1993.011.0021 – Marilyn Sitzman Oral History Interview

Marilyn Sitzman Oral History, 6/29/1993
Interview by Wes Wise with Bob Porter

Transcript Excerpt

Wes:            Something that has been uncovered is that [Abraham Zapruder] tried out a little bit of the film ahead of time to make sure the camera was working all right and caught some of the motorcycle policemen.  Do you recall that kind of testing the first few feet of film?

Marilyn:        No. Like I said, I know he took a picture of me as I walked up, and then we stood up there.  He may have taken shots to see what his view was.  I only remember when they started to make their first turn…turning into the street, he said, “OK, here we go…” or something to that effect.  That’s when I remember he started actually doing the filming.  

Wes:            Before the filming began and the shots rang out, what was the atmosphere?  What was the feeling there on the plaza?

Marilyn:        Oh, everybody was yelling and screaming “yea,” you know, that type thing.

Wes:            Very upbeat, in other words.

Marilyn:        Oh yeah, very.  Very.

Wes:            OK, then you saw the motorcade turn the corner.  

Marilyn:         Yeah. They turned the corner, and they started coming down.  And the first thing I remember hearing was what I thought was firecrackers because Kennedy threw his hands up, and I heard “bang, bang.”  Now, there could have been a third “bang,” I can’t swear to that one.  But I know there were two “bangs” very close together, and I thought they were firecrackers because his arms were going into the air, and it was way off to my left and above.  So, you know, I’m just kind of like… what a stupid thing to throw firecrackers, and as they came down… the last shot that we heard was right in front of us and it was like the same sound—far off and to the left—but I saw his head open up and I saw the brains coming up.  So, of course, by this time, I knew it wasn’t firecrackers.  But those were the only sounds I heard.

Bob:            To clarify it a bit, that would be towards the School Book Depository building?

Marilyn:        Towards our left and above.  

Wes:            Which would be in the general direction of the sixth floor window?

Marilyn:        Yes, yes!  

Wes:            Now… excuse me, go ahead.  

Bob:            I’m sorry, go… you didn’t turn and look in that direction?

Marilyn:        No, neither one of us…neither Mr. Zapruder or I turned ever.  We kept our attention on what was happening exactly in front of us, and if you look at his film, there’s very little jumping.  It’s very steady considering what was going on, and that’s why I’m saying the sound we heard… the third sound still sounded a distance because if it had been as close as everybody’s trying to tell us, you know, twenty feet behind us…          

Wes:            The picket fence?

Marilyn:        Yeah, we would have jumped sky-high.  

Wes:            Now. You said you did hear another sound?

Marilyn:        OK, after, you know, he filmed through going under the Triple Underpass, and we’re both still standing there and then I heard this crash.  And that’s when both Mr. Zapruder and I kind of like did a second of what-do-you-call-it…

Wes:            Double-take.

Marilyn:        Double… there’s a park bench on the other side of the cement thing, and they were sitting in a park bench and they dropped their pop bottle on that cement there and cracked it.  That’s what kind of woke us up, and that’s when we got down off of the concrete.  But that sound was, like, five… eight feet from us.  That, yeah, we did hear, but that’s the only other sound other than that far away sound that we heard.

Wes:            Would… that sound was not close enough to the other shots, though, to be mistaken for a shot, you think?  

Marilyn:        No, it was… it was glass hitting concrete.

Wes:            Distinctly?

Marilyn:        Yeah, I knew exactly what it was when it hit.

Oral History Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.