Jim Henson & the Zapruder Film


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!

UPDATE (1/13/18):

Make sure to check out my follow-up post here for some interesting new developments!


6 thoughts on “Jim Henson & the Zapruder Film

  1. rolleikin January 10, 2018 / 7:10 pm

    The idea that a dummy was used in the JFK car was suggested by a YouTuber about a year or two ago and I do think it is true. I have always wondered about the awkward position and movements of JFK’s arms in the Z film and the idea of a dummy really clicked with me. It also explains the exploding blood bag on the side of the head. It would have been too difficult to pull off if it was really JFK (or anyone short of a movie stunt man). Having a squib go off that close to the face would be downright dangerous. But, a dummy … that makes perfect sense.

    The sticks under the arms also seems like a possibility but, as you say, it’s not quite clear enough in the film to say for sure. I do believe they used a dummy, or more correctly a puppet, and the sticks would be one way to animate the arms. If they did use sticks then I’m sure they would obscure them during the retouching of the frames that must have been done before the film was shown.

    The part of the Z film where JFK passes behind the sign would be a logical place to cut and substitute the puppet and you can see a jump cut there so that too supports the idea that a switch was done.

    I think it’s also possible that it was Jackie who fired the blood bag squib when she leaned over him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terran Downvale January 12, 2018 / 12:17 pm

      It’s just so ridiculous that a piece of film so poor in quality with such potential for manipulation, let alone outright fabrication, was taken so seriously for so many years and basically created the entire conspiracy theorist culture, a group that prides itself on critical thinking and “questioning everything.” Did the thought ever cross anyone’s mind that no one was actually killed? That what we see in these grainy moving images is nothing more than a Hollywood scene?

      Well, I’m not gonna claim any superiority here because I never conceived of it until just recently either! I guess the mind of the conspiracy theorist so craves excitement, danger and dread that it will latch onto any theory that suggests horrible, evil things are going on behind the scenes where people are MURDERED, just not in the way that is officially presented, lol.

      And yeah, it does look like Jackie maybe had some active role in triggering whatever device may have been involved. But again, that could be a misdirection as well. I dunno, we can theorize about it but never know for sure how it really worked. But maybe that does give the “lambchop” element some credence. A way to stealthily trigger the device while also tying in the “puppet theme” as a little inside joke. The idea of conspiracy theorists debating over whether there was a puppet in the car with no regard for the possibly literal “puppet president” is pretty hilarious!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bitsoftruth2 January 22, 2018 / 6:41 am

    ‘KUKLA’ contains the word ‘kulak’ and ‘kula’ …. wordplays dot com anagrammer site brings up a little window with the definition of ‘kulak’ and ‘kula’ as a ‘rich russian peasant’


  3. bitsoftruth2 January 22, 2018 / 7:00 am

    OFF TOPIC FYI … EL ??? Noticed the ‘final’ Straight post and am hearing a bit on the net about ‘Q’ … ‘TYLER’ etc … ‘Catcher in the Rye’ anagrams ‘chicanery tether’ … Tyler Durden contains the word ‘durneder’ … on the wordplays dot com site they use ‘damned for their definition when the word ‘durneder’ is moused … ‘TYLER’ could be ‘try EL’ …. ‘Mary try EL Moore’ ?? … Durden equals ‘333’ ‘satanic’ using the ‘Gematrinator’ that google delivers us … I am wondering how Straight will handle Quinn Michaels in the land of ‘Q’ …. ‘Try EL Durneder’ ??? spooky


    • Terran Downvale January 23, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      Howdy. Sorry, I’ve been really sick for the past few days and haven’t been keeping on top of comments. No, nothing as bad as septic shock, fortunately. These anagrams can get pretty interesting, although I don’t usually venture into that territory too deeply. The “Prez dura” thing was an exception. LOL, “Try El” that’s a good one. I have actually seen El pop up a number of times recently. I’m still recuperating so I’m not thinking too clearly at the moment but I believe Alyssa Elsman, the victim that reportedly died in the Times Square car attack fairly recently, was one of them. If you check out her Instagram, you’ll see she posted a photo a year before the attack standing atop the “Ruby-red stairs” in Times Square. Just below that photo we see her crouched down in front of a car like she’s being hit by it. Also, I think there’s a lot to read into in that stairs pic regarding the “right and left-hand path” and other stuff.

      And speaking of anagrams, I think this recent story that’s been getting LOTS of coverage lately about the Turpin family may have a “turnip” theme to it. These kids were reportedly starved and there was something called the “Turnip Winter” in WWI where lots of Germans starved. They’ve also been showing a collection of photos of the kids (who were mostly female) wearing pink/purple dresses with white stockings that make them look like a bunch of turnips bundled together, lol. And then there’s the phrase “fell off the turnip truck” meaning supreme ignorance and naivity which is how these isolated kids are being portrayed. Their father David Turpin drove a white truck that was “overflowing with trash” according to a neighbor. So garbage was basically “falling off the Turpin truck,” lol. Anyway, I just sense that this story is another fabricated psyop designed to demonize homeschooling, alternative thinking and preventing your kids from getting swallowed up by this toxic culture. I think the dad’s stupid bowl haircut could be a slight against the Amish and also possibly a subliminal reference to cultural boogieman monster (Sorry, I’m drawing a blank on his name right now. The British TV host who reportedly molested a bunch of kids.) He sported a similar haircut at times. Anyway, enough on that!

      As for Tyler Durden and Fight Club, if you’re up for it, I wrote a monster post on some related things on G+ a while back. That movie was definitely one of those culture creation landmarks that attempted to “define a generation” and all that crap. Anyway, here’s the post if you’re interested:

      OK, looks like I just went on a bunch of tangents and didn’t really reply to what you wrote. I’ll get back to this once I’m feeling better. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

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