THE STORY BEHIND BENNETT'S UNSMILING REACTION: When Sir Ralph Richardson was the mystery guest tonight, Arlene praised his then-recent film performance of Eugene O'Neill's play, "Long Day's Journey Into Night." The audience, as well as guest panelists Phyllis Newman and Peter Cook, applauded the comment. In addition, John Daly had positive things to say about the movie. But, Bennett didn't join in with any accolades and looked extremely displeased as he fiddled with his bow tie. There was a reason for this. Bennett was O'Neill's longtime publisher and O'Neill had requested that this play, which was autobiographical and very painful for him to write, not be published until 25 years after his death. Bennett sought to honor this request, but O'Neill's widow Carlotta went around him.
Here is a summary which was found on the net: "O'Neill gave the manuscript of LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT to Bennett Cerf at Random House on November 29, 1945. The manuscript was sealed in a safe, along with a document signed by O'Neill prohibiting Random House from publishing the play until twenty-five years after his death. When, two years after O'Neill's death, Carlotta asked Random House to publish the play, Cerf refused, believing himself honor-bound to O'Neill's document. Carlotta, who possessed the legal right to O'Neill's literary estate, withdrew the manuscript from Random House and presented it to the Yale University Press, which published the play in February, 1956."
Even though present-day references to WML personalities are sadly few and far between, they do occur, as this Bennett Cerf reference occurred on National Public Radio in April, 2006. - jerrylh41 (2006)