Richard Rodgers Joins the Club

In the fall of 1925, after the successful opening of Dearest Enemy on Broadway, Richard Rodgers met with Max Dreyfus at T.B. Harms, who offered Rodgers and Hart the same type of deal he had been offering to other promising composers.

Rodgers’ recollection of that meeting is recorded in his autobiography, Musical Stages:

 “…I didn’t have the faintest idea what a drawing account was.  Dreyfus explained how it worked: a number of ‘my boys,’ as he called them, were permitted to draw anywhere from $50 to $200 a week, and these sums were deducted from royalties when they became due.  I suppose something of my grandfather’s pride took over at this point because I heard myself grandly telling him that Larry [Hart] and I didn’t work that way.  We wanted nothing in advance, and would be perfectly content to wait until we received all the royalties to which we were entitled.

“Dreyfus stared at me with a look of disbelief.  ‘All right,’ he said, ‘if that’s the way you want it, but I’ll tell you one thing.  In all my years in the publishing business, this is the first time anyone has ever turned down an advance.’  Then, he put his arm around my shoulder, and I suddenly realized what it meant to be one of Max Dreyfus’ boys.  ‘There’s one thing I want you to promise me,’ he said.  ‘If you ever need money, I don’t want you to go to anyone else but me.  From now on, don’t ever forget that I’m your friend.’

“I never did.  Max and I, in fact, remained close friends until the day he died, nearly forty years later.”