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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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him. His wife Martha came in, to settle the details. The result was Suez to Singapore, another one of our huge successes in wartime books. But after the sinking of these two mighty British warships, we were pretty despondent in America. Things were going pretty badly. Hitler was winning all over the place. And I thought that we needed some laughter, just as we do this very day.

So I conceived the idea of putting together a pocketbook of war humor. Pocketbooks were just getting underway in a big way then. At their head was Dick Simon, with whom I went to college. I went to Dick and proposed this book and he was all for it. I put together the Pocketbook of War Humor, which came at just the time that people needed it most...it consisted of war jokes and excerpts from humorous best-sellers like Dear Mable and Private Hargrove. It sold about two million copies. It was enormously popular. So suddenly I became the Joe Miller of the day as a result of this one book. Then I thought that I would do another one. I said, “I know hundreds of amusing anecdotes about all kinds of people. I think I'll put together a pocketbook of anecdotes.” Well, I began working on that and it expanded. I talked to Dick Simon about it and showed him some of it. He said, “I think we can sell this as a regular book. Let's do it, instead of as a pocketbook of anecdotes, as a full-time book.”

So, one day at lunch together--we've often wondered which one of us thought of the name Try and Stop Me--but it

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