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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Cerf:

Blaisdell...well, he wasn't an employee. He had his separate division, which was a disaster. Everybody has some disasters. He was our disaster. I told you that two of the happiest days in my life were when we got him and when we got rid of him.

We had one other confrontation with an editor named McDowell, who brought us Witness. He became impossible for us. He didn't fit in with Random House. He had different ideas-- political ideas--and he went off the beam again and again one way or another, which I don't have to go into here. But we decided that we had better let him depart. The question was, who was going to fire him? Haas, Klopfer or Cerf? After a terrific argument, we decided that the three of us would have to do it together since nobody would do it alone. So we called in McDowell one day to tell him that he had to leave and ended up by loaning him $5,000 to help buy a new house. He walked off with the $5,000 instead of being fired. When he closed the door, we turned on each other, upbraiding each other. It was the funniest thing. All of us were a little too softhearted about it. He was a nice boy. He was in serious trouble with his wife and a girl and whatnot. But I'll never forget our ludicrous behavior of starting to fire a guy and then not only keeping him but giving him a loan to buy a house that he didn't need.

Q:

Did he ever pay it back?





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