Police Interceptors | Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber
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Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber

Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber

In 1960, a lone assassin planned a deadly attempt on the life of President-Elect John F Kennedy. With a Buick packed with dynamite, nothing was going to stop Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber.

Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, this documentary uses diary excerpts, unseen Secret Service documents and a shocking historical reimagining to tell the story of the man who came within moments of killing JFK with a suicide car bomb in December 1960.

Richard Pavlick was a postal worker from Belmont, NH, known to locals for his anti-Catholic, anti-Capitalist and anti-Kennedy rants. Pavlick’s anger was so infamous that a colleague informed the authorities – but the Secret Service deemed the threat from this lonely, irascible man to be hollow. They were wrong.

On December 4th 1960, Pavlick drove to the Kennedy residence in Palm Beach, FL, his Buick packed with dynamite primed for detonation. The plan was simple. Get as close as possible and explode the car – killing the President and himself. However, at the last moment, the sight of Jackie Kennedy and the couple’s young children made Pavlick reconsider and drive away. He planned to try again just days later, but was arrested when a keen eyed local officer noticed Pavlick’s license plate that had been circulated just days before.

Using extracts from Pavlick’s diary, never-before-seen government documents and testimony from eyewitnesses, this documentary reconstructs the events of one of the world’s first attempted suicide bombings. In a spectacular finale, this documentary engineers an explosion in a period American car to exclusively reveal the destructive repercussions had Pavlick pressed the trigger.


Smithsonian Channel


60 Minutes


1 Episode