American Original: A Life of Will Rogers

By Ray Robinson | Go to book overview

16

Political Adventures

Vaulting to the top of the talkie industry in the 1930s, in a rumpled business suit that had replaced his usual cowboy garb, Will was right up there alongside other screen icons—from Wally Beery, who never bothered to tuck in his shirt, to the irrepressible Shirley Temple.

Still, despite all of his renown, Will refused to ignore the real world in which he lived. He appreciated the fact that he was one of the few fortunate ones, a millionaire in a time of endless lines of unemployed. As the black clouds of misery hung over the country, Will was much taken with the charismatic new leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A Democrat with a voice charged with conviction and strength, FDR had become a hero of the radio age. He spoke in arch, cultivated tones, with a pronounced Harvard accent— qualities that normally would have given Will ammunition for sly ridicule. Recognizing that this was a crucial moment in American history, Will refused to be sour or malicious about FDR, although he had openly expressed disgust at the ineptitude of President Hoover.

In the summer of 1932, during the worst period of the depression, thousands of World War I veterans descended on Washington. They came from

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American Original: A Life of Will Rogers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Original - A Life of Will Ragers *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • American Original *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Indian "Problem" 7
  • 2 - Civil War 14
  • 3 - Childhood 21
  • 4 - Roamin' Free 33
  • 5 - A New Century 47
  • 6 - Home Again—for a Minute 62
  • 7 - Vaudeville Days 74
  • 8 - Will Marries Betty 87
  • 9 - Best Pal 104
  • 10 - Mr. Ziegfeld 115
  • 11 - The Celluloid Coast 128
  • 12 - Kidding the Famous 143
  • 13 - Travelin' Man 161
  • 14 - The Ranch 189
  • 15 - "I Was Never Sorry Movies Started to Talk" 202
  • 16 - Political Adventures 229
  • 17 - The Last Flight 243
  • Appendix A - Postmortems 261
  • Appendix B - More Wit and Wisdom 265
  • Index 271
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