"JFK: INSIDE THE TARGET CAR"
REVIEW OF THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL DOCUMENTARY
"JFK: INSIDE THE TARGET CAR" (2008):
On November 16, 2008, the Discovery Channel cable television network
aired the fourth and (evidently) last in a mini-series of "JFK" programs
for that network's "Unsolved History" television series, entitled
"JFK: Inside The Target Car".
Utilizing groundbreaking techniques, the Discovery Channel, along with
award-winning sharpshooter Michael Yardley and an Australian company
that specializes in creating surrogate dummies, went about the task of
trying to simulate the fatal gunshot that struck the head of President
John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
And that fatal shot was, indeed, simulated with a very good degree of
accuracy, as Yardley (on a California test-firing range) took aim at a
human-like head filled with simulated brain tissue from a mock firing
position that represented the sixth-floor sniper's perch inside the
Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas.
The result of that "Depository" test shot, when compared with the
"blood spray" pattern seen in Abraham Zapruder's famous home movie of
the actual assassination of JFK in 1963, was almost identical in nature
to that of the Zapruder Film -- with the spray pattern of blood and
brain tissue from Yardley's test shot matching the real Zapruder Film to
a tee (as was shown in side-by-side comparisons on the Discovery
The direction of the spray of blood and brain tissue was almost all
FORWARD of the head (a head that was shot from behind), with one
interesting exception (also captured on film by the high-speed cameras
that were used to document the test) -- one chunk of brain tissue went
flying to the REAR after the surrogate head was hit from BEHIND by
Yardley's 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano bullet (a bullet just like
the type Lee Harvey Oswald used in his rifle in 1963).
For decades, conspiracy theorists have argued that it would have been
impossible for JFK to have been hit from behind and still have brain
matter end up on the TRUNK of the Presidential limousine afterward.
This Discovery Channel test positively debunks that conspiracy notion
for all time--without a shred of a doubt.
Another very impressive part of the "Target Car" program is when we
see Mr. Yardley take two shots (on the California range again) from a
location in front of JFK's car -- i.e., from a position that simulated
the famous Grassy Knoll in Dallas' Dealey Plaza.
And those two "Grassy Knoll" gunshots were very interesting, in that
they effectively proved beyond virtually ALL doubt that John Kennedy
was definitely NOT hit in the head by a bullet fired from the Grassy
The first "Knoll" simulated shot, using a different type gun and
bullet (instead of a Carcano, Yardley used a Winchester rifle and a
"soft point" bullet), literally blew the surrogate head right off of its
spring-based "neck". [See the video below.] It was actually a rather
unnerving test, with the head being totally blown to bits, with nothing
left on the "neck" to even analyze afterward. And, of course, nothing
even close to that kind of "obliteration" of JFK's head occurred in
Dealey Plaza back in '63.
Thankfully, the Discovery Channel and Mr. Yardley had enough of these
human-like surrogate heads (four in total) to perform a second test
shot from the Grassy Knoll firing location -- and this time Yardley
fired a 6.5-millimeter bullet through a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle like
Lee Harvey Oswald's.
And the results of that test were just as I had predicted they would be:
"Any...shot from a simulated "Grassy Knoll" firing position would no
doubt have resulted in the test skull having quite a bit of damage to
the LEFT side of the head (which we don't find at all in the real head
of John Kennedy)." -- DVP; November 1, 2008
Yardley's test bullet went clear through the simulated JFK head,
entering near the right temple and exiting on the other side, causing
a good deal of damage to the LEFT SIDE of the head....which is
something that positively did not happen to John Kennedy in 1963. The
left side of Kennedy's head at his autopsy was completely undamaged,
as we can easily see via this official autopsy photograph of JFK taken
on the night of 11/22/63:
So, in the final analysis, I don't think there can be much doubt
whatsoever about the direction from which President Kennedy received
his fatal head wounds -- that shot HAD to have come FROM BEHIND the
Of course, that particular fact (i.e., JFK was shot only one time in
the head, with that shot coming from behind) was actually arrived at
back in November 1963, during JFK's autopsy at the Bethesda Naval
Medical Center, and this autopsy picture below proves that fact:
But it's also nice to be able to put this issue to bed once and for all
from a strictly scientific and "hands-on" testing standpoint, with an
actual test using lifelike skulls and real bullets being done to check
out what happens to a human head when it is hit with a Mannlicher-
Carcano (Oswald-like) bullet from the front. We now have the answer.
And it's not a surprising answer at all -- the LEFT side of the head
will suffer major damage. And since this did not happen to JFK in '63,
the math is fairly easy to do from that point forward.
OTHER "INSIDE THE TARGET CAR" COMMENTS:
The final results of the actual test firings that were done by Michael
Yardley are very impressive indeed, with those results driving a big
fat nail of doom into the heart of many conspiracy theories
surrounding the death of JFK (at least the theories that offer up the
notion that Kennedy was hit in the head by a frontal gunshot at any
rate)....but there were three things in the "Target Car" documentary
that had me scratching my head a little bit as I watched them:
1.) The Discovery Channel team and Yardley and Sixth Floor Museum
curator Gary Mack chose four areas within Dealey Plaza as potential
shooting locations (not counting Lee Harvey Oswald's Sniper's Nest on
the 6th Floor of the Book Depository).
But of those four possible places where a gunman could have been, I
believe that only one of them is a location that has seriously been
considered as a source for any gunfire by a vast majority of
conspiracy theorists over the many years since the assassination. And
that one location is behind the picket fence on the Grassy Knoll on
the north side of Elm Street, which is an area that's a little bit
west of the even-more-famous "Badge Man" shooting position. It's from
this shooting location that Yardley's shot resulted in major damage to
the left side of the test dummy's head.
But the other three "frontal" shooting spots were all very strange
ones, in my opinion, with very few people that I have ever encountered
(even hardcore conspiracy kooks) believing that shots came from any of
these three locations, which included an area on the far-south side of
Dealey Plaza (the south-side "Grassy Knoll"), and another location on
top of the south side of the Triple Underpass, and a third on the
north end of the Underpass (but not actually on top of the Underpass
Now, maybe some conspiracists believe that those three locations
contained a gunman who fired shots at JFK back in '63, but I sure as
heck don't think that that number of theorists is very high at all.
For one thing, if shots had come from either of the two SOUTH-SIDE
locales, why did no witnesses report hearing any shots at all coming
from the SOUTH end of the Plaza? I doubt you could find any witness
who suggested that shots had come from that far SOUTH in Dealey Plaza.
And for another thing, as Gary Mack rightly and logically points out
to the audience during the Discovery Channel program when talking
about the north-side shooting location near the Underpass, any shot by
a gunman from that spot (or ANY location on top of the Underpass
itself) would have almost certainly been detected by the many railroad
workers--not to mention the TWO uniformed Dallas police officers--who
were watching the motorcade from just a few yards away, from atop the
Triple Underpass itself.
Would a gunman have been so bold and reckless to have placed himself
in such a vulnerable and wide-open position when firing a rifle at the
President? Common sense is telling me--no way.
Therefore, I'm wondering why the Discovery Channel people even
bothered to speculate about those three crazy-as-all-get-out potential
shooting locations in the first place? It seemed quite strange that
precious time would have been wasted in a 40-plus-minute TV
documentary by speculating about such obviously-insane firing
positions within Dealey Plaza.
IMO, the more commonly-accepted possible shooting points of the Dal-
Tex Building, or the County Records Building, or Gary Mack's own
famous "Badge Man" location would have been more appropriate when
speculating about any potential additional non-Depository gunmen in
Dealey Plaza. But none of those three locations I just mentioned was
even brought up in the Discovery documentary.
2.) When positioning the occupants in the limousine, the Discovery
Channel has placed Jackie Kennedy in an absurd position inside the
car. The documentary shows Jackie's head situated in a place that
appears to be BEHIND her husband's head at the time of Zapruder Frame
#312. But in the Zapruder Film, we can see that Jackie's head is very
much to the FRONT of President Kennedy's head.
Now, I realize that the perspective of the limousine's occupants for
any "frontal" gunman would be different when compared with Mr.
Zapruder's pretty much STRAIGHT ON point-of-view as of Z-Frame 312.
But even accounting for this difference in perspective, it appears to
me that the Discovery people have got Jackie severely out of position
in the car at Z312:
NOTE: The above comparison photo comes courtesy of assassination
researcher David Emerling, who was kind enough to e-mail me that
comparison shot. The picture on the right side, btw, was taken from a
spot in front of the fence near the Triple Underpass on the north side
of Elm Street, which is one of those three crazily insane firing
positions being examined during the documentary as potential places to
put a sniper.
Also, the documentary program has both of Jackie's arms wrapped around
her husband at the time of Frame 312, which is not accurate at all.
Not even close. Here's Zapruder Frame 312:
3.) I'm wondering why the test shots couldn't have simply been done in
the best possible place to perform such a test -- right in Dealey Plaza
itself (and from the 6th-Floor window inside the Book Depository itself)?
The Discovery people already had arranged for the police to completely
close off Elm Street and Dealey Plaza for a period of time for their
initial "looking through the rifle scope" tests (to see whether certain
angles within the Plaza were feasible ones or not for the head shot),
so I wonder why they didn't just go the whole nine yards and perform
the actual test shots that were fired into the surrogate skulls from
Dealey Plaza as well?
I know that Oswald's Sniper's-Nest window is now technically "off
limits" to visitors of Mr. Mack's Sixth Floor Museum. But surely an
exception could have been made to allow Mr. Yardley to use that
corner window to fire just that one shot at a dummy's head.
If the test shots could have been fired right at the scene of the
crime itself (Dealey Plaza), I think it would have been better all the
way around, and mainly to silence even more critics of the lone-
But by doing the actual shooting tests in California, the naysayers
can now argue that the tests weren't set up right...or that the
distances cannot be confirmed...or that the height of Oswald's window
wasn't measured with accuracy...etc., etc.
But I'm guessing that some legal restrictions (or some kind of
roadblock anyway) prohibited the shooting tests from being done right
there in Dealey Plaza. That's too bad, too, because unless I miss my
guess, a head-shot test performed from the actual crime scene would
have been even MORE powerful and conspiracy-refuting.
Despite my three quibbles listed above, I very much enjoyed "Inside
The Target Car". It's a program that proves, via filmed scientific
tests, that the Warren Commission and the autopsy doctors were 100%
correct -- the fatal bullet that hit JFK in the head on 11/22/63 came
from behind the President's car. There can be no doubt about that
My thanks to the Discovery Channel, and to the Australian team of
people who built the four human-like heads, and to Gary Mack.
Together, this group of people--via the TV documentary "JFK: Inside
The Target Car"--has placed on film another important piece of
documentation relating to the truth about the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy.
"The more scientific and ballistics tests that are done (like the
Discovery Channel's tests and Dale Myers' excellent computer
animation projects relating to both the SBT and the acoustic/Dictabelt
evidence), the further and further away from a multi-gun conspiracy
we get in the JFK case.
"Shouldn't that make even the staunchest CTer pause and ask -- I
wonder how this can be...if JFK was really hit from the front and rear,
like Oliver Stone, Jim Garrison, et al, insist he was?" -- DVP; 11/1/2008
David Von Pein
"Inside The Target Car" Preview
Another "Target Car" Preview
"JFK: Beyond The Magic Bullet"
Posted By: David Von Pein