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Session:         Page of 1029

LH
Interview #7
Interviewee: Bennett Cerf
Interviewer: Robbin Hawkins
New York City
October 31, 1967

Q:

Would you like to tell about your trip to Russia?

Cerf:

Yes, but I'm going to start by telling you about Harold Ross. I think I told you about Harold Ross being the one who introduced me to Phyllis, didn't I?

Q:

No, maybe you should do that right now.

Cerf:

Well, Ross, of course, was the man who started the New Yorker and made it a great success. After his death I think the New Yorker started going down hill and hasn't stopped yet. The fatter it gets, the more unreadable it becomes!

Anyway, Ross was a very good friend. We all used to play backgammon with him. There was a rule in those days that you could only play a certain number of games of backgammon with Ross every week, because it was considered unfair for any one person to get too much of his salary. He was the biggest pigeon who ever lived but how he loved to gamble! So we all used to cut him up.

Well, in early 1934 Harold Guinzburg (of Viking) and I decided to visit Russia together. The trip began expanding as we settled details, and finally it ended up as a four-month sojourn--the longest either of us ever had been away from



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