mike@projection-booth.com mike@projection-booth.com

November 19, 2013

Episode 141: Executive Action (1973)

Special Guests: Donald Freed, Alex Cox,
& Joseph McBride

In honor of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, we're looking at Executive Action, one of the first films to tackle the events of 11/22/1963.

We also talk about related films such as JFK, Flashpoint, The Price of Power and more.

Our special guests include Donald Freed, co-author of the book on which the film was based, filmmaker/writer Alex Cox, author of The President and the Provocateur: The Parallel Lives of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald, and Joseph McBride, author of Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit.

Listen/Download Now:

Buy Executive Action on DVD
Buy Oliver Stone's JFK on DVD
Buy Flashpoint on DVD
Buy The Price of Power on DVD
Watch Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment
Hear more of Donald Freed on our "Secret Honor" episode
Visit the Donald Freed website
Buy Alex Cox's The President and the Provocateur
Visit the Alex Cox website
Read more about Errol Morris vs. Alex Cox
Buy Joseph McBride's Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit
Visit the Joseph McBride website
Read more about the 1973 Chilean Coup
Buy the various Trials of Lee Harvey Oswald
Watch Frank Sinatra in Suddenly
Watch the trailer for TimeQuest
Watch the trailer for Virtual JFK

November 22nd, 1963 - Destroy All Monsters


Case Not Closed: The Zapruder Film from Alex Cox on Vimeo.


  1. For balance's sake



  2. Thanks for adding those. I'd add the National Geographic documentary I saw, "The Lost Bullet", as another good one.



    Rob St. Mary
    co-host of "The Projection Booth"

  3. Hi Mike and Rob,

    I recall seeing Executive Action at the theatre with my parents when I was a lad of 12 years old. The place was packed and it seemed to be around for more than a couple of weeks, so I disagree with the assessment that it didn't do well originally at the box office. It was kind of a big deal, even in Columbus Ohio which is where I saw it! I even saved the newspaper that they gave you for many years until it got lost in a move at some point. It was probably around 20 pages long, not just 2 as I think Mr. Freed remembers it. I recall all kinds of information and footnotes and photos and wish I still had it in my collection of movie stuff like the barf bag from Mark Of The Devil and the McKay The Better Way button I still have from Robert Redford's portrayal in The Candidate.

    Anyways...another fine show and it's awesome you got to speak to Messers. Freed and McBride and especially Mr. Cox, one of my all time favorite filmmakers! Hopefully in the future you can do a full blown examination of his output with INPUT from the man himself! He's still one of the greats who should be lauded more these days than seemingly exiled to a hut in OR! One thing, though, I was kind of disappointed you didn't close out the show with the late Lou Reed's Day John Kennedy Died from The Blue Mask! Been thinking about it all day...alas! Thanks again for the swell shows you guys!!!

    Jeff Goodman

    1. Jeff,

      Thanks for the kind words. As for Executive Action at the box office, some of what we read said it was pulled after a few weeks. So, you must have seen it early. That newspaper would be a find.

      We'd love to chat with Alex, again. In fact, after our conversation we made loose plans - depending on his schedule - to bring him back in the new year. So, look for that.

      As for the end song, as a Detroiter - I had to go with Destroy All Monsters - the band Ron Asheton joined after the Stooges were no more. But, I agree. That's a killer tune as well.

      All the best!

      Rob St. Mary
      co-host of "The Projection Booth"

    2. BTW,
      Thanks for the tip about Interview With The Assassin. I hadn't heard of it and enjoyed it quite a bit. Interesting to see Raymond J. Barry in a lead role. I mainly know him from Year Of The Dragon and as the felonious father of Timothy Olyphant on Justified. Knowing his work made it obvious to me from the start it was a fiction, but I see how folks could be fooled! Thanks again for the show and I'll eagerly be waiting for your next visit with Alex Cox!
      Jeff Goodman

    3. Jeffrey,

      No problem for putting you onto "Interview with the Assassin" - I thought it was pretty good. Yeah, Raymond J. Barry as the lead... he has that face you have seen in things but, for the life of me, I couldn't place it.

      Thanks so much for the comments and the support!


      Rob St. Mary
      co-host of "The Projection Booth"

  4. One note about the "camp" performance of John Candy in JFK: The real Dean Andrews can be seen in period footage on YouTube, and (to my great surprise), he was *exactly* as Candy portrays him. Truth really is often stranger than fiction...

  5. After reading Roger Ebert's review of the film, and hearing this excellent episode, one thing can be sure; the newspaper in question you got in the lobby, was eight pages long, not 20 or 2 as others have mentioned. Being a Kennedy assassination buff, this film slipped under the radar for me, and after hearing this, I want to see it even more. I remember my film teacher mentioning it when I was in his class, in high school. I still need to track it down and see it. This episode was a lot better than I thought it would be, also having read Rush to Judgement, it was cool to see a short film about it. Another interesting note, is that in Rush to Judgement, the witnesses that saw the assassin behind the fence, on the grassy knoll, were not interviewed by the Warren Commission. The ones in the report, were the ones that fit the book depository narrative, very suspicious. Also the key witnesses that died after the assassination, up to when the film premiered, is very suspicious. Thanks for giving me new stuff to track down. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/executive-action-1973