This post was originally an episode of The Old Time Review Daily Podcast. In each edition, Jamie Dyer spoke off the cuff about a famous person, film or song for up to three minutes. The following is a transcription, which has been cleaned up to remove any hesitation and some repetition. Where possible, the subject has been expanded on from the original broadcast.
This is the Old Time Review Daily Podcast for May 25th, 2021, and this is Jamie Dyer speaking to you from the UK. On this day, in 1898, American publisher Bennett Cerf was born. He was The co-founder of the American publishing firm, Random House, In certain places he was more well-known for his regular personal appearances on the show, “What’s My Line” as a panellist where he became a celebrity for his wit and puns; Many of which became the subject of his books.
There are numerous books by Bennett Cerf filled with jokes and puns. I discovered the American version of “What’s My Line” about three years ago. Bennett was one of those characters you just don’t see anymore. I love his act of “thinking he’s funny”, and to be honest, I actually find him funny. he had a great personality and worked really well with the other panellists, which most of the time included Dorothy Kilgallen Steve Allen and Arlene Francis, Currently, I’m watching through the Fred Allen episodes of the show, where Bennett had a rival for that kind of humour. I find him a fascinating figure because he was a publishing guy in the days when they used to have scientists, publishers, and journalists, as panellists on these programs. They aren’t the kind of people you would expect to see in the modern age. but he made it work back then,
I look forward to one day reading his biography, which is called, “At Random”. If anyone has read it, please let me know your thoughts. There are some great interviews out there with Bennett as well.
This was the Old Time Review Daily Podcast remembering Bennett Cerf, who was born on this day in 1898.