Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 1029

listen, and then the author would come in and Horace would give the big buildup--how he'd sat up nine hours till three in the morning to read the book--and he knew the story because of the ten minutes he had had with the editor. He was a great faker. Authors are pretty hard to fool on their own book, but he fooled almost all of them. They'd catch him once in a while. But for the most part, Horace got away with it. And he had brilliant young people around him. Many of the people around this office went on to become big successes later on.


He must have made one mistake. I mean this is publishing-- to make a mistake. Wasn't there a case where later on he would say to the person, “Why did you give me that story?”


Oh, continually you're making mistakes. That Story of the Bible was a great example. We had stored in the cellar a huge pile of The Story of the Bible. We had to take them back, and there were thousands of them downstairs. One day a fire broke out in the basement. There were screams of joy. The firemen came and put out the fire just as it reached The Story of the Bible. It burned up a lot of good books, but just as it got to this huge pile of The Story of the Bible, those damn firemen got the fire out. Luckily a few thousand copies were destroyed by water. We were hoping it would catch the whole pile of The Story of the Bible.

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help