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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Was there any one book that you read and saw that developed while you were there?


No, no, nothing that I would say was outstanding. It was not a period when he had huge successes. Black Oxen and The Story of Mankind had already been published. Flaming Youth had already been published. We had several books that were good, but nothing that I would say was a great, great success.


Then mainly you were in the sales end.


Yes, and reading manuscripts and meeting playwrights. One day a young man came in with some stories, a young English-man. Liveright palmed him off on me and whispered to me, “I don't think he's got any money. Treat him to lunch or some-thing.” So I started talking to this fellow, and he seemed very charming to me. I said, “Where are you living?”

He said, “I'm staying at the Ritz.” That was at 46th Street and Madison.

I said, “You are!”

He said, “Yes. You look skeptical.”

I said, “Yes, I am. It's a very expensive hotel.”

He volunteered, “I'll show you my room,” and we went over. He had a little cubicle right next to the top of the elevator shaft, where there was a big wheel. Every time the elevator went up and down, this wheel would make an unholy racket. But it was the Ritz. The boy's name was Noel Coward.

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