Leading up to the Nov. 10 premiere of its original movie Killing Kennedy starring Rob Lowe as JFK, the National Geographic Channel will debut a two-hour documentary titled JFK: The Final Hours narrated by Bill Paxton on Nov. 8. It features first-hand accounts from people who were among the last to interact with the president on the day of his assassination 50 years ago. Why is Paxton a fitting choice for narrator? He was actually among the crowd gathered in the parking lot of Fort Worth’s Hotel Texas, where Kennedy gave one of his last public speeches just hours before his death on Nov. 22, 1963. Paxton’s the child sitting on someone’s shoulders in the photo above. “I was eight years old that day, and I remember thinking it was like seeing a movie star,” Paxton says in the announcement. “There stood a man at the peak of his life and his career, but little did he or any of us know that in three hours he would be murdered in cold blood.”
In addition to restored footage shot by a White House film crew following Kennedy that day, JFK: The Final Hours features:
• Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who leapt on to the bumper of the Kennedy’s limo after the fatal shots rang out, recalls the beginnings of an “ordinary” political tour that was transformed into a personal and national nightmare.
• Buell Frazier, who gave his friend Lee Harvey Oswald and his “curtain rods” a ride to work the morning of the assassination will recreate the morning trip to the Texas School Depository in an identical vehicle to the one he drove that day.
• Dr. W.E. Welch, who showed the Kennedys around San Antonio’s Brooks Air Force Base before they made their way to Dallas. Kennedy inquired about some research being done at the facility and its possible application to treat premature infants. Dr. Welch didn’t know at the time that the first family had lost their “preemie” son Patrick just three months before.
• Gary Bakewell, a member of the Texas Boys Choir who sang at the president’s last meal, a breakfast hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Texas Hotel. Bakewell would later learn that Kennedy was so moved by the choir he mentioned their performance to Jackie three times after leaving the hotel
• Corkie Friedman, wife of the Fort Worth’s mayor at the time, who was a guest at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Friedman will show off a pair of earrings Kennedy complimented that morning, a comment that almost made her faint.
• Tina Towner, a 13-year-old girl who joined her father on the corner of Houston and Elm to watch the presidential motorcade. She was entrusted with the family’s 8mm camera to take footage of the limo as it rounded the 120 degree turn. Once the limo passed, she turned the camera off just before three shots rang out.
JFK: The Final Hours premieres Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET on Nat Geo.