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AMONG THE LILLIPUTIANS 21 Any other answer would have brought on complications; DeMille's latest picture was always his best. He had said so with each production—seventy in a row—going back nearly half a century. "This is my greatest/' he would tell the press, the Barnum in him assuming confident command. One picture was never included in these calculations, King of Kings. He felt the Christ story was a "different thing that cannot be compared with any other picture/' On occasion we would find ourselves compelled to take a position contrary to the boss's judgment, a tack which, though dangerous, might bolster a badly sagging ego. A letter was received one day from a poor, elderly widow with a $5 bill enclosed. She wished to invest the money in Mr. DeMille's "wonderful company that has given me so much pleasure for nearly forty years." She was hopeful that "the investment will give me a little income for my old age/' DeMille, charmed by the sentiments, sent the letter over to Paramount accountants with instructions to figure out how much in dividends would be accumulated by the $5 investment in five years-the time it takes for the average film to repay production costs and yield a profit The amount came to something under $4. "We'll send the woman her five dollars plus the dividend, and we'll send it to her now. She won't have to wait five years like I have to," DeMille said excitedly. "Then well release a story to the press, so the public will understand what this movie business is all about. How many firms are able to wait five years for a return on their money?" A properly sentimental letter was prepared, advising the widow of her windfall, and noting with regret that no shares in the DeMille company were publicly held. "Now let's prepare the news release/' the boss said, "and we'll incorporate the letter right into the article. It should go out to all the major newspapers/' An assistant suggested that a press release might have un-