Thursday, October 25, 2007

We'll Drink to This Mystery

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 6:21 AM

db_cooper_thumb.jpg

Say the name D.B. Cooper to a midtowner and they’ll probably think of the smoky 39th Street bar near the Kansas University Medical Center that opens at 6 a.m. and hosts some wild karaoke on Wednesdays. Many of the bar’s regulars might not even know the story of the real D.B. Cooper, a daring, albeit extraordinarily polite hijacker who jumped out of a Seattle-bound 727 with $200,000 in $20 bills in 1971, never to be seen again.

Kenny Giese, the owner of D.B. Cooper’s on 39th Street, lived in Seattle at the time of Cooper’s heist and became fascinated with the story. “He always wondered if Cooper was in some small town somewhere, tending some tiny bar,” a friend of Giese’s tells us. “So when he bought this bar from the original owners, that’s what he named it.”

Giese also posted a caricature of himself as Cooper on the wall, dropping out of the sky from a departing plane with “D.B. Cooper” written in bubble letters on the side. The bar is festooned with lots of propellers and airplane detritus, which doesn’t make much sense unless you know the story.

We imagine Giese might be interested in a New York Magazine article that contains some new information on D.B. Cooper. Apparently, a 77-year-old Minnesota man named Lyle Christiansen became convinced that Cooper might have been his brother, an accomplished paratrooper whose last words to him as he lay dying were, “There is something you should know, but I cannot tell you!” He sent a letter to Nora Ephron, the essayist and director of “Sleepless in Seattle,” to consider making the story into a movie. His tip lead to a reexamination of the case. The article is here, and it’s great. – Nadia Pflaum

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