Interview: David Von Pein, Curator of his YouTube ‘JFK Channel’

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No votes yet What was the circumstance of you obtaining the rare audio of the first JFK bulletins on NBC-TV, only recorded because an engineer was testing his equipment that morning?

Von Pein: The name of the man who recorded that rare NBC-TV audio is Phil Gries, an avid collector of archival television audio. He had his audio tape recorder set up next to his television set at his home on Friday, November 22, 1963. He had just finished recording the audio of a program called “Tell Us More,” which aired that day from 12:00 to 12:30 PM [CST] on WNBC-TV in New York City.

At 1:45 PM, he noticed an “NBC Bulletin” slide come on the screen, interrupting the program [“Bachelor Father”] that was airing at the time on WNBC. Phil then quickly hit the “record” button on his tape recorder and was able to tape announcer Don Pardo’s first two bulletins concerning the shooting of President Kennedy, plus the next four minutes of NBC-TV’s coverage of the unfolding tragedy taking place in Dallas.

My acquisition of a digital copy of Phil’s original ‘lost’ NBC-TV bulletins came about on November 21, 2013, just one day prior to the 50th anniversary of the assassination. You do occasionally update the page with new material. What has been one of your latest and greatest finds in association with the assassination broadcasts and what was the circumstance of unearthing it?

Von Pein: I guess I’d have to say it’s the ‘new and improved’ version of the NBC-TV coverage in the last link I just provided in my last answer above. That ‘improved’ coverage has much higher quality video resolution than my previous online versions of the same material. I acquired that enhanced version of the NBC material from an anonymous individual on Facebook in November of 2015. He was kind enough to send me the video through a file-sharing service at no cost at all.

The picture quality he was able to extract for his finished video is quite good, especially since he told me he had merely used two different VHS tape sources to work with to do his enhancements. I have no idea how he achieved the excellent PQ he produced, with only old VHS tapes to work with … but I thank him for it, whoever he is. What in the hours of broadcasting, both on TV and radio, do you think are the weirdest moments, either in an on-air gaffe or unnecessary over-editorializing in the midst of the assassination and related events?

Von Pein: There are several odd gaffes by the media that occurred during the weekend of the assassination. The easiest way to answer this question is the provide a link to the specific topic … click ERRORS for the audio and video clips.

The David Von Pein JFK Channel
Photo credit: YouTube Finally, I was born in 1960, you were born in 1961. Given we were toddlers when the assassination took place, how do you think it affected our generation as an event in the background of our subsequent lives?

Von Pein: I wish I could peer into a crystal ball, so I could find out how the majority of people would answer that question. But as for me personally, I’d have to say that it has affected my life perhaps quite a bit more than most other people, simply due to the fact that I have immersed myself deeply in the subjects of John F. Kennedy and his assassination for much of the last 20 plus years.

But for most people of our generation – those born in the early 1960s – I doubt that JFK’s assassination has really had a huge impact upon their lives. So you find it was the slightly older folks who took the brunt of the news?

Von Pein: As for the previous generations – people born in the first half of the 20th Century – I’ve heard them say that President Kennedy’s death affected them much more profoundly, due to the fact that they remember the time when JFK was alive and was President of the United States.

And, of course, most of those people can also vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news on November 22, 1963. It affected many of them very deeply, as they felt they had actually lost someone very close to them personally. You and I, Patrick, don’t have such memories. And maybe it’s for the best that we don’t. It spares us the burden of dealing with the tragic memories of that terrible Friday in Dallas.

For David Von Pein’s version of this interview, click PATRICK & DAVID. David Von Pein also has other channels on YouTube, click DVP for links. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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