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Magazine of the Week - LIFE, November 29, 1963

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The issue of Life magazine that was in the process of being printed the day President John F. Kennedy was shot. by Rick Gagliano - 9/21/06.

Roger Staubach Life magazine 11/29/63 This issue of Life magazine with Navy quarterback Roger Staubach featured on the cover was originally scheduled to be circulated with the cover date November 29,1963. The cover and most of the contents of that issue were pulled because President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22.

Information concerning this rare edition is sketchy, even on the internet, but indications are that there are likely less than 20 copies of this magazine extant.

What's even more amazing is that there are two versions of the magazine, one with the full photo of Staubach and one with the complete sidebar, both shown at right along with the issue (with Kennedy on the cover) that appeared on newsstands days later and was sent to subscribers. (click on photos for larger versions)

Roger Staubach Life magazine w/sidebar 11/29/63 When Kennedy was shot dead on that fateful day of November 22, about 300,000 issues of Life magazine had already been printed and were - according to unconfirmed reports - ordered destroyed when the news reached New York. The presses were stopped and the copies were, by one account, "scrapped."

Another account says that all but a few were taken apart for the ad pages they contained, but gives no indication of just how many "all but a few" might have been. Considering the intricacies and production costs involved, this explanation makes sense. Ad pages often were printed on color plates, while much of the magazine's editorial content was in black and white.

The color pages - more expensive to produce and print - might well have been saved for reinsertion into another, forthcoming edition.

JFK Life magazine 11/29/63 There is also unconfirmed reporting that Roger Staubach was sent a copy of this magazine and that the John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts has a copy.

An issue of this magazine - the one without the sidebar - recently sold on eBay for $600.00.

Despite the momentous historic events of that weekend, the publishers and editors of Life magazine were not alone in their original assessment of Staubach as a great cover story.

The Navy college football team of 1963 was one of the best ever produced by any military academy. Led by All-American quarterback Roger Staubach, who would later go on to glory with coach Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, the Middies ended the season ranked #2 in the nation.

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Staubach, then in his junior season with the US Naval Academy, won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award.

A color sketch of Staubach appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's December 2, 1963 issue as the lead-in to the annual Army-Navy gridiron conflict.

Time magazine had also recently featured Staubach on the cover of its October 18, 1963 edition.

Staubach eventually did appear on the cover of a circulated edition of Life magazine. He and Dallas coach Tom Landry were the cover subjects of the January 14, 1972 issue, in anticipation of Super Bowl VI, between the Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins. Dallas won the game, 24-3 and Staubach was named Most Valuable Player.

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