D. B. Cooper in popular culture

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A 1972 FBI composite drawing of D. B. Cooper

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 $1.18 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 skyjacking continues to influence popular culture, including references in books, film, and music.[3]


Cover of Elwood Reid's D. B.: a novel
  • 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 novel, The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy[11] features Cooper as one of The 4400.[12]

Film, TV, and radio[edit]

  • In 1981 an adventure movie titled The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper was released starring Treat Williams as Cooper and Robert Duvall as an insurance investigator pursuing him. Based on J. D. Reed's 1980 novel Free Fall, it was directed by Roger Spottiswoode.
  • In 1988 an episode of Unsolved Mysteries focused on the skyjacker.[13]
  • In the 1990 television series Twin Peaks, the main character is named Dale Bartholomew Cooper, after D. B. Cooper.[14]
  • A 1995 episode of the television show Renegade titled "The Ballad of D. B. Cooper" (Season 4, Episode 3) details how D. B. Cooper hijacks a plane, steals $200,000, and lands in a small town where he uses the money to reopen an old factory.
  • The television series NewsRadio 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.[15]
  • In the movie Without a Paddle (2004), a group of three old friends (Matthew Lillard, Seth Green and Dax Shepard), go on a camping trip to search for the treasure of D. B. Cooper to honor their recently deceased friend. They eventually find it, along with the skeleton of Cooper, in an abandoned mine shaft. Half of the loot had been burned by Cooper himself to keep him warm, and Shepard's character took the remaining half to pay gambling debts.
  • The television show Prison Break (2005-2009) featured a character who, after initially denying accusations, eventually admitted that he was D. B. Cooper. The character, played by Muse Watson, went by the name of Charles Westmoreland. According to the show, the amount of money he buried underneath a silo totaled approximately $5 million.
  • In 2009, the sixth season of Numb3rs, the tenth episode's central plot was a solution to the D. B. Cooper mystery, including the reasons for the hijacking plot and the final disposition of the money (alleged to be five times the reported amount by the episode) with Michael Hogan starring as the fictionalized Cooper.
  • The August 26, 2012, episode of Leverage (Season 5, Episode 6), titled "The D. B. Cooper Job", centers around the Leverage team working to help Agent McSweeten, who has come to them to look into the case that obsesses his dying father—the 1971 plane hijacking by D. B. Cooper.
  • In the September 24, 2012, episode of Warehouse 13 (Season 4, Episode 9) titled "The Ones You Love", a fictional artifact version of D. B. Cooper's ripcord was used by Brent Spiner's character Brother Adrian to infiltrate The Warehouse.
  • The hijacking is featured in Episode 5 of the first Netflix Original White Rabbit Project entitled "Heist!", which examined six heists through history.
  • The January 11, 2017, episode of Expedition Unknown (Season 3, Episode 7), entitled "Cracking the D.B. Cooper Case", host Josh Gates attempted to solve the case.


  • Oregon-native singer-songwriter Todd Snider wrote and performed a song titled "D. B. Cooper." It appears on his CD Happy to Be Here, released in 2000.
  • Singer-songwriter Chuck Brodsky has a song titled "The Ballad of D. B. Cooper" on his 2006 CD, Tulips for Lunch.[16]
  • Roger McGuinn's self-titled 1973 solo album contains the song "Bag Full of Money" referring to Cooper's hijacking.
  • Rock band Senses Fail's CD Life Is Not a Waiting Room features a song called "DB Cooper".
  • Ska/Punk band Victims of Circumstance's second album, Roll the Dice, features a track titled "The Final Flight of D. B. Cooper".[17]
  • Post-hardcore band End of a Year released a song titled "Dan Cooper" on their 2008 split 7" single with Shook Ones, released on Runner Up Records.
  • Irish rock band Kopek released a song titled "The Easy Way (D. B. Cooper)" on their debut album, White Collar Lies, in 2010.
  • 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.[18] (Mallonee was leader of alt-country band Vigilantes of Love.)
  • The Kid Rock song "Bawitdaba" contains a reference to Cooper's stolen money.[19]
  • Indie Outsider singer-songwriter Cyclope Espion released a song titled "D.B. Cooper" on the album Friday Night Epitaph released February 1, 2017 on 201a Records.[20]


A street artist poses as a living statue of Cooper at the Portland Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon.
  • The Far Side panel published May 3, 1988, with the caption "The untold ending of D. B. Cooper", shows Cooper landing in the midst of a rottweiler farm.[21]
  • The Dilbert strip for January 17, 1991, featured Dogbert showing visitors around his museum where he claims an exhibit, feet protruding from a tree stump with an umbrella and a backpack nearby, are the remains of D. B. Cooper.[22]
  • 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."[23]
  • The webcomic xkcd had a strip entitled D. B. Cooper, 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.[24]
  • In the 2008 video game Sam & Max, Dan B. Cooper is one of the famous missing persons found on Easter Island by way of the Bermuda Triangle.[citation needed]
  • 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.[25][26] He was given the name after stealing $400,000 and escaping on an inner tube.


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  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. ^ "Unsolved Mysteries Online - Unofficial Fan Site for the NBC - Lifetime TV Series". www.sitcomsonline.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  14. ^ Davis, Jeff; Al Eufrasio; Mark Moran (2008). Weird Washington. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-4027-4545-4. OCLC 179788749. 
  15. ^ "NewsRadio (an Episode Guide)". epguides.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  16. ^ "Chuck Brodsky Music: Genuine Quirksy Rootsy". Chuck Brodsky Music: Genuine Quirksy Rootsy. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  17. ^ "Victims of Circumstance - Roll the Dice". Amazon. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  18. ^ "The Ghosts That I Run With, by Bill Mallonee". Bill Mallonee. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  19. ^ "Bawitdaba - Kid Rock". play.google.com. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  20. ^ http://www.cyclopeespion.bandcamp.com
  21. ^ "The untold ending of D.B. Cooper" at pinterest.com, retrieved September 17, 2016.
  22. ^ "Dilbert Comic Strip on 1991-01-17 | Dilbert by Scott Adams". Dilbert. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  23. ^ Jim Bates. "Skulduggery by Parachute". Aero.com. Archived from the original on 2015-03-19. 
  24. ^ XKCD. D. B. Cooper
  25. ^ Doughery, Phil. "D. B. Tuber". History Link. 
  26. ^ Esteban, Michelle. "D. B. Tuber dedicates life to warn others of dangers of drugs". KOMO news.