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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Then Elliot Paul liked to play bridge, and we used to have games in the afternoon and whatnot. Well, among all the jokes that we played, there was one memorable time when I was telling at luncheon about a famous press agent, named Harry Reichenbach, who had helped put over “September Morn.” That is a story that you may never have heard.




An art dealer was in Paris one summer and saw a picture called “September Morn.” You remember, a naked girl standing at the edge of a pool. He thought that this would be popular in America. He bought thousands of copies in various sizes--from postal card size up to great big things for framing on the wall. He came back home, and it turned out that nobody wanted this picture at all. It was an absolute flop and he was stuck with thousands of copies. So he engaged this press agent Reichenbach, and told him his problem.

The press agent's solution was brilliant. He had a big copy of the painting put in the window of an art store on Broadway. Then he hired a bunch of kids to stand in front of the window; and he trained them to make snide, filthy remarks and gestures on signal. When he had them trained, he went down to the office of Mr. John Sumner, who was in charge of the suppression of vice in America. He was a bigoted ass, but was very important for a time.

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