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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VI - Page 168« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of James Robert Underwood)

Mr. Ball.
Tom Dillard?
Mr. Underwood.
Yes; Tom Dillard, and a photographer from the Dallas Times-Herald whose name is Bob Jackson, also a photographer from WFAA-TV and I do not know his name. I heard it but I don't remember it.
Mr. Ball.
There was a driver, also?

Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes; the driver I later found out was a member of the department of public safety.
Mr. Ball.
You are a photographer, also?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes, sir; I wear many hats in my business but one of which is news photographer.
Mr. Ball.
Did you have your camera with you that day?
Mr. Underwood.
Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. BALL. What is your experience; where were you born; where did you go to school; how did you get to get the experience that fit you for your present job? Just in your own. words, tell me something about yourself.
Mr. Underwood.
I was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1922; I served in the Marine Corps from 1940 until 1943, almost 4 years, and after that I attended the University of Tulsa and after that I worked---I began working in radio as an announcer while I was going to college. When I got out of college, I went to Corpus Christi, Tex. That was about 1947 and I became program director and news director of a radio station in Corpus Christi and I stayed there until 1950 when I went to a station in Jacksonville, Fla., where I was also program director and news director, and in 1953, I came to Dallas, and I worked for a year and a half for WFAA-TV as an announcer, then I freelanced in television and radio from September of 1954 until November---and I have to count for a minute 6 years this November that would be until November 1958 when I went to work for KRLD-TV and Radio News and shortly thereafter I became assistant news director but I earned part of my living, I still freelance in television which is all freelance in television and I have a regular job which entails every type of reporting, including photography which I enjoy doing.

Mr. BALL. On the day of the assassination, you were in the motorcade with these men you mentioned and you think your car was third behind the Presidential car?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes; and I thought it was six or seven. I shot sound on film of the President's arrival and Vice President's arrival at Dallas Love Field the morning he came in on the 22d and then I took off the rather cumbersome sound on film equipment and took my hand camera because I had an assigned place in the motorcade and I could not tell out there because of the many people I could not tell what position we were in. I could not see that far ahead to determine exactly where we were in the motorcade, although I knew we were in the front of it. The motorcade stopped once on the way downtown, this was briefly, and I jumped over this side---we were in a---convertible and ran toward the President's car and I was aware of the crowd and the motorcade immediately started and I ran back to the convertible, not wanting to be left, and looking afterward at the films that I took there, I could then count the cars there. I realized we were three behind him, according to my movies we took. When we turned onto Main Street downtown and headed west toward the scene of where the assassination took place, either the regulator or the mainspring in my camera broke and I was without a camera. I knew that we had two men, at least two men on the parade route who were on the street and would be filming the motorcade as we came by and I hoped to exchange my broken camera for one of theirs because I knew I could make more use of the one that would operate. The only problem was we went down Main Street so rapidly it would have been impossible to get anything from someone standing on the street and at Main and Record one of our men was stationed and I tried to holier at him my camera was broken and I wanted to switch and I started to and there was no point in it because we passed there that rapidly. I thought it was the fastest motorcade that passed through a crowd; this was really moving, as far as I was concerned. Then, we came to the scene where the shots were fired. Do you want me to go on?
Mr. BALL. From the time you turned, tell me what you observed after you made the turn at Main and Houston to drive north on Houston.
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