Woman Wants Grandpa's JFK Assassination Film Back

That or $10M
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2015 8:46 AM CST
Woman Wants Grandpa's JFK Assassination Film Back
A still from the Nix film.   (YouTube)

The "Zapruder film" rings a bell for most people—the "Nix film" far less so. But both captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the granddaughter of the man who shot the latter now wants one of two things: the film back, or $10 million. Gayle Nix Jackson on Saturday filed suit against the federal government, and in her complaint she traces the film's largely vague path. On Nov. 22, 1963, a 52-year-old Orville Nix stationed himself at the corner of Main and Houston, ready to use the new 8mm home-movie camera he had bought the week prior. Per the complaint, he filmed it all: the shot, Jackie climbing onto the trunk, the Secret Service reaction. And as WFAA explains, he captured nearly a mirror image of what Zapruder did, having been on the opposite side of the limousine.

On Dec. 1, 1963, Nix gave his footage to the FBI in Dallas, which duplicated it. Five days later, United Press International bought the original for $5,000 and a fedora and agreed to a 25-year copyright (though the deal was based on a handshake, the Houston Chronicle notes). Jackson alleges the original was handed back to the feds "on at least several occasions," with the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978 being "the last to acknowledge having the original Nix film in its possession." In 1991, the family got back all the material UPI had, minus the original, its "whereabouts unknown to this day." WFAA notes that some claim the original contains more frames than the copies do and could conclusively answer whether there was a second gunman, which Nix believed was the case. "He told us there was another gunman over there [on the grassy knoll]," the Washington Post quotes Jackson as saying in 1991. (Read about the love letters JFK sent another woman after his marriage.)

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