This new hero of Technicolor invariably wears gray flannel pants, brown tweed coat, black tie, and carries a pipe and a tin of Prince Albert tobacco. He has dozens of' duplicates of the pants-coat-tie-pipe-and-tobacco combinations. Whenever he puts down a pipe he is likely to leave it behind, so he may run through a half-dozen pipes a day. He likes fried chicken, southern style (he comes from Jacksonville, Florida), and used to like mint juleps. But he has not done any drinking since he started King Kong – the spectacle-melodrama in which the mechanical ape carried Fay Wray all over the jungle island. He never drank from the time he started a picture to the time it was finished; not from any fear of being unable to function properly but because he had a superstition that liquor would jinx the job. And King Kong took so long to finish that Mr. Cooper apparently got out of the drinking habit and has not yet got back.
Mr. Cooper is filled with energy and inexhaustible vitality. He frequently greets a girl by picking her up in his arms and giving her an airplane spin. He has his own chart system for playing the stock market, and is supposed to do very well with it. In 1933 he married petite Cinemactress Dorothy Jordan, whom he calls Chicken. Last spring they went to Hawaii where Mrs. Cooper had a baby girl. The Coopers have just returned from Europe, where Mr. Cooper was looking over the ruins of Pompeii with the idea of Technicoloring its Last Days. After he has finished his two pictures for RKO, he should then be free to make Technicolor features for Pioneer Pictures, Inc.
PIONEER Pictures brings us back to the other unexpected help, for Pioneer Pictures is John Hay Whitney.* Mr. Whitney, at the age of thirty, has so many interests it is difficult to sort them out, although horses are perhaps his major occupation. In 1929 he just
*Along with his cousin, Cornelius (Sonny) Vanderbilt Whitney
missed winning England's Grand National when his horse, Easter Hero, twisted a plate and was nosed out by a 100-to-1 shot after losing an apparently safe lead. Mr. Whitney has tried for the Grand National every year since, but never came so close again. He has a $60,000 Sikorsky amphibian which he calls Pegasus (to Mr. Whitney even the sky is equine). In 1932 his hangar at Roosevelt Field caught fire. The Sikorsky was not damaged, neither was a plane belonging to Mr. Whitney's valet. Mr. Whitney has a four-goal handicap at polo.
In 1929, three years after his graduation from Yale, Mr. Whitney took a $65-amonth clerical job at Lee, Higginson. Another young man trying to get along at Lee, Higginson's was Langbourne Meade Williams Jr. whose father helped found Freeport Texas Co., one of the two U.S. producers of sulphur. (Freeport produces about one-third of U.S. sulphur, and Texas Gulf Sulphur two-thirds, and sulphur always costs $18 a ton.) Young Mr. Williams did not like the way his family company was being run by Eric P. Swenson, onetime National City Bank Chairman. So he and some friends, including Mr. Whitney, began buying Freeport Texas, and soon Mr. Whitney was its largest stockholder. In 1930 Mr. Williams ousted the Swenson management and in 1933 became Freeport's President. This year Mr. Whitney became its Board Chairman, so now Freeport Texas has a Chairman who is just thirty and a President who is two years over. Mr. Whitney also backed Peter Arno's Here Goes the Bride, a revue that failed to please Manhattanites in 1931 and cost Mr. Whitney some hundred thousand dollars.
It was Mr. Cooper's enthusiasm for Technicolor that got Mr. Whitney into the color-picture business. (Although Dr. Kalmus, who likes to bet on horses, also knew Mr. Whitney, their first meeting having taken