D. B. Cooper in popular culture

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D. B. Cooper is a media epithet (actual pseudonym: Dan Cooper) used to describe an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 on November 24, 1971, extorted a US$200,000 ransom (equivalent to $1.28 million today.[1]), and parachuted to an unknown fate.[2] He was never seen again, and only $5,880 of the ransom money has been found. The incident continues to influence popular culture, and has inspired references in books, film, and music.[3]


1972 FBI composite drawing of D. B. Cooper
Cover of Elwood Reid's D. B.: a novel
The cover of Elwood Reid's D. B.: a novel, which borrows from the 1972 FBI sketch (top)


  • James M. Cain's 1975 novel Rainbow's End[4] is a fictional account of what might have happened to Cooper after he parachuted from the plane.[5]
  • J.D. Reed's 1980 novel Free Fall[6] was used as a basis for the 1981 film The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper.[7]
  • Elwood Reid's 2004 novel D. B.: a novel[8] is a fictionalized account of what supposedly happened to the real Cooper in the years following the hijacking, as a pair of FBI agents attempt to pick up his trail and arrest him. In one edition, the book jacket cover featured artwork derived from the FBI composite sketch of the real Cooper.[9]
  • The 1998 novel Sasquatch by Roland Smith features a character named Buckley Johnson, who eventually admits that he is D. B. Cooper to the novel's protagonist, a boy named Dylan Hickock. In this story, Johnson says he committed the hijacking to pay for cancer treatments for his son.[10]
  • Greg Cox's 2008 novel The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy[11] features Cooper (see also the television series The 4400).[12]


  • The Dilbert strip for January 17, 1991 featured Dogbert exhibiting Cooper's remains, with the punchline, "He learned that you should never get your parachutes from the same people you're robbing".[13]
  • The webcomic xkcd has a strip titled "D. B. Cooper",[14] in which it was theorized that director Tommy Wiseau was D. B. Cooper, and had financed his infamous film The Room with the funds from the robbery.[15]
  • A 1989 strip from Gary Larson's The Far Side shows "Ben & Vera's Rottweiler Farm" and a bunch of dogs looking up at a man with a parachute with the slogan "The Untold Ending of D.B. Cooper".[16]

Film and television[edit]


Series & Television[edit]

  • The 1973 made-for-TV film, Deliver Us From Evil explores the aftermath of Cooper's robbery, without specifically naming him.[20]
  • In the Season 2, Episode 8 of AMC’s Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Walt enters Saul’s office and Saul says, “Should I call the FBI and tell them I found D.B. Cooper? Ha ha!” Walt is disguised in a tacky baseball cap and dark sunglasses, but otherwise is dressed as a teacher, not a drug lord or criminal.
  • A 1988 episode of Unsolved Mysteries focused on the skyjacker, where Florence Shaffner was interviewed. The show hired a composite artist to recreate Cooper, where the stewardess described him with a skinnier head and more elongated nose than the usual popular profile. Also studied was an airplane exit sign found in the Washington backcountry by a hunter and the $5,880 in marked bills found by a family while camping. Combined with failure to find a body, this lent credence to the theory that Cooper did not die on impact if he landed on the earth, but could have possibly succumb to drowning or hypothermia if he landed in the water.[21]
  • In the fourth season (1979–1980) of the series In Search of... dedicated an episode to the D.B. Cooper hijacking.[22]
  • The main character of the television series Twin Peaks (1990) is named Dale Bartholomew Cooper, after D. B. Cooper.[23]
  • The television series NewsRadio (1995-1999) featured a story arc (Season 5, Episodes 6-8 "Jail", "The Lam", and "Clash of the Titans", first broadcast in 1998) in which station owner Jimmy James is believed to be Cooper. James was arrested after a green duffel bag believed to have been Cooper's was found. At the trial, Adam West confesses he is Cooper and that James had covered up for him.[24]
  • In the 2009 Numbers episode (Season 6, episode 10) "Old Soldiers", the FBI recover bills that trace back to the D.B Cooper heist.
  • On August 26, 2012, in an episode of the Leverage (TV series) (Season 5, Episode 6), entitled "The D.B. Cooper Job", the case is solved.[25]
  • On January 11, 2017, an episode of Expedition Unknown (Season 3, Episode 7), entitled "Cracking the D.B. Cooper Case", host Josh Gates attempted to solve the case.[26]
  • Muse Watson portrays Charles Westmoreland, revealed to be D.B. Cooper in the television series Prison Break.[27]
  • In the series Blacklist, Raymond talks about D.B. Cooper in Season 5, Episode 11.
  • In We Bare Bears Season 3 Episode 4, the bears find a briefcase labeled D.B. Cooper that contains a single $100 bill and a used band-aid.
  • In Drunk History season 5 episode 7 "Drunk Mystery", the story of D.B. Cooper is drunkenly retold by comedian Kyle Mooney. Mooney's former SNL co-star Taran Killam portrays Cooper in the re-enactment.
  • The heist was mentioned in the fifth episode of the series White Rabbit Project.
  • In the Disney+ series Loki set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the episode "Glorious Purpose", D.B. Cooper is revealed to be Loki, who lost a bet to Thor and jumped from a Boeing 727 with Northwest Orient livery, disappearing into the Bifrost.[28]


  • Singer-songwriter Chuck Brodsky has a song titled "The Ballad of D. B. Cooper" on his 2006 CD, Tulips for Lunch.[29]
  • Ska/Punk band Victims of Circumstance's second album, Roll the Dice, features a track titled "The Final Flight of D. B. Cooper".[30]
  • Bill Mallonee's "The Ghosts that I Run With" is sung from the point of view of D. B. Cooper after years of hiding in the hills. It appears on Mallonee's 2011 release, The Power and the Glory.[31]
  • The Kid Rock song "Bawitdaba" contains a reference to Cooper's stolen money.[32]
  • The Mountain Goats' song "Rain in Soho" (from the album Goths) references Cooper with the lyric "No one broke D. B. Cooper's fall".[33]
  • New York hip-hop artist MF Doom's single "Hoe Cakes" (from the album "Mm.. Food") references Cooper with the lyric "MF Doom, He's like D.B. Cooper."[34]


A street artist poses as a "living statue" of Cooper at the Portland Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon
  • The community of Ariel, Washington, one of the possible landing areas for Cooper, commemorates the incident with a celebration, held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, called "D. B. Cooper Days."[35]
  • D. B. Tuber is the name given to Anthony Curcio, who was responsible for one of the most elaborately planned armored car heists in history.[36][37]
  • Fan speculation surrounding the show Mad Men was that there were subtle clues that it would end with Don Draper exposing himself as D.B. Cooper. Producers frequently denied such a plot, and the skyjacking was never depicted in the series.[38]


  1. ^ 1634 to 1699: Harris, P. (1996). "Inflation and Deflation in Early America, 1634–1860: Patterns of Change in the British American Economy". Social Science History. 20 (4): 469–505. JSTOR 1171338. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ LaBoe, Barbara (2008-01-01). "Search for D. B. Cooper 'reignited'". The Daily News. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  3. ^ Neil Hickey, Plane robbing still unsolved, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia), January 4, 2008
  4. ^ Cain, James M. (1975). Rainbow's End. New York: Mason/Charter. ISBN 9780884050926.
  5. ^ Giddins, Gary (August 1, 1996). Faces in the Crowd: Musicians, Writers, Actors & Filmmakers. Da Capo Press. p. 197. ISBN 9780306807053. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Reed, J.D. (1980). Free Fall: a Novel. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780440027249.
  7. ^ Lusted, Marcia Amidon (2012). D. B. Cooper Hijacking. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 68. ISBN 9781614786276.
  8. ^ Reid, Elwood (2004). D. B.: a novel. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-49738-1. OCLC 52410839.
  9. ^ Lusted, Marcia Amidon (2012). D. B. Cooper Hijacking. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 73. ISBN 9781614786276.
  10. ^ "Sasquatch by Roland Smith — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  11. ^ Cox, Greg (2008). The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781416580140.
  12. ^ Crwaford, Sarah (January 24, 2016). "The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy (The 4400 #1)". Goodreads. Retrieved March 23, 2016.[better source needed]
  13. ^ "Dilbert Comic Strip on 1991-01-17 | Dilbert by Scott Adams". Dilbert. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  14. ^ Monroe, Randall. "D.B. Cooper". xkcd. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  15. ^ Cheadle, Harry; Caffier, Justin (January 16, 2019). "D.B. Cooper Is Tommy Wiseau, and Other Nontoxic Conspiracy Theories". Vice. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "5388 E ROTTWEILER FARM the Untold Ending of D B Cooper". Me.Me. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  17. ^ Turner, Adrian. "The Pursuit of DB Cooper". Radio Times. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  18. ^ Turnquist, Kristi (March 20, 2008). "Portland Film Location News". the Oregonian. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Tallerico, Brian (November 25, 2020). "The Mystery of D.B. Cooper". Roger Ebert. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  20. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069961/
  21. ^ "Unsolved Mysteries Online - Unofficial Fan Site for the NBC - Lifetime TV Series". www.sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  22. ^ "In Search of.....: D.B. Cooper". TV.com. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  23. ^ Davis, Jeff; Al Eufrasio; Mark Moran (2008). Weird Washington. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-4027-4545-4. OCLC 179788749.
  24. ^ "NewsRadio (an Episode Guide)". epguides.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  25. ^ The D.B. Cooper Job, retrieved 2020-01-06
  26. ^ "Expedition Unknown | Cracking the D.B. Cooper Case". TVGuide.com. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  27. ^ Mitchell, Molli (2020-03-04). "Prison Break season 1-4 recap: What happened to Michael Scofield ahead of series 5 release". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  28. ^ "Marvel Makes Loki The Real DB Cooper In The MCU". ScreenRant. 2020-12-11. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  29. ^ "Chuck Brodsky Music: Genuine Quirksy Rootsy". Chuck Brodsky Music: Genuine Quirksy Rootsy. Archived from the original on 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  30. ^ "Victims of Circumstance - Roll the Dice". Amazon. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  31. ^ "The Ghosts That I Run With, by Bill Mallonee". Bill Mallonee. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  32. ^ "Bawitdaba - Kid Rock". play.google.com. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  33. ^ "Listen to The Mountain Goats' Brooding New Single "Rain In Soho"". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  34. ^ "MF DOOM - Hoe Cakes Lyrics". genius.com. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  35. ^ Jim Bates. "Skulduggery by Parachute". Aero.com. Archived from the original on 2015-03-19.
  36. ^ Doughery, Phil. "D. B. Tuber". History Link.
  37. ^ Esteban, Michelle. "D. B. Tuber dedicates life to warn others of dangers of drugs". KOMO news.
  38. ^ Todd Leopold. "'Mad Men' creator: No, Don isn't D.B. Cooper". CNN. Retrieved 2020-09-27.