years ago and it is hugely powerful; I was not alone leaving the screening rooms with tears in my eyes. More than 700 hours of newsreel footage has been gathered by the KK team and skilfully distilled to 120 minutes. Now the only thing standing in the way of general release is £200,000 to buy the copyright of the footage, sourced from across the world and more than 50 archive libraries. Everything else has been paid for, nothing else stands in the way.
Howard Goldstein says: ”We're not necessarily asking for your money, but rather your endorsement. We have spent decades perfecting the film and we have 60 days to reach our funding goal. So any support in the form of a tweet, any other social media, a share, a public shout-out, would be greatly appreciated and would play a vital role in bringing this incredible film to the world”.
So if you have been paying attention at the back, please do spread the word. Or indeed, send three and fourpence (preferably a great deal more). This is one of the great journalistic enterprises telling one of the most compelling and tragic stories. And no, no datelines have been changed!