DALLAS – Abraham Zapruder, the Dallas women’s clothing manufacturer whose home movie of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 is the only complete visual record of the crime, is coming out of retirement to film a commercial for the popular Oreo sandwich cookie.
Zapruder, who has turned down hundreds of similar offers since that fateful day, decided this was the right project because “the twin chocolate biscuits have mesmerized the taste buds of the nation in much the same way that the assassination of President Kennedy mesmerized the nation’s taste for news in 1963.
Zapruder says he’ll use the same Bell & Howell 8mm camera that he used to film the assassination. Like the assassination film, the commercial will be exactly 26.6 seconds in length, it will be silent, and, without warning, frame 313 will explode with crackling pop-pop-pop brutality as the beloved cookie is pulled apart.
Film historians expect the commercial to feature some of the time-honored techniques Zapruder popularized. For example, he is widely regarded as the godfather of handheld, shaky camera work to create the illusion of stark intimacy, a style imitated in countless films since 1963.
Zapruder said he is hoping to get “the old gang together” when he starts shooting, including former President Lyndon Johnson and former Texas Governor John Connally. A smile shot across his face: “I guess I’ll have to promise them nobody’ll get hurt this time,” he joked. The smile quickly disappeared. “Yeah, what happened to Kennedy that last time, that was a real bitch.”
But Zapruder can’t understand all the fuss about him. “I’m not an auteur! I’m just a clothing manufacturer who got lucky!”