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Notable New     Yorkers
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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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today; and, anyway, the spirit of the times doesn't allow it. In those days, things were so much freer and easier! You know, Charlie McArthur and Ben Hecht once stole a street car late at night in some town in Michigan. They were waiting for a car, both of them pie-eyed, about 1:30 in the morning; and one of these midnight trolley cars came along. The motorman was also the conductor; and he got out of the car for a minute to help some old lady into the house, which they did in those days. Hecht and McArthur jumped on the car and rode off with it. They spent the night in jail. Oh, these episodes--I could tell you dozens of them!


We'll get them interspersed.

How about Ernest Hemingway? You were going to tell me about meeting him.


The first time that I met him we had The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms in the Modern Library. One day we had a new telephone operator and she called up and said, “There's a Mr. Hemingway in the lobby. Should I let him up?" I said, “What do you mean? What Mr. Hemingway? What's his first name?" She said, “Ernest Hemingway.” I thought that somebody was kidding. It was Ernest Hemingway. He had dropped in when he saw the Modern Library sign. We had sold thousands of his books, and he thought that he'd come in and say hello. I remember the thrill I had when Ernest Hemingway walked into the office!

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