August 21, 1935
Written by Emmett J. Lee, Jr.
When an aeroplane crashed last Thursday night away up in lonely Point Barrow, Alaska, the United States lost one of her best-loved citizens — one whose place can never be filled.
Will Rogers is dead—-
Never again shall we see that bright-faced humorist, as we often have many times, on the screen, but he leaves with us a memory of many jokes and pranks that seemed to make us have a different feeling on life. The thoughts he has left with us will remain.
The daily newspapers recall to us many pleasant, cheery gibes and remarks that will never be forgotten.
On one occasion, Rogers and Irving S. Cobb, new as an actor in Hollywood, make a bet. Cobb bet Rogers that he couldn’t make Calvin Coolidge, then President of the United States, smile.
Rogers and the President were fishing together. Roger said, “I’m going to (not able to read). Coolidge replied: “I am Calvin Coolidge,” and he laughed out loud.
Such was the nature of Will Rogers. He always had something amusing to say, and something that would entertain and enlighten his listenes.
One of Rogers’ famous expressions was: “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.” He preferred to have the people think he never received an education. He often remarked that he never went higher in school than the fourth reader, which he was for “ten years”. However, he received his early school training in Missouri, and later at the Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, Missouri.
Rogers was a true American. He had real Indian blood in his veins. On one occasion, in the company of these telling about their family ancestors, Will remarked:
“Maybe my ancestors didn’t come over in the Mayflower; but they met the boat.”
Will Rogers seemed to be so popular and well-loved because of the fact that he was so simple and real. He had no “airs” or snobbery about him. He was versatile in that he was at ease in any company, with any sort of people. He could very easily joke with presidents, kings or just anybody, in any walk of life. He was a writer, lecturer, actor, philosopher, traveler, cowboy and the occupant of other roles. He was always the same, everywhere he was seen.
On several occasions Will Rogers was mentioned as a possible candidate for the presidency of the United States, on the Democratic ticket. He would always laugh the matter off saying “a comedian can only last till he takes himself seriously, or his audience takes him seriously.”
Rogers always had the public ear, perhaps more than any other man in the United States. He seemed to follow a set rule, and in doing so, in commenting on them, he seemed to make an impression on the people who were his followers.