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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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them publicity. We had a lot of authors who were a natural for him; if I didn't have authentic bits, I'd make them up about authors like Saroyan and O'Neill and Elliot Paul. This was all grist for his mill.

Then one night we met him at some restaurant, and Phyllis said, “It's very exciting. Bennett just signed up with Simon and Schuster for a book of his own. They are going to publish his stories in hardback and they're going to call the book Try and Stop Me.” Lyons froze at once because it turned out that he had a contract himself for a book of stories, which he has never done to this day, incidentally.

When my book came out, I acknowledged very freely in the introduction that I hadn't made up most of the stories, but had heard them at one party or another, or read them in columns by Winchell, Lyons, Earl Wilson, or the like. Lyons promptly went into a rage and claimed that there were fiftytwo stories in this book that I had taken directly from his column.

I was doing “Tradewinds” then and I got very angry because these stories weren't his any more than they were mine. They were stories that he had heard by going from table to table and butting in. Kaufman would tell him some wise-crack or possibly Moss Hart or others who were my friends, not his. I got very angry and in “Tradewinds” the next week I wrote--this was the time that the OPA was operating and you had to get points for food, during the War--that the OPA was after Leonard Lyons to find out what he had done with all

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