Mr. OLIVER. I then went on "As another example of the case with which
illusions are induced, let us take one detail in the really spectacular show
that was put on at the funeral of President Kennedy. That was a mass performance
which for sheer technical virtuousity certainly deserves to rank with such
spectacles in the cinema as Cleopatra and Ben Hur. Now, I made it a point to
talk to many people who had seen that spectacle on television, and I
found that all of them very firmly believed that the caparisoned horse named
'Black Jack,' in the procession belonged to Mrs. Kennedy and was her favorite
mount. That is entirely false.
"As most of you may not know for the national press never reported it, the
headquarters detachment of our Army under orders from McNamara's office began to
rehearse for the funeral more than a week before the assassination, and 'Black
Jack' was an old army horse who was selected at the time of the first rehearsal
for the role that he played in the real performance. Incidentally, he was a
horse who had never been broken to the saddle and consequently never ridden by
anyone. That is what was specifically said by the commander of that detachment
when he told his hometown newspaper about the rehearsals." Perhaps I should add
that I did not hear of that statement for several days and by the time that I
tried to reach him by telephone the commander had been transferred to somewhere
in Germany. I mention "Black Jack" and the impression created on television
merely as an example of the attention to detail that makes great and impressive
In other words, in my speech I am pointing out that the impression conveyed to
these many viewers whom I interviewed, and so far as I know, to all viewers; was
that this horse was the horse of Mrs. Kennedy, whereas it was an army horse.
Mr. JENNER. Upon what source did you rely in making the statement that the
special detachment to which you refer began to rehearse for the funeral a week
before the assassination?
Mr. OLIVER. I relied primarily on the interview given by Captain Cloy to the
Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger.
Mr. JENNER. Do you have a copy of that?
Mr. OLIVER. On the 21st of February, 1964.
Mr. JENNER. May I mark it? We will have an exhibit number on it.
I have marked as Oliver Exhibit No. 8 a photostatic reprint of an article
headlined "A lot to remember, McComb Army officer big part in Kennedy funeral"
by Kenneth Tolliver, and in the center is written, I assume, in--is that your
handwriting, the black lettering?
Mr. OLIVER. Mrs. Oliver's, I believe, which picks up the words "C1arion-Ledger"
from the next reproduction.
Mr. JENNER. For purposes of reproduction, it reads, "Jackson, Mississippi,
Clarion-Ledger, February 21, 1964." I take it, sir, that the clipping, I guess
this is an actual clipping pasted on here, the upper portion, in any event is
either the clipping or a reproduction of it upon which you relied ?
(The document referred to was marked Oliver Exhibit No. 8 for identification.)
Mr. OLIVER. This is a reproduction of the clipping.
Mr. JENNER. Would you show me where in that clipping it says in any respect
whatsoever that Captain Cloy made the statement that he and his unit were
rehearsing for the funeral of President Kennedy a week in advance of the
Mr. OLIVER. My first knowledge of the rehearsal came from a letter that I
received from someone in Arlington, or Alexandria, informing me that the Army
had rehearsed the funeral more than a week before the funeral, I think, I cannot
Mr. JENNER. The funeral was on Monday, the 25th of November.
Mr. OLIVER. And I would not say that I discounted the letter. I appreciated it,
as I appreciate all efforts to give me information. On the other hand, I did not
follow it up partly because I was very busy, and partly because I thought it
entirely possible that what had been witnessed was some other Army exercise that
could easily have been mistaken for a rehearsal of the funeral.
Consequently, I put it aside, and I am afraid I really dropped it from my mind
until I received this clipping from the Clarion-Ledger a number of days after it
had been published. I wouldn't want to say how many now.
Mr. JENNER. But you had it prior to your speech at the Santa Ana Valley High
Mr. OLIVER. Oh, yes; quite some time before that.
Mr. JENNER. And before you prepared the speech, part of which you have read?
Mr. OLIVER. That is right. And that confirmed the statement that a funeral had
Mr. JENNER. Yes; but not President Kennedy's.
Mr. OLIVER. But it turned out to be that.
Mr. JENNER. The only point I am making, Doctor, is that you will notice in the
article that what Captain Cloy says is not what you state in your speech he
said, but rather that before the assassination his special unit had been
rehearsing for the anticipated possible funeral of President Hoover who was then
Mr. OLIVER. That is right. He said, "We were in a state of readiness and had
just finished a funeral rehearsal because there was grave concern for President