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Will Rogers: A Humorist

Updated on October 12, 2012
Cowboy Will Rogers
Cowboy Will Rogers | Source
This is the only portrait for which Rogers ever "sat", showing him in his flight suit. The oil painting is by Count Arnaldo Tamburini.
This is the only portrait for which Rogers ever "sat", showing him in his flight suit. The oil painting is by Count Arnaldo Tamburini. | Source

William Penn Adair Rogers was born on November 4, 1879, an American Indian. He was born in what is now Oklahoma but was Indian Territory then. If you haven't heard of Will Rogers, maybe you'll learn something here. He was one of the greatest humorists that ever lived and a phenomenon in his own time. Oh, and he could rope too (rodeo style of course)! He was a movie star appearing in several films but it was his down home accent and simple talk that appealed to people all over the country and made him famous. He touched a place in America's heart. He was nominated for several different offices including governor of Oklahoma, honorary mayor of Beverly Hills and was a 'pundit' candidate for President. He met many political figures and had flown all over America as a reporter. He also wrote six books. Quite a list of accomplishments.

Will was able to poke fun at a variety of issues from gangsters and prohibition to politicians and the government. His witticisms and satire caught the attention of an entire nation. He has been quoted and re-quoted both during his life and after his death. He led a nation to believe in itself again and gave people hope when hope was what they needed most. Something we could surely use today. The common man related to Will Rogers and when listening to Will on the radio could be seen chuckling and shaking his head. He knew Will Rogers understood.

He smiled a lot and scratched his head. He incorporated his rope tricks into a Vaudeville Act and is said to have been responsible for making The Ziegfeld Follies famous. He loved horses and flying - just a down home type of fellow but his humor was always topical. He was always heralding the common man.

He incorporated his ethnicity into his humor as well. One of his quotes; "My ancestors may not have come over on the Mayflower, but they met 'em at the boat."

Speaking about himself, sort of, "And the thing about my jokes is, they don't hurt anybody. You can take 'em or leave 'em - you can say they're funny or they're terrible or they're good, or whatever, but you can just pass 'em by. But with Congress, every time they make a joke, it's a law! And every time they make a law, it's a joke!" How about this one; "Liberty don't work as good in practice as it does in speeches." I don't think I have to explain those quotes, and how right he was and actually still is.

An excerpt from "Will Rogers: a Biography"

Now Willie was the only Rogers son, the pet of three adoring older sisters, an adoring mother, and a father who, while not exactly adoring, was prepared to give him anything he wanted--and forgive him any mischief. One time, Willie decided that the hunting hounds would look better with different colored spots, so he painted them all green. On another occasion, his mother had a pan of yeast on the floor of the kitchen, into which Willie couldn't resist placing his foot. Mrs. Rogers's response was to say, "Willie has a good idea. That'll make it sweeter. It'll be the best bread we ever had."

The Official Will Rogers Site

Find out anything and everything about Will Rogers. This site is copyrighted by Will Rogers Estate. http://www.cmgww.com/historic/rogers/related/index.html

Wouldn't it be great to have Will Rogers today? We need someone as grounded as he, unbiased and people oriented. For example he said, "Ten men in the country could buy the world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat." Pretty in touch with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Actually, he also said; "This country is bigger than Wall Street. If they don’t believe it, show ’em the map."

Our problems with the rest of the world are nothing new; "America can carry herself and get along in pretty fair shape, but when she stops and picks up the whole world and puts it on her shoulders she just can’t “get it done.” Seems if we stopped worrying about the rest of the world today we might be better off here at home. We've always been a nation trying to help others but there comes a time when the old adage "charity begins at home" takes on more meaning.

If we had a leader like Will Rogers, one with common sense and a true belief in America and its values we might be able to turn this country around. Perhaps his ideas should be taken seriously and followed today, he once said; "If by some divine act of providence we could get rid of both parties and hire some good men, like any other good business does, that would be sitting pretty." He was asked to run for President but turned it down so I guess he didn't consider himself a politician and we all know it's easier to find fault when you are on the outside looking in, but, he was still right!

He was writing about the President of the day but his quote could just as well apply to Obama or any other President; "Sometimes it makes you think we don’t need a different man as much as we need different advisors for the same man."

His quotes go on and on. It is a tribute to his innate genius that he is still quoted today, 76 years after his death. He was a great American and a great patriot. The country mourned his death at age 55, killed in an airplane crash.

We need another Will Rogers to point us in the direction "we the people" know we should be going!

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved.

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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Au fait. Believe it or not he was before my time too but my Dad admired him and I've read so much about him. Glad you enjoyed and shared this hub.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Will Rogers died before my time, but my parents talked about him a lot, and as you say, he's been quoted a lot even in recent times. His observations are just as true today as they were the first time he said them.

      Superbly written, and I hope everyone will read this hub. Voting UP, interesting, and sharing with my followers. Thank YOU for SHARING! Yes, and awesome!

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