Friday, December 19, 2008

D.B. Cooper - D.B. Cooper is the mistaken alias of a man who boarded a Boeing 727 in 1971 under the name “Dan Cooper” before hijacking the aircraft for a ransom of $200,000. He claimed to have a bomb in a briefcase which he showed to a stewardess and demanded that the plane land so he can be given the ransom and several parachutes. After landing in Seattle, the money and parachutes were handed over and all non-essential personnel and passengers were released. Cooper then asked the pilots to fly toward Mexico at a low altitude and speed so he can jump at the time of his own choosing. He did not wait long to make his bold move and jumped somewhere over southwestern Washington. He was never heard from again and his identity still remains a mystery. Most experts speculate that he did not survive the speedy and dangerous jump.

The writers of Newsradio seemed fascinated with mysterious, unidentified figures from modern history: Deep Throat, the Unabomber, and the man known as D.B. Cooper. While the first two men were merely referenced in episodes, Cooper’s mention becomes a major plot point as station owner Jimmy James is accused of being the hijacker and sent to federal prison. In a three-episode arc, James finds that his this stint in prison leaves his company holdings vulnerable to his rival, Johnny Johnson. He is exonerated when the real D.B. Cooper, Adam West of Batman fame, reveals himself as the notorious hijacker. The original FBI sketches of Cooper resemble West’s sharper facial features more than they do Mr. James’ considerably rounder visage.

(It is interesting to note that a copycat hijacker tried a similar attempt in 1972 calling himself “James Johnson”, a name that contains the surnames of both rivals in the D.B. Cooper story-arc of Newsradio.) [Clash of the Titans, Jail, The Lam]

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