ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW
by Dale Connelly, 11/26/99
DC: A panel of arbitrators decided this week the US Government
owes the family of Abraham Zapruder millions of dollars for the film he took of
President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
The panel was swayed in it's decision by the argument that the government took
the Zapruder family's private property for public use, and by the testimony of
former appraisers for auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's as to the high
value of the film.
And of course you know where you go to get something like this appraised ... the
Antique Media Road Show!
Tk: Hi and welcome to the Antique Media Road Show. We're in Dallas, and we've
got hundreds of fine people here with their attic treasures. And this gentleman
has something quite remarkable. Mister ... ah ...
Tk: Mr. Spruder has brought us an old film. A piece of film that's about a quarter
inch wide and six feet long. Do you know how old this film is?
DC: It's been in the family since 1963.
Tk: 1963, that's right. I can tell from the deterioration that it's at least 30
years old. It is really too delicate to even put in a camera anymore, that's why
I haven't seen it. In fact, we need to handle it here with cotton gloves, to keep
our skin oils from damaging it further.
(sfx: film being handled?)
The sprocket holes here on the side are worn.
This section here looks as though it's been run through the camera over and over
and over again, both forwards and backwards as you see from the wear on both sides
of the sprocket holes, front and back.
This piece of film must have been a favorite of the children.
DC: No, we children weren't allowed to watch it.
Tk: Oh. I see. It was a popular format of the day for taking ... family home movies.
Has been in the family for the whole time?
DC: No, it was confiscated by the government almost immediately.
Tk: By the government?
DC: I've been allowed to borrow it to fix it's value. That's why I'm here at the
Antique Media Road Show. It's a wonderful coincidence that you happened to be
Tk: I see. Well, at a length of six feet it would probably be in the projector
for 29 seconds or so. But a lot of these were short films, that's not unusual.
Do you still have the projector?
DC: No we don't.
Tk: Too bad.
DC: The FBI confiscated that too, and took it apart in their lab.
Tk: Yes, and that often happens to heirlooms, they just disappear, and we don't
know where they went. Maybe years later they'll show up again.
DC: Probably not.
Tk: Yes, but you do have the film. And really, for film this old, it's in pretty
good shape, Mr. Spruder. Did your father tell you it was of special value?
DC: Yes he did.
Tk: And have you enjoyed having it and showing it? At family gatherings and such?
DC: No. Not really. Because of the government.
Tk: Oh, right. Confiscated. But you've seen the film, and know what's on it and
who's in it?
DC: Yes I do.
Tk: With something like this ... it's really the content of the film, rather than
the film itself, that we look at for value. If what's on the film is important
to you, that increases it's value. To you. Is the content important to you?
DC: It certainly is.
Tk: Are you on the film?
DC: Thank God no I'm not. It's a film of a presidential motorcade.
Tk: Ah! A famous person is involved, so that can hike the value. And a president
is certainly famous and important. But presidents often appear on films of this
type. So perhaps it's not so unusual. Would you like to know what it's worth?
DC: That's why I'm here.
Tk: Do you have any idea?
DC: Not really.
Tk: This 36 year old piece of film ... it's going to keep on deteriorating. I
would place it's value at ... maybe fifty dollars. If you still had the projector,
$90. And if the projector was still working, maybe $150. Did you think it was
worth that much?
DC: That wasn't the number I was thinking of.
Tk: You didn't have any idea there was that kind of money just sitting in your
attic, did you, Mr. Spruder?
DC: It's ZA-pruder. Not Spruder. Z-A-P-R-U-D-E-R.
Tk: Mr. Zapruder. ZAPRUDER! Oh. What did I say this was worth? Sixty?
DC: Fifty dollars.
Tk: On second thought ... sixteen million. Does that sound better?
DC: Yes it does.
Tk: Do you have a buyer for it?
DC: I certainly do.
Tk: Better be careful, then, taking it out of here. All these people milling around
are greedy! That's why they came! So ... stuff it in your coat!
DC: Thank you, I will.
Tk: (annc) So, Mr. Zapruder discovered there that he had quite a little treasure
in what seemed, on it's face, to be an almost worthless piece of acetate. Have
you got a similar surprise in a basement trunk or attic? Find out when we come
to your town ... on the Antique Media Road Show!
Dale Connelly Reporting Home