Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Spectrum Files: Volume 2: The Pursuit of DB Cooper

It started on a Saturday night. My wife and daughter were off for a school play, while my son and I were staying home watching "Open Range", a Kevin Costner film starring himself and Robert Duvall.  A loud bark and howl from outside began with the opening frames of the western, and did not cease until long after bed.  This continued for weeks and still happens from time to time to this day.  This dog is a beast. 

It's like the Hound of the Baskervilles across the moors.  I ventured out a couple of times during the early days of this barking blitzkrieg to try to find out if it was the same dog that my wife and I had both spotted running free throughout the neighborhood in recent weeks. I have no doubt it's the same as his first appearance of the evening is typically juxtaposed with the opening salvos of the dog's nightly vocal attack. 

Typically his verbal monotony ventures away from me upon approach, so I know it's a wanderer and not a noisy canine belonging to a thoughtless neighbor. I get close, but never close enough. Eventually I was forced to call the police. When that failed at least three times I called the local office of animal control.  They told me that they only work days, but they'd try to help in any way possible by coming out and looking for a loose dog or holes in fences.  Obviously, no go on that.  This dog has become uncatchable.  A pair of thug-like dogs in this town had achieved the nickname of "Bonnie & Clyde" in recent history, which made me want to nickname this escaped troublemaker who seems to avoid capture. 

I dubbed him DB Cooper.

If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Cooper's work, in the 70's he stole somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars.  He then hijacked a commercial airliner, parachuted off the plane somewhere over the pacific northwest with said cash, and was never captured.  His FBI case remained open until sometime last year.  Cooper was a false moniker, of course, and I guess that's irrelevant as no one knows his real name either.  He's in the wind forever if he survived.

One morning in the very early 80's  I awoke before the house, made my way to the Sylvania console and turned on Spectrum.  The first film of the day was a Roger Spottiswoode-helmed action flick entitled "The Pursuit of DB Cooper".  This movie also starred the affore-mentioned Robert Duvall as a grizzled Insurance adjuster in search of the money.  Now, mind you, this whole film is fiction, and a brief narration states such at the outset just before Cooper, played by Treat Williams, (a hell of an actor whose entire career seems fraught with either poor choices or bad representation), makes his legendary leap. 

The rest of the film is one long extended chase scene involving Williams and Duvall, Kathryn Harrold as the Cooper character's wife, and Paul Gleason as a sketchy, filthy, bum.  It really is a film that feels and looks of it's time and has it's share of fun moments...

Including what may be the worst overdubbing of all time when Duvall, just after slamming Gleason back into the trunk of a car calls him a "motherjumpin' snake dick."  I get it if you're editing for TV, I've actually seen worse in that regard.  However,  I believe these folks were going for the PG, as if you read Robert's lips, that is clearly not what he was saying at the moment of filming.

That bit of language has come out of my mouth in years past, and to this day, especially when trying to locate this stupid bellowing canine to help the local law enforcement give this neighborhood some peace.  By the way, I know the neighbors seek quiet too, as the complaints have shown up aplenty on my burb's Nextdoor page on multiple occasions. 

Sadly, (and exhaustingly) much like his namesake, DB Cooper has not been caught. 

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