The other day, I saw a post on Fakeologist featuring this video by Polarization Nation suggesting that the “JFK” we see in the Zapruder film was actually a dummy controlled like a puppet, complete with sticks working the arms:
I think I can maybe see the sticks but it’s really difficult to tell. The Zapruder film quality is so poor, there could have been any number of editing points, especially during the blurry pan as the car passes behind the sign right before JFK appears to raise his hands to his throat. The idea of sticks controlling the arms immediately made me think of the “hand-rod” Muppets Jim Henson famously developed:
This gives a whole new meaning to the term “Puppet President!” I went back and looked into Jim Henson and see some indications that he may have been directly involved in the making of the Zapruder film!
First, according to the timeline in his Wiki bio, Henson was working on getting his newly-formed company Muppets Inc. off the ground around the time of the assassination, “working in commercials, talk shows, and children’s projects before being able to realize his dream of the Muppets as ‘entertainment for everybody.'” And then three years after the assassination on September 11, 1966, Henson appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in his first prime time national television broadcast that “greatly increased exposure, which led to hundreds of commercial appearances by Henson characters throughout the sixties.”
A couple months before his big break on Ed Sullivan, Henson and his Muppets co-hosted the daily afternoon program The Mike Douglas Show for a week. On the July 20 episode, Henson performed The Idea Man which consisted of a short film projected behind a live puppet act. Well, the specter of JFK actually makes an appearance in the film in a very suggestive way! Here’s the film by itself without the puppet. I’ll be focusing on the section between 1:49-1:52 where some important fleeting images appear (including JFK’s head):
It will be best to download this video so you can watch it frame-by-frame. First, at 1:12 the “Idea Man” talks about how “many of the good ideas have already been taken,” including “television” and “atomic energy” and “lots more, too” where at 1:45 we see a quick stream of images pop up on the screen for fractions of a second at a time. At 1:49, we see a car roll by with a film camera below it (JFK’s motorcade filmed by Zapruder?).
This is followed by a puppet shown in profile with a gun pointing at it. That particular puppet is named Kukla from the show Kukla, Fran and Ollie which was apparently a huge influence on Henson’s work. “Kukla” literally means “puppet” or “doll” in several languages.
So we see Kukla in profile with a gun pointing at him and then a second later, we see JFK’s head in profile in the same spot on screen with a large red dot in front of it (the bloody head-shot explosion?). If you watch it frame-by-frame, you’ll see holes start to appear in JFK’s head making it sort of disintegrate and dissolve, recalling what we saw happen to his head in the Zapruder film. The Muppet Wiki entry on The Idea Man calls the dissolving of Kennedy’s head “an apparent reference to the real Kennedy’s fate.” Below Kennedy’s head we also see Henson’s Muppet Yorick which is described as a “skull.” I’m not sure what the image is above his head. Any ideas?
We then see a motor boat speeding away (similar to the motorcade limo?) followed by a rear shot of a woman in a bikini who you could argue looks similar to Jackie Kennedy holding a pink ball/dot under her arm.
Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent famously seen jumping on the back of JFK’s car in the Zapruder film, has stated that when we see Jackie crawling out of the vehicle onto the back of the car, she was “reaching for a piece of the President’s skull which had been blown off.” So I wonder if this “pink dot” could be a reference to that. As for the bikini, it looks quite similar one seen worn by Jackie Onassis 11 years later in 1977 (while carrying a bag under her arm). I’m not saying the swimsuits are exactly the same, just that the figure seen in The Idea Man could represent Jackie Kennedy:
A second later at 1:52, we then see Henson’s most famous hand-rod Muppet, Kermit the Frog, next to an airplane. Perhaps an indication of “ideas” to come (9/11)?
Now, if the film The Idea Man had been made before the JFK assassination, it would certainly be massively incriminating! But it was made 3 years later in 1966, so one could reasonably argue that the section I pointed out may have been a “tribute” to JFK and his “tragic death.” But still, I have to wonder if this was some kind of hint/admission of Henson’s involvement in the violent “puppet show” we saw in the Zapruder film.
The images go by so fast, its easy to miss them, let alone assess their possible symbolic meaning. At the time it was shown on The Mike Douglas Show, viewers had no way of pausing the broadcast and looking at it frame-by-frame. In addition, the appearance of JFK’s head in the version shown on that program is even more difficult to see and perhaps that was intentional? Here’s that episode for comparison (the film is shown at 5:25):
At the beginning of the segment following the performance, they reveal how the floating face puppet was controlled with Henson and his team crouching below the screen working the machinations:
Although this particular puppet is different from the “hand-rod” type, this could also be a hint/admission as to how the “JFK puppet” was similarly controlled. If you grew up watching The Muppet Show, you will remember that comical violence was often used, sometimes in a way that would be quite disturbing to the young audience (I personally remember being scared by it regularly). It seems like the Zapuder film would be something straight up Henson’s alley.
In another interesting item of note, when Henson died in 1990, he was memorialized on the cover of LIFE magazine:
Notice the name Kennedy also appears on the cover with hand-rod Muppet Kermit the Frog sitting in a director’s chair!
And just to add another piece (which may be a bit of a stretch), I found what could be a hidden meaning in the name “Zapruder.” I first noticed the word “prez” can be found in it. The remaining letters can be arranged to spell “daru.” So we have “Prez daru.” The word daru refers to the wood taken from sacred Neem trees for the Hindu Nabakalebara celebration which involves “a symbolic recreation of wooden forms of the four deities at Jagannath Temple, Puri.” Each deity is called a “daru” (e.g. Jagannath daru). Apparently, Henson was no stranger to Hinduism. In his 1982 movie The Dark Cyrstal, the original design of the lead puppet Jen “was originally meant to be blue, in homage to the Hindu deity Rama, but this idea was scrapped early on.”
So a “Prez daru” could be seen as a wooden idol (a moving one being a puppet) used in a sacred ritual ceremony (the mock assassination presented in the Zapruder=Prez daru film) which elevated JFK to the level of a deity! To take it one step further, could the name “Rose Kennedy” appearing on the LIFE cover memorializing Henson be a statement about how the Muppet director’s Zapruder film masterpiece “rose” Kennedy to that mythical god-like status?
Finally, further connecting the JFK assassination with puppetry, we have the silly “Lambchop debate” between traditional conspiracy theorists where it is suggested that in the motorcade limo, Jackie Kennedy was holding a stuffed doll or puppet similar to Shari Lewis’ famous puppet Lamb Chop. Some wild theories even suggest Jackie was hiding a gun inside the puppet and she shot her husband with it!
Misdirecting disinfo theories aside, the figure of a puppet being introduced into the official conspiracy meme could be yet another indication, in addition to what I have shown here, that entertainment history’s greatest “puppet master” Jim Henson may have in fact been the “Idea Man” who directed what is arguably the most infamous and influential 26.6 seconds of “amateur” film ever recorded, helping to spawn the entire “conspiracy theorist” scene as we know it!
Make sure to check out my follow-up post here for some interesting new developments!