The Washington Post takes a look back today at one of the minor, interesting players in the Kennedy assassination drama: Abraham Zapruder. The Russian immigrant almost never made the film that made him famous—he'd left his camera at home that morning. "Mr. Z, you march right back there" and get it, his secretary commanded. "How many times will you have a crack at color movies of the president?" Zapruder would, in some ways, regret obeying. After seeing the president die through his camera lens, he fell into hysterics.
"They killed him!" he shouted to people nearby. He returned to his office, where he banged on his desk and wept. That night, he had a nightmare in which a man in Times Square beckoned people into a movie theater by barking, "Come in and see the president killed on the big screen!" The dream repeated itself every night. He eventually sold the film for $125,000 to LIFE magazine, but still it haunted him. When he spoke to the Warren Commission eight months later, he again cried. "I couldn't help it," he said. "I loved the president. And to see that happen before my eyes..." For much more on the man's history, see the Post. (Read more Zapruder Film stories.)