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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Q:

This brings up something. Of course Sam Lawrence we could continue on. I wanted to get the story on the Famous Writers School. He's up there now.

Cerf:

Is he?

Q:

Yes. He's running the magazine and making his weight felt all around the place.

Cerf:

I didn't even know that.

I want to give you the Bernie Geis story first because I mentioned Valley of the Dolls. Bernie Geis I knew because he worked for Grosset and Dunlap. I told you that we own about ten per cent of Grosset and Dunlap. Bernie in those days was-- he had come from Coronet, I believe, or Esquire--a very engaging man. He still is a very agreeable, pleasant, on the surface amiable man. The deviousness is hidden below but it's there. It didn't come out until much later on. When he started for himself, he devised this very clever idea of a sort of crosspollenation business by getting as partners Cowles of Look, the publishers of Esquire, the Diner's Club, Groucho Marx, Goodson-Todman, and Art Linkletter. The idea was that they were all going to help each other. When Look or Esquire had any empty space, they would advertise some of his books and Groucho Marx, Linkletter, and Goodson-Todman would mention the books from time to time on their television programs. Soon after he started, this became a sort of a cause célèbre because of the quiz scandals on television and the plethora of these cross plugs.



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