Everywhere one looked in the 1920s, Will Rogers was a presence. He slouched amiably on the silent screen. He joked through the Ziegfeld Follies. He pounded out his weekly column and other articles. His book sold over sixty thousand copies. He chatted on the radio, a medium that he didn't particularly favor, since he doted on audience response. He put his imprimatur on advertisements. His voice, whining like a lake wind, crackled on recordings. His words and deeds constantly flashed over the wire services.
This was a time of instantaneous, overnight celebrity. If one threw a punch harder than any other man (Jack Dempsey); if one threw a fastball faster than any other pitcher (Walter Johnson); if one lugged a football for more yards than any other halfback (Red Grange); if one could hit a golf ball with unequaled finesse (Bobby Jones); if one played tennis like a ballet dancer (Bill Tilden); if one could exhort a college football team to new heights (Knute Rockne); if one could crunch more home runs than any other slugger (Babe Ruth)—if one did any of these things, one could promptly win second‐ coming-of-Christ headlines.
When Charles A. Lindbergh completed his daring lone-eagle mission