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USC quarterback becomes human guinea pig

USC quarterback becomes human guinea pig

Nov. 28, 1933: USC quarterback Irvine “Cotton” Warburton used as guinea pig in energy experiment.

The original Nov. 29, 1933, Los Angeles Times caption reported:

Irvine (Scooter) Warburton has been called a one-man riot and a one-man football team before, but this is the first time anyone ever accused him of being a one-man band. Warburton was “dolled” up this way by Dr. Francis Baldwin, S.C. professor, yesterday as the principal in the “Douglas bag” energy test. All the energy “Scooter” uses in gridiron galloping is caught in the bag and then bottled for the test. It’s the first time Warburton has been bottled up all season.

Warburton was also known as “Cotton” Warburton. The above caption used the nickname “Scooter” and was published alongside writer Ransome Sutton’s article in the Nov. 29, 1933, Los Angeles Times. Sutton used the correct nickname “Cotton.” From Sutton’s story:

By means of a large airtight canvas bag strapped to a man’s shoulders, Dr. Francis Baldwin, professor of physiology at USC, can tell whether or not the man’s muscle motors are yielding as much output of energy as the input of fuel represents. Do the spinach, carrots, eggs and bacon consumed by Cotton Warburton produce, for example, more or less dash and smash than another combination of foods would produce?

While undergoing the test, an athlete breathes into the bag. Then, after a predetermined run or other effort, the exhaled air in the bag is analyzed just as the products of combustion are analyzed by mechanical engineers, and the analysis shows how efficiently the fires are burning. Prof. Baldwin works backward from the products of combustion to ascertain the efficiency of the foods consumed…

Warburton, only 5 feet 7 inches and 147 pounds, gained 1,357 yards running during a three-year collegiate career at USC. He was an All-American quarterback in 1933 and in 1975 was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

1979 photo of Irvine “Cotton” Warburton, former USC All-American quarterback, at his home. Photo on wall shows him with ball, on left, in 1934 game against Washington State. The T-shirt is from his more recent past. Warburton retired after a film editor career with MGM and Disney Studios. At Disney, he won the Oscar for film editing for the movie “Mary Poppins.” This photo was published in the Nov. 1, 1979, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Lou Mack/Los Angeles Times

Oct. 12, 1935: Former USC Trojan quarterback Irvine “Cotton” Warburton, left, visits with Illinois Head Coach Robert Zuppke during game at the Memorial Coliseum. This photo was published in the Oct. 13, 1935, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Wide World Photos

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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