November will bring a slew of JFK-related programming for the 50th anniversary of the president’s assassination, but so far, only one program I know of is identifying a Secret Service agent as a second shooter who accidentally fired the fatal shot.
It’s not the first time the agent, the late George Hickey, has been named as the shooter: One contributor to the Nov. 3 documentary, Bonar Menninger, identified Hickey as the shooter in his 1992 book, “Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK,” and was sued by him in 1995 (too late to avoid the statute of limitations, though St. Martin’s Press did pay Hickey “a nominal sum,” said Menninger, to forestall an appeal).
“JFK: The Smoking Gun“ is not, admits Reelz channel CEO Stan Hubbard, in line with Reelz’ show business-focused mission — some would argue that upcoming “reality” shows like “Hollywood Hillbillies” aren’t, either — but the way he figures it, the Kennedys are grandfathered in.
“Because we stepped into the fray of the Kennedy miniseries a few years ago [airing it after the History Channel passed], everything Kennedy comes to us,” Hubbard said Sunday during the Television Critics Association’s summer meetings.
“No detective has ever done a cold-case forensic analysis of the crime scene,” said Colin McLaren, an Australian identified as an investigative writer and author of “JFK: The Smoking Gun.”
Hickey died two years ago, and “we’re naming him today for the legitimacy of the show” McLaren said.
The program — which critics haven’t yet seen — argues that Hickey was a Secret Service driver who was handed a gun the morning of the assassination, perhaps because, according to McLaren, “everyone in the Secret Service [detail] had been out drinking the night before” and some may not have been in shape to serve.
“They gave him a weapon he shouldn’t have held and [when the car lurched and the gun discharged] he accidentally killed JFK,” McLaren said, and “the U.S. administration covered this up...as high up as Bobby Kennedy.”
At a reporter’s request, McClaren got up to demonstrate the trajectory of the three shots using a collapsible metal rod and the head of show producer Jesse Prupas.
I asked Menninger if Hickey could have sued again if he were still alive, and he said it was possible. But “I’m sure that he suffered greatly from this. The fact that he’s passed on, maybe it’s time that we talked about it,” said Menninger.