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William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers - Real Cowboy


MissGoddess

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Rogers in the Argentine, where his wanderlust briefly led him

in search of what he thought would be plentiful work for a cowboy.

Hollywood would prove more opportune, without the saddle sores.

cowboyWill-Argentina.jpg?t=1293387734

 

Unlike most Hollywood western stars, Rogers' made his mark in talkie films that were not westerns, but all of his characters were informed by his authentic western background that

remained a part of his daily life, a life he never left behind.

 

Growing up on an Oklahoma Territory ranch and spending his youth as a cow hand at the closing of the open range stayed in Will's blood and he never lost touch with the land or every day people, even when he became an unofficial good will Ambassador for America by virtue of his world wide travels (unusual at the time, when commercial aviation was young). Though he was world famous and sought by political and celebrated, he was always the cowboy.

 

With his seemingly endless energy, Will took his roping skills and shy cowhand demeanor to wild west shows, vaudeville, the Ziegfield Follies, newspapers, radio and eventually the cinema, becoming a beloved phenomenon in his short life. He succeeded not by reinventing himself, but by never forgetting who he really was, and not since Mark Twain's beloved rural characters had anyone seemed to represent the kind of American people that settled the west. Only he was no fiction, he was the real thing.

 

This Tuesday, December 28th, TCM is airing several of his sound films, all of which display his personality, unpolished humor and honesty...traits which may have been part of the reason why, when asked what people in the Old West were really like, John Ford replied, "They were like Will Rogers."

 

12/28/10 All Times Eastern

8:00pm *A Connecticut Yankee* (1931)

An accident sends a modern repairman back in time to King Arthur's court.

Cast: Will Rogers, William Farnum, Maureen O'Sullivan, *Myrna Loy* Dir: David Butler BW-85 mins

 

10:00pm *Doctor Bull* (1933)

A country doctor ignites gossip when he falls for a small-town widow.

Cast: Will Rogers, Vera Allen, Marian Nixon, Howard Lally Dir: *John Ford* BW-79 mins

 

11:30pm *Doubting Thomas* (1935)

Cast: Will Rogers, Billie Burke, Alison Skipworth, Sterling Holloway Dir: David Butler

 

1:00am *In Old Kentucky* (1935)

A drunken young veteran returns home to find the family horse-breeding business facing ruin.

Cast: Will Rogers, Dorothy Wilson, Russell Hardie, Charles Sellon Dir: George Marshall BW-86 mins

 

2:30am *Life Begins at 40* (1935)

A small-town newspaper publisher champions a young man who may have been jailed wrongly.

Cast: Will Rogers, Richard Cromwell, George Barbier, Rochelle Hudson Dir: George Marshall BW-80 mins

 

4:00am *Too Busy to Work* (1932)

A hobo searches the countryside for the daughter he lost when his wife left him.

Cast: Will Rogers, Marian Nixon, Dick Powell, Frederick Burton Dir: John Blystone BW-77 mins

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Thank you, Mrs. Johnson! I hope you enjoy the films. They may seem corny, but

they're so friendly and warm in a pot-belly stove sort of fashion. Not for everyone,

but I'm smitten. :x

 

*A Connecticut Yankee* (1931) is the one I've been waiting for. I love

how naughty Will looks in his photos with his leading ladies. Notice

where his eyes seem to be. ;)

 

ConnecticutYank1931.jpg

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Woo HOO, Miss G!! I am so happy to see this! I had completely forgotten about WR Day coming up so soon!! THANKS for the reminder!! (Now I will need you and your fellow secretaries to keep me on task!! I do NOT want to miss this for sure!) :D

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> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}

> (Now I will need you and your fellow secretaries to keep me on task!! I do NOT want to miss this for sure!) :D

 

"I'll be sure an' type up your schedule for you, ma'am. Don't wanna get

on the wrong side of the Peacemaker!"

typing.jpg?t=1293402447

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I just don't know why MissG won't release this onto DVD. Grumble, grumble, grumble. I'd buy it, if that's any help.

 

Well, I used to think she WAS the cat's meow. Now she HAS the cat's meow... I sure hope she doesn't explore the YouTube thing and create some soccer-playing cat-phenom. Just my luck, all these years I've tried to teach our park-cats to play, but noooo, they just won't listen to ME. But MissG gets ONE and already she's got it playing?!! Sheesh... there ain't no justice... like Will useta say.

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Rogers in the Argentine, where his wanderlust briefly led him

> in search of what he thought would be plentiful work for a cowboy.

> Hollywood would prove more opportune, without the saddle sores.

> cowboyWill-Argentina.jpg?t=1293387734

 

Miss G - just stopping by to let you know how much I like that photo of Will. I've never seen anyone look so comfortable on a horse - imagine just kicking back like that with your feet up! You really would have to feel like part of your horse.

 

I intend to watch as many of the Will Rogers movies tomorrow night - until I can't stay up any longer.

 

Will Rogers was a most quotable fella. cinemafan

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Well lookie who blew in! It's so great to see you, cinemafan! I hope you won't be such a stranger, we've missed you.

 

I hope you enjoy Willie's movies, or at least himself. I know what you mean about that photo,

it makes me wish sorely that he had done a talkie western, maybe with Ford.

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I believe he used a much smaller rope for cat-wrangling, yes? "A ball of twine and a feather or two..." Yes, that's what I heard.

 

Do we have successor's to Will's persona since the last half of the 20th Century?

 

Does Truman qualify as that "folksy" type? FDR probably occupied the same place in general affection, I suppose, but his East Coast/non-Everyman persona prevents me from offering him. Truman's probably too controversial.

 

I think Will's affection also links him to the American affection toward Benjamin Franklin.

 

And there's a Twainsian aspect ("Twainsian" is easier to type than "Samuel-Clemensian", so forgive me) to all of these characters that have an affection in American lore.

 

I'm not sure American Heritage is the only 'culture' that promotes an Everyman aspect onto heroes. Joe Stalin, Mao, even Adolph used photo opportunities to create building-sized posters of their "everyman persona". It's just that Will Rogers' lassos were ONLY for lassos, not nooses.

 

Who else in modern American culture do we have for a Will Rogers successor?

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> {quote:title=Ollie_T wrote:}{quote}

> I believe he used a much smaller rope for cat-wrangling, yes? "A ball of twine and a feather or two..." Yes, that's what I heard.

>

 

a herd of mice works!

 

> Does Truman qualify as that "folksy" type? FDR probably occupied the same place in general affection, I suppose, but his East Coast/non-Everyman persona prevents me from offering him. Truman's probably too controversial.

>

 

Truman ever connect with the public on any level? And they were both politicians...Will, though he professed Democratic leanings, took shots at both parties and the whole political world. He was fairly neutral. FDR was of the upper crust, for sure.

 

> I think Will's affection also links him to the American affection toward Benjamin Franklin.

>

 

I do think of him more in terms of the older statesmen and philosphers. Lincoln is the one who most comes to mind, because he was from the land.

 

> And there's a Twainsian aspect ("Twainsian" is easier to type than "Samuel-Clemensian", so forgive me) to all of these characters that have an affection in American lore.

>

 

I like that, "Twainsian". This is why I really am curious about *A Connecticut Yankee* (and I pray my DVR is good to me).

 

 

> I'm not sure American Heritage is the only 'culture' that promotes an Everyman aspect onto heroes. Joe Stalin, Mao, even Adolph used photo opportunities to create building-sized posters of their "everyman persona". It's just that Will Rogers' lassos were ONLY for lassos, not nooses.

>

 

HA!!!! I can't see Joe, Mao or Adolph playing horseshoes with the townsfolks everywhere they visited.

 

> Who else in modern American culture do we have for a Will Rogers successor?

 

No one took his place at least in terms of influence, but there have been celebrities who exhibited the everyman persona...in comedy, particularly, I think of Andy Griffith and Bill Cosby as projecting the warmth and lack of pretense Will had while at the same time subtly commenting on current attitudes.

 

The character "Tom Destry" also reminds me of Will. He could have played that character, especially in the George Marshall version Jimmy Stewart did. Very Willsian.

 

 

Playing horseshoes with the locals..

horseshoes.jpg

 

Will with Walt Disney

DisneyWR.jpg

 

with Lindbergh

LindberghWR2.jpg

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Dec 28, 2010 12:25 PM

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I'd seen CONN YANKEE many years ago in a college theater (lecture hall by day, theater by night - and the evening clowns were so much better than the day-time ones) but Tuesday night's viewing reminded me of wooden acting and poorly-staged filming. This is what the infancy of film SHOULD be like!

 

I appreciate TCM giving us a chance to contrast YANKEE with its flow & technical problems to the later Ford-directed films. I've enjoyed all of those on DVD. It's hard for me to pass up any Will Rogers OR Myrna Loy film. And Ward Bond, too?!!

 

Then, this "Merlin" character - this Brandon Hurst. I didn't realize he populated so many of our DVDs, and often as "uncredited". GHOST & HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, he's got small parts in both, along with minor roles in other Bela flicks. In BONNIE SCOTLAND with L&H?!! I need to pay more attention!

 

Thanks, TCM, for showing this. I hope this makes it to DVD, even this sometimes choppy print is better than letting it fade away entirely. Not a great film, but a good milepost that film-lovers can appreciate.

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This was an awkwardly directed film...very "choppy" as you say, and it looks like the director, David Butler, may have taken on too much. Borzage's *They Had to See Paris* (Will's first talkie) is much smoother and even features him in a suit of armour. Say, is that really how they mounted horses in those days when wearing those tin can suits? :D

 

Myrna was great, so gorgeous and funny as Morgan le Fay.

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I was struck by Will's singing voice. I did not get to see any of CT. Yankee (why is it this OK boy made so many films set in Connecticut?), but I kept drifting in and out of sleep - In Doc Bull, his church singing really made me laugh, as he drowned out that old busybody! Ad his imitation of Bing Crosby in the next movie was great - endearing and sweet.

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HI Miss G.. just wanted to say thanks again for the heads up on Will's big night. And thanks to TCM, too for showcasing Mr. Rogers as well. I only caught the first two films, but really enjoyed getting to see them.

 

Now I do confess that I found Connecticut Yankee a bit "silly' but I mean that in a fun way, ha. It was QUITE silly near the end w/ all the modern machinery coming in to save the day, ha... but again.. it was fun (sort of in a "Keystone Kop-ish" kinda way.) And you are right.. OH that Myrna.. she was LOVELY (even if she was playing "rotten" ha.)

 

I absolutely LOVED Dr. Bull. I am SO glad to have gotten to see that one. It was the one film they showed last night that had been on my wannasee list for a while so I was very glad to have the opportunity. What a great story.. and what a terrific character for Rogers. I have not really seen his films (that I can recall) before but was just more familiar with his "persona" through his many witticisms and "ropin'" routines. Dr. Bull fit right in perfectly w/ the mental picture I have had of him based on the few things I knew about him. He was just terrific.. full of "homespun" humor with such a "common sense" manner of speaking. I really enjoyed this film very much.

 

I know I will sound like a whiner (ha) but there is just ONE more film I wish they had shown last night.. ha. I would have LOVED to been able to catch Judge Priest along w/ the other movies, but alas I was out of luck.I am still going to keep an eye out for it, though as that one has been on my "wanna see" radar for about as long as Dr Bull. Oddly enough I have SEEN parts of the film but the sound was NOT working. It was the "wackiest thing". I was "surfing" on the TV a while back and THERE was Will Rogers on The ARTS channel. They showed that film at least two different times this past month (that I noticed) and I watched it for several minutes both times (and was able to figure out that it was JP, but dagnabbit.. there was NO sound whatsoever both times it aired.

 

At first I thought it was a silent film (but I mean REALLY silent.. with NO music even) but then as I watched I realized there weren't even any little cards popping up on the screen in the midst of the conversation to show the dialogue so I THINK there was SUPPOSED to be sound with it and it was just not working. Anyway.. I was disappointed to say the least, because I could SEE what they were doing... but had NO idea what they were saying. (my lip reading skills need improvement, I guess, ha) I will keep watching out for that one. Maybe they will show it again on that channel and will get the sound fixed with it next time. (or better yet.. HINT, HINT... maybe TCM will show it for us sometime!!) :D

 

At any rate.. thanks again, little young'un for the reminder regarding last night.. here is your paycheck my little secretary. With all the bad weather you've been having, I thought maybe some warm brownies would be nice.. fresh out of the oven, just for you, dear girl. Grab a cup of tea and stay cozy, kiddo.

 

Peanut_Swirl_Brownies.jpg

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How do, Mrs Travis Blue!

 

will's singing in *Dr. Bull* so enthusiastic, the opposie of the ones tyring to show off or have it be perfect. Those moments reminded me of he Andy Griffith show, as did the opening scenes of *A Connecticut Yankee*. Poking at the "committee" mentality that sprung up in small to mid sized town all acroos america. Clubs and Committes and "movements" for the improvement of everything under the sun sprouted like mushrooms. *Dr. Bull* almost feels like it could have been written by John O'Hara.

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Hi Ro!

 

I'm glad you got to see a couple of Will's movies, and am especially pleased one of them was my favorite, *Dr. Bull*. I even thought of you last night when Will told off the town meeting, ha, I thought he sounded a little like the Peacemaker there. :D Oh, I just love Will's feistiness in this movie. I don't recall him being this way in any other movie of his that I've seen. It's the darkest of his films in some respects. But truly, I'm just as happy that he gets a girlfriend for once. :D I thought they had a great relationship, so mature and all, but loving.

 

I like the way he kicked aside the former husband's slippers. :)

 

I think the funniest moment in *Connecticut Yankee* was when Will was getting mounted on that horse wearing that suit of armor. When he said he knew now why the wars took 40 year...30 of them were for just getting dressed! ha!!

 

I hope you get to see both *Judge Priest* and *Steamboat Round the Bend* because they are perfectly crafted slices of a world that never really was...in total....but in is filled in many parts with the true heart of Ford, Rogers and Irvin S. Cobb's stories which remind one of Mark Twain.

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