November 24, 1971: Dan Cooper, Phone Home

(Pictured: Cher, onstage.)

November 24, 1971, is a Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Headlines on the morning’s newspapers include passage of a major defense bill by the United States Senate and the ongoing tensions in south Asia, where India and Pakistan are on the brink of war. In Madison, Wisconsin, hungry pre-Thanksgiving shoppers can get a spaghetti dinner with salad, roll, and beverage for 95 cents at the lunch counter of their neighborhood Rennebohm Rexall Drug Store. Future actress Lola Glaudini, who will appear on NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, and Criminal Minds, is born, and so is future professional hockey player Keith Primeau. Radio relay operator Rick Holt of Dundalk, Maryland, with less than 30 days remaining on his hitch in Vietnam, writes two letters home. Tonight, a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle will be hijacked by a man who claims to have a bomb in his briefcase. He demands $200,000 and two parachutes. The plane lands to release the other passengers and get the hijacker his money, then takes off again. Somewhere over Washington state, the man jumps out of the plane, and he is never seen again. Although he’s on the passenger list as Dan Cooper, his name will be reported by the media, and he will be remembered forever after, as D. B. Cooper.

In today’s Doonesbury strip, documentarian Mark intrudes on B. D.’s football huddle. The CBS-TV lineup tonight features The Carol Burnett Show, Medical Center, and Mannix; on NBC, it’s Adam-12, McCloud, and Night Gallery. In the UK, George Harrison is a guest on The David Frost Show. Led Zeppelin plays Manchester, England. The Doors, minus the late Jim Morrison, play at the University of Pennsylvania, while King Crimson and Yes play the Academy of Music in New York City. At WWDJ in Hackensack, New Jersey, there’s lots of movement at the top of this week’s chart: “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone leaps from #9 to #1, and “Got to Be There” by Michael Jackson jumps from #17 to #2. Last week’s #1, “Gypsys Tramps and Thieves” by Cher falls to #3. Also moving up: “Superstar” by the Temptations, from #16 to #11, and “I Know I’m Losing You” by Rod Stewart from #21 to #14. New on the chart this week are David Cassidy’s “Cherish,” “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey, and “Hallelujah” by Sweathog.

A sixth-grader in Wisconsin (who will soon buy “Scorpio” on a 45)  looks forward to Thanksgiving Day, eating a big dinner, and watching football with the men of his extended family, not just the traditional NFL games in Detroit and Dallas, but the #1 vs. #2 showdown in college football between Nebraska and Oklahoma. The day will end too early, as such days often do.

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