Video rushed to meet demand

Are people willing to buy footage of one of the most appalling moments in American history? The answer, it would seem, is yes.

Since late June, when the Washington Post ran a story that the Zapruder documentary would be released this summer, MPI Home Video has been inundated with calls from the press and public.

The 45-minute documentary, “Image of an Assassination: A New Look at the Zapruder Film, ” will be available to stores as early as today. Demand, much of it media-generated, pushed up the video’s original Aug. 25 release.

“Some people were walking into our building asking to buy the video, ” says Natalie Olinger, the video company’s public relations director.

The rush job means abandoning all the usual marketing strategy; many video store salesclerks and managers hadn’t heard of the documentary. Shipments have been sent to chains such as Blockbuster Video, Tower Video, Best Buy, Sam Goody, Musicland, Suncoast, Wherehouse and Borders Books & Music.

“Oh yes, we’re carrying it, ” says Tower video sales manager Becky McGinnis wearily, who has been answering sporadic calls all week. The Concord store expects to stock its shelves at the latest by Monday, and the DVD version by the end of next week.

Some independents placed their order soon after hearing about the video through news stories, although the Video Room in Oakland was one of the few who ordered in advance. Others plan to stock the documentary if customer demands warrant.

Documentaries do not need to carry ratings. Musicland Stores, Corp., which includes Sam Goody and Suncoast, plans to post warning signs about the video, which repeats Kennedy’s killing a numbing six times.

“It’ll just say parental advisory, ‘” explains spokesperson Brant Skogrand.

This article originally appeared in the Contra Costa Times