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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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was Freddie Finkelhoffe and he had written a play called Brother Rat and collaborated on the great musical Finian's Rainbow. His wife--he was married to Ella Logan--was the star of Finian's Rainbow. I gave Judy and Finkelhoffe a $20,000 advance, ten to each.

As I found out later, Sid Luft managed to lose the whole twenty at the race tracks within a couple of months-- Judy, of course, recovered. Finkelhoffe wrote about a hundred pages of manuscript, which we got about thirty pages at a time. Then he disappeared. He just vanished into thin air. I hoarded those pages, and every once in a while, Judy would say, “I'm really going to finish that, you know.” She felt very guilty about it. She's a good girl. She doesn't mean to do unforgivable things, but she is absolutely discombobulated between liquor and pills. The Valley of the Dolls is based on Judy Garland.

Anyway, we retrieved our advance by good fortune because I showed what we had once to Herb Mayes when he was editor of McCall's, and we managed between his help and one of his editors and the pages we had from Finkelhoffe to make a two-parter out of it. We got back our money and a little bit more. But there's no book.

Often, however, you'll give a big advance and never get anything back at all. That's part of the game. You must expect it. When paperback people are screaming about the big advances they pay, I always point out to them that they are getting properties that are already proven

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