Larry Howard, technical advisor to director Oliver Stone for the new film JFK, is a man under fire. Researcher, archivist, and co-director of the JFK Assassination Information Center in Dallas, Howard is among the foremost critics of the Warren Commission's "lone-nut" view that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy.
Accustomed to scorn from those who disagree with him, he finds it hard to accept vilification from fellow critics. I interviewed him at the JFK Center shortly after the publication of several articles which contained particularly bitter recriminations against him. Especially nettlesome was an article by Robert Sam Anson in the November, 1991 issue of Esquire magazine.
Q: What did you ever do to Robert Sam Anson?
Larry Howard: (Laughs) I never met the man in my life. As a matter of fact, I approached him at the [JFK] symposium — somebody pointed him out to me — he didn't even know who I was. I introduced myself and I said, "Let me ask you a question. How could you misquote me three to four times in one short article, when I've never talked to you?" He said, "Yeah, I know, I've never talked to you." I said, "Well, how could you write an article and quote me if you've never talked to me." He said, "I never quoted you" and walked off.
Q: But he did claim to quote you, concerning how you became involved with Oliver Stone. He claimed you sent a FAX full of lies and boasting to Stone, which caused him to drop other researchers and hire you instead. What really happened?
A: In July of '90 we were investigating the Ricky and Roscoe White story. The story had been compromised by his mother faking the diary in October of last year. The media got hold of it, and I told the media it was a fake diary when I saw a copy of it. But they reported that the diary that was found was the one that Ricky found in 1982, so therefore the story was untrue. Which is totally, absolutely false.
The story is as real as I'm sitting here. Because I know things no one else knows. In July of '90, we had evidence that the story was true, evidence no one else had. So I put together a list of things that I obtained from Ricky White and all the evidence, and FAXed a copy to Oliver Stone. He immediately sent me airplane tickets for Ricky and me to fly to California to visit him. We told him the story, and he wanted to buy the story that night. He offered money to me, but I refused. He said nobody ever said "no" to him.
I said there are two reasons I can't do it. One, the story needs to be investigated more to make sure everything we have here is true, and two, we're scared to death. If these cables we have are real, we're going to have our news conference in two days. They didn't want us to have a news conference for three months. I said "I can't do it."
Then Oliver flew to Dallas, met me at the Center, looked at the exhibits, looked at our archives, and hired us on the spot, basically to be one of the major consultants for the film, disregarding the FAX I sent him. None of the information in the movie came from the FAX I sent him, he totally dropped it.
But in this article [by Robert Sam Anson] it looks like I offered everything on the FAX and none of it was used. I furnished him 400 photographs 20 or 30 books, I don't know how many videotapes, the documents ... I don't know how many documents I sent to Oliver, but the key thing I furnished him was 23 key witnesses in this case, to meet personally one-on-one, including Marina Oswald, that no one had access to but me.
And that's when he sat down and took all this information and decided for himself what he wanted to do. It wasn't anything I told him. The FAX was totally irrelevant to the movie. There was not anything in the FAX that would be in the movie. So that's how it really happened.
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