Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Paris Match Photo!

I listened to Jim DiEugenio on Black Op Radio talking about the MLK assassination.  This was show #573 which aired on April 5th, 2012.  He is as well versed in that assassination as the JFK assassination.  CTKA, Jim's website has a section on the King case.  Jim brought up the Paris Match photo.  Paris Match is a weekly magazine published in France that is akin to our LIFE magazine.  Jim mentioned a photo in the magazine that proved the impossibility of an assassin shooting from that window.  Harold Weisberg mentions this photo on page 168 of his book on the MLK case "Frame-Up."

Well, here it is.

This is from the 20th of April 1968 edition of Paris Match.  The cover is devoted to a Boeing airplane with BOAC airlines that crash landed.  There are photos of the plane in flight with its wing engine on fire.  There were survivors.  It managed to land at some airport intact.  People got lucky.

I recently acquired this magazine.  I have never seen this photo before.  I have never seen it reprinted in any American magazine, newspaper, or book.

According to Jim,  Paris Match did a reconstruction of the shooting.  "From the window from which James Earl Ray would have had to shoot King there was a bathtub.  It was positioned in such a way that when that magazine sent a team over to do a reconstruction the guy had to contort himself into such a position in which there is no possible way you could have aimed the rifle to shoot King because he would have had to have been standing on the rim of the bathtub.  Eventually, the state understood that this was a serious problem.  So, in the museum they have now [ the former Bessie Brewer boarding house property was purchased by the National Civil Rights museum.]  THEY MOVED THE BATHUB into a position where you don't have to do that anymore."

It's hard to get the whole page.  I have a scanner that can accommodate a legal sized piece of paper 8.5 x 14 but this magazine page is larger than that.

 Paris Match 20 Avril 1968 p. 52

I believe that what he's using as a rifle substitute is a bit of brush 
or some small tree with its roots hanging down.

The accompanying text

This is the French text as well as I could duplicate it:

Une fenetre de salle de bains, au premier etage d'une maison meublee dans les faubourgs de Memphis c' est de la qu' est partie la balle qui a tue Martin Luther  U  jeun e Blanc tres grand qui se faisait appeler John Willard est venu me demander une chambre dit Mrs. Frank Brewer la gerante du petit hotel du 422 South Main Street Il insista pour avoir le numero 5 cote sud  Moins d’une heure apres l’attentat, la police avait reconstitue les faits Willard s’etait absente entre 4 h 30 et 5 h 30 Son voisin de palier  Willy Anchutz l’avait vu revenir avec un objet enveloppe dans du papier journal.  Il etait 18 h 5 quand le coup de feu fut tire  Quelques secondes plus tard.  Anchutz croisait a nouveau Willard  Il sortait de la salle de bains commune et portait toujours sous le bras  son long paquet  Le soir meme  Ronsey Clark, ministre de la Justice annoncait  Le colis etait l arme du crime  une Remington 30 a lunette  Nous connaissons le vrai nom de Willard L arrestation est une questions d heures. 

This is the English translation as best as my typing skills and Google translate can come up with:

A bathroom window at first floor of a furnished house in the suburbs of Memphis that is of that part is the bullet that killed Martin Luther fasting U every large White who called himself John Willard came I request a room said Mrs.. Frank Brewer manageress of the small hotel of 422 South Main Street, he insisted to have the number 5 south coast less than an hour after the attack, police had reconstructed the facts Willard was absent between 4 and 5 h 30 h 30 his next door neighbor had seen Willy Anchutz back with an object wrapped in newspaper. He was 18 5h when the shot was fired a few seconds. Anchutz crossed again Willard He came out of the shared bathroom and always wore under his arm along the same night package Ronsey ClarkMinister of Justice announced the package was the murder weapon was a Remington 30 bezel We know the real name the arrest of Willard is a question of hours.

If you can improve the translation for me I'd appreciate it. 

Page 168 from Weisberg's "Frame-Up"

The bathtub that they show you today, which is not in its original position.  And to me this looks like an entirely different bathtub.  This tub does not appear to have the reclined, angled back like the one the Paris Match man is perched on.   As with the alleged assassin's window at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas this area is glassed off to the public.  


  1. If you want to know what happened to the original bathtub, it was bought by Memphis Judge D'Army Bailey in 1983 when the flophouse was being renovated. He then sold it to Golden Palace Casino, an online casino, through an eBay auction on March 20, 2006, for $7,600.

    You can see a photo of the tub here, where you can see the angle of the back of the tub very clearly:

    Here is the Associated Press article:

  2. Here is the Golden Palace website. They have a whole gallery of photos of the original bathtub: