Denny’s Daily Zinger: How Dr. Seuss Changed My Life
I once had lunch with Dr. Seuss at the Four Seasons in New York along with Elsworth Howell, President of Grolier Enterprises and Lew Smith, his marketing and creative VP.
It was the 1960s. New York Post gossip columnist Leonard Lyons was walking around, pencil and notebook in hand, looking for material. Howell called him over to the table, "Hey Leonard, come meet Dr. Seuss!"
Lyons had no idea who Dr. Seuss was.
A former commercial artist who made his bones with ads full of wacky characters for FLIT insect repellent, Ted Geisel published "The Cat in the Hat" in 1957 with Random House.
In the 1960s, Elsworth Howell cut a deal with Random House celebrity president Bennett Cerf to create The Beginning Readers Program. It was a continuity series sold to schoolchildren through teachers in the classroom.
Theodor Seuss Geisel's work created three gazilionaires: Elsworth Howell, Bennett Cerf and Geisel himself.
My MBA (Equivalent) in Direct Marketing
Looking to expand, Elsworth Howell and Lew Smith hired me to create new book clubs. I did not know squat about the world of direct, but when I was fired two years later, I was expert. You are invited to read my very brief memoir, "The Corporation as an Incubator."
What triggered this story was Anna Russell's Wall Street Journal article, "Inside Dr. Seuss Inc." all about the team of dozen devotees keeping Seuss (and Random House!) alive.
These were great times and great people.
And still wonderful for kids!
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