I ran across a sloppily-written item that briefly piqued my interest because it ties into Emilio Estevez’s Bobby (Weinstein Co., 11.17). L.A.-based culture journalist Dianne Bates Kenney (of Bates Rates News) tells about having met a commercial photographer named Eric Saarinen several years ago and hearing a fascinating story about footage he captured of the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4,1968. At first the story gets you, then it drives you mad because of the details she ignores.
According to Saarinen, Kenney writes, he “and a friend were filming Kennedy and followed him after he exited the [Ambassador ballroom] podium. They captured Kennedy as he fell after being shot as well as the scramble of the people around him. They went back to the campus, made a copy of the film and locked the original in one of their lockers.
“Then, Saarinen said, both students, overwhelmed by what they had witnessed, ‘sat on the street corner and proceeded to get very drunk.’ They were approached by a strange man and while under the influence, told him what they had just seen and filmed. They assured him that the original film was safely locked in a locker. The next day, when they went to the locker, the film was gone.”
Okay…so what happened to the copy Saarinen said they made? The original, the story suggests, was stolen by the “strange man” (strange in what way? was he oddly dressed?) who somehow knew which locker the original film was stored in. Did Saarinen and his friend tell this total stranger how to find it? They must have been awfully damn stupid on top of being dead drunk. In any case, the story clearly states that a copy was made, so where is it? And has this story ever been passed along to anyone before, and was the whereabouts of the copy ever investigated?