by G. Bruce Boyer and Maria Cooper Janis
Design by Ruth Ansel
Introduction by Ralph Lauren
“Dressed up like a million-dollar trouper Tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper / Super duper” – “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Irving Berlin (revised lyrics, 1946)
In 1946, when Irving Berlin revised the lyrics to his 1928 “Puttin’ on the Ritz” to include those memorable lines, Gary Cooper had been a star for over 15 years, and it would have been hard for most men to look as super duper. He conveyed a straightforwardness and an honest, American handsomeness that seemed to both ignore and rise above the contrived glamour and studied posturing that had characterized so many other film heroes of those early years. No matter what costume he put on, he looked like he owned it. The camera loved him, and so did the box office.