Way, way back in the summer of 1992 I was working in Dallas on a movie. It was a big Steve Martin movie for Paramount Pictures. The entire cast and crew spent just over a month filming on a sound stage in Dallas. A group of us decided to visit the Sixth Floor Museum aka “the Book Depository where Oswald shot Kennedy”. We were a bunch of young, smart ass movie people from LA and thought this would be a hilarious way to spend the day.
We started wandering through the museum checking out all the usual stuff. Their wedding pics, JFK and Nixon debating on TV and lots of him in the White House with the kids. Before we realized what was happening, we were at the far end of the room and looking out a window. The Window. We were standing right where Oswald stood and shot him. We could see up the street in to downtown Dallas and then how the motorcade curved left in to Dealey Plaza. It was all right there in front of us. So now it was real.
We stopped laughing and cracking jokes. We stopped being smart ass movie people from LA. It got very quiet. We turned to continue through the last half of the museum. One photo really got to us. It was a photo of inside the ballroom where JFK was due to speak and have lunch that day. A podium with the Presidential seal and banquet tables on either side were empty – except for all the people standing around crying. Some had their head in their hands, some were holding on to each other and some had their heads down on the tables.
Now we were really quiet. We talked a little on the ride back to the set. It was so abstract in the beginning. Then all of a sudden we thought – he had such little kids, he had so many nieces and nephews, his parents were still alive. What had started out as a silly day of sightseeing became something we couldn’t forget.