The best thing about writing about the west is the cast of characters this broad landscape provides. Men larger than life that defy the odds, women who loved deep and helped tame a defiant land, and characters who are just larger than life. Today, I hope to introduce you to one of them, a gentleman whose real name is William Penn Adair. While the name might not ring a bell, his stage name Will Rodgers should.
Will might have been known by a lot of names. He called himself a stage and motion picture actor with 71 movies to his credit. Of those 71, 50 were silent and 21 are listed as “talkies”. He had a stint as a vaudeville performer, which led to his inclusion in Ziegfeld’s Follies. He began life as an American cowboy, but his social commentary propelled him to the fore front on American radio as a humorist. His friends lovingly referred to him as Oklahoma’s Favorite Son. His three trips around the world, led him to pick up pen and paper writing in over 4,000 syndicated newspapers, making him a household word.
Many of his statements ring true today. An avid flyer, in 1935, Will planned a trip with the famous aviator Wiley Post. While flying a test flight in a Lockheed Orion-Explorer, they encountered bad weather. The plane crashed taking Wiley and Will to their deaths.
Here are some great examples of Will’s humor that has kept America laughing.
I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.
We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
Well, all I know is what I read in the papers.
I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Until next time.....