Will Rogers (1879-1935) comic,
William Penn Adair Rogers or Will Rogers became a media sensation from humble beginnings. He grew up on a ranch in Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. After a few years as a rancher and cowboy he made it to vaudeville. His folksy humor and rope tricks made people take note and in 1915 he signed on with the Ziegfield Follies. In five years Rogers was a movie star, radio star and successful newspaper columnist. During the 20’s this cowboy-philosopher was a national icon whose witticisms were widely quoted in the press. Rogers is still famous for saying “I only know what I read in the newspaper” and “I never met a man I didn’t like.” He was killed in 1935 with pilot Wiley Post when their plane crashed in Alaska.
Once at a dinner in New York he was the toastmaster and each speaker for the occasion was allowed 8 minutes to speak. The first two speakers got off within time allotted but the third rambled on. After 45 minutes he hastily broke off and apologized,’ Mr. Toast-master I am sorry if I overstayed my time, but I kept my watch at home.’
Roger hunched forward and said calmly, ‘There was a calendar right behind you.’ (Eddie Cantor)
Just before he left for a White House dinner one of Will Roger’s friends made a bet with him that he could not make the dour Cal laugh in two minutes.
‘I’ll bet he laughs in 20 seconds,’ answered Will.
‘Mr. Coolidge, I want to introduce Mr. Will Rogers.’ Will held his hand out looked confused and said, ‘Excuse me, I didn’t quite get the name.’ Will won the bet.
During the White House dinner Mrs. Coolidge said there was only one person who could do a better impersonation of Cal than Will-and that was herself. When asked to demonstrate she went into a monologue that won Will’s applause.
‘Yes, that’s mighty fine, Mrs. Coolidge,’ conceded the cowboy-philosopher,’think what you had to go through to learn it.’
The film ‘State Fair’ was a very satisfying experience for him. He had a prize boar to work with. He got along well with Blue Boar. On the last day of shooting, the Studio suggested that he buy the boar for the family larder. Rogers declined. His excuse was ‘ I wouldn’t feel right eatin’ a fellow actor.’
At the dedication of the Coolidge Dam in Arizona ,in 1930 the Master of Ceremonies was Will Rogers. Arizona has been under acute drought conditions and Wiil scanned San Carlos Lake now a sea of grass and he remarked, ‘If that was my lake, I’d mow it.”
A piano manufacturer tried to get a testimonial from Will Rogers for his piano. Rogers who never endorsed a product unless he really believed in wrote this letter to the firm. ‘Dear Sirs, I guess your pianos are the best I ever leaned against . Yours truly, Will Rogers.’
During an interview with President Harding comic Will Rogers said,’ ‘I’d like to tell you all the latest jokes, Mr. President.’
‘You don’t have to’, Harding answered, ‘I appointed them all to office.’
Pen Portraits-Will Rogers
February 24, 2011 by bennythomas
Will Rogers (1879-1935) comic,