"The Umbrella Man", a cautionary tale by Erroll Morris




Today is the 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It's a murder that will live unsolved alongside the likes the White Chapel killings, the murder of Jimmy Hoffa (and Nicole Brown Simpson? hmm)  in its infamy.

Except that the Kennedy assassination was captured on film, making it all the more frustrating an experience, one that has caused deep social anxieties and fears in the American psyche. Was it communists? Was it the mob? Was it the CIA? Was it his own VP? Was it a cover up? Was its Owald, or was he a patsy? Back and to the left! Back and to the left!

Oy vey.

At this point it doesn't matter, really. He died and whoever pulled the trigger(s) is probably dead as well.

Would you believe anyone claiming to know the truth? Now, all these years later? No one would. The truth is forever a mystery, and too much time and money is at stake in the industry of Kennedy assassination theory to let it go to waste now.

But there are cautionary tales along the way.

And Writer and P.I. Josiah Thompson, who authored the book Six Seconds in Dallas, talks here to the documentarian Errol Morris (best known for his films Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War and the recent Tabloid) about one of them: the Umbrella Man. The man who stood along the road, right next to the highway sign that obscures the first shot in the Zapruder film, had to -- HAD TO -- be a part of the conspiracy.


The short film is posted on the NY Times website. It's less about the assassination itself than it is about the titular cautionary tale. It's possibly NWS since it features the Zapruder film.