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

Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 1029

Horace Liveright. Her name was Anita Loos, and the book she was finishing was a little number called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The last chapter of that book was written on the Aquitania, and I guess I was the first person in the world to read it. I almost fell off the boat laughing. It was a hilarious book, still is, in fact. Anita's husband was a man named John Emerson, who was the president of the Actors‘Equity and a very big man in the theater. In my excitement over going to Europe it never had occurred to me to reserve a hotel room in London. About two days out I began to worry about this. I heard other people were having a little trouble. It turned out we were getting to London the night before the Derby. John Emerson said, “We have no reservations, either. You leave this to me.” The careful Simon already had a room reserved in some dump I wouldn't be seen dead in. Dick was always very stingy. And anyway he was in business for himself. He and Schuster were building their business up. That wasn't my idea at all. When I travel, I travel in style. I wanted to go to a big hotel and be a big shot. And John Emerson said, “Leave it to me.” He started cabling: “My wife and I and young friend want a suite.” And we began getting back cables: “We'll be happy to take care of you two days after you arrive, but until the Derby is over, there are no rooms.”

Then Emerson began to get worried. Here we were within two days of England and no place to stay. Finally he bethought himself of a man named Rudolph Kommer, who was the agent for Max Reinhardt, the great German producer, and a man who cut

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