Saturday, November 6, 2010

From The Writer's Almanac

Will Rogers

On Thursday (November 4) It was the birthday of the cowboy comedian Will Rogers, (books by this author) born in Oologah in what is now Oklahoma (1879). In those days, it was called Indian Territory. He himself was part Cherokee and got the nickname "the Cherokee Kid." He grew up on a big ranch, and he learned to rope as a boy. When friends stayed over at his house, they would wake up to the sound of young Will yelling "Catch him! Rope him!" in his dreams.

He tried some school here and there, but he didn't like it, and he dropped out to work on ranches, traveling to Argentina, South Africa, and Australia. He got a job as a roper in the circus, and moved on to vaudeville, where he was a big success. He moved from just doing stunts to incorporating stand-up comedy in his act — commentary on the daily news, one-liners, and riffs on politics and culture, all delivered with an Oklahoma twang. Everyone loved his act, so he started writing a daily newspaper column, "Will Rogers Says," which was read by about 40 million people a day. On top of all that, he acted in more than 70 Hollywood films. He died in a plane crash when he was 55 years old.

He said, "America is becoming so educated that ignorance will be a novelty. I will belong to a select few.

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