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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Q:

How did this occur? How did you decide?

Cerf:

Well, Bob told me that Hal was driving him crazy. He was charming, and everybody loved him, but he was utterly undependable. He'd forget dates, and he'd lose manuscripts. One morning he was driving his car down Fifth Avenue and stopped for a red light. When it changed to green, there was a man standing in front of him. Smith said, “Get out of the way; can't you see the light's turned green?" The man answered, “I'll get out of the way as soon as you get your car off my foot.”

We had a young man working for us then named Maitland Edey. He was a junior editor in our place. Today, incidentally, he's one of the big wheels in the Time-Life book division. Hal Smith had a boat On the Sound, berthed at City Island, and he invited Mait to go out with him. It was a boat that slept four people. They were going out in the afternoon to take a cruise and come back the next day. Mait came back the next day screaming with laughter. They never left the dock. Hal took him on board and they started talking and drinking, and they just stayed moored. About two weeks later the boat blew up and almost killed Hal.

Q:

Haas had most of the money in Smith and Haas?

Cerf:

Yes, Bob had the money, and Hal brought in the authors. And they were building up quite a nice little list but making



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