When the film reached frame 313, the moment a bullet strikes the president's head, they all gasped:
"It was, looking back, I think the single most dramatic moment of my career," said Stolley.
"What did the Secret Servicemen do at that point?" Mason asked.
"Astonishingly, they thanked Mr. Zapruder and left."
Lee Harvey Oswald had already been arrested. The film's importance was not fully apparent yet. But Zapruder wanted to be rid of it.
"He said he'd had a nightmare," Stolley recalled. "He was in Times Square and he said there was a guy standing out in front of the theatre saying, 'Hey folks, come on in and see the president killed on a big screen!' And Zapruder said, 'I woke up and I was shuddering.'"
Life magazine would buy all rights to the film for $150,000.
In its next issue, Life published selected frames. And in a new book, "The Day Kennedy Died," it prints all 486. But Life never allowed the film to be broadcast.
In 1975, the magazine sold it back to the Zapruders for $1.
"Did your grandfather keep taking home movies after that?" Mason asked.
"No, he didn't."
In a CBS interview Abraham Zapruder said, "After that tragedy, I lost, I don't know what you call it, desire or appetite."
Zapruder died in 1970. His camera -- now on display at the Newseum in Washington -- is the property of the National Archives, as is his film. The government bought from the family in 1999 for $16 million.
Half a century later, those 26 seconds of celluloid have not lost any of their power.
When asked how many times he's watched the film, Stolley replied, "Oh, God. Hundred. And I will tell you every time it gets to frame 313, I just go, 'Ugh.' "
Footage courtesy of The Sixth Floor Museum/Zapruder Film (1967); WFAA-TV Collection (1998).
For more info:
- "The Day Kennedy Died" (Life Books)
- The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Dallas
- Newseum, Washington, D.C.
- President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection (National Archives)