National Geographic returns with the second installment of its One Day in America franchise with three episodes commemorating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The limited series premiers on Nat Geo on November 5 at 8/7 c and on Disney Plus and Hulu the next day.
Following in the footsteps of the Emmy-winning One Day in America: 9/11, One Day in America: JFK looks back 60 years at the events of November 22, 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald shot the young president while he was sitting next to his young wife, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, in a motorcade parading through downtown Dallas. The limited series also explores the dramatic events that followed, including the manhunt for Oswald, his murder of Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit while on the lam, and the murder of Oswald by nightclub owner Jack Ruby as Oswald was being transferred to the county jail.
From 72 Films’ David Glover and filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, the series was made in collaboration with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. With exclusive permission to colorize the museum’s news footage archives for the first time, the docuseries weaves archival footage with testimony from some of the last surviving witnesses to examine that pivotal day. Contributors include Peggy Simpson, the only female Associated Press reporter working in Texas in 1963 and an eyewitness to Oswald’s shooting; Rusty Robbins, a Dallas police officer who knew Ruby; and Bill Mercer, a local reporter for KRLD Dallas who was the first to inform Oswald that he had been charged with the president’s murder.
National Geographic also interviewed Clint Hill, a United States Secret Service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy who famously jumped on to the moving car to help the First Lady after shots were fired; Secret Service agent Paul Landis, who was on his first-ever presidential motorcade during the incident; White House correspondent Sid Davis, who was in the room at Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in on board Air Force One shortly after the assassination; Buell Frazier, who drove Oswald to work that morning at the Texas School Book Depository; Dallas shoe store worker John Brewer, who helped law enforcement find Lee Harvey Oswald; Ruth Paine, a friend of Oswald’s wife, Marina, who lived with her at the time of the assassination; and the closest living civilian witnesses to the shooting, Gayle and Bill Newman.
Police recordings from that frantic day are also featured throughout the three episodes.
“JFK: One Day In America offers audiences a unique chance to hear from some of the last surviving witnesses of the momentous events of November 22, 1963,” said Tom McDonald, EVP of global factual and unscripted content, National Geographic, in a statement. “Many of these witnesses are now in their 80s and 90s, so this may be the final chance to capture their accounts and hear their testimony. National Geographic aspires to be a brand of record for historic events – the interviews featured in the series are a unique body of work which shed fresh light on what it felt like to be caught up in the events of that day.”
The series chronicles not only the day JFK was assassinated but the days that followed it, including November 22, when he arrived in Dallas; November 24, when Oswald was shot; and the president’s funeral on November 25.
“This series is for all generations — those who remember staring at their television in disbelief in 1963 and those less familiar with former President John F. Kennedy and his assassination,” said executive producer Glover. “By bringing history to life through this unbelievable real-time footage and firsthand stories from those who lived this tragedy, our hope is for viewers to experience this moment that changed the course of U.S. history and better understand its impact.”
“Revisiting these tragic but impactful events in great detail is a privilege but always a challenge as we work to convey not just the historical impact, but most importantly, the human experience,” said executive producers Martin and Lindsay, also in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful to those who shared their intimate and emotional stories from that day in the series and couldn’t think of a better partner to handle with such care than National Geographic. Thank you to our friends at 72 Films for helping to create this essential time capsule and to The Sixth Floor Museum for such in-depth access to its incredible archive.”