Back in 2000 I had the opportunity to be in a musical called “The Will Rogers Follies.”
I played Wiley Post, Will’s friend, and pilot.
Doing that show got me interested in Will and his life. I’ve read just about everything available about him. I found Will to be inspirational as a man and way ahead of his time.
One of my lines in the show was, “Come on, Will, it’s time to go flying.” It was with Post that Will would meet his end. The two of them flew off to Alaska and along the way the plane crashed, killing both of them.
Most people think of Will as a comedian; he was actually a political humorist. During his lifetime he was probably as popular as anyone in the entertainment industry today.
He had a homespun humor that endeared him to people, especially the average man or woman.
Will was known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son.” He was born to a Cherokee family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). As an entertainer and humorist, he traveled around the world three times, made 71 films (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns.
Here are some of my favorite Will Rogers’ quotes (remember these are pre 1935):
Remember, write to your congressman. Even if he can’t read, write to him.
We shouldn’t elect a President. We should elect a magician.
Live your life so that whenever you lose, you are ahead
A flock of Democrats will replace a mess of Republicans. It won’t mean a thing. They will go in like all the rest of ’em. Go in on promises and come out on alibis.
The Republicans mopped up, the Democrats gummed up, and I will now try and sum up. Things are terribly dull now. We won’t have any more serious comedy until Congress meets.
You’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.
George Washington was a politician and a gentleman. That’s a rare combination.
In this country people don’t vote for, they vote against.
Everything is changing in America. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.
Finding things to tax is becoming quite a problem. You see when taxes first started (who started ‘em anyhow?), Noah must have taken into the ark two taxes, one male and one female, and did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific of animals.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
My favorite: Diplomacy is the art of saying, “Nice Doggie,” until you can find a rock.
Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at email@example.com.