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Pepperdine Honors 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Death with Screening and Exhibit

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Herschensohn Exhibit Poster jpgOn Friday, November 22nd, from 2-4:30pm, fifty years to the day following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Pepperdine University Libraries and the School of Public Policy will host a screening of John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, with director Bruce Herschensohn.

During the entire month of November, a complementary exhibit will be held in Payson Library that explores the making of this film with photographs, correspondence, posters, memorabilia, and other images.

The 90-minute film, produced by the United States Information Agency (USIA) and written and directed by Herschensohn, examined the life, death, and impact of John F. Kennedy shortly after his assassination. It features extensive excerpts from Kennedy’s speeches, including color footage of his swearing in and inaugural address. Gregory Peck served as the narrator of the film, and it was ultimately shown in more than 100 countries and in 30 languages. The USIA produced media about American for foreign audiences. Because audiences were so moved by this film, a special act of Congress in 1965 allowed it to be distributed in the U.S. for viewing by domestic audiences.

The film screening at Pepperdine will be followed by a Q&A with writer and director, Bruce Herschensohn. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, which will be on display in Payson Library throughout the month of November, features materials from the Bruce Herschsensohn Papers about the making of John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums. These materials document the filming of the worldwide reaction to Kennedy’s death, including the funeral proceedings in Washington, D.C., and memorial services around the world; the development of the film script and music; the worldwide release and international acclaim of the film; and the distribution within the U.S. Related materials can be found in the Pepperdine Digital Collections.

The materials in the exhibit are taken from the Bruce Herschensohn Papers, which are held by Pepperdine University’s Special Collections and University Archives, where they are available for research. Digital images from the collection are also available online in the Pepperdine Digital Collections. The collection includes items collected and created by Herschensohn as an independent filmmaker, a Director of Motion Pictures and Television at the United States Information Agency (USIA), a member of staff at the White House for Presidents Nixon and Reagan, and a political commentator for the KABC television and radio stations. Materials include correspondence, photographs, video and audio recordings, manuscripts, musical compositions, drawings, newspaper clippings, and other items related to the development of his films.

Bruce Herschensohn is a political commentator, author and senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy in Malibu, California.  He served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations and is the author of nine books, in addition to being a filmmaker and producer.

Please contact Melissa Nykanen at (310) 506-4434 or at melissa.nykanen@pepperdine.edu for questions about the screening or exhibit.

Premiere of the film in Karachi, Pakistan, November 25, 1964.

Premiere of the film in Karachi, Pakistan, November 25, 1964.

A poster from the U.S. distribution of the film.

A poster from the U.S. distribution of the film.

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