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Carly Simon Remembers a Fateful Trip to the Movies with Jackie Kennedy

What’s playing on the East Side? What’s playing on the West Side? Uptown? Downtown? What’s playing at the Roxy? Whenever we both happened to be in New York at the same time, Jackie and I made plans to go to the movies. In those days, if you didn’t have a newspaper handy, you called 777-FILM to find out what was playing and where and at what time, and that’s how I stumbled into a little inconvenient web of cross-purposes.

I’ll tell you what was playing uptown, downtown, and at the Roxy: “JFK.” It was early in 1992, a few months after the release of Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-minded unpacking of the Kennedy assassination, and the movie was still playing at various theatres. How could we stay as far away as possible from a “JFK” sighting, from seeing even a poster, the one with Kevin Costner glaring through an American flag, wearing his horn-rimmed glasses? The human eye would always seek out the much smaller photo at the top of the poster, of the motorcade, the chaotic aftermath. Maybe, just maybe, the eye could redirect the moment, make things work, subvert destiny. The eye could somehow keep the shots from ringing out, and have the happy, beautiful couple return to Washington, after a day at the races in Dallas, Texas. And what about the previews? Scarier, even, would be a two-minute trailer for “JFK” inserted before the feature-length film we’d gone to see—those two minutes could end up destroying the entire afternoon.

“You pick out the movie,” Jackie had said, “and I’ll meet you there.”

I did so much homework, did so much to head off any possible encounter with “JFK.” I amused myself by imagining my extremely serious C.E.O. voice demanding to speak immediately to the owner of the Sony cinema

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