Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone . Get over it. All the evidence points to just that one conclusion. But, much like Freudian psychology, the idea of there being this massive conspiracy to cover up the assassination of JFK by killing off people with the most tenuous of connections (and yet allow Jack Ruby to remain alive in jail for more than three years!) does provide for some really entertaining fantasy. Like most of these TV references to the JFK assassination. Absolutely nothing wrong with being entertained by 100% fictional works like Oliver Stone’s “JFK” and these TV shows as long as you just keep asking yourself: what kind of conspiracy kills off David Ferrie but lets Jack Ruby stay alive for three years after taking down Oswald?
The reference to the JFK assassination featured in “Seinfeld” is hysterically funny. In fact, the parody of Oliver Stone’s “JFK” is almost as funny as, well, Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” The guys at “Saturday Night Live” could learn a lesson or two by watching this parody that replaces the shooting of JFK with the spitting on Keith Hernandez. The “recreation” of the Zapruder film is so dead-on perfect that it should be worth at least half a credit in any film school teaching comedy.
Probably the best serious examination of the JFK assassination in the history of American episodic television took place on “Quantum Leap” when time-traveling scientist Sam Beckett atypically kept popping up in Lee Harvey Oswald’s body in a non-linear fashion. The final summation by the holographic sidekick of Sam’s perfectly sums up my own belief in why these absolutely illogical and irrational conspiracy theories still persist to this day. Shockingly, “Quantum Leap” arrives at the unmistakable conclusion that Oswald did act alone to which the holographic image of Al responds by suggesting that the fear that one man acting alone has the power to change the world in such a substantial way that challenges our own personal sense of security is the engine driving the conspiracies. Before you go dismissing “Quantum Leap” as the real exercise in fantasy, you should probably know that series creator Donald Bellisario actually served alongside Oswald in the Marines . Which is a heckuva lot closer to Oswald that 99% of those mentioned in conspiracy theories ever got.
The New Twilight Zone
“Profiles in Silver” takes a fascinating what-if approach to what would have occurred had Kennedy not been killed. My contention is not much. I mean, in all seriousness, JFK really hadn’t done much to change things from Eisenhower, but then again LBJ probably did more to change the world than Kennedy. So who knows? According to “The New Twilight Zone” what happens when the JFK assassination is averted is pretty much the whole world going to pot. JFK lives, but Khrushchev gets taken down. This in turns results in Soviet occupation of West Berlin. With the time continuum thus massively messed with, the world moves inexorably toward a state of nuclear world war. I have my doubts this would have been the way things turned out, but who knows?
Well, you didn’t really think that the conspiracy-laden adventures of Mulder and Scully was going to wind up coming to the same conclusion as “Quantum Leap” right? Not only does “The X-Files” reference to the JFK assassination come up on the side of conspiracy, but it turns out that the show’s most villainous monster of them all–the Cigarette Smoking Man–was the real trigger-man as well as the guy who personally up Oswald as the fall guy on November 22.