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Never before seen film of JFK brought to light

It was a moment on captured on Cape Cod more than six decades ago, long buried.

WESTERLY, R.I. — Stuff. 

We all have a lot of it. 

In the basement. 

In the attic. 

In the back of closets.  

One family that was going through their stuff and finally looked at what had over the years become a family legend. 

What they found was long-buried film of John and Jackie Kennedy from more than 60 years ago.  

Ernest Tucker was only 24 years old in 1960 on a warm summer day on Cape Cod. He and his girlfriend happened to see John and Jackie Kennedy leaving a campaign event.

“I knew I had to save it that was about all instinct to save it,” Tucker said. 

He had a new camera and decided to take a few shots, never thinking the film would mean something in 2023; 60 years after Kennedy was assassinated. 

“It was just something I was doing,” Tucker said. “It wasn’t important to me at the time.”

His daughter Debra Tucker tells us she heard about the video many times.

“As long as I can remember daddy always told us about the film,” Debra said. 

She said at first it looked like a bunch of home videos, but then Kennedy appeared on the screen, she said she couldn’t believe just how good it actually was. The would-be President right there, captured for just a short bit on camera by her dad. 

“He looks up at one point and it’s just a perfect shot, very clear, a classic shot of his smile he was just so close to it,” Debra said. “You can see JFK and Jackie; she has a scarf on her head and they’re sitting in the car.”

The film has been sitting in a little blue canister for 63 years. Never necessarily lost or forgotten, just never developed.

“That canister somehow always travelled with him and when he unpacked the blue canister would always be there. So when he moved here he unpacked the canister was there he asked me several times to get it digitized,” Debra said. 

“You would never think that short a time span of video would blow your mind, but it did for all of us,” Debra said. 

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Professional antique appraiser Dr. Lori Verderame tells us she sees a lot of JFK memorabilia, but this film has some special elements. 

“It’s a rare piece an interesting piece a valuable piece,” Verderame said. 

She tells us finding such significant film in good condition is uncommon

“It was such a groundbreaking campaign, so important at the time, and of course with the sadness of the assassination” Verderame said. “I was very impressed with the quality of the film, so crisp, so good, with technology you can do a lot with this old film.”

The Tucker family said they have submitted the film to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston; hoping to have their 30 seconds of history available for everyone to see. 

“One of the things growing up as one of his daughters, he is a man with a lot of blessings and stories and being able to preserve one of those stories is amazing, it would be truly welcomed if they accepted it,” Debra said. 

Accept it and make it available for all of us to watch, ponder, and wonder what might have been. 

Brooke Griffin is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at bgriffin@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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