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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Boy, that was an experience. Well, did anything else happen? This is a highlight, I can see, but did anything else happen on that trip? Were you able to do any more business?


Sure, we got a few properties. For one thing, we signed up the American rights to Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta, which at that time was the book on the Arabs. It was a forerunner to the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Laurence.

Now, another book we did in 1935 is rather amusing-- and it proved that you cannot sell a bad book by a lot of advertising. When I was married to Sylvia, one of the most interesting people I met in Hollywood was Irving Thalberg, who was the great genius of MGM, married to Norma Shearer, and the man who was responsible for every picture MGM brought out at that time. MGM was the king of the lots those days. Thalberg was doing a picture in which he was deeply involved--a little number called “Romeo and Juliet” by a fellow named Shakespeare and starring Norma Shearer. He wanted a lovely edition of “Romeo and Juliet” which would contain the original text by William Shakespeare plus the motion picture scenario and articles by Miss Shearer, co-star Leslie Howard and the producer and director. MGM paid for the whole thing and bought a couple thousand copies besides which insured a profit for us. Furthermore Thalberg gave us quite some money to advertise this great publication.

Well, in the first place this was a reunion for me with Howard Dietz, who was the boy who took me to my first play--

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