At the 1932 Democratic Convention, Rogers is given a favorite son nomination for President, and his father is represented as being in the Oklahoma delegation. His father Clem Rogers died in 1911. See more »
If The Story Of Will Rogers did not exactly stick close to the facts it certainly captured the spirit of the man who in his time was America's beloved entertainer. Will Rogers was in fact more than an entertainer, he was a shrewd and trenchant observer of the political and social scene. We could use a dose of his wisdom today.
Will Rogers, Jr., who as a dutiful son was the custodian of his father's legacy plays the role of his father and you'll swear it was the real Will. Of course one can see the real Will Rogers in any number of fine films he made for Fox. The film is based on his widow's memoirs and she is played by Jane Wyman so the Rogers family had a tight control on this one.
It was quite true that Rogers took a long time to find himself, he was something of a rebellious kid who did not take to school. Clem Rogers, his father is played by Carl Benton Reid and he was a power in the Cherokee Indian councils. All Will wanted to do was be a cowboy, but he had a knack for saying some real funny things off the cuff and eventually parlayed that into a vaudeville act and after that the Ziegfeld Follies and movies. And of course a newspaper column that a collection of will be a really shrewd observation of his times.
One thing that was a glaring error, Will Rogers was never put in nomination for president even as a favorite son. Governor William H. Murray of Oklahoma was in fact a presidential hopeful in 1932 and he would have been surprised at that turn of events.
Not to say that he wouldn't have made a good president. There is an underside to the Rogers legacy. The dark mirror image of Will Rogers who never met a man he didn't like is portrayed quite ably on the screen by Andy Griffith in A Face In The Crowd. Lonesome Rhodes would have said he never met a man he couldn't take.
One of the things that Rogers said that was quoted in this film was that this was the greatest country in the world, but taxes are the privilege you pay for living in it. I wish a lot more people would remember that today.
The Story Of Will Rogers and the films of Will Rogers provide an enduring legacy to a man who was a national treasure in his day and now.
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