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Sam Cooke Designs His Own Billboard

June 16, 1964 - What’s cooking at the northeast corner of Broadway and 43rd Street? The 20-by-100-foot sign installed Monday on top of the building asks: “Who’s the Biggest Cook in Town?” Who cooked it up? Sam Cooke.

Mr. Cooke is a 29-year-old singer who will open at the Copacabana next Wednesday.

Four years ago, Mr. Cooke appeared at the nightclub and was something less than a smash hit. Since then, however, his records have sold 10 million copies.

What about the sign?

“In short,” one of the singer’s spokesmen said today, “He’s bothered that he hasn’t been able to make it big in a New York nightspot and wants people to know he’s here.”

Did Mr. Cooke’s press agent prepare the sign?

“Absolutely not.”

The sign is currently being enlarged. A 45-foot, 1,500-pound photograph of Mr. Cooke, who is 5-10 and 140 pounds, will be installed. The words on the sign will be changed to “Sam’s the biggest Cooke in town.”

The bill for the sign and the month’s rent is $10,000.

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