BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Rob Lowe always wondered why John F. Kennedy never looked as spiffy as Mad Men’s Don Draper in terms of attire.
After all, even though one is real and one is fictional, JFK and Don Draper both were ladies’ men in the 1960s.
“I never understood why (JFK) didn’t have a more happening, Don Draper-type thing going on,” said Lowe, who is playing JFK in the upcoming made-for-TV movie Killing Kennedy. It will air this November on the National Geographic Channel, both in Canada and the U.S.
“(JFK’s) little kerchief, whatever the heck it is, pocket square, was always barely sticking out and sometimes smashed,” Lowe continued. “Like, ‘Dude, you are the president. Have somebody make you look tight.’ ”
Well, in researching the role and watching countless hours of JFK footage, Lowe found out some things.
“(JFK) used reading glasses always, but he was rarely, if ever, photographed (with them), because he thought it made him look old,” Lowe said at the Television Critics Association tour. “And he kept his reading glasses in his pocket.
“He had a nervous tic that he would take the glasses out, play with them, pull them out, play with them, and (when he put them back) it jammed the pocket square down into his pocket. That’s why you always see pictures of Kennedy with that little tiny (pocket square), because he’s got reading glasses in there.
“I mean, obviously we could go on and on, but I learned a ton, and I thought I knew a ton coming into it.”
Based on a best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Kennedy chronicles the buildup to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald if you aren’t a conspiracy theorist, in November 1963 – 50 years to the month that Killing Kennedy will air. Besides Lowe in the title role, Killing Kennedy also stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy, Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald and Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald.
So does Lowe think Oswald acted alone?
“I’ve been following the Kennedy assassination since I was in the first or second grade and read every conspiracy-theory book known to man,” Lowe said. “I actually started off as a guy who thought there’s no way a guy could do it, and I’ve come around to thinking that they got it right, that Oswald did act alone. That’s my personal belief.
“We all like to believe that there’s some big uber thing out there. Like, even on 9/11, you would have thought, ‘We can get those planes down in two seconds.’ Meanwhile, nobody knew what was going on, the president was flying around the country. You would have thought we’d have things in place for this.
“It’s always way simpler than we think, and I think it scares us to think that things can be that simple and huge, horrible things can happen by the act of one person. We like to think there’s a safety net. Most times there isn’t. And that’s, in the end, why I come back to thinking it was the act of a mad man.”
A mad man? Or Mad Men?
People will continue to have their own thoughts on who killed John F. Kennedy. But at least Rob Lowe definitely solved the case of the scrunchy pocket square.