By Michael Granberry, The Dallas Morning News
From the moment he lunged out of the shadows and pulled the trigger on his .38-caliber Colt Cobra, Jack Ruby did more than blast his way into history.
Lee Harvey Oswald, the man suspected of killing President John F. Kennedy two days earlier, suffered a single, fatal shot from Ruby's gun.
But other men standing in the basement of the Dallas police station on Sunday morning, Nov. 24, 1963, saw their own lives change, none more so than a pair of photojournalists who captured the moment in black and white.
For Robert H. "Bob" Jackson, then a 29-year-old photographer for the Dallas Times Herald, taking a picture of Oswald's murder meant winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1964.
But for Ira Jefferson "Jack" Beers Jr., who worked for The Dallas Morning News—and who took an almost equally vivid picture—the basement events left an entirely different legacy.
Those who knew him say he never recovered from missing the Pulitzer by six-tenths of a second—the time between his photograph and Mr. Jackson's....
READ ON at dallasnews.com
Mike adds: This is a great and very poignant story that we've covered before, but I've never seen the story written up as well as Michael Granberry does in this classic 2004 article. Well worth a visit if you've never read it, and even a revisit if you already have. I enjoyed encountering it again this morning.
Side-by-side photos by Beers and Jackson (Jackson's is heavily cropped as per usual).
(Thanks to a "friend of the site" who prefers to remain anonymous)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Steven Alexander: "To the lower left of the Beers photo, but out of frame, was I. As a film cameraman for NBC I filmed the entire event, from Oswald entering the garage, through the chaos, to the subduing of Ruby. My film shows Ruby entering the scene, drawing the gun, and firing. The muzzle blast and a still flash overexpose one frame. It was then, and still is today, the most historic image I ever captured. People still ask me about it.
"Later that Sunday afternoon I went out to the large bus-like vehicle that was the NBC live television site to see if I could view the film on the air. When I stepped into the bus, my stomach turned over when I saw the can of unprocessed film sitting on a table in the bus. NBC had broadcast the shooting live and had recorded it on video tape.
"I guess I'm an early victim of the electronic revolution affecting the silver nitrate capture. Yet today I do see those frames of mine every year around the end of November. I got no credit or recognition for that effort, but went on to spend the next 25 years making motion pictures of many other important news stories—eighteen in Washington, D.C."
Featured Comment by Lou Spirito: "Interesting that this article fails to mention that there was a third still photographer in the basement that day. I've spent the last several months working on a project about the career of former UPI and Washington Post photographer Frank Johnston. He was on assignment for UPI in the basement positioned near Bob Jackson. While he also missed 'the shot,' he never once conveyed a sense of disappointment. Indeed, he seems astonished to recall the fact that he was witness to the event. The two frames he shot, in my opinion, complete the story of the fleeting event when presented along side Jackson's image. The two frames can be seen via Corbis here and here."