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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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wonderful.” So the husband, recognizing the power of a woman, signed Ted to do the pictures for “Quick, Henry, the Flit,” and the campaign was absolutely an enormous success. Ted became famous overnight as the sales of Flit vaulted. That's when he began thinking of doing some children's books.

Several publishers turned him down, just the way the Standard Oil man did, but a smart girl at Vanguard, Evelyn Schrift, bought them. We have been trying to get the two she did ever since. We'd like to have all of Ted's books on one list--Random House's, naturally--but, my god, they're a meal ticket for Vanguard.

Well, Ted and Helen and Phyllis--I don't know how it all came about--suddenly decided that--The Cat in the Hat was by this time selling by the hundreds of thousands and obviously kids loved it--this was a book that could be used to teach little children to read at three and four and five. They started a little series called Beginners‘Books, which has made the Landmark Book sales fade by comparison.


Did Phyllis take over as editor?


The three of them took over as editors and they formed a separate corporation. Random House was the distributor-- Donald and I and Lou Miller, our sales manager, each had a tiny, little interest; but it was Helen and Ted and Phyllis who owned the bulk of the business.


Is that the way it still is run?

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