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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Cerf:

Jeffers always sold well enough to make a little money. There was no real money in it but great prestige. But Eugene O'Neill was quite different than other playwrights. Eugene O'Neill's books were great best sellers. Liveright had sold over 100,000 copies of “Mourning Becomes Electra” and about 75,000 copies of “Strange Interlude.”

Well, the first play we did of O'Neill's was absolutely out of his general line of things. Instead of writing one of these brooding, morbid tragedies that he was so famous for, he wrote a comedy called “Ah, Wilderness,” which was the story of his own young days up in New England. It starred George M. Cohan. It was the first time George M. Cohan had ever appeared in a play other than his own. It was a huge success, a great comedy success. So it was a happy start.

The second play of O'Neill's we published was one he loved but was a complete failure. It was called “Days Without End.”

Q:

I have never heard of it.

Cerf:

That's just as well!

Q:

Did a friendship develop between you and Eugene O'Neill? Could you describe him a little bit--the kind of a person he was?

Cerf:

Yes. First of all, he was the most beautiful man I ever met--and when I say beautiful, I mean beautiful in the sense



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