As you know, we are pretty Geeked Out on DB Cooper. One of our most recent podcasts dealt with the subject, on this 41st Anniversary of the crime. I won’t go too into detail about it, but our interest runs very deep into the topic.
So to celebrate (if that’s the right word) the caper, we hosted a DB Cooper Movie Night at The Hollywood Theater on November 17th, 2012. We showed a few films, drank a few Oregon beers, and our feature presentation for the evening was The Pursuit of DB Cooper (which The Resident Historian wrote a review of here). Honestly, does it get much better than Robert Duvall and Treat Williams? The question, of course, is moot, because IT DOES! In addition to this VHS masterpiece, we were VERY LUCKY to have Marla Cooper in attendance, and she told us the history of her uncle L.D. Cooper (of Sisters, Oregon), one of the leading suspects in the case. Marla took questions from the audience after her talk, which allowed our close to 70 attendees to ask her anything they like – a unique opportunity that we are very grateful for.
Melissa the Intern crafted an AWESOME video to start off our movie night (with help from HER Intern, Don, of course). It is called “The Hand Off.”
Mike Vogel also did up a video for us for the festivities – a link to “DB Cooper BUSTED” is here. Awesome contributions to the evening, and we want to certainly thank Melissa and Mike for playing along. They Kick Ass!!
And to really put a cap on the evening, some folks from TNT’s series Leverage (shot in Portland, of course), found out about our festival, and made a DVD copy of their August episode “The DB Cooper Job” available for us to show! It is a REALLY fun take on an old story, and the attendees very much enjoyed it. It was towards the end of the evening of beer drinking, and as DB jumped from those aft stairs, a chorus of hoots and hollers emerged from the audience. I want to thank the Leverage folks, and also extend a huge thanks to Marla Cooper and the staff at The Hollywood Theater for making our evening a success! (Melissa the Intern’s program form the evening is at the bottom of the page)
Then on Saturday November 24th, The Resident Historian, Melissa The Intern, and our partner-in-crime, Chad Torrey, donned our “Orhistory.com Investigative Team” hats (or maybe we had balaclavas in the bottom of that briefcase…) and headed north to Ariel, Washington, the site of the annual DB Cooper Days celebration. Ariel is the suspected landing site of one Dan Cooper, or at least the nearest bar to where he MIGHT have landed. It is always a shit-kickin’ country party at Ariel, and an occasion to not be missed.
The beers are expensive, and the hot dogs are gristly, but goddamn is this a good party! Melissa the Intern was dancin’ up a storm, and crazy Cooper conversations flew like near stall speed 727s about the place. There was definitely a smaller crowd than last year’s 40th Celebration, and a few familiar faces were notably absent…
BUT – some new friends DID come up – including a whole gang from the Timbers Army (cause ya’ll gotta have something to do when the matches aren’t on, right?)! The new law legalizing the wacky-tabacky also provided a new element to the outside gathering – a depth of olfactory character that was not lost on your intrepid reporter. The things I do for you, Dear Ass Kicker – to Bring You the Straight Shit!
As always, new gems were shared about the Cooper case – and stories were told, my dear friend; stories were told. One of my favorites was the “flaming object.” You see, on the night of the hijacking, at least three different witnesses reported seeing a fiery object over the city of Vancouver (today’s “Vansterdam”), and a 727 flying at about 3,000 feet, with – get this – the aftstairs deployed, and the figure of a man standing on them. I KNOW! Crazy, huh?!? You do have to admit that it’s a pretty Kick Ass image though, huh? I’m seeing a skinny pant DB Cooper (not a Churilla version – sorry Brian), holding onto the stair support with one hand, a flaming hiway flare in the other. Geeked on bennies, bourbon is flowing, surveying the scene of the Couve, heart pounding with money lust from the 200 Gs strapped to his body – just thinking GET. SOME! as the wind rushes by and the sparks from the flare burn his hand… [Now, mind you. This is an IMAGINED image, and one not substantiated by historical fact. But this is what Ariel is for – swapping these crazy stories, that just might – just MIGHT, have an ounce of truth to them.] And I’m not EVEN going to open the MK-ULTRA story swap – the one about imprinted memories involving cash scraps and Tena’s bar – that one is being saved for an evening when YOU buy ME a drink. And it’s worth it – it’s a real doozey!
Needless to say – if you haven’t been to Ariel – make a point to go. Just make sure you do the right thing and plan ahead to bring a designated driver – cause it’s an “all in” kinda place!
Just a few points of clarification–
1) ORHistory.com/ Kick Ass Oregon History has not decided upon a “likely” suspect for DB Cooper. We are historians, and as such, do not have a specific horse in the race. Hence, something about us having said that “Wolfgang Gossett is OUR Man!!” is false. As is the sentiment made that we said “No WAY is LD actually DB Cooper!!” Nor do we refer to anyone as “liars.” It’s just bad form – especially about people we like, who we don’t think are lying. These statements just did not emerge from our lips. Enough said.
2) The organization opening the exhibit on DB Cooper is the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington, in August 2013. Kick Ass Oregon History, along with Geoffrey Gray, will be holding the 3rd Annual DB Cooper Spectacular at the Museum in Tacoma on November 30th, 2013. KAORHST has no current affiliation with the Oregon Historical Society, and The Resident Historian is not an employee there (he did intern with OHS for 6 months, and is an official “volunteer” as of the date of this posting). As far as we know, OHS will not be hosting a DB Cooper exhibit in Portland.
3) All of these mis-quotes and mistakes are understandable and quite forgivable. Nary a feather has been ruffled. It’s all from an evening of WAY too many $3 Ron-yays. When in Rome, bitches… You keep Kickin’ Ass!
Finally, here is the promo piece for the Washington State History Museum’s exhibit, Cooper. Be sure to check it out, and be SURE to join us in Tacoma on November 30th, 2013 for our 3rd Annual DB Cooper Spectacular!