Jonathan Townsend wrote:How close in time is this to the expression from sales/marketting 'Cold Calling' ?
The two expressions are not related. What is related to "cold calling" is the use of the term "cold reading" in the context of theater, when actors read a script out loud without having pre-read the text.
Diego, I've heard several people say that the term "cold reading" appears in Gresham's "Nightmare Alley," but I was unable to find it. It does appear in his "Monster Midway," a collection of articles published in 1953 (albeit the article that mentions cold reading was published a few years earlier.