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New York radio station WOR was broadcasting live from the veranda of Washington Hall in the Amusement Zone late in the evening of July 12. A commotion around the nearby Parachute Jump caught the broadcaster's eye and from a little past 11:30 P.M. until 4:45 A.M. the next morning, he narrated the thrilling adventure of two of New York's most prominent socialites.

At 11:25 P.M. parachute number nine refused to release, stranding an unidentified couple ten stories in the air. Word spread quickly throughout the fairgrounds and soon a crowd estimated at over 20,000 onlookers assembled. As the evening wore on, some paid $2.25 for a push chair to view the spectacle.

It was not until 3:00 A.M. that the suspended couple was identified. Jerome Zerbe, society photographer at the El Morocco nightclub and the Fair's Brazilian restaurant, appeared and yelled up: "Hey, Cokey! Is that you?" "That's right. High and dry" came the reply.

Zerbe identified the stranded couple as the cr̬me de la cr̬me of New York's fashionable society РMr. and Mrs. Joseph Corneilus Rathborne, Jr. She was a former Maryland debutante; he of Yale, 1931, Skull and Bones, Delta Kappa epsilon, Racquet and Tennis, Meadow Brook and Piping Rock. And ... nominally a banker.

The Rathbornes were very uncomfortable in their sky-ride prison for over five hours. Not only was it cold and windy, but Cokey had not eaten since noon as he played polo at Meadow Brook, neither could reach their cigarettes, and the parachute chair had no foot rest.

Everyone declared mechanic Harry Mitchell, who climbed the rigging like a fly, the hero of the evening. The guide wire on which the pulley had jammed was unscrewed from the top after a rope had been tied to it from the top to guide the pulleys down. The chair dropped in fifteen-feet jolts until it reached the bottom at 4:31.

The pair exited in a rather foul mood. When Zerbe inquired if she was Cokey's wife, she replied: "None of your damn business." Numb and cold, attendants bundled the pair into a waiting ambulance. While they refused treatment, they both demanded cigarettes. The ambulance transported the couple to the nearby Terrace Club where Cokey phoned his mother.

Prior to the Rathborne incident, 155,801 people rode the Parachute Jump without incident. Now, the most amazing feature of the whole incident was the sudden boom in business at the Parachute Jump. As the Rathbornes recovered at home, 891 passengers partook of the now-famous ride from 2:00 – 6:00 P.M.

Without any direction from Emily Post, the Rathbornes graciously accepted an invitation to ride the Parachute Jump. Following a luncheon at the Terrace Club hosted by Grover Whalen, the two ascended and descended in chair number three, opposite the offending number nine.

The after – life for the Rathbornes ended quickly. She died in a National Airlines crash following a trip to the Mardi Gras in 1953. Cokey died suddenly at the age of forty-five a year later.