"That's my song," says Cooke, sitting at the grand piano in the east living room, picking it out. "It also was sung by Helen O'Connell in one of her albums."
Another oldie, Funny About a Dream, still brings in about $200 a year in royalties. On a plane back from New York City recently, Cooke sat staring into space, drumming his fingertips on the armrest and composing, mentally, a tune he calls Say That You Will.
"It goes like this," he says, with a few tuneful crashing chords on the piano. "That's all I've got right now. Just the 'Say that you will' part. Write the lyrics to it, and we'll split the profits."
This velvet, buffered life in Bel Air is just what Cooke needs. It is a good neighborhood. Jerry Lewis lives next door, surrounded by high iron fences and dogs prepared to bite the arms and legs off unidentified callers. But "a nice neighbor, never bothers us," says Cooke. Greer Garson's place is up around the corner—her front wall needs painting badly—and Tony Curtis lives around there somewhere, though a few neighbors are upset because he has this white Rolls-Royce, pretty gauche, for God's sake.
The future looks good. Basketball, hockey, soccer. Lakers, Kings and, er, Zorros.
"We have already sold 1,000 seats for the Kings' games and haven't invited a soul," Cooke says. "Give us five years—maybe 10—and Los Angeles will be the most important hockey town in the U.S."
And this is Cooke at rest. He had a date for the benefit ball at the Beverly Hilton. His wife, Jeannie, drifted downstairs, looking lovely in an original gown, and Cooke, dapper in his tuxedo, was carrying a portable radio from room to room, drinking a glass of sherry and listening to the Lakers play in Chicago. They were losing, and Chick Hearn, the Laker broadcaster, was pouring pure hysteria out into the Hepplewhite furniture and deep carpets.
"The way they're faking that ball away from the Lakers is unbelievable," Hearn cried, and Cooke, in Los Angeles, winced. " Lakers call time out," said Hearn, and Cooke, lifting the radio and talking to it like a microphone, barked: "Should have called it last time."
In a few minutes Mr. and Mrs. Lorne Greene were to come by and pick up the Cookes for the party. In Chicago, Gail Goodrich got hot.
"This is Goodrich's best game as a Laker!" shouted Hearn.