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Saturday, November 16, 2013

As U.S. approaches 50th anniversary of JFK assassination in Dallas, our thoughts at the blog are all over the place: JFK & LBJ and Texas and... Bryan Cranston playing LBJ on Broadway in Robert Schenkkan's "All The Way"; UVA Prof. Larry J. Sabato's fascinating new book on JFK, and CBS News' veteran reporter Bob Schieffer, who covered the JFK visit 50 years ago, now busy hosting a Saturday night network special on JFK and hosting 'Face The Nation' on Sunday morning from the scene of the crime

                       
KVUE News video ‏-Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston visited Austin today to talk about his new Broadway role as LBJ.
by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN 
Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:20 AM 
Updated yesterday at 1:41 PM




As some of you reading this blog may well recall from my having told you before in-person, in Indiana, Illinois Washington, D.C. or here in Florida, or even here on the blog, both of my parents actually saw President and Mrs. Kennedy the day before the fateful day he was killed. The reason is that both of them worked over at Kelly AFB in San Antonio, my Mom as a secretary for the Base Commander, and my Dad, who worked in the Medical Corps. 
(I was actually born next door at the hospital at Lackland AFB, one month after JFK was inaugurated.)

They were at Brooks because President Kennedy was dedicating the new School of Aerospace Medicine, which was quite a big deal at the time given the space program, but as things turned out, of course, it was to be his last official act as president.

My Mom still has the official photos that were taken of the welcoming ceremonies there at the base by the vigilant base photographers, and I grew-up knowing those photographs, one in particular, from just a few feet away, like it had always been part of my memory.
Because it had been.


The Last Two Days, November 1963: 21-22
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHF-WHN17.aspx

That's the late Henry B. Gonzalez coming down the stairs off Air Force One behind JFK, to his left, and then again at 01:06 in the film, waving to the crowds.
Henry B. was the longtime congressman from San Antonio and someone I was very fortunate to talk to be able to talk to a handful of times when he was still in Congress when I was living and working in the Washington, D.C. area. 

I was fortunate enough to attend a few of the public birthday parties that got thrown for him that were held outside in one of the House Office Bldg.'s courtyards, as his party was always one of the real highlights of the year I looked forward to, as far as having real fun was concerned. Complete with a kick-ass Mariachi band, attractive and talented dancers and a variety and huge amount of really great food and cold Texas beer, I only wish that I'd taken more photos back then, because besides his very loyal and longstanding staff, other Congressmen and staffers, Democrats as well as Republicans, he had quite a few well-known people come swing by the party to say hello, many of whom he had known for most of their adult life or even before. 
Those friendly get-togethers meant a lot to him, but I grew to believe they meant just as much to the people who attended them, because they were old-fashioned relaxing fun of the sort that 95% of the events we attended in DC never were, but wished they were.

By the time I got to Washington, Congressman Gonzalez was still a very beloved-yet-controversial figure, and I think for most of the time I went to those events on The Hill, or saw him at other Texas-related events, he was either the Chairman of the House Banking Committee or Chair of one of the important Subcommittees, and even then though there should be an audit of the Federal Reserve, much as Sen. Rand Paul and many others do now. Transparency and public accountability.

But when that film above was made in 1963, Rep. Gonzalez was an eager and excitable second-term congressman, albeit one who had already done quite a lot for san antonio and in the texas legislature, often against great odds.
He was the first Hispanic congressman ever elected from Texas, something that he was very proud of in a not-at-all unreasonable way, especially for the times.
http://www.cah.utexas.edu/feature/0611/video.php?connection=dialup

In all my dealings with him, you could not have met a warmer and more sincere person or someone with a better memory, and if you didn't know any better, you'd probably have guessed that he was either a retired pediatrician or veterinarian.
That memory of his was one of his great talents for succeeding in politics, since he remembered my Mother's name from a conversation we'd had many months before, even though I'd said it only in passing when talking about the fact that when JFK ran in 1960, it was the first time that she could legally vote.

At 06:19 and 06:33, not wearing an overcoat, you can see future Speaker of the House Jim Wright, the congressman from Fort Worth.
As U.S. approaches 50th anniversary of JFK assassination in Dallas, our thoughts at the blog are all over the place: JFK & LBJ and... Texas and Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston of 'Breaking Bad' visiting Austin and the LBJ Library as he prepares to play LBJ on Broadway in Robert Schenkkan's "All The Way"; UVA Prof. Larry J. Sabato's fascinating new book on JFK, and CBS News' Bob Schieffer, who covered the JFK visit 50 years ago, busy hosting a Saturday night network special on JFK and then hosting 'Face The Nation' on Sunday morning from the scene of the crime, with Luci Baines Johnson slated to be a guest
As always, Prof. Larry J. Sabato's wise words and depth of knowledge are a useful antidote to years of revisionist history, both Democratic and Republican, foreign and domestic.

The Washington Post

Five myths about John F. Kennedy
By Larry J. Sabato, Published: November 13, 2013
Most everyone who was alive on Nov. 22, 1963, remembers where they were when they heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. JFK was the youngest elected U.S. president and the youngest to die. The fascination with him is never-ending: There have been hundreds of books, TV specials and films about his New Frontier, as well as the enduring controversy surrounding his assassination. Let’s debunk some of the most pervasive myths.
Read the column at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-john-f-kennedy/2013/11/13/bf1d1442-4b1a-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html


fact-filled photo gallery
Is there more to JFK assassination? 
By Larry J. Sabato 
updated 4:32 PM EST, Fri November 15, 2013





















Listening to THE FIRST FAMILY for The First Time. I can see why it was a huge hit - until 11/22/63. #JFK50 http://t.co/e75IplT1Ib

In the early-to-mid 1970's, while living in North Miami Beach, I had a very good friend whose parents still had a copy of this record album, and his father would often play it when his wife was out of the house because he really loved the album and knew the material backwards-and-forwards and would often say the lines along with the actors, and laugh and laugh.

Now I don't recall whether the story was that the father was supposed to have gotten written of the album altogether, or just couldn't have it out where she could see it, but I know that in the hundreds of times I was over there, that album stayed out-of-sight, and NOT with the rest of the records they had near the old-style entertainment center console -with lots of Broadway cast albums I would come to know and love.


It seems that hearing those Kennedy-like accents just made his wife very upset and she'd often start crying and weeping if she heard even some of it.

I know that must sound sort of odd to read right now, but trust me, at the time it was happening, it seemed quite upsetting and turned everything around us upside down.
That was a secret that 12-year old me had to keep on the down low.
The Dad playing the record and the Mom who cried when hearing it unexpectedly. 














http://jfkfacts.org/


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