About Orville Nix

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Gayle On Her Grandfather

The True Story Of An Ordinary Man Swept Up In Extraordinary Events

Orville Orhel Nix was born on April 16th, 1911. He was the third of four brothers and two sisters. He was very close to his sister Grace and his brother who was afflicted with epilepsy, Edward. He married Ella Louise Robison in 1938 and they had one son, Orville O. Nix, Jr. in 1939. He had three grandchildren:Gayle Nix Jackson, Dr. Cindy Hemesath and David Nix.

He along with two of his brothers, worked for the General Services Administration as maintenance men. It was there that Orville befriended SSAIC Forrest Sorrels.  In 1963, Orville was promoted to the Terminal Annex Building at the NW corner of Houston and Main Streets. On November 22, 1963, while waiting to meet his wife, daughter-in-law Elaine and granddaughter Gayle, he filmed what many consider to be a home movie of as great importance as the more familiar Zapruder film of the JFK assassination.  Using a Keystone K-810 camera, his film shows the grassy knoll area throughout the assassination sequence. His film begins with the motorcade turning right onto Houston Street from Main Street. Realizing he could see more with his 6’6″ stature, he then moved to the south curb of Main about 20 to 30 feet west of Houston to film the most famous home movie of the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza. His camera was an auto-zoom camera with a handle grip that he emotionally squeezed while watching the horror of the thirty-fifth president’s death unfold before him. He wasn’t sure until he had the film developed a week later that he had assassination footage, but he believed until his death on January 17th, 1972 that shots came from the “stockade fence” area now called the grassy knoll. The FBI kept his film for three days and his camera for over five months. When his film was returned he felt it looked “different” and when his camera was finally returned, it came back in pieces. The FBI had taken it apart to “study” it. He sold the copyright to UPI in 1963. It was subsequently returned to Gayle Nix Jackson and family in 1990.

It was at that time the family learned the camera original film was missing. Who has it? Why is it missing? What does it show? His story is one of an ordinary American who finds his life changed by the secretive and often ruthless powers of the government, the media and society due to his place in history. It is thought-provoking and passionate in its representation of how an unassuming patriotic man lived through years of lies, intimidation and threats only to become disillusioned with the idea of an America that no longer existed. It is a story that is long over-due. It is the story of everyman. It is the story of Orville Nix.


Quick facts

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Fact One

After the FBI returned the Keystone 810 camera to Orville Nix in pieces, they bought him a replacement camera, a Keystone Capri.

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Fact Two

Clyde Barrow once visited the home of Orville’s wife, Ella, in Scurry, Texas.  She called him a “hoodlum friend of her no count Uncle.”

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Fact Three

Renowned researcher and attorney Mark Lane filmed an interview for his movie, “Rush to Judgement” in Orville’s home.  As he was leaving, the cameraman bumped the cumbersome camera into the kitchen wall leaving a large, dark mark.  Though he apologized, Ella wasn’t happy and ran them both out of her home with a broom.
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Fact Four

When Jim Garrison called Orville to testify at the Clay Shaw trial in New Orleans, Orville refused for fear of notoriety.

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