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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Absolutely. First of all, as I think I told you, one of the main reasons I joined Pi Lambda Phi was that Hammerstein was the head of it. Richard Rodgers soon joined it. That fascinated me. That got me more and more interested in the theater.


Would you like to discuss either Oscar Hammerstein or Richard Rodgers at this point? Did they change at all?


I didn't see an awful lot of Oscar Hammerstein after college. We remained friends all through his life. First, though, he went off to Hollywood. He had written a couple of musicals, and it was through Oscar, I guess, that I had my first romance with an actress, who was a girl named Edna Hibbard in a show of Oscar's called “Tumble Inn.” She was so pretty! I demanded to meet her. Oscar was the stage manager. The show was produced by his uncle, Arthur Hammerstein. I met her and took her out several times and thought I was being a devil. After the show closed, she went to Boston. The last time I saw her I remember her kissing me on the forehead and saying, “You're the cleanest, decentest boy I ever met.” I was outraged.

At that time I had discovered serious reading. I told you, didn't I, about Professor Harrison Steeves? It was he and Raymond Weaver at the School of Journalism who changed my life. Through both of them the world of real literature opened for me. As I told you, when I went to Columbia I was

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