The D.B. Cooper Saga is the working title for a series of contemporary radio dramas by Dan Wyatt, Jr. concerning a man known only as "D.B. Cooper" who is, simply put, a legend here in the Pacific Northwest, right up there with UFOs, Sasquatch, and Mount St. Helens.
The story begins Thanksgiving Eve, 1971. Drama aboard Northwest Orient #305, a passenger airliner outbound from Portland, Oregon, heading for Seattle, Washington. An unremarkable man, wearing business attire, a black overcoat, dark sunglasses, and carrying a briefcase tells one of the flight attendants he has a bomb. He demands $200,000 and four parachutes for the thirty six passengers and six crew personnel he holds hostage when the airplane lands in Seattle.
His demands met, the man, now identified as "D.B. Cooper," releases the passengers and some of the crew. He instructs the airplane to fly low and slow toward Mexico. Somewhere over Southwest Washington, Cooper 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 that Thanksgiving eve, and has never been found or properly identified. His exploit is legendary. The only unsolved case of air piracy in American aviation history.
This unsolved history has haunted Dan Wyatt, Jr. for years. You might say it is in his DNA. While Cooper sat aboard the hijacked jet airliner on the Seattle tarmac, waiting for his money and parachutes, a young woman sat in the terminal, her flight grounded by the evolving drama. She was bound for Texas to see her fiance. The couple eventually married and moved to Vancouver, Washington. Dan was their first male child.
Wyatt, the owner and general manager of the historic Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington, used historical research, interviews, creativity, and imagination in crafting three (counting) contemporary radio dramas, each focusing on a different but overlapping look at D.B. Cooper who emerges as a real person, with apparent motives, certainly a lot of conviction. 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.
Re-Imagined Radio presented a radio performance of The Skyjacker by community actors and volunteers. Initial broadcast and stream by KXRW FM, Vancouver, WA, and KXRY FM, Portland, OR. Subsequent broadcasts and streams by partner radio stations. See below.
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. Wyatt's first radio drama, Skyjacker '71: The D.B. Cooper Transmissions, 21 November 2018, focused on the 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. The Skyjacker features highlights from both these earlier performances.
Optimized for radio broadcast.
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
Ryan McWayne as Al Lee, Billy Mitchell, Scotty, Dennis Lysne
Alex Lowe as Agent Milnes, Agent Campbell, Julius, and Announcer
Mark Barry as Frank Faist and Mr. Pallert
Dan Wyatt as assorted passengers
Greg Shilling as Captain William A. Scott
Anne McEnerny-Ogle as Vi Beslow
Barbara Richardson as TV reporter
Written and Directed by Dan Wyatt, Jr.
Audio Recording by Wager Audio
Sound Design by John Barber
Post Production by Martin John Gallagher
Social Media and Graphic Design by Holly Slocum Design
Produced and Hosted by John Barber
Re-Imagined Radio, The Skyjacker. KXRY Radio archival webpage. Provides opportunity to listen to broadcast.
"Chuck and I both enjoyed listening to the DB Cooper show tonight. It reminded me of my childhood when Mom listened to old radio serials (The Shadow, Lone Ranger, etc.) as she got dinner ready and I kept her company in the kitchen. THE SKYJACKER was quite creative—I loved all the great sound effects. The story was pretty good too. It got me thinking that DB might've gotten sucked out quickly when the escape door opened and perhaps he bonked his head fatally on the way out of the low-flying jet. . . . At any rate, kudos to you and the rest of the folks who provided a nice and entertaining diversion this Thanksgiving Eve. I am sure a lot of hard work was involved, yet your team made it seem easy."
— Sue Q., Portland, Oregon
"Thank you and your cast so much for putting this together! Re-Imagined Radio is always such a treat."
— Kathlen Z., Vancouver, Washington
"I listened to the entire performance. It is fantastic! I am so excited to share this with the community on Wednesday. You and Marty did a fantastic job of pulling all of the pieces together. I know the level of work that went into what you coordinated and it is no less a miracle of activity. Nice job! The actors were fantastic and listening, I really felt like I was on the plane with DB and the stewardess. I submitted the file for broadcast to XRAY this afternoon and my wife Sara and I are looking forward to listening in our living room on Wednesday evening."
— Joe C., Vancouver, Washington
Re-Imagined Radio presented a live performance of In Flight with D.B. Cooper by Metropolitan Performing Arts actors and other community volunteers at Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Audience count: 150. Streamed live on KXRW-FM, Vancouver's community radio.
Before he parachuted from the back of the low-flying passenger jet into a dark and story night and history over Southwest Washington with $200,000 strapped to his body, D. B. Cooper was alone in the economy section. The only person he talked with was Tina Mucklow, a flight attendant aboard Northwest Orient flight 305. Mucklow was twenty-something. Cooper was a middle-aged man with a bomb in a briefcase. What did they talk about?
This contemporary radio drama, written by Dan Wyatt, Jr., imagined conversations between Cooper and Mucklow while while aboard the hijacked jet airliner, Thanksgiving eve, 1971. We also speculated about one of the many mysteries still lingering around the only unsolved case of air piracy in American aviation history.
Recorded live performance.
John Barber as Announcer
Greg Shilling as Captain William Scott
Melissa Matteo as Florence Schaffner
John Barber as Seat Stealing Passenger
Greg Schilling as Unruly Passenger and Billy Mitchell
Dan Wyatt, Jr. as D. B. Cooper
Arianna Dorenbosch as Tina Mucklow
Written and Directed by Dan Wyatt, Jr.
Foley Sound Effects by Dean Lyon
Promotional Graphics by Laura Evancich and Dan Wyatt, Jr.
Hewitt, Scott. Kiggins
To Host A CooperCon, New Radio Play about the Historic Crime.
The Columbian, 21 Nov. 2019.
D. B. Cooper Story Returns to Vancouver. Clark County Today.com, 19 Nov. 2019.
Re-Imagined Radio presented a live performance of Skyjacker '71: The D.B. Cooper Transmissions by Metropolitan Performing Arts actors and other community volunteers at Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Audience count: 298. Streamed live on KXRW-FM, Vancouver's community radio.
D. B. Cooper's legendary status in Southwestern Washington has broad reach. His hijacking of Flight 305, enroute from Portland to Seattle, is the only unsolved air piracy case in America. His exploit is celebrated in movies, television, song, and now, radio. Neither endorsing or condemning Cooper, we explored the many communications between multiple agencies and individuals as they attempted to resolve a tense situation, keep citizens safe and informed, and uphold the law.
Recorded live performance.
Anne McErney-Ogle as Drive Up Server, Vi Beslow, and Tina Mucklow
John Barber as Ralph Himmelsbach
John Oberg as Radio Dispatch, Al Lee, Dennis, Gordon Embree, and Earl Cosley
Mark Martin as Lou and J. Edgar Hoover
Larry Taylor as Scotty, Reporter One, Flight Operator, and Agent Campbell
Barbara Richardson as TV Reporter, Minneapolis Agent, and Interviewer
Nick D’Ettore as Julius, Richard Nixon, Boeing Official, and D.B. Cooper
Greg Shilling as Captain WIilliam A. Scott, Professor Otto Larsen, and Frank Faist
Arianna Dorenbosch as Florence, Janis Beslow, and Reeporter Two
Steve Becker as Agent, Seattle Attorney, and Sheriff Gene Cotton
Joey Yourcheck as Boeing Engineer and Bystander
Promotional Graphics by Dan Wyatt, Jr.
Hewitt, Scott. "Riddle on the Radio." The Columbian, 17
Nov. 2018, pp. D1, D2.
Hewitt, Scott. Unsolved mystery of D.B. Cooper comes to the Kiggins stage. The Columbian, 17 Nov. 2018.
Vondersmith, Jason. D.B. Cooper Radio. Bits & Pieces. Portland Tribune, 20 Nov. 2018.