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1955

Denver, Colorado: In a pre-black box world, a plane explodes in mid-air, touching off an investigation that shocks a nation.

Where are they now?

After his conviction, Jack Graham's wife Gloria changed her last name and that of their two children. She remarried, divorced and died in 1992. The Graham children's whereabouts are unknown.

Jack Graham's sister, Helen Hablutzel spent her life Alaska where she worked as a cook in labor camps established during the Trans-Alaska pipeline. She died in 2004.

Most, if not all of the investigators associated with the case are deceased. Special Agent John Quinn Tamm Jr., interviewed in this episode, is the son of Quinn Tamm, Assistant Director of the FBI's Training & Inspection Division, who was in charge of fingerprinting all the victims of the crash.

What the episode didn't tell you

Graham's was the first trial in American history in which television cameras were allowed. An article in Australia's The Age referred to it as “the OJ Simpson trial of its day.”

According to Andrew Field's book, Mainliner Denver: The Bombing of Flight 629, when spring came to Colorado six months after the disaster, an alfalfa farmer noticed something strange in his fields near the crash site. Seed would not take hold in places where bodies had landed. The phenomena caused the crop to grow in eerie outlines of the deceased.

Field also notes in the book that for many years afterwards, cows that grazed in the area of the crash site would die suddenly. Postmortem examination of the animals revealed intestinal blockages resulting from consumption of plane wreckage that had risen to the top of the soil.

Life insurance vending machines could be found in airport terminals as early as the mid-1940's. However, they did not become prevalent until the early 1960's when several insurance companies made a nationwide push to market travel insurance. Vending machines became the primary means for selling short-term policies. The machines were phased out by the late 1970's and mostly gone by the mid-1980's.

On January 11, 1957, 7:45pm, Jack Graham was taken from his cell to be led to the gas chamber. Before his execution, he said about the bombing, “as far as feeling remorse for these people, I don't. I can't help it. Everybody pays their way and takes their chances. That's just the way it goes.” At 8:08pm Jack Graham was dead.

Backdrop of an era

  • The first McDonald’s opened
  • Elvis was on the radio
  • Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery
  • The first home microwave was developed
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the NY Yankees (4-3) in the World Series

From The Headlines

“This is drama of a kind Hollywood feeds on… ”


“United Air Lines announced that the company is offering a $25,000 reward… ”

Used with permission of The Associated Press © 2013. All rights reserved.


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