Sam Coslow was a successful lyricist during the Tin Pan Alley era. Two of his many successful songs were COCKTAILS FOR TWO and
MY OLD FLAME. He, like many other successful composers and lyricists, went through a period of scrounging about the musical world in his early years, trying to achieve fame and fortune. He was involved in the following incident during this period.
In the early 1920's he was pounding the pavement like many others, trying to discover some sort of an "in" to further his career. He happened to discover an ad in a New York newspaper, which simply stated that someone in New Jersey was seeking "a certain kind of songwriter." He made an inquiry, and was granted an interview at a particular address in N.J.
When he arrived for his appointment, he was astounded to find that the address was that of none other than Thomas Edison. The quarters were richly furnished and the woman in the office greeted him somewhat superciliously, saying that Mr. Edison would be with him momentarily.
Soon he was ushered into a sumptuous office where, behind a big desk sat the man with the famous visage: Thomas Alva Edison.
Immediately, Edison remarked to him "Well, you fellows must all be very busy. You're the only one who responded to my ad!" With that, Edison continued:
"My most prized invention, as far as I am concerned, is the phonograph! But I have a problem. I CAN'T STAND TODAY'S MUSIC!" He proceeded to rant and rave about the lack of beautiful melodies, (and apparently wanted to hear more florid tunes of the JEANNIE WITH THE LIGHT BROWN HAIR variety.)
Edison continued: I want you to be my personal emissary" my "talent scout"- to search for beautiful music that is worthy of being recorded for my phonograph.