November 22, 1963
As tens of thousands of people greeted President Kennedy in downtown Dallas, Abraham Zapruder filmed two of his employees waiting near a grassy knoll just a block from Jennifer Juniors, Zapruder’s clothing company. Receptionist Marilyn Sitzman waved to the camera as payroll clerk Beatrice Hester sat with her husband, Charles, on a nearby bench. “Mr. Z” then climbed atop a concrete abutment and waited. Sitzman supported him in case Zapruder became dizzy. He stood 65 feet from the center of Elm Street.
Zapruder filmed the Kennedy limousine after it turned onto Elm Street and captured the entire assassination—the only photographer to do so. He used a Bell & Howell Model 414PD Zoomatic Director Series camera with a Varamat 9-27mm f1.8 zoom lens, set for full close-up. Its 8mm Kodachrome II color film moved through the camera at an average speed of 18.3 frames per second, as determined by later tests.
Zapruder continued filmed after the shooting, which took less than 10 seconds. He and Sitzman jumped down and walked into the shelter of a nearby pergola as the Hesters crouched on the grass. Zapruder and Sitzman soon became separated.
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Photo: National Archives