The Skyjacker

Skyjacker '71: D.B. Cooper

25 November 2020

The Skyjacker is the third radio drama by Dan Wyatt, Jr. focusing on D. B. Cooper, the mysterious man who parachuted from a hijacked passenger jet airliner over Southwest Washington with $200,000 in cash. Cooper has never been captured, or properly identified. He remains a local legend and a fascination for Wyatt, the owner and general manager of the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington. By his own admission, Wyatt has, throughout his life, been fascinated with telling stories about D.B. Cooper.

Cooper became notorious on the night of 24 November 1971, when he hijacked a Boeing 727 class jet, enroute between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle Tacoma International Airport. Saying he had an explosive device in his briefcase, this mysterious man held hostage the fate of the craft, its 36 passengers and six crew personnel. After ransoming the passengers and some of the crew for $200,000, four parachutes, and meals for everyone still aboard, Cooper ordered Northwest Orient flight #305 to fly low and slow to Mexico. Somewhere over Southwest Washington, he allegedly jumped from the airplane's rear staircase, with his briefcase, and the money. A few bundles of eroded twenty dollar bills were found years later. Otherwise, nothing. Cooper disappeared into the blackness that Thanksgiving eve, and has never been found or heard from since. He lives on as a local legend.

Wyatt brings a personal connection to the legend. His mother was delayed in the Seattle airport by Cooper's hijacking. She was on her way to visit Dan's future father, her fiance. By his own admission, Dan has been swirling in the Cooper vortex ever since.

This is Wyatt's third exploration of the Cooper story. His first, Skyjacker '71: The D.B. Cooper Transmissions, 21 November 2018, focused on the radio communications surrounding the unfolding hijacking. The second, In Flight with D.B. Cooper, 27 November 2019, considered what D.B. and flight attendant Tina Mucklow might have talked about before Cooper parachuted into legend.

Written by Wyatt, owner and general manager of Kiggins Theatre, and realized by community actors and sound artists, The Skyjacker is based on research, interviews, creativity, and historical imagination. The authenticity of the facts revealed and the event portrayed in our look at Cooper's exploit was verified by a former FBI clerk with connections to the Cooper case.

Broadcast on community radio stations KXRW.FM (Vancouver, Washington) and KXRY.FM (XRAY.FM, Portland, Oregon).

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This performance was produced for radio broadcast. Listen now.

Cast & Credits

Cast
Rob Bertrand as DB Cooper and J Edgar Hoover
Arianna Dorenbosch as Tina Mucklow, Janis Beslow, and Rose Ann Coffey
John Barber as Agent Ralph Himmelsbach
Laine Keniston as Florence Schaffner, Perry (Chief), Drive up waitress, assorted passengers
Ryan McWayne as Al Lee, Billy Mitchell, Scotty, Dennis Lysne, assorted passengers
Alex Lowe as Agent Milnes, Agent Campbell, Julius, Mr. Finefold, Mr. Spreckel, assorted passengers, and Announcer
Mark Barry as Frank Faist, Mr. Pallert, assorted passengers
Dan Wyatt as assorted passengers
Greg Shilling as Captain William A. Scott and Professor Otto Larsen
Anne McEnerny-Ogle as Vi Beslow
Larry Taylor as DJ, Reporter One, Flight Operator, Agent Campbell
John Oberg as Gordon Embree and Earl Cosley
Steve Becker as Seattle attorney and Sheriff Gene Cotton
Barbara Richardson as Interviewer and Minneapolis agent
Joey Yourcheck as John Wheeler Boeing engineer and bystander
Nick D'Ettoree as President Nixon and Boeing official

Written and directed by Dan Wyatt, Jr.
Audio recording by Wager Audio
Sound Design by John Barber
Post production by Martin John Gallagher
Broadcast services by KXRW, Vancouver, Washington
Social Media and graphic design by Holly Slocum
Executive Producer John Barber

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