ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963


I was recently watching the 1978 Mel Stuart-directed television movie
"Ruby And Oswald", which is a film that does a very nice job of sticking
to the known facts in evidence regarding the timeline of events surrounding President Kennedy's assassination and the days that followed 11/22/63,
and I took note of something quite interesting during the scene which has
Lee Harvey Oswald (played by Frederic Forrest) rushing into the roominghouse
on Beckley Avenue in Oak Cliff at approximately 1:00 PM CST on November 22:

During the re-created scene of Oswald's probable movements and actions
while inside his small rented room (which is a re-creation that can be seen
in the video embedded above), actor Forrest hurriedly goes into the bedroom, closes the door, takes a light windbreaker jacket (like Oswald's) out of a
closet, puts the jacket on, adjusts the collar of the jacket a little bit, zips
the jacket up about halfway (which is something, btw, that housekeeper
Earlene Roberts said that Oswald didn't do until after he came out of his
room or just as he was coming out of the room), opens a dresser drawer,
pulls a revolver out of the drawer, closes the drawer, stuffs the gun into
the waist of his pants, pulls the jacket back down over his waistband to
hide the gun, opens the bedroom door, exits the room, and closes the
door behind him.

The total time that it took for Forrest to accomplish all of the above
actions -- 22 seconds.

The only thing that director Mel Stuart probably should have had
Forrest do differently while he was performing this bedroom re-
creation is to have the actor grab a handful of extra bullets from a
dresser drawer when he was also retrieving the revolver, because it's
doubtful whether the real Oswald was carrying a bunch of bullets in his
pants pocket when he went to work with Wesley Frazier from Irving on
the morning of the assassination (seeing as how he didn't have his
revolver with him that morning at all).

Another thing that might have added a few more seconds to the total
time that Oswald spent in his room is the possible need to physically
load his .38 Smith & Wesson revolver with some bullets. Although it's
quite possible, of course, that the gun was already loaded with
bullets before Oswald ever entered the room that day. No one can know
that detail for certain.

So, even if we were add a total of 10, 20, or even 30 full seconds
onto Frederic Forrest's roominghouse re-creation to account for some
additional time required for him to grab a handful of bullets from a
drawer (or elsewhere in the room) and to possibly put a few bullets in
the chamber of the gun, the total time that Forrest would have spent
inside that bedroom would still have been less than 1 minute (and only
32 seconds, total, if we were to add only 10 seconds, which seems like
a reasonable amount of time for a man to pick up a few bullets and put
them in his pocket).

Now, granted, this "re-creation" performed by Frederic Forrest in Mel
Stuart's 1978 TV-movie doesn't "prove" a darn thing with respect to
the real Oswald's actions in November 1963. I'll readily admit that

But what it does do is to place on film a reconstruction of an event
that is purported to have taken place on November 22, 1963, by Lee
Harvey event that I don't think anyone has re-created on
film elsewhere in other movies or TV shows or documentaries.

And, IMO, Forrest's re-creation of Oswald's alleged movements and post-
assassination actions after arriving at the Beckley roominghouse are
probably very close to the precise movements made by the real Lee
Oswald on 11/22/63.

And the key, IMO, is the fact that all of those actions that Oswald
needed to perform after going into his bedroom could easily be
accomplished in well under one minute (and probably well under 45
seconds, even when adding a few more seconds for Oswald's needed
bullet-grabbing), as proven by actor Frederic Forrest, who did perform
such an approximate re-creation of LHO's actions in less than 25

The "How Long Was Oswald In His Room On November 22nd?" topic
has come up at various Internet forums many times in the past, and
I have added my two cents to the debate on several occasions, such
as the following examples:

"The best guess is that [Lee] Oswald left his roominghouse at
approx. 1:03 or 1:04 PM (CST). My guess is it was even earlier than
that; because there's no way in hell he was fiddling around in that
shoebox of a room for "3 or 4 minutes", per Mrs. [Earlene] Roberts'
account. There would be absolutely no reason (logically-speaking) for
Oswald to have been in that room for more than 30 seconds at most. Was
Earlene Roberts lying? Of course she wasn't. But people have a habit
of stretching out time estimates to (incorrect) lengthier guesses when
they're asked to re-create "timelines"."
-- DVP; 06/30/2006

"I'd still be willing to bet that Oswald was not in that tiny
room for "3 to 4 minutes" either. One minute tops. I don't KNOW this
to be so, quite obviously. But, as stated before, people are
notoriously rotten at gauging precise times and timelines. And Mrs.
Roberts certainly didn't have a stopwatch on Oswald; nor would she
have had any particular REASON to take note of exactly how long Oswald
stayed in his room. Her "3 to 4 minutes" is an estimate, and nothing
more. Next up from Walt I fully expect to see him claiming that J.D.
Tippit was shot at 12:50 PM, or maybe 12:55. It seems to get earlier
with each passing hunk of kookshit he spouts."
-- DVP; 08/16/2006

"It's always been my theory (yes, it's a guess, but a good one,
IMO) that Oswald was not in that shoebox-sized room of his on Beckley
for any "3 to 4 minutes" (as ESTIMATED by Mrs. Roberts, who was the
only witness to Oswald's coming in and going out again around 1:00 PM
on 11/22/63). Why on this Earth would Oswald, who was undoubtedly in a
"hurry" (per Roberts herself), spend 3 to 4 minutes in that closet of
a room just to grab his pistol and some bullets?"
-- DVP; 08/02/2007

"There's no chance in hell that Oswald spent "3 to 4 minutes" in that
closet/room. No way. I'll never buy that part of Roberts' account; and
this gives [Oswald] more time to reach 10th St., via my version, which
is much more sensible than Roberts'."
-- DVP; 09/02/2007

"The walk back to LHO's roominghouse was re-created by WC
counsel members, and it took 5 minutes and 45 seconds....which would
have placed Oswald back home at approx. 12:59:45 PM. He was probably
in that shoebox of a room for no more than 1 minute (tops), and
probably (IMO) closer to only 30 seconds (Earlene Roberts' "3 to 4
minutes" testimony notwithstanding), which would have given Oswald
ample time to travel the 0.85 of a mile to Tenth Street to kill
Officer Tippit. The trip from 1026 Beckley to the Tippit murder site
on 10th St. has been re-created several times by different people
(with varying results, depending upon the pace, of course), and the
excursion has taken as little as 11 minutes."
-- DVP; 11/08/2007

"IMO, Oswald was in that room for no more than 1 minute --
-- DVP; 03/17/2008

"I'll maintain until the cows come home that it's very unlikely that
Oz stayed in that shoebox of a room for any 3-4 minutes that day.
No way. No how."
-- DVP; 04/24/2008

"I'll always be of the opinion that Mrs. Roberts was incorrect
when she said that Lee was in his crackerbox of a room for "3 or 4
minutes". There was simply no reason under the moon for him to be in
that room for more than 1 minute--tops."
-- DVP; 07/28/2008


[End quotes.]


And while it's true that housekeeper Earlene Roberts testified to the
Warren Commission on April 8, 1964, that Oswald "went on to his room
and stayed about 3 or 4 minutes" [6 H 438], it's also a fact that Mrs. Roberts
also said that Oswald was in his room "just long enough, I guess, to go in
there and get a jacket and put it on"
[6 H 440].

David Von Pein
October 2008
February 2010