Monday, August 08, 2011

Cool D.B. Cooper Shit

Northwest folk antihero D.B. Cooper is back in the news. The FBI announced last week they had a "promising new suspect," prompting a woman to come forward claiming that Cooper is her late uncle. She's writing a book about it, while another D.B. Cooper book comes out tomorrow. However, like fellow Northwest legend Bigfoot, D.B. Cooper interests me far more as a pop-culture phenomenon than as an unsolved mystery. Thankfully, there's the awesome Wikipedia page D.B. Cooper in popular culture, which lists lots of the stuff below...

Like the 1981 movie The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, with Treat Williams in the title role. It's never been released on DVD, but I watched the tape a few years ago. It's pretty bad, as its opening demonstrates...

D.B.'s been referenced to a lesser degree in several other movies, as well as on TV -- David Lynch named his Twin Peaks protagonist Agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper. Elsewhere, D.B. (or characters inspired by him) have been the basis of episodes of Barnaby Jones, Quincy, Charlie's Angels, The Fall Guy, Renegade, NewsRadio, Prison Break, Numb3rs and Journeyman.

Many musical shout-outs too, by far the most popular being Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" -- among the "Gs with the 40s and the chicks with beepers" is "D.B. Cooper and the money he took." Also on the audio tip, kickass talk-radio satirist Phil Hendrie included Cooper in a couple comedy bits -- in March 2000, former commercial airline pilot Art Griego told the story of D.B. Cooper and the Three Bears, and in January 2008, Dr. Jim Sadler suggested that D.B. Cooper is presidential candidate Ron Paul.

A bunch of D.B. Cooper books have been published, both fiction and non-, speculating on Cooper's post-skyjack whereabouts. I haven't read any of 'em, but Roland Smith's 1998 teen novel Sasquatch sounds the most promising, as D.B. and 'squatch meet up to witness the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I've placed a hold on it at the library.

While D.B. inspired all this pop-culture stuff, he himself might've been inspired by pop culture. Specifically, the French comic book Dan Cooper, popular in the '60s and '70s. D.B.'s real name was Dan Cooper -- at least that's the name he gave when buying his plane ticket; "D.B." was the name the media erroneously stuck him with. Around the time of D.B.'s the skyjacking, an issue of the comic was released with a skydiving Dan on its cover. Read more about this on the FBI site... In other comics, D.B.'s been referenced in The Far Side, Dilbert, and here.

Moving on to business establishments, there's D.B. Cooper's Bar & Grill in Madison Heights, Michigan (they lifted their artwork from The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper's poster), D.B. Cooper's bar in Kansas City, and D.B. Cooper's Mansion, a Houston gentleman's club tit bar. Former D.B. restaurants operated in San Jose and Nashua, New Hampshire. However, only the Ariel Store & Tavern in Southwest Washington, in the area where Cooper is believed to have touched down, hosts an annual D.B. Cooper party every Thanksgiving eve...

The most indelible image of D.B. Cooper is his iconic police sketch, as familiar in these parts as frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film. With his wraparound shades, skinny tie and no-nonsense expression, Cooper comes across as one cool customer. The sketch inspired this black stencil, and this green one...

His mug has also appeared on T-shirts, patches, and, well, mugs.

That's it for now. D.B. previously appeared on my blog here and here, and I also wrote about him on

Oh, and the FBI needs your help!



At 11:47 AM, August 08, 2011 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting... Although the pop-culture is intriguing , I prefer the mystery of the theft.

G. A. in So Cal


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