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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Interview #15
Interviewee: Bennett Cerf
Interviewer: Robbin Hawkins
New York City
January 18, 1968


Would you like to tell me a little bit about Irwin Shaw?


Yes. I'll start from the beginning. We'll have to find the date when we first heard of Irwin Shaw, but a play opened downtown off Broadway--one of the early off-Broadway shows--called Bury the Dead. Bury the Dead was an anti-war play--very anti-war.


And this was during the Second World War you think?


It was before the Second World War. I think it was inspired by the Spanish Civil War--one of those many plays that the young liberals were indulging in to demonstrate revolt.

It got very good reviews. It was a one-act play-- a lot of soldiers who had been killed in the war coming back to life and telling stories of what had happened. I was very impressed with it, and we sought out the author. It was Irwin Shaw. I wrote him a note saying that I'd like to publish this play.

He was delighted. He had never dreamed that a young fellow was going to start out by having a short off-Broadway anti-war play published. We made a date for him to come in.

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