‘Behind Dark Glasses’ Secret Service circa 1963 documentary

VERY happy to see Dan Emmett involved in this production- great guy, terrific speaker, and still owns the title of “best Secret Service author” (proud to have been named on his front cover; new edition of his book comes out expanded via St Martin’s Press June 2014)…not too thrilled about Blaine, though. Former Agent Abraham Bolden comments, as does myself, COPA’s John Judge, etc.-VMP


‘Behind Dark Glasses’ airings

• KET: Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 10:30 p.m.
• KET2: Sunday, Jan. 5 at 5 p.m.
• KET2: Jan. 13 at 9:30 p.m.
• KET: Jan. 16 at 12:30 a.m.
• KETKY: Jan. 27 at 1:30 a.m.

December 31, 2013
Revisiting JFK assassination: Film with Clark County roots examines moment in history

‘Behind Dark Glasses’ is a modern reflection on Secret Service circa 1963

By JEROD CLAPP jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

NEW WASHINGTON — Armed with a video camera, an idea and a limited budget, an unlikely film duo with Clark County roots will have its second documentary air on KET.

Tim McDonald, a history teacher at New Washington High School and a former student of his, Hobie Crase, Muncie, produced a documentary with a modern reflection on the Secret Service and the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963, “Behind Dark Glasses.”

Though the project suffered through delays, Crase said the partnership with his high school history teacher is what really made the whole project work.

“We are kind of an unconventional team, I guess,” Crase said. “From a film industry perspective, a two-person team isn’t something that can work out very well all the time, but we sort of take a jack-of-all-trades kind of approach. I take care of all the technical stuff and he does all of the directing and producing. It all manages to work out.”


The documentary focuses on interviews with two former Secret Service agents. Jerry Blaine, who was on the Kennedy detail and has spoken at McDonald’s high school, gave his perspective from how the agency was run in the 1960s and Dan Emmett, a more recently retired agent, provides a modern perspective on the agency during the assassination.

In the span of a few months, beginning last summer, McDonald said the duo had to do a combination of traveling and working remotely. To meet up with Blaine, they went to his home in Colorado. Emmett is based out of Auburn, Ala., which added to their mileage.

For McDonald, he said his interest in the project was to revisit something from his generation. He said Kennedy’s death is something that he’ll never forget.

“We interviewed [Blaine] to get a feel for what the Secret Service was like on that detail and the problems they had,” McDonald said. “I really, as a history teacher, have a deep interest in the whole JFK thing. I was seven years old and I remember that whole weekend of events.”

Between the two interviews, he said it really provides a good perspective of how much the agency has changed and how Kennedy’s death served as a real catalyst for the change in the agency, going from 235 agents nationwide in 1963 to more than 4,000 today.

McDonald said the film might have wrapped up last fall, but two heart attacks near Christmas of 2012 nearly cost him his life and put the whole production on hold for months.

He said after his recovery and really bearing down on making the film — texting ideas with Crase back and forth, visiting him on weekends to edit while he was in graduate school — there’s a lot about filmmaking he didn’t know and now holds in high regard.

“I have a new appreciation for editing, especially when I see someone’s credit for that,” McDonald said. “Hobie had some great ideas in terms of editing and getting it down to 28 minutes for a 30-minute timeslot.”

But after the project was finished, he said he really appreciates the constraints the Secret Service was under in the 1960s — with what he described as “basically, on-the-job training” and limited technological resources. He thinks the documentary helps explain how the assassination happened, as well as dispel some popular conspiracy theories.

But he also said it gives a sense of what’s it’s like to work so closely with the president, knowing that at any moment, an agent may be responsible for his or her life.

“I think it’s the constant vigilance they’re under,” McDonald said. “There’s that unsaid oath that what they see and hear stays private, they don’t talk about the president’s personal life because it destroys that trust.”


Crase said ever since he was in the sixth grade, he had an interest in filmmaking. He said once he got into high school, McDonald recognized that and encouraged him.

Once he graduated and began going to college, McDonald said he kept Crase in mind when he became interested in making documentaries. Crase said he liked the idea of pairing up with his former teacher.

“This is the second big project I’ve done with Tim,” Crase said. “Through him, I’ve met some really interesting people. In high school, he knew I was dead-set on going into the film industry in some capacity since the sixth grade. After high school, we stayed in touch and started working on these projects.”

Their first project, “SERVIAM,” focused on five leaders who placed the needs of others before their own, according to the program description. They completed that hour-long project in 2011.

McDonald said the two of them really work well together and he’s glad to have Crase’s expertise on his projects. But they both recognize their talents and capitalize on them to make everything work.

“He has a talent for editing, he has an eye for things that really, he’s the major part,” McDonald said. “I had the idea and the interest. I had been in sales for the first half of my career, so I have no problems with doing the phone calling.”

But Crase said through his undergraduate, postgraduate and work with McDonald, he’s gotten a feel for where his real passion in filmmaking lies.

“Through various classes, at Ball State and doing these projects, I found I have more of a love for non-fiction documentaries and public service work,” Crase said. “I think I value to inform more than to entertain.”

Vince Palamara · Duquesne University

I have enormous respect for Abraham Bolden- a true American hero, a living legend, and the author of a great book. I also thank John Judge, Lance Moore, and Bill Benton for their thoughtful comments. Yes, my book Survivor’s Guilt is the antidote to Blaine’s propaganda. They tried to blame JFK for his own death; outrageous. Survivor’s Guilt by Vince Palamara

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· Unfollow Post · about an hour ago

Abraham Bolden · Lincoln University of Missouri

As a former Secret Service Agent and the first African American to be appointed to the White House Detail, I was dismayed at the continued attempts by former agents to deny culpability in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The attack upon my credibility in the book, “The Kennedy Detail” was expected; but I was hoping that the former Kennedy body guards would show a modicum of contriteness in the book instead of trying to blame Kennedy’s assassination on the President himself. Unlike the general reading public, I was an agent during the critical period on November 22, 1963. In my book, “The Echo from Dealey Plaza”, I relate to the public what I saw while serving on the white house detail and the disrespect and hatred towards the President that I heard expressed by some of my fellow agents.

Although, Blaine refers my claims of racism in the secret service white house detail in 1961 as being unfounded, on page 25 of my book, I document by secret service file memo 3-11-602-111 the stark racism that prevented me from carrying out my protective responsibilities in Miami Florida. Mr. Blaine also states in his “cya” book that Agent Faison, who was the first African American permanently, assigned to the White House Detail in 1963 took issue with my “unbelievable” charges of racism in the secret service. If there was no racism in the secret service in 1963 then how is it that just eight years ago, 57 African American Agents filed a class action suit, (that is still pending in federal district court) charging overt racism by the agency.(see […])?

Blaine and other agents can feed the public with the “cya” account of the secret service actions during the Kennedy area but I was there and was a witness to the incompetence, laxity of certain agents surrounding the president, the drinking and cavalier attitude among many of the agents on the detail, the references to President Kennedy as being a Ni—r lover and their disdain for his stand for racial justice and equal opportunity for All Americans. I was present among a few agents who were discussing the protection of President Kennedy in which the statement was made that if an attempt were made on the life of the President, they would take no action.

Blaine states in his book that I said that I discussed the conduct of my fellow agents on the detail with Chief James Rowley. I make no such claim. On page 45 of The Echo from Dealey Plaza, I specifically state that I discussed the problems of Kennedy’s protection with Chief U. E. Baughman. I did not go to Rowley because I knew that he already knew of the conduct of the agents and would do nothing about it.

As far as agents being forbidden to ride on the special running boards of the presidential vehicle, that rumor was not circulated until “after” the assassination of the president. There was no official memorandum or other notification of such an order advising agents of this change in protective policy. This rumor is no more than a scandalous assertion put forth by agents who failed in their duty to properly protect the President of these United States.

Lastly, Blaine derides me concerning the Kennedy investigations that took place in Chicago during November, 1963; however, he has no knowledge of the chicanery that took place in the Chicago office of the secret service during that time. Unlike Blaine, I was there. I was there when in early November, 1963 the Chicago office of the secret
service investigated a character named Echevarria. Echevarria stated that President Kennedy was about to be assassinated. I heard the investigating agent dictating the reports in early November, 1963. The investigation took place prior to the assassination in Dallas. On the afternoon of November 26, 1963, Inspector Kelly, SAIC James Burke,and representatives of the FBI had a meeting in the Chicago office of the secret service. Kelly and Burke were the lead investigators representing the secret service in Dallas prior to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Echevarria investigation took place during the first two weeks in November. I was there in the office when the reports that had already been dictated by the investigating agents and typed by the secretaries were rounded up and banded in a single stack in the office of SAIC Martineau. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these collected investigative reports were dictated by the agents PRIOR to the assassination of Kennedy. However, after Kelly and Burke ended their conference, these same reports were restructured and the dates of the investigation were changed to indicate that the Echevarria investigation was conducted AFTER the assassination and had reference to the concern for the protection of President Johnson as Blaine claims in his “CYA” book. I was there. I know what happened and Blaine may fool the general public, but he can’t fool me.

Blaine refers to me as the convicted felon and uses that phrase in an attempt to discredit me and my autobiography, The Echo from Dealey Plaza. I may well be a convicted felon but I sleep well at night knowing that I did everything that I could do to save the life of President Kennedy. Can the agents standing on the running board of the follow-up car in Dallas, Texas and watching the president’s head blown to pieces, say the same thing? I doubt it. They know the truth too

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· Follow Post · 2 hours ago

Greg Wagner · Columbus, Ohio

Thanks for all you have done and continue to do to bring the truth to light. Men like Blaine dishonor themselves, their families and their country. Your honor remains intact.

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· about an hour ago

John Judge · Washington, District of Columbia

Some recent books would have given a fuller picture of the Secret Service role and failures in the assassination of President Kennedy. Former agent Abraham Bolden’s Echoes of Dallas, Vincent Palmara’s Survivor’s Guilt, and Phil Melanson’s The Secret Service. Even the Warren Commission investigation evidence indicts the Service of ineptitude if not more sinister involvement. The Coalition on Political Assassinations has held conferences for the last two decades presenting new evidence in the case, including critic Mark Lane’s recent presentation about the Secret Service and a talk by former Agent Abraham Bolden. More information is available at http://www.politicalassassinations.com

Service JFK (and other Presidents)

YES- Vince Palamara’s book took 20+ years to research and write and encompasses far more factual information than can be found in Mr. Blaine’s somewhat fictional work

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· Follow Post · about an hour ago

Survivor’s Guilt by Vince Palamara
Survivor’s Guilt by Vince Palamara TOTALLY DEBUNKS Gerald Blaine’s book

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John Judge · Washington, District of Columbia

While I am glad to see a high school student use his talents to produce a documentary, it clearly relies on a biased perspective given by former Secret Service Gerald Blain, who was not actually part of the JFK Dallas security team. Many existing procedures used by the Secret Service at that time were violated in the planning and execution of the trip and the protection team Kennedy was working with was almost completely replaced. News footage from Love Field on November 22 shows frustrated and confused Secret Service agents waving their arms to question an order to stand down from the bumpers at the rear of JFK’s limousine as they leave the airport. Clint Hill, Jackie Kennedy’s assigned agent, broke orders and ran forwards to protect her that day during the shooting. Although he is quoted in Blair’s book and has done speaking tours to promote the thesis of no conspiracy, Hill’s consistent account of a fist-sized would [wound]at the back of Kennedy’s head and the brain and blood matter on the left rear trunk of the limousine belie the Warren Commission’s single bullet theory and the wound descriptions given after the official examination (not rising to an autopsy in performance) at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

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· Follow Post · 5 hours ago

Killing JFK: 50 Years,50 Lies on Assassination
I agree with Mr. Judge… (though he mis-typed “wound”… Hill saw a fist-sized wound on the back of JFK’s skull, which means the autopsy photos are fake. Blain has an agenda and it is not the truth. I agree, read Palamara’s book (Survivor’s Guilt) and “Killing JFK: 50 Years, 50 Lies”

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· 3 hours ago

Vince Palamara
thank you

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Barbara Bacherman · Frostburg State University

I also find the works of Vince Palamara and Abraham Bolden infinitely more superior and HONEST than Blaine’s awful book. Survivor’s Guilt by Vince Palamara

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· Follow Post · 59 minutes ago

Kennedy Detail
I must say, in all honesty, that Vincent Palamara’s fine book “Survivor’s Guilt” is THE best book on the Kennedy-era Secret Service. Abraham Bolden wrote an amazing book, as well. Bravo, Vince Palamara

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· Follow Post · 55 minutes ago

Amanda L Beam · Starving Artist/Empath/Indigo/Lightworker at Starving Artist/Empath/Lightworker

Vince Palamara wrote a masterpiece with Survivor’s Guilt by Vince Palamara. Bravo Vince Palamara! Also, Abraham Bolden-Petition-PresidentialPardon.com

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· Follow Post · 51 minutes ago

Bill Benton · Top Commenter · Cleveland Chiropractic College Los Angeles

Mr. Bolden, I was happy to come across your comment on this page….one that recognizes the poor performance, and criminal negligence (and maybe worse) of the White House Detail SS agents on that fateful day in Dallas. Many years ago, I was appalled to learn some of the details, such as stories docum-enting some agents thoroughly washing out the interior of the presidential limo after its arrival at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and the fact of several agents reveling at a local bar until 3 a.m., the night before (and never being disciplined for such outrag-eous behavior!!)–not to mention the film footage showing an agent–toward the end of the mortor-cade route–spaying his arms out, as though to say, “What, the hell, now?!!” or “Who cares?!!”

I have a great deal of respect for you, Sir.

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· Follow Post · Edited · about an hour ago

Vince Palamara · Duquesne University

I AM very happy to see Dan Emmett involved in this production- he is the author of a fantastic book on the Secret Service coming out in expanded form via a major publisher June 2014

About vincepalamara

Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology. Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy. Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination. All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works. Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library. Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.
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