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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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How had you known him?


I had met him around. He was a very difficult man in those days. He was a habitual drunkard. In fact I put him to bed one night. I met him at a party and he passed out cold and I helped somebody put him to bed--a very unpleasant job but...


Somebody had to do it.


...somebody had to do it.

But anyway, when he came with us, the first book that we published of Red's was Gideon Planish, which was not too good a book. I must say that Lewis‘great books were behind him already--Arrowsmith, Babbitt, Main Street, and Dodsworth--were behind him. He was still, probably at that time, the biggest selling author in the country. Gideon Planish came out and did very well but wasn't one of his memorable books. It was about a professional fund raiser.

This was the first time that I discovered some of the quirks of Sinclair Lewis. Sterling North was at that time the literary editor of The New York Post. He knocked the hell out of Gideon Planish. I was down in Florida with Phyllis for a vacation, and I had a telephone call from Red Lewis in New York saying, “I want you to have Sterling North fired right away.” This was his reaction to the review. I said, “What are you talking about? How can I get....” He

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