This letter was previously published only on the Ayn Rand Institute website.
August 30, 1946
Sorry to have taken longer to answer this time. I didn’t know I would cause so much trouble in regard to the television rights to NIGHT OF JANUARY 16TH.
I had forgotten all about the movie strings attached, so I have been trying to get them for you from the west coast front office. They have now asked me to ask you to write me an official letter, stating all the pertinent details of your proposed broadcast, such as: who will do it, what station, when and where, at whose expense—and particularly, is it a strictly experimental performance or a commercial one with a sponsor, and if so, who? I am then to send that letter to the Paramount officials, with a request from me that they grant you permission for this broadcast. I think they will do it, but I can’t be sure, because any legal matter of rights is always extremely complicated at the studios. Anyway, send me the letter, and I will try my best.
No, I don’t do my troweling in a floppy hat. I do it in a checkered shirt and shorts. If you saw me in that costume, I don’t think it would strain a beautiful friendship, but quite the opposite. At least, I hope so.
As to my new novel, I have just finished my final outline, and will start on the actual writing any moment. Can’t tell you much about it in a few words—but if THE FOUNTAINHEAD was a kind of a bombshell, wait until you read this one!
It looks as if we won’t be able to come to New York this time. I don’t like California any better than I did, but I am now so busy that I haven’t time to notice it. Still, I do miss New York, and I intend to come there to celebrate the new novel as soon as I can, which I hope will be next year.
Here is an idea that I wanted to consult you about—I am not sure I will do it, but let me know what you think of it. A small group of my conservative friends here, known as The Pamphleteers, who publish political non-fiction booklets, are publishing an American edition of my novelette, ANTHEM. If you remember, that is the one that was published only in England. They intend to sell it as a paper covered booklet in the regular book channels. Of course, they have to start it on a very small scale with very little advertising, but they hope that it will grow on the strength of my name. Would you undertake to handle
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a publicity campaign for it? I realize that publicity and advertising are two different mediums, but would you be interested in trying it? If so, what would you charge us, and what would be your general idea of a campaign? Let me know your ideas on the subject. I know that your ideas of salesmanship are about like mine—the dramatic and the different, so I thought you might be the ideal man for it, if we decide to have a publicity campaign.
Best regards from the two of us to the three of you. (And from Oscar and Oswald, too)
Mr. Raymond E. Nelson
341 Madison Avenue
New York 17, New York
Suffens responded by setting out the difficulties of getting backing for a television production, despite his having major clients such as Sears, Roebuck. He continued that he would “like to do” the publicity for Anthem and that “the fashionable shade of red is a much more subdued one than it was in the days when you first started singing in the wilderness.” Neither project came to fruition.