Online Collection

Tower Varizoom 8mm movie camera

Object Number: 2015.009.0006
Category: Artifacts
Original owner: Jim Towner
Photographer: Tina Towner
Type of Object: Camera
Dimensions: 5 15/16 × 3 × 7 7/16 in. (15.1 × 7.6 × 18.9 cm)
Medium: Metal, plastic
Description
Sears' Tower brand Varizoom 8mm movie camera, model 584.91250, used by Tina Towner to film the presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Towner's father Jim Towner took photos with a still camera while Tina used this camera to capture images of the limousine as it passed the front door of the Texas School Book Depository and of Dealey Plaza after shots were fired.

This camera was apparently manufactured for the department store Sears by Bell & Howell based on its Model 8125, under Sears' house brand "Tower." The case is black with silver-colored metal trim.

Curator's Notes

The two Towner cameras are both on display in the Museum's exhibit "John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation." - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

The Towners' camera, like other 8mm cameras of the era, did not record sound.  (Super 8mm cameras came along in the 1960s with the ability to record sound at the same time that moving images were captured.)  Tina had operated the family camera before and knew how to use it. - Gary Mack, Curator

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to registrar@jfk.org.