“Your card would hardly give the impression. It suggests the news rather than the advertising side.”
“I’m both,” stated Mr. Zucker, brightly beaming. “I handle the criticism and the feature stuff on salary, and solicit the advertising, on a percentage. It works out fine.”
“So one might suppose.” Banneker looked at him hard. “The idea being, if I get it correctly, that a manager who gives you a good, big line of advertising can rely on considerate treatment in the dramatic column of The Patriot.”
“Well, there’s no bargain to that effect. That wouldn’t be classy for a big paper like ours,” replied the high-if somewhat naive-minded Mr. Zucker. “Of course, the managers understand that one good turn deserves another, and I ain’t the man to roast a friend that helps me out. I started the scheme in Boston and doubled the theater revenue of my paper there in a year.”
“I’m immensely interested,” confessed Banneker. “But what is your idea in coming to me about this?”
“Big stuff, Mr. Banneker,” answered the earnest Zucker. He laid a jeweled hand upon the other’s knee, and removed it because some vestige of self-protective instinct warned him that that was not the proper place for it. “You may have noticed that we’ve been running a lot of special theater stuff in the Sunday.” Banneker nodded. “That’s all per schedule, as worked out by me. An eighth of a page ad. gets an article. A quarter page ad. gets a signed special by me. Haffa page wins a grand little send-off by Bess Breezely with her own illustrations. Now, I’m figuring on full pages. If I could go to a manager and say: ’Gimme a full-page ad. for next Sunday and I’ll see if I can’t get Mr. Banneker to do an editorial on the show’—if I could say that, why, nothin’ to it! Nothin’ at-tall! Of course,” he added ruminatively, “I’d have to pick the shows pretty careful.”
“Perhaps you’d like to write the editorials, too,” suggested Banneker with baleful mildness.
“I thought of that,” admitted the other. “But I don’t know as I could get the swing of your style. You certainly got a style, Mr. Banneker.”
“Well, what do you say?”
“Why, this. I’ll look over next Sunday’s advertising, particularly the large ads., and if there is a good subject in any of the shows, I’ll try to do something about it.”
“Fine!” enthused the unsuspecting pioneer of business-dramatic criticism. “It’s a pleasure to work with a gentleman like you, Mr. Banneker.”
Withdrawing, even more pleased with himself than was his wont, Mr. Zucker confided to Haring that the latter was totally mistaken in attributing a stand-offish attitude to Banneker. Why, you couldn’t ask for a more reasonable man. Saw the point at once.
“Don’t you go making any fool promises on the strength of what Banneker said to you,” commented Haring.