Will Rogers' Weekly Articles
WA237 July 3, 1927
WILL IS ABLE TO SIT UP; DICTATES
California Hospital. Los Angeles. All I know is what I get in the mail and by telegraphy, but all I know when I get out of here will be a whole lot more than I knew when I came in. I’m not hardly in shape yet to give you the low down on the “COAX ’EM IN AND CARRY ’EM OUT
FOUNDRY,” but I’m learning every day.
I hope my constant reader and the two or three “in and outers” won’t mind me accepting a little help this week. Here is an old boy that sent a
poem that seems to about have the low-down on me:
DISEASE IN VERSE
William had a bum appendix
And, of course, there came a date,
When the Doctor gravely told him
That he’d have to operate.
So the hospital embraced him,
And the deed was neatly done,
But instead of being over
All his troubles had begun.
For he found he ran a gas works,
And from morn till dewy eve,
He was busy generating
Gas that nothing would relieve.
With the rumble and the thunder
of a detonating bomb,
Romped the wicked little bubbles
in his suffering abdomen.
Every touch on his incision
made him wince and moan with pain,
But the bubbles gaily gathered
And rolled up on it again
Through the night the plant kept working,
And the pain was never gone-
Every vicious gas pain shouting
To his comrades, “Hurry on!”
Long he stood the fiendish torture,
Till the flesh could bear no more.
Then the undertaker got him,
And the gas bombs roared no more.
On his tombstone is this message,
All may read who thither pass;
“Here lies rumbling William Rogers,
Blown to atoms by his gas.”
‘DOESN’T NEED GALL’
A rolling gall stone gathers no gas. When a man has Heart, Brains and Guts like you have, he doesn’t need Gall.
Stay in there and ride ’em cowboy; the whole Cherokee tribe are pulling for you.
It is a shame you have to have such a Tummyache, but when the ache is all over you will be better than ever. I’ve just been through it so I know. God Bless you, old friend.
One stone put Goliath out of business. But I am sure the armor of countless good wishes you wear will protect you against a thousand.
Herbert Bayard Swope5
Editor, New York World
All I know is what I read in the papers and I see that your gall isn’t what it used to be. Hope you won’t be disappointed in the scar and that
they didn’t take any of the funny part out of you.
E. C. Romfh, Mayor,6
Ziegfeld had same ailment, you have taken it from him as you have taken most of his money.7
Great Neck, L. I. N. Y.
We are doubly sorry you are ill. Will, we came all the way from Chicago to be married by the Mayor of Beverly Hills and had to get hitched
today by the Justice of the Peace at Santa Ana.
Mr. and Mrs. Ashton Stevens,9
Chicago Dramatic Critic.
Congratulations on your publicity and recovery, hope loss of stone weight is not overbalanced by loss to you Exchequer.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
What is the big idea? You ought not to have any of that particular quality removed, because you are going to need it all. However, a man’s gall
ought to be undiluted, so go ahead and take out anything that is not genuine. Have been anxious about you, because I think our stunts last Saturday did not help you any. Know you will be all right, but want you to hurry up and get well. We got home in good shape this morning. Again, thanks and best wishes.
Will H. Hays,11
Don’t get High Hat now just because you had an operation.
Dear Will Rogers:
Will Shakespeare is dead, also Charley Russell.13
We cannot spare you, greatest of cowboys. Democrats need you for President. Lindbergh too young. Henry Ford cannot carry New Jerusalem. Will ship barrel of Capon Healing water free if you will drink it, it will clean your stomach thoroughly.
New York City, N.Y.
Hope you are not as cut up as the streets of Beverly Hills.
I knew the Banquet grub would get you.
Capt. Irving O’Hay16
Permit an editorial surgeon to compliment your surgeon on a bit of clever cutting.
George H. Lorimer,17
Saturday Evening Post.
Next time you have gall stones put them in your wife’s name so they can’t take them away from you. Now that you are Hog Tied and branded
you can imagine how it feels to be a Short horn. Did the Doctor have to flank you to get his brand on you, and how long did it take? We are all anxious to see the design of the brand. Would advise you putting the Gall stones in Vaudeville. Take care of yourself, Bronco.
Freeport, Long Island, N. Y
1Gene Bernard, an unidentified admirer of Rogers.
2Nellie MacAleney Revell, American publicist, journalist, and radio commentator who was one of the first women to demand and obtain equal status with men in newspaper reporting.
3Charles C. “Charley” Starr, family friend of Rogers; worked as safety director of the Skelly Oil Company in Oklahoma for thirty years.
4Louise Dresser, American motion picture character actress who costarred with Rogers in such films as State Fair, Doctor Bull, and The County Chairman.
5Herbert Bayard Swope, executive editor of the New York World from 1920 to 1929; author of many books, including Inside the German Empire; winner of a Pulitzer prize in 1917 for his coverage of World War I.
6Edward Coleman Romfh, Democratic mayor of Miami, Florida, from 1923 to 1927; president of the First National Bank of Miami from 1912 to 1946.
7Florenz “Flo” Ziegfled, Jr., American theatrical producer, best known for the Ziegfeld Follies. First produced in 1907, these elaborately-staged musical revues featured a bevy of beautiful chorus girls and many of the leading stage performers of the day. Rogers appeared with the Follies from 1916 to 1924.
8Ringgold Wilmer “Ring” Lardner, famed American humorist and short story writer. A regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, Lardner also wrote sketches and lyrics for the Ziegfeld Follies.
9Ashton Stevens, dramatic critic and columnist for the Chicago Herald Examiner from 1910 to 1932. He was married to the former Florence Katherine Krug.
10Kirk Johnson, an unidentified admirer of Rogers.
11For Will H. Hays see WA 233:N 17.
12Forrest Braden, an unidentified admirer of Rogers.
13Charles Marion Russell, American painter, sculptor, and illustrator of western scenes, known widely as the “Cowboy Artist.” A close friend of Rogers, Russell died in 1926.
14Will Atkinson, an unidentified admirer of Rogers.
15Colin Campbell Clements, American playwright and novelist who wrote Harriet, Strange Bedfellows, and other works. He was active in the late 1920s as a screenwriter in Hollywood.
16Irving Patrick O’Hay, Irish-born American adventurer, soldier of fortune, actor, and horseman.
17George Horace Lorimer, editor-in-chief of the Saturday Evening Post from 1899 to 1936. Rogers occasionally wrote articles for the Post.
18Leo Antonio Carrillo, American vaudeville performer and stage and screen actor, best remembered for his role as “Pancho” in the popular Cisco Kid western films.
July 10, 1927
No WA appeared on July 10, 1927. Rogers remained incapacitated by his illness.
WA238 July 17, 1927
ETHER, CORN PONE, AND DISARMAMENT
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and I sure am having plenty of time to read what is in the papers. Well, I am back out home, I would have been here sooner but the town of Beverly is building so fast that it took us two days to find my home.
Yes, I am out of the Hospital and the old “stomacker” is percolating along on all four. If it wasn’t for argueing with the nurse over what you can do, and what you ought not to do, why I would have a lot more time than I have now. You can’t look crosseyed but what you hear. “Now you look out! You know what the doctor said!”
Say, listen, the doctor don’t have to keep warning me. I am not looking to be spread out and inhaling ether as a steady diet. It didn’t take much to put me insensible, but I hope I have heard my last “lay perfectly quiet now, you will feel better in a little while. It’s the ether wearing off.”
I am not out to break any quick recovery records, I never did get all the laying down I wanted in my life before anyway, so I am just a laying and lying. I wouldent have minded the whole thing so much but they wouldn’t let me have any “chili,” or chili con carne, as you amateur eaters call it. I sure do love my chili. If I could have just bogged down to a few bowls of good old greasy chili, I would have been well in a week. But I got the next best thing that I wanted and that was some real cornbread. Not this old yellow kind made with eggs, but cornbread, real old corn dodger, or corn pone, made with meal, hot water and salt. But I had to have my sister, Mrs. Tom McSpadden, from Chelsea, Oklahoma, show ’em how that should be made.1
She even had to send back to get the meal, they don’t know what corn meal is out here. I mean corn meal. And she showed ’em how to fix some string beans with some fat meat. Not just boiled in old hydrant water, But a real piece of ham or the side of a shoat.
Hospitals are all right, they are our greatest blessings, they take fine care of you, but when the old appetite comes back you don’t want to be
mixed up with a kitchen where there is one of those “dieti cians,” they know what is good for your health, but they don’t know what is good for your appetite. They figure out the calories, but I like to figure out the odor. If I happen to be having some bean soup, I want to be able to locate, at pretty prompt intervals, some little objects that look to me like beans. I don’t want a bowl of it where the beans have just been driven through there at low tide.
Now here is California that is supposed to raise everything. We had to send back to Oklahoma to get all the following provisions that really make life worth while. You see California is populated with such a Mongrel breed of people from every state and place in the world. They really have no dishes of their own. You give a Los Angelician five more gallons of gas, two hot dogs, a bottle of red soda pop, and somebody to blow off to, and you have just about covered his national diet. Why if one of these transplanted birds ever sat down to a real Oklahoma meal, he would eat so much he would be speechless, and that’s the nearest dead a Californian can be without being buried.
Why, these people don’t even know what “kon-nutchy” is, or kurd, or cracklins, or chitlins.2
All that is just like speaking perfect English to ’em, they don’t know what you are talking about. Oklahoma had to furnish our real Hickory Smoked Hams. Can you imagine ’em smoked in Eucalyptus Logs? There ain’t a Hickory Bush this side of the Verdigris river. Why we had to even send home for “sorgum.” But by golly I am living now. I am eating real Biscuits and for breakfast. No lightbread, or “wasp nest” for mine. Biscuits and real ham and cream gravy. Oklahoma will show the world how to live yet. I sho am living pretty, but I like to had to die to get it. Well, that’s enough about eating. What we got to take up is how is the world treating us?
Well the world is not so much in unison for us when we have nothing to give up for them. We were the bright particular hero of the Washington
Disarmament Conference, because we offered to show them something that no nation had ever seen before, and that was a nation sinking its own ships.3
Well, they all fell for that right away, and we showed them what a great fellow we was. We just sunk till we had nothing else to sunk. We promised to scrap our big building programme that would have by now made us the biggest navy in the world. “We are big hearted Otis, just watch us show you the biggest boob trick every performed by an alleged civilized people.”
Well that went off with so much applause from the other nations we said “let’s have another disarmament conference.”4
We thought it was their time to sink, and they come thinking, “Well maybe they will sink again.” But we had nothing left to sink, we had had five years to think it over and decided we hadn’t done so well at the first sinking as we had at first thought. England said, “It’s all right for you fellows to build ’em and sink ’em yourself. You have plenty of money, and it’s a great way of showing your extravagance, but we havent much money and when we build one it’s with the distinct understanding that any time it is sunk, it will go down a shooting.”
England finally admitted that America had a right to as big a navy as they have. Now, that sure was displaying a bunch of generosity, there is
one thing that has been mighty gratifying, and that is the way the American Delegation stood up at this conference. I went over on the Leviathan last year with our Deligation, and afterwards visited them at Geneva, and the main two then are the same ones that are doing so fine for us now. That is Hugh Gibson, our Ambassador to Belgium, and Hilary Jones, the finest old Admiral that ever looked with a knowing wink at England’s “apple sauce” toward us and our Navy.5
They have never fooled either one of these birds.
Well, the movie magnates was supposed to cut the actors’ salary, but they announced it without looking at their contracts they had with them. Soon as they learned to read the English part of the contract, why they called it off and charged the whole thing to overhead.
1Sallie Clementine Rogers McSpadden, eldest sister of Will Rogers; wife of John Thomas “Tom” McSpadden, rancher of Chelsea, Oklahoma.
2Coonoochee, Cherokee Indian food made from ground hickory nuts rolled into balls, boiled in water, and often served with beans.
Kurd, cottage cheese made from sour milk. Cracklings, or cracklins, fried bacon rind. Chitterlings, or chitlins, hog intestines.
3As a result of the treaties negotiated at the Washington Conference of 1921-1922, the United States and other world powers had to limit the size of their navies.
4The Preliminary Disarmament Conference, held at Geneva, Switzerland, in the summer of 1926, ended when the United States, Britain, and other conferring nations could not agree on significant points.
5Hugh Simons Gibson, United States ambassador to Belgium from 1927 to 1933 and 1937 to 1938. He also served in diplomatic posts in Poland, Switzerland, and Brazil. Hilary Pollard Jones, American naval officer. A former commander of the Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Jones served as an American delegate to the Geneva Conference on Naval Disarmament in the summer of 1927. He also attended the Preliminary Disarmament Conference at Geneva the previous year.
WA239 July 24, 1927
SEND A SOLDIER TO PARIS
Say, is this scheme any good? Is there anything to it? It won’t take long to lay it before you. If it’s any good, get behind it. But if you are not interested in the last war, or anyone connected with it, why this won’t be much good to you. So pick up your tabloid and go back to reading your favorite murder.
Every year our various soldier organizations meet and have a good time and talk over the most remembered time of their lives. They always talked about Paris and wished they could see it again. Well, this year they are to meet there. Just think meeting in the real country where the war was fought.
He wants to see, not the Paris of war times, with lights out and airplane raids, but the Paris he has heard of all his life, the Paris that was just built to entertain. He wanted to go to the battlefield and see the place where he ducked in time, and maybe his pal didn’t. Nobody knows what any soldier’s vision of France might be. It might be an old farm house where he was quartered. It might be the Eiffel Tower. It might be a French girl. It might, by the barest possibility, be an “American bar.” And the ones who enlisted and never made it over they have their visions. But a lot of those visions didn’t last long. “Paris; yes great place, but how am I going to get there?” “It’s going to be a great trip for somebody. Somebody else, not me.” “Cross the ocean? Say, I can’t cross the Hudson till they get a free bridge.” “It’s this week’s board that’s worrying me right now, more than the boulevards of old Paree.”
Now, here is the scheme. If it’s no good I will humbly apologize and bow out gracefully. Let every one of us who didn’t go before (or even sign up to go) send a man. Someone went for us before. Now let’s send him again. Of course the government sent him in our place the last time we didn’t go, and we didn’t even send anybody, the government even had to do that for us. Now let’s see if we can’t at least send someone ourselves this time. I know some that didn’t go are not able to send anyone. But that should be made up by the thousands that are able to not only send one, but five, or ten or twenty, or a hundred. A lot of rich men are real men. They have a great heart and are always willing to give, if they know its going to the real needy ones. I don’t know the exact amount, and that all depends on the accommodations, the same as the price room you might want to occupy at a hotel. But from what I have read five or six hundred dollars will provide the whole trip in a very comfortable manner. In fact I think its figures down as low as four hundred. His railroad fare from any part of the U.S. to New York is one fare for the round trip. Which is a very generous move of the railroads.
The Leviathan, our greatest and best manned ship, will be the flag ship. It carried over as many as 10,000 at a trip during the war and never had the sign of an accident. There will be no such thing as classes. You might have a higher priced room, but everybody eats together and its all one class. France is doing all they can to arrange reasonable accommodations in both hotels and private homes. What you spend depends on the amount of side trips you want to take.
Now my idea is not to just send a certain amount of money to some legion post and tell them this pays for a certain amount of boys, but to pick out some boy or boys yourself that you know is deserving, preferably some that are in the hospitals that are able to get about but not able to do anything toward their support. Don’t just give your money and forget it, but get acquainted with the boy or boys. Let them know who was doing it for them.
Why it should form acquaintances and associations that would be beneficial to both all your lives.
Maybe when they get back help them to get started in something, make him feel like he is your boy, and you want to help him. It would have a big effect on his conduct over there. He would want to do what was right and honorable, for you had trusted him and believed in him. Now I have been in towns where the Legion has held conventions and the “self-called better element” criticized the way the boys had acted. Some of the “100 per cent Americans” who didn’t go seemed to be kinder put out because some of the boys got tangled up with some “white mule.” They stumbled over some corn liquor. They seemed to think the boys should have met and prayed all the time, and at the end of the service taken up a collection for foreign missions.
Say, there wasn’t a one of them smelled anything on the boys’ breath the day he enlisted. In fact if he had wanted an extra “swig” anyone of the old good sisters or brothers would have taken him to their homes and given him some of their private stock. No, sir, his morals wasn’t as big a handicap as his flat feet. You could be “cock-eyed” the day you enlisted as long as they thought they could get you sobered up in time to get you shot at.
Bad eyesight kept more men out than bad breath.
So we are not in a position to criticize the boys if they want to pick Omaha up and throw it over in Minnesota. I saw one of their conventions and they acted almost half as bad as the American Bankers’ Association, who had nothing to celebrate but foreclosed mortgages. Now these old boys are liable to get in Paris, and if you don’t watch ’em they are liable to sneak out and take on a few “Drachms.” And a bunch of the wildest ones are liable to get in with a bunch of American Tourists and get pretty near as drunk as the tourists do. And we will hear sermons and read editorials about it.
Well if what they did for us in the last war wasn’t worth a good drunk, why then we ought to be made to fight the next war ourselves, and let them sit home and see whether our fighting was as good as our morals. We want to let them know that we don’t expect them to go over and enter a monastery.
But on the other hand we do expect them to keep out of jail. My idea, if possible, is to meet your boys and see them either on the train or the boat in New York if possible, have dinner with him, or them, the night before, think what a happy place old New York would be with thousands of little parties being held. Why, New York would be the happiest place in the world that night. Now these luncheon clubs, and all those outfits that everybody jokes about, they really have a fine bunch of men belong to them. But they never realize that they don’t do anything but eat and not good eating at that.
Now they could be a tremendous help to this. Just think of the Rotarys, Kiwanis, Lions, Civitans and all those, if each club in each town would decide how many they could send. Pick out men in their own towns. Every town has its deserving hero that’s not able to make the trip financially.
It might be a taxi driver. It might be a bell hop. And take care of his dependents while he is away. Then at your meetings read the letters he would write back to you, instead of sitting there every meeting listening to some old dry guy with a message on salesmanship or better relations between banker and borrower. Then keep on helping him when he comes back. Look at the towns that have a mother that lost maybe one or more sons, and they are buried over there. Think of sending her, and let her see those well-kept graves. What could be a greater outlay of a few dollars from each of your members. You do a few things like that and they will quit calling your clubs “Go Getters” and “Town Boosters.” You would have it on those intellectual critics then. And this means all these women’s clubs. Let them get busy.
The profits of a bridge game would send some deserving nurse that put in a couple of hard years doing so much as any soldier. Let these “Monday Musicales,” and “Tuesday Near Musicales,” let some of those dubs with no more idea, or purpose than a goat, let them do something worth while for somebody beside themselves.
Now you hear a lot of argument as to how they will be treated. A lot of people are judging how they will be treated by how the tourists have been treated. Say, France will fall over themselves to do everything they can for these boys, and when they want to be nice nobody can beat them at it. You know those are the boys that they know actually helped them out. While the tourists are the ones that go over and say, “We are the ones that helped you.” Europe will see the real Americans. They saw them during the war, but they never saw them at play before. France don’t want thousands of bad press agents leaving their country. They know their chances of using
these boys again depends on the way they are treated.
All of France has a tremendous regard for our real fighting men, be sure to give your boy enough to send him to London. They will get a great welcome there. Britain jokes us about us saying “We won the war.”
But the real British soldier knows that no American soldier that he fought along-side of during the war ever made that remark. All the countries will treat them great. Even Germany. That’s a redeeming feature of the war. It sometimes leaves as much real regard for your enemy as a fighting man as for the ones you fought by the side of. And you should go to Belgium by all means. They will be royally received there. The whole trip will do a lot of good, for after all’s said and done, they will find the real people about the same in every country. They got about the same problems and troubles. If we stopped and studied their angle we would perhaps do and say
just about what they do. It will make every one that goes over come back a little more generous toward the feelings of others.
We cheered ’em and we bought bonds (for which we got good interest.) We sold everything we raised and made at high prices till we said it hurt. Now let’s see if we can’t send them somewhere without having ’em promise to die to get there.
This whole idea may be all wet, but I am just bullheaded enough to give it a trial in a very small way myself and see.
The idea that the last war was a war to end wars has always appealed to me as more of a slogan than fact, and I think there is a bare possibility that we might want to use these boys again. Anyway it looks like mighty good insurance to keep them in a good humor.
WA240 July 31, 1927
WILL OFFERS MORAL SUPPORT
TO LONG TOURS
All I know is just what I see in the papers, or what I see as the Ford cars wend their way into Beverly Hills. If I am wakened by any kind of noise in the night, it sounds like the approach of a tired and leg-weary Ford. You see it all started by my offering the prize for the first nonstop Ford flight from Claremore, Oklahoma, to Beverly Hills. Or the other way. Well, I don’t know how many Fords there are in any state, but I know how many there is in Oklahoma, or was in Oklahoma. You see, it all come about by Lindberg getting St. Louis on the map. Now I knew we couldent hardly expect to have Claremore outdo Lindberg, for he is the last word. I knew we
couldent show much along the Aeroplane line. But I thought to myself you put us down near the ground in a Ford and we are pretty hard to clean after.
So the thought come, let’s have a Ford flight. Well the idea had no more than reached the public prints than half of Oklahoma was oiling up bent axles, patching inner tubes and looking to see which way Beverly Hills was. Now the distance is about eighteen hundred miles as Lindberg flys.
Here are a few of the letters in regard to entrance:
Kansas City, Mo.
Dear Mr. Rogers:
I am entering your Ford endurance race. I am equipping mine with eight wheels, so that I can use one set awhile and then when they get hot I can pull them up and use the other set. Will have a platform built all around it so I can do various odds and ends of jobs on it. As it is to be Non Stop, I have arranged with the various railroad Companies and informed them the day that I will cross their tracks and they are to stop the trains and give me the right away. Fog will determine the time of my hop off. I am going to try to be the Lindberg of the Fords. I may only wind up as a Levine, but look for me if I can find Beverly Hills.1
Lem L. Carpenter
Here is another prospective Hero.
I am entering. I am making what you would call a Solo Non Stop unless I could get you to go along and tell jokes that would keep me awake. Here’s hoping I get to you before the Doctors do, or I would just have my trip for nothing.
Clyde A. Brown
P. S. Have the radio stations broadcast the positions hourly so I would know where I was at. For I don’t want to get out there and get lost near Aimee’s Hut.
Dear Mr. Rogers:
To make you in the same class as those great patrons of sport, Wannamaker, Guggenheimer, and Hearst, I hereby accept your challenge.2
I figure on leaving Sunday, as that is when there is the least traffic in Oklahoma. Got side wheels on mine so I can go front back or out to either side. I want to make a lot of side trips, up to the canyon, and up to Calvin’s, so look out, I am coming.
Here is one from a dissatisfied Farmer:
I seed in the paper tuther day you was offering $500 for a feller that wod make a flite. Now I am a farmer, you kno ever since Ole Cal had enuf Baloney casings to kil our releef I have wanted to throw some wet corncobs at him. I want in them pictures, thats where I want to land up. I out to have about enouf whiskers by the time I get there to get a job in one of them Lords supper party’s. Hoping you have some kind of money making idee for farmers outside of farmin. Say that Bebe Daniels is putty ‘snorty’ looking.3
You couldent make the trip end anywhere up around her ‘iglou’ could you? Well, see you later, dont know how much later.
G. S. Long, Benton, IA
Us, Me and Liz, are all ready to start for Hollywood as soon as I can find out where that town of Claremore is located. It’s harder to find it than it is to make the trip. Have Beverly Hills wear a rose or something in its lapel so I will know it when I get to it. If it’s a foggy night have the fog horn going. Would like to locate a female Levine, but I want one that can get along with the Pilot. Get your Five hundred ready.
Richard T. Jones
Well, they had the race, and a fellow and his wife named Collins from Tulsa won it.4
They left Claremore about six hours after some of the rest of them and they got here about four hours ahead. They were in a Ford Coupe. They said they come all the way without a single stop, and they got the five hundred. The next to come was the “The Spirit of Claremore.” It was a home town product. Everybody in town loaned something off their car to put on this one to keep it going. It and the third car I gave a prize of $165 each because they admitted they dident make it through without stopping, as naturally that would have been an impossibility. So I thought honesty should be rewarded. There is so little of it nowadays, and I was glad it was Claremore that displayed some of it. They were all a fine bunch of folks and
we had a lot of fun, them telling how they made the trip. I am sorry we couldent get somebody to go the other way. I couldent seem to get anybody interested in leaving California. If they had gone there they sure would have located, for Claremore has got Radium water that if you ever take a drink of it no other water ever tastes or smells like it to you.
So St. Louis has nothing on Claremore. The Spirit of Claremore don’t soar as high as the Spirit of St. Louis, but ours is more practical. We know how to make the best use of the useful things of life. Detroit may make ’em, but Claremore knows how to start ’em, so they will keep going.
Now I will sell the non stop idea to somebody or some other town if they want it. I got to get some of my money back someway. It’s great to promote between two towns, the only thing, make them all start together, and keep together and they can see when one does stop then it has to drop out.
How about putting one on between California and Florida? Let the prize be for either direction and see which country the most would want to leave from or go to. Now I will let this scheme out on a royalty basis. Give me so much on every car that enters into any Non Stop Ford flight, no matter where they are flighting to. At any rate my personal promoting is at an end.
We got Claremore established now. I will be glad to lend any of just my moral support to any worthy tour.
1Charles A. Levine, American businessman who was the only passenger on Clarence Chamberlin’s epic flight of June 1927 (see WA 236:N 1).
2Lewis Rodman Wanamaker, member of a prominent Philadelphia and New York City mercantile family. Wanamaker was a noted aviation enthusiast, interested especially in advancing transatlantic flight. Daniel Guggenheim, American mining and refining magnate who established the Daniel Guggenheim Foundation for the Promotion of Aeronautics in 1926. William Randolph Hearst, influential American newspaper and magazine publisher and Democratic politician. Hearst-owned newspapers frequently sponsored cross-country and transoceanic flights.
3For Bebe Daniels see WA 233:N 19.
4Mr. and Mrs. John Collins of Tulsa, Oklahoma, awakened the Rogers family early in the morning of July 13 to claim first prize of $500 in Rogers’ “nonstop” automobile race from Oklahoma to California.
WA241 August 7, 1927
ALL THE NEWS
ABOUT CALVIN, CAROL AND BUD
All I know is just what I read in the papers. Now we got a lot of ground to cover this week; things have been happening that has an anxious world sitting, (I started to put that setting, then I happened to think that’s what a hen does, and who wants to be a hen). Well, the anxious world is right on the edge of their automobile seats.
Now the first thing of world importance that hits me in the eye as I pick up my morning paper is that Marilyn Miller and Jack Pickford are not going to get their divorce for another year.1
Well that just sets us all back a year; here we had counted on it, and it had all been properly advertised and billed; and now we are handed rain checks good one year from date.
We knock Mexico and Latin-American Countries, (that is, our Government does) and we say they are behind the times. But I tell you one thing about Mexico. You advertise that your show contains something, or you show a picture of something on your billboards and if you don’t produce for the people that very thing, the people go in and tear down your tents or the place the thing is held in. Now that’s a great idea. Here we can bill anything, and what is done may have nothing to do with what is billed. In the Movies every Picture you see has a kind of double or naughty title, and yet when you see the pictures they would like to be sorter wild but they just don’t seem to know how.
Now that should be the law and custom here about marriages and divorces; whatever is advertised make ’em come through with it. What Jack and Marilyn should do is to go ahead and get the divorce, fall in love and then get married again and then go ahead next summer on the regular divorce. That’s the way I would work it if I was their Press Agent. This furlough they are getting now, there is nothing new to that. It won’t make the front page of the second section.
But if they got the divorce, then on leaving the French Court (with eight hundred others that were getting theirs) let it be raining and she can’t get a Taxi, as she don’t know what to say in French for Taxi; he sees her fix, and he don’t know the word either, but he holds up a twenty Franc note and they get in together, fall in love, get married again quick. That will knock the Editors over for a column. Come back, open show and business will jump in “Sunny.”2
Make people go through with what’s billed.
Well Bud Stillman drew us nearer to Quebec last week by marriage.3
Ma Stillman staged it and everybody is hoping it turns out fine. Mrs. Stillman has repeatedly said “the girl don’t know much.” Bud settled a half million on her before the marriage. If that’s a sample of her primitiveness, the Lord help men if the women ever get smarter. This young fellow is a fine man, and if more of our young rich men would go to the woods and get some wives instead of to the Night Clubs we would soon be raising a better bunch of young ones.
Poor Levine, he and Lindberg both flew over to Europe.4
Of course Levine was cargo. But at that if the planes had dropped, you can be just as dead as a passenger as you can as a pilot. Well Lindberg seemed inspired. Everything he did and all that he said made a Diplomat look like an amateur, but he had to be good to offset all that Levine has done. The poor fellow seems to mean well but he just either says the wrong thing, or if he can’t think of the wrong thing to say, why he says nothing, and does the wrong thing.
France is on him now for trying to hire one of their best men to bring him home. You see Lindberg and Chamberlain and Byrd said that France should be the one allowed to make the first Western trip.5
We had made the eastern trip so much that it looked like a one way street, but Levine went over and he wanted to be the first to come back by air. He don’t seem to be able to get on with any of his Pilots. While he is arguing with them he could take that much time and learn to fly a plane himself, then he wouldent have anybody to argue with but himself.
Dempsey come home to Los Angeles and they give him a big reception.6
None of them had thought enough of his chances to bet on him. I had a nice invitation from the Governor of Michigan to come to that big celebration they had.7
He said I would see twenty Governors together. Well they held it and sure enough they did have a terrible mess of them. One Governor Hammil of Iowa made a speech and said, “If Calvin Coolidge don’t give the farmers relief let him out, and we will get a man that will.”8
Well them’s harsh words, but Cal never dropped a fishing pole; he just read it, spit on his bait and kept dragging the little Perch out of Squaw Creek. He knows the election is 15 months away. He knows a good crop next year will do more for free rent than all the promises he could think of to make
Well it’s a long jump in news from Calvin in the Black Hills to Carol in the Momarte district of Paris.9
But it looks like old Carol booted one when he changed wives too quick there and just changed himself right out from under a Crown. Carol had a series of wives and when his father died he happened to be living with the wrong one.
Now they’ve got ’em a young Jackie Coogan for King.10
The funny part about it those Nations take all that junk serious. Who is King of one of those Saddle blanket outfits make just about as much difference to the Country as who’s Postmaster at Broken Bow.11
Course we all are anxious to know where Marie finishes in their comedy of terrors, for she wasent a bad fellow.12
I see where that chair she was crowned Queen in at the Sesqui-Centennial at Philadelphia was sold the other day for 15 dollars. There is not much interest in Philadelphia Queens.
All we would read out here for awhile would be the heat in the east. Then all at once we dident read any more about it. The reason was that the Los Angeles Editors were overcome by our own heat out here and as soon as they are able to survive their heat prostration they will start writing about the heat in the east again.
There ought to be a Comedy last line. The Disarmament Conference are in session in Geneva to assist England in the procuring of a Navy.
1Marilyn Miller, American musical comedy star who was a leading performer with the Ziegfeld Follies during the 1920s. A blonde dancer and singer, she made her first motion picture, Sally, in 1929. Jack Pickford, American motion picture actor who appeared in films from 1910 to 1928; younger brother of Mary Pickford (see WA 233:N 2).
2Sunny, successful musical comedy play that opened on Broadway in September 1925 and starred Marilyn Miller in the title role. Miller recreated the part in the motion picture version of the play in 1930.
3James “Bud” Stillman, Jr., son of a socially prominent New York City banker, announced his engagement on July 26 to Lena Wilson, described by newspapers as a “child of the Canadian woods.” Stillman met Miss Wilson, daughter of a Canadian farmer, while vacationing with his family near the Wilson home.
4For Charles A. Levine see WA 240:N 1.
5For Clarence D. Chamberlin see WA 236:N 1. Richard Evelyn Byrd, American naval officer and explorer, best known for his expeditions to the North and South Poles. Byrd made a transatlantic flight with three companions from New York to France on June 29-July 1, 1927.
6William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey, American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926; he lost the crown to Gene Tunney (see WA 229:N 7). Dempsey won a controversial bout with Jack Sharkey of New York City on July 22. Sharkey cried foul, alleging the knockout punch came when he turned his head toward the ring referee to protest Dempsey’s below-the-belt blows.
7Fred Warren Green, Republican governor of Michigan from 1927 to 1931.
8John Hammill, Republican governor of Iowa from 1925 to 1931.
9Carol, flamboyant crown prince of Romania who renounced his right to the throne in 1925, deserted his wife, and went to Paris to live in exile with his mistress. He later supplanted his son, Michael, as king and ruled Romania from 1930 to 1940.
10For Jackie Coogan see WA 233:N 2. Michael I, king of Romania from 1927 to 1930 and 1940 to 1947. Six-year-old Michael became king under a regency on the death of his grandfather, Ferdinand I. His father, Prince Carol, supplanted him in 1930.
11Broken Bow, a town in southeastern Oklahoma.
12For Queen Marie see WA 234:N 4.
WA242 August 14, 1927
ANENT ALICE ROBERTSON AND OTHERS
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what comes prowling around up on the old hilltop at Beverly. I don’t know what it is, whether it is old age. I don’t believe its old age, for its a condition that has always been with me, that is I am a great admirer of old people. Of course we will all say that we are, and everybody has unlimited respect for them. But what I mean I like to meet ’em and hear ’em talk. I have got great respect for what they did in their day and time. This thing we are living in is not a day or a time. It’s just a mess.
A few days ago we had the pleasure of having in our home, (I might say modest home) for we are the only home in Beverly that has low ceilings, eat dinner at noon, and supper 30 minutes before going to bed. Haven’t a Grecian tennis court, and the hired girl (I said the hired, not a hired girl), says, “Dinner is ready for you all,” instead of a butler bowing low and announcing, “The meal is served Madam.”
This visitor we had was what I consider one of the outstanding women of America. It was Alice Robertson of Muskogee, Okla., as the country affectionately knows her, “Miss Alice.”1
She was our Congresswoman from Oklahoma, and if memory serves me right the second woman to sit in that great law-making body. Miss Janette Rankin was first.2
Miss Alice is a very lovely kindly old lady. She has devoted a long and useful life to do nothing but help someone else. She was on her way to Oakland, Cal., to attend the great meeting of the Club Women of America, she had been sent by her State as the outstanding woman. She has been raised among our people, the Cherokees, also the Creeks and Seminoles. Her father and Mother before her were Missionaries among the Indians. She has lived right around Muskogee all her life. She is a Republican in politics and a Democrat in actions. She was elected as a Republican in a Democratic Constituency. She was defeated because she voted against the Soldiers’ Bonus Bill in Congress, yet she was, all during the war, and is today, the greatest friend the Soldier ever had. She voted against it because she thought it was a mere pittance, that it was just a Political Handout to get the votes of the Soldiers. If it had been five thousand dollars apiece she would have voted for it. She ran a Restaurant in Muskogee and went broke doing nothing but feeding Soldiers free.
Women of various clubs went out against her because she was against the “Maternity Bill.” She thought that women should be allowed to have children in privacy without any meddling of the state or Government to see if it was antiseptic or not. Her house burned down and she lost everything she had. She was supposed to have struck oil on her land. It turned out to be only gas, and not enough to pay, so they plugged the hole up again. Yet, she has a good word for everybody. According to her, the world ain’t wrong, the Interests are not against her; she has been well repaid; the world don’t owe her anything; she is happy, she don’t worry. She is just a wonderful
old lady and I am glad it’s Oklahoma that claims her.
Another old Oklahoman was up to see me; a man that when I was a kid growing up on a ranch in the old Indian Territory, why this man owned more cattle than any man in the nation, that was W. E. Halsell of Vinita.3
He gave a school to that country in the early days, called Willie Halsell School, and I went there awhile, in fact quite a while. I was four years in McGuffys fourth reader there, was in Ray’s arithmetic three years and couldent get to fractions. Well, I saw they wasent running that school right. I could have taken it and made something out of it, so I just got out. That’s the way I have always done with schools; the minute mine and their plans dident jibe why I would get out, or sometimes they would ask me. I would generally always do it if they did; I was an accommodating boy.
I went to Muskogee to a school there awhile when I was eleven. It was all wet, too, so I wouldent monkey with it. When they sold this big XIT Ranch in Texas, the biggest one in the world, why Mr. Halsell bought a big part of it.4
He has built a whole town on it, and another school. He told me I could go there and start in where I left off at the old Fourth Reader. He is one of our richest Oklahomans and dident make it out of oil. He is a Cowman and always will be. When these old-time owners that drive to the Roundup in Buicks, get out and work their herd and drive back to town that evening; they are not Cowmen, they are just dairymen without the bucket. Charlie Siringo, the old Cowpuncher that has out a great book now, called “Riata and Spurs.”5
Get it, it’s great, there is no love interest. The Wild Horse, Rex, dident run away with the leading wild mare Bess. It’s sorter old-timey in that respect.
Well, Charlie was out to spend the day with me. What a great old character he is. I don’t know; these old people seem to know so many more things than us folks here now; they are so much more kindly and considerate. Another that I don’t want to class as an old-timer by any means for he is only 58 and as well and strong as the day when he steamed the Merrimac into the Enemy’s harbor and sank it, when it looked like sudden death for he and his seven men whom he had picked out of all the whole fleet that had volunteered, Mr. Richard Pearson Hobson, our outstanding Hero of the Spanish American war.6
He is connected with a wonderful work, now the
head of the Anti-narcotic work in this country. Say, let him tell you what is happening to the youth of this country through drugs. Talk about our crime waves, it’s nothing but “Heroin,” that’s all the crime wave is. They have got to rob to supply the dope. Talk about profit in things. Opium from the time a certain amount leaves its original owner in China until it is split up into all its various ingredients and passes through all the hundreds of hands, increases in value nine thousand times. That is, a grain of it sells eventually for nine thousand times as much as it originally cost. Talk about bootlegging and doubling your money; he is the Ford of the bootleggers.
Judge Ben Lindsey of Denver is coming out to see me.7
He don’t exactly come in on old-timers’ week, but the Judge wants to explain to me his angle on all this marriage business he has caused so much talk about. So by the next time I may have something to relate to you along the line; Love, and all its various products. I have a great admiration for the Judge: he has done the greatest work with that court of his of any man in America. I like to get everybody’s angle. He sure does know people and human nature.
Maybe I can take his scheme and the Preacher’s one, the Hollywood one, and between the three of them work out something that will be satisfactory to everybody. Just off hand I think the Mormons have so far worked out the most ideal scheme. So look out in an early issue, for Love will find a way.
And you remember what I told you about old people; you talk to them and get around them and see if you don’t just feel better after you have done it. But watch for the Sex issue.
1Alice Mary Robertson, Oklahoma educator and social worker who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1921 to 1923.
2Jeannette Rankin, Montana suffragette, social worker, and rancher who served as a Republican in the United States House of Representatives from 1917 to 1919.
3William Electius Halsell, cattleman from Vinita, Oklahoma, whose Mashed O ranches in Oklahoma and Texas comprised one of the largest cattle operations in the Southwest.
4The XIT Ranch, established in the Texas Panhandle in the 1880s, encompassed the largest fenced range in the world. Its 3,050,000 acres was patented by the state of Texas to a Chicago syndicate in 1888 in exchange for money to build a capitol at Austin. Pressing obligations during the next twenty years forced the syndicate to sell most of its original holdings.
5Charles Angelo “Charlie” Siringo, Texas cowboy and author who trailed outlaws in the West for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for twenty-two years. His autobiography, Riata and Spurs, was revised and reissued in 1927, a year before Siringo’s death.
6Richmond Pearson Hobson, American naval officer, hero of the Spanish-American War of 1898, congressman, lecturer, writer, and prohibitionist. Hobson founded and served as president in 1927 of the World Narcotic Defense Association.
7Benjamin Barr Lindsey, American jurist and social reformer. Lindsey drafted several legislative proposals and lectured widely for the juvenile court movement in the United States, but his most controversial stance was his advocacy of “companionate marriage,” which called for more easily obtained divorces and for birth control.
WA243 August 21, 1927
ABOUT JUDGE LINDSEY AND
All I know is just what I read in the papers, since Cal made the first page with his little slip of paper with the well chosen word of “CHOOSE” on it, instead of something more definite, why there just ain’t been anything else in the papers.1
Even if people had taken it serious there couldent have been much more said about it.
Well you know last week I told you that I was expecting a visit from Judge Ben Lindsey, of Denver, and that we might be able to ring in a little sex, knowing my readers are right up on their toes and both ears thrown forward when the man versus woman question is discussed as only a man of my vast experiences with such matters can discuss it.2
Well the Judge come out and I was on the edge of the chair to get an earful of this “Take a wife home on approval” idea.
Well he come in and I kicked all the trick ropes and the kids and the dogs out of enough chairs so he could sit down. He seemed awfully pleased to see the children and meet the woman that knows a joke because she has lived with one for 19 years. I thought I will get him started in on his life’s work in the Juvenile Court and then I will gradually let him drift into relations pertaining to Male and Female.
Well, he is a little fellow with a large smart looking head, speaks with a southern accent not acquired in Denver. He had the first Juvenile Court in America, founded in ’99, twenty-eight years ago. All the Juvenile courts and Juvenile laws are in some way taken from this original one. (He dident tell me all this for he dident have to, I knew it already.)
When I used to play Denver on the old Orpheum Circuit I used to go up to his court and hear the odd way he had of handling cases, the sort of human way instead of the cold Justice way. I dident meet him then but I had always been a great admirer of his work. Well he got to telling all about cases that come up in his Children’s Court and he had the Kids popeyed listening to him. I was interested, mildly, but it was the deeper stuff that I was laying for. I could hear about kids, or hear kids, any time or anywhere. In fact that’s all I did hear. But my wife and I never have much chance of tuning in personally on the big problems of the day.
He had sent fifteen hundred young boys to the reform school all on their honor with no guard or anyone with them, and only six had ever run away, and they come back and apologized and he sent them up alone the next time and they got there. Now when fifteen hundred boys have confidence in a man I am not going to start in condemning him as quick as all the clergy do. Because I don’t believe there is a one of Judge Lindsey’s critics that could get fifteen hundred boys to even go and get a dish of ice cream with them. They would be afraid it was loaded some way. He don’t really run a court at all, he just runs a kind of confidential agency. Most of his cases are in his private office, or in his home. His wife works with him.
Then the kids were greatly interested when he told them about one time when they were going to put him into jail because he would not tell the court what a twelve-year-old boy had told him in confidence. He claimed that he never repeated what was told him by all the unfortunates and that he would be breaking his word. They fined him a thousand dollars for contempt, but they never did find out what the boy told him. Well the evening kept dragging along about what to do for the very young. But it was the mistakenly called “Matured” that I wanted to hear his solution of. I kept trying to shoo the infants off to bed, but they were crazy about him and wanted
to hear about every one of the fifteen hundred cases. Finally I got ’em out as it was growing late and I moved over near him, that is as near as I could and not step on my wife and then I diplomatically worked around to it by asking unconcerned. “What about taking these women to our House and Board on Probation?”
Judge says, “Will, they got me wrong on that. I don’t advocate free love or trial marriages. I am for more and more old fashioned marriages and marriages that will stay marriages.”
Well that took all the spice out of the evening as far as I was concerned to have the judge deny that if one dident live up to the specifications you could return her, or him, which ever one of the half-witted parties might be at fault. I would have been better off if I had invited Aimee up as far as getting something snappy for constant readers.3
Then he told us.
“There are six million young men between the ages of 21 and 30 in this country that are not married.” That the reason they are not married is principally economic, that they don’t feel that they can support a wife in the manner that everybody else looks like they are supporting one and that they will bring children into the world which they can’t properly care for, and another reason is that they see so many matrimonial failures around among perhaps their own particular circle of friends that it scares them from marriage.
Now he is for birth control and more marriages. He claims that 75 per cent of the children in the country are produced by the poor, that the poor should have the benefit of this knowledge of birth control the same as the rich seem to be in possession of. In fact he must be right about the rich, they must know something for results are proving it. He claims the extra marriages brought about by that fear removed of too many children would offset the amount of children now produced by lack of knowledge of the poor. He claims that the whole thing has to right itself through knowledge.
It all seemed mighty plausable, and he seemed anything but radical or a fanatic. I was wondering how he was going to work out any scheme where love was actually free. He seemed to me to be plotting against these six million to get some way to get them hooked.
Then I brought up the divorce question. I had to get to that kinder tactfully as my wife was right there, so I worked that pretty slick. I diplomatically said, “Not that I am interested in the thing personally but how do you stand on the divorce thing, Judge?” That let my wife know that I had no ulterior motives.
Well he has got a lot of common sense in his divorce plan. He wants more honesty in divorces and less divorces. He claims that 80 per cent of the divorces are obtained by collusion. I always thought it was “Collision.” What he meant by that is that they are faked and framed up, that both parties agreed to something before it ever went to court. There are only certain grounds for divorce in certain states and he claims that those grounds in most of the cases never happened. He says that over 50 per cent of the costs of courts is in divorce cases. He says that it could all be avoided by doing away with all lawyers, and in some states juries, and have them tried before someone with understanding without all this cost to the taxpayers and to both parties concerned. He says half the lawyers make a living out of divorces.
He wants more humaneness shown in divorce cases where there are children concerned.
I tell you he is a smart fellow, a very human man. Roosevelt was a great admirer of him, and you couldn’t fool that gentleman.4
Through trickery his election was thrown out after he had defeated his opponent, which is no credit to Denver. Judge Lindsey is better and more favorably known than Denver. Mention Denver and the party will say, “Oh, that’s the place where Judge Lindsey has that court and looks after the young boys and girls.”
All this stuff is away over my head, but I know that he has dealt with more real human nature right down to earth than all the preachers in 10 states, and if he proposes something, I know it’s based on experience and common sense. If ever one of his critics could have saved and turned on the right path as many as he has in his lifetime there would be no use looking for a heaven, for we would have it right here.
I wish we had some bad people here in Beverly Hills, Judge, I would use you here, but there just ain’t anything for you to do. Claremore is sorter figuring on a crime wave soon as they harvest the crops, and if anything comes of it, Judge, I will send you down there.
1Coolidge, who had been under pressure to run for reelection in 1928, presented reporters at the summer White House on 2 August with a written statement that he did not “choose to run” for president. Some people interpreted Coolidge’s message as a willingness to accept a draft.
2For Benjamin B. Lindsay see WA 242:N 7.
3For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 226:N 1.
4For this and all further references to Theodore Roosevelt see WA 228:N 7.
WA244 August 28, 1927
WELL, I MADE ’EM A GOOD
MAYOR FOR A WHILE
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. A few months ago I read in the papers that the Legislature of the State of California had passed a Bill where if a Town was governed by Trustees, or Dads, or whatever it is they call them, that the Chairman of the board of the Trustees had to be known as the mayor. That was appliable to Cities of the sixth class.
Well I never paid much attention when I read it; knowing it as one of those things they do during the sessions to try and make it look like they are doing something. It was just in among a list of jokes that they had passed. Like in Minnesota one time when they introduced a bill to demand more Roosters. They claimed the pro rata share of Hens versus Roosters was too one sided, so some good humanitarian friend of old Cock Robin was coming to his rescue by an act of Legislature. When you look over a barn yard it does look like he was asked to carry on a little too much. It’s all right for a man or animal or Fowl to do what they can to perpetuate his race but there is no use asking him to do the unusual.
Well the first thing I knew people got to calling me up and saying, “I see where you are going to lose your job as Mayor.” I never paid much attention to that even for about two thirds of the talk in Hollywood or Beverly Hills can’t be depended on. Then I commence to hear what it was all about, this joke column of the Legislature’s really applied to me. It was to take effect the first of August. I was Mayor but I was not Chairman of the Board of Trustees. You see he handles the distribution of the Money and they had over looked that little detail of appointing me to do that.
It looks like a direct dig from the Legislature, you see a few months ago I played on my tour of enlightenment in the City of Sacramento and the Legislature was in session and I was asked to speak before them in joint session. That is, men from every joint in the Legislature was allowed to come in, including the Governor, which he did. I had the joint packed, it was free, none of them come that night where it was three dollars.
Well I dident want to appear critical but I told them a few things about how their joke foundry was operating. The men that come in 49 and stole each others Grub Stake would have been Aimee McPhersons in comparison to this elected and selected bunch of Robin Hoods.1
Well the truth hurts, I don’t care how thick the hide is, even a Rhinecoros can’t shed off true facts, so I just figured that after I had left town they cooked up this Bill to knock me out of a position that I had filled with honor and high mindedness.
I had been appointed to it by Doug and Mary, and I had made ’em a good man.2
More things happened under my administration than in the whole life of the City before. Jack Gilbert broke into our jail under my administration, a thing that he had never done under any other.3
Gloria Swanson had left Paris where she had made her mark and was coming home to live under my administration.4
Lon Chaney had worn some of his most fiendish makeups right under your little Willie’s Mayorship.5
Real Estate men sold lots that they had never been able to pan off on anyone before.
There was less foreclosures than in any other history of the town. Course on the other hand the town had some setbacks. Take one of our cosmopolitan tax payers Pola Negri.6
We held out great expectations of her gaining us a lot of healthy publicity on account of going to Europe and bringing back a count, and she has to pull into New York at the same time Lindbergh did.7
So that was a total loss to us. As far as the publicity was concerned she might just as well married some honery American.
But how did we know about Lindbergh going to spoil all our well laid plans? I have always maintained that the least these foreign Noblemen could do would be to come over here and marry the women folks, but I guess there are girls that are afraid to take a chance on sending them the money. They are afraid they would blow it in and not come. So I guess it’s better to go right over there and get them and take no chances, and sign no checks till the person closes the book and says, “Bless you my children” for really they are children at heart when they do that.
Another thing that is breaking my way I notice there has been very little sunshine since August the first, all fog and mist and haze, I promised ’em sunshine and they got it when I was in. I promoted things, I put on the Ford race from Oklahoma, one of the biggest things this town ever had, and it also gave them their first look at a Ford car in the town. I put on an operation for ’em, they had never had a Mayor operated on till I come in.
Course I am not knocking this fellow that is in. Syl Spaulding, he is a fine fellow, disgustingly rich, raises the finest Irish Wolf Hounds that was ever shipped from Scotland.8
He has got enough that he could afford to be honest. Now whether he will or not I don’t know. He has a Ranch or Farm, and when a Man has one of those to support it’s always better to watch him. He hasent the class or dignity that I loaned to the office. He graduated from Stanford, (as Moran and Mack say) some little old country College I never even heard of it.9
It certainly has been gratifying to see the amount of offers I have had since being decomposed as Mayor. But I am just sitting tight, next year is election year and something better will show up. The only trouble is, it’s liable to show up on the Democratic side where it won’t do any good. I will stay here and give Spaulding the benefit of my knowledge and consul, I won’t do the sour grapes act and sell out and leave. Besides I don’t want to close out at a loss. I don’t want to be a sore head but I think the town has reached its peak. I know I told a fellow where I was from the other day and he asked me, “Where is that?”
There is only one thing that makes me sore about the whole thing and that is this, “This law applies to Cities of the Sixth Class only.” My Lord if I had known that I was ruling in a city of the SIXTH class I would never had taken the thing in the first place, I should sue them for lowering my standing. Sixth class! Why that’s the lowest class there is I reckon. Mayor of a SIXTH class City, why I will be years living that down.
And here is something to pin in your hat and remember, with anybody beside me as Mayor the joint will remain a SIXTH class City, if I had stayed in I could of at least got some ammunition and brought its standing up on a level with Chicago.
1For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 226:N 1.
2For Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., see WA 234:N 6; for Mary Pickford see WA 233:N 2.
3John Gilbert, American motion picture matinee idol of the 1920s whose major films included The Merry Widow and The Big Parade.
4Gloria Swanson, glamorous American stage and screen star who made her first film in 1913 and continued occasionally to appear on screen in the 1970s.
5Lon Chaney, Sr., American character actor, famous for his elaborate make-up in macabre roles; known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces.”
6For Pola Negri see WA 233:N 8.
7Negri married Prince Segre Mdivani, a member of an exiled Georgian-Russian noble family, on May 14, 1927.
8Silsby Spalding, California businessman, rancher, and oilman who served briefly as mayor of Beverly Hills. He owned the Tecelote Ranch near Goleto, California.
9George Moran and Charles E. Mack, American blackface comedy partners who appeared on stage, in motion pictures, and on radio as “The Two Black Crows.”
WA245 September 4, 1927
I WENT BY KANSAS CITY
TO MISS ST. LOUIS
Well, all I know is just what I see in the papers, and what I see as I leap from craig to craig. As I pen these few lines I am in our National Capitol.
I come here to receive an appointment from the National Press Club of America as Congressman-at-large. I knew I wouldent be out of a job long
after they threw me out as Mayor. I knew I would show that one-reel town that I could get out and do better. So I started east. I figured the west was overrun, with Coolidge and Longworth and Hoover and Dawes and all of them out there, the place to be was right in the east.1
That’s where the voters are.
They got a lot of space out there in the west. But the voting booths don’t add up anything when the sun goes down on Nov. 4th. Why just the
Orangeade stands in the east can deliver more votes at less per vote than the entire mortgaged area west of the Mississippi. Never mind catering to the best. Cater to the places where they have voting down to a science.
And just to show you how things broke for me, I was to pass through Kansas City. I had to do it to keep from coming through St. Louis. They
were holding a big dinner and get together meeting of the association of Ex Mayors, or Defunct Bugormasters of the U. S. Well, my train was to
stop there for about thirty minutes (they had to get orders as to where to go next) and all these Ex Mayors come down to the Depot to meet me, and they made me the first President of the Ex Mayors’ Association. I had to get up on the information booth in the center of the great new Union Station they have there and deliver my maiden speech to the poor down hearted souls.
Well, guess who met me in addition to the Mayors! Why, not a soul but our old friend Jim Reed, of Missouri and Senate fame.2
Well I nominated him for President. He come up on the platform and made a speech. I nominated him, but not for 28. I nominated him for 1932. Jim is a Democrat (that will be funny to all who know Jim when they read that statement, that he is a Democrat), and I think too much of him or anyone else to nominate them on the Democratic Ticket for President in 28. If the rains keep on and help out Mr. Coolidge on his farm relief there is no way in the world of prying him out of there. I think by 32 Coolidge really will be tired of the thing. Of course he may be just beginning to like it by then. But I think that you will see him say in 1931, “I will not run in 1932.”
Now I think that is what you will see in 31 instead of, “I do not choose to run.” That’s the year I think he will mean it. Of course you can’t tell, if Mellon stays with him and Hoover, and the fish are biting why we may get the old Gag “Choose” again.3
Well anyhow, we had a fine time there with Senator Reed. And I promised to throw the support of the Ex-Mayors Association his way.
I tell you there is a thing that will sweep this country before its through. Did you ever realize how many men each town has got wise to and throwed out as Mayors? Why there are more Ex Mayors now than there are Democrats. You have no idea the amount of men that Towns have escaped from.
You know sometimes we lose confidence in our style of voting and think the American form of government is all wrong. But that night as I stood on that improvised rostrum and looked out at those hundreds of Ex Mayors from all over, and saw them not in office, and I just thought, there is JUSTICE IN THE BALLOTT. Sometimes it is slow working, a lot of them stayed in office a long time. But the American voter like the Canadian
Northwest Mounted Police, “always got their man,” and here was over two hundred that had been GOT. I wanted to change the name of the Association.
I dident want it to be known that I was ever connected with the Mayor business. But these poor devils were sorter proud of it. I was trying to live mine down. It’s the most growing association in the world. You see every time a town holds an election why, (if they do their duty) we land another member to our Ex Mayors association. Just figure the amount of towns in America, and each one of them furnishing us new members at least every two years. Of course in case of impeachments we get ’em oftener. Why say, I will be at the head of one of the biggest things in this country the first thing you know, course it won’t be very important. But it certainly will have numbers and another thing, we seldom ever lose a member. An ex Mayor never dies. He lives just to get back in office to spite the people.
Now, as head of the organization, I am advising all the boys to not put too much dependance in getting back into office. Our people’s memorys
are longer than the politician gives them credit for being, and don’t get the idea that because they don’t notice you when they see you on the street that they have forgotten you. They act like they have forgotten you. But you run for office again and you will soon see that they have remembered you.
Sometimes if you move to another town, you can get away with it, and finally crowd yourself in to office again. But we have figured it out and the statistics prove that for the small amount that do get in, and the large amount that don’t do any better at a new town than they do at an old one, why it’s really not worth the expense of moving. Your record or your ways are sure to follow you.
Jimmy Walker is the smartest Mayor.4
He is doing his traveling while he is in office. He can see the handwriting on the wall. He knows as Ex mayor he would mean nothing to Europe. But he is going while the going is good. That’s what I should have done. I should have traveled more while I was Mayor. But the trains and the Airships wouldent go any faster. I did all I could. Now I wouldent have taken over this position if I hadent thought I could be a big help to the men as well as to the Country at large. Here is what I am suggesting, GO TO WORK, JUST LIKE YOU NEVER HAD BEEN MAYOR AND NEVER WANTED TO AGAIN. Now I know that go to work is rather a radical move on the Ex Mayor’s part. But if you will do that you can slowly rehabilitate yourself back into the good graces of the people. Not enough to be elected again, but enough so they won’t shun you.
And think what it will mean if I can put to honest work every Ex Mayor in America. Just get him to quit looking for his old job back and go to work. Why that would be the greatest life’s work I could ever do.
1For Nicholas Longworth see WA 221:N 2; for this and all further references to Herbert C. Hoover see WA 229:N 5; for Charles G. Dawes see WA 221:N 2.
2For Jim Reed see WA 228:N 2.
3For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 231:N 3.
4James John “Jimmy” Walker, dapper and flamboyant Democratic mayor of New York City from 1925 to 1932.
WA246 September 11, 1927
COWPUNCHER IN CONGRESS;
PRESS CLUB LOCATES JOB
This is an appointment I received at a Public Reception given at the Auditorium in Washington, D. C. by the National Press Club of Washington
composed of all the Political writers from all the various papers in America. Now this is an awful good speech, better than anything I could write you. Also the one from Senator Ashurst which I want to give you later.1
While the speech is good it was the poorest appointment I ever got. General Pershing and Secretary Hoover were the principal witnesses of my inauguration.2
Louis Ludlow, President National Press Club, said:3
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. Recently I read in the papers that Will Rogers had been separated from the mayoralty of Beverly and was contemplating the future in a woe-begone “Where do we go from here?” frame of mind.
That piece in the papers instantly aroused the sympathy of the National Press Club. Long ago—and I measure my words when I say it—we members
of the National Press Club learned that there are no finer people in the world than Mr. and Mrs. Will Rogers—especially Mrs. Rogers.4
We took down our battered copy of the United States Constitution and read Article X, bearing directly upon this situation, which article states that the federal government is to exercise only such powers as are reserved to it in the Constitution.
We put a committee of eminent lawyer-members of the Press Club at work on that article, composed of Harvey D. Jacobs, Frank J. Hogan and
Jerry A. Mathews, and after subjecting the article to the third linguistic degree and exercising their facile construing powers these constitusharps reported back that, in the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, all powers not expressly reserved to the Federal Government are to be exercised by the National Press Club.5
This gave us the leeway we needed to take care of Mr. Rogers.
So we set about to find a job for him. Our first thought was to back him for the vice-presidential nomination on a Coolidge-Rogers ticket. Our
idea was that Will would represent noise and the President would stand for silence. The President could throw the lariat and Will could throw the bull, and it would make a well-balanced ticket. Just when we had that all arranged the President “chose” to renig, and Will’s vice-presidential prospects went blooey. We knew that we could not hook up Will with any other presidential candidate, because that would make a ticket that would be overloaded with noise.
This rebuff from the President only made us all the more determined to recognize the distinguished public services which Mr. Rogers rendered
the mayoralty of Beverly by finding some way to promote him upward. We did not at all indorse the action of Beverly in giving him the air. We believed then, and we still believe, that his administration as mayor of Beverly, California, has done more than any other factor to make America a great and strong nation. I say this despite the fact that we have not always approved his foreign policy. His assertion that he did not visit Queen Marie of Roumania when he was in Europe because he could not find her country struck some of us as a grave diplomatic error which in the case of a high-strung monarch, might have been provocative of war.6
But we liked the way he buddied with Mussolini, because that insures force will be on our side in the event of another war and with Mussolini backing us we shall be able to hit with a stiff punch.
So, in spite of the weaknesses of his foreign policy, we approved Mayor Rogers—approved him tremendously. Finally, an idea came to us
like an inspiration and we grabbed it. It occurred to us that a good many states of this Union have congressmen-at-large, but there is no congressman- at-large for the entire nation. Exercising our clearly defined constitutional prerogative under Article X, we have decided to appoint Mr. Rogers Congressman-at-large for the United States of America, his duties being to roam over the country, pry into the state of the Union, check up on prohibition enforcement and report at regular intervals to the National Press Club.
We are happy to state to Mr. Rogers tonight that this new office, upon which he is about to enter, is not without its material rewards and that it automatically carries with it a suspended salary of one dollar per annum.
In the name of the National Press Club I now confer upon Mr. Rogers his commission as congressman-at-large from the United States, which
reads as follows:
Know all ye men by these presents:
Whereas, Mr. Rogers has served with distinction as unofficial ambassador, without portfolio, and Whereas, his service as mayor of Beverly, California, has added another scintillating page to American History, and Whereas, Mr. Rogers, being at present without official connection, is
in the status, as he has carefully explained, of “a good man looking for something better”; now, therefore Be it resolved, that the National Press Club, recognizing superlative statesmanship when it sees it and believing that the country’s greatest need is not a good “five-cent cigar” but a Congressman, Will Rogers, hereby appoints the said Hon. Will Rogers congressman-at- large for the United States of America, effective immediately, his tenure to continue during good behavior.
Done at the Club’s Headquarters under its official seal this, the Twenty Seventh Day of August in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and
Louis Ludlow, president
W. H. Atkins, secretary
Emmet Daugherty, chairman
board of governors
We are fortunate in having with us tonight two men who, the historians inform us, were cow-punchers together in the long ago, Mr. Rogers and
the silver-tongued senator from Arizona, Henry F. Ashurst. I have not had time to investigate just what the historians mean by the statement. I could not say of my own knowledge at this moment whether they punched cows at the same time, or whether they punched the same cows, but I hope this point will be cleared up before the night is over. Knowing the brilliancy and caliber of Senator Ashurst and Congressman-elect Rogers I am prompted to make the suggestion that it would be a good thing for the country if more of our statesmen came to the capitol by way of the corral.
And now it is my pleasure to present to this immense audience Senator Ashurst who, in turn, will introduce his fellow congressman and associate
cow-puncher, Mr. Rogers.
1Henry Fountain Ashurst, Democratic United States senator from Arizona from 1912 to 1941.
2John Joseph Pershing, popular American military officer, known as “Black Jack,” who commanded the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I and who served as Army Chief of Staff from 1921 to 1924.
3Louis Leon Ludlow, Washington correspondent for the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and the Ohio State Journal from 1913 to 1929; president of the National Press Club in 1927; Democratic congressman from Indiana from 1929 to 1949.
4Betty Blake Rogers, wife of Will Rogers. The couple was married on November 25, 1908, at the Blake family home in Rogers, Arkansas.
5Harold Duane Jacobs, American newspaperman who founded the Baltimore (Maryland) Post in 1922 and served as its editor from 1922 to 1929. Frank Joseph Hogan, American defense attorney who practiced in Washington, D. C., from 1902 until his death in 1944. Jerry A. Mathews, American newspaperman, attorney, and cofounder of the National Press Club. Mathews left journalism in 1920 to obtain a law degree; he then practiced law until his retirement in 1939.
6For Queen Marie see WA 234:N 4.
WA247 September 18, 1927
“I STUDIED EVERY BITE HE TOOK - - -!”
All I know is just what I read in the paper. That is, that is all I did know up to a few days ago. All I could see or read in the papers was “Jack says he never felt better and will knock him out sure.”1
“Gene says he never felt more confident in his ife.”2
Tex Ricard says, “It’s Phneumonia to me, what happens the night of the fight.3
I will have gotten mine by then, let the championship fall where it pays the best.” That is what we was all having to read in the papers, so I could see that wasent getting us anywhere, so always on the lookout for the very latest and best in what is good for my readers, I just passed through Chicago and went right out to get the real lowdown on the physical condition of Jack Dempsey.
I knew a lot of my friends were going to rely on my judgment as to how to place their money on the big modern parade. So I wanted to see for
myself just the very shape he was in and how he looked in his workouts with the various sparring partners.
He is training out at a race track. I thought by that he was maby going to make a race of it that night, but I found he had gone out there on account of a high fence to keep Kearns out with any injunctions.4
I had phoned out that I was coming as I wanted to see Jack train. He was awful cordial as he always is. He is one of the finest fellows to meet
(never mind what Sharkey tells you) you ever saw.5
I had timed it just right for lunch. He is one of, or was one of my constituents out in Beverly Hills before those politicians throwed me out. There was one big room full of people eating. I thought it was Rickard feeding his audience that he expected to have the night of the fight. For I had heard he expected a record house.
We went into a private dining room, Jack, Floyd Fitzsimmons, the Western Promoter, and myself.6
They brought in some of the most wonderful fried fish. Rock Bass, they were just about the size of a punching bag. I think they was private that somebody had sent Jack, so when Jerry the Greek saw them come through the big dining room he come in with us to eat.7
If you have never met Jerry the Greek you have missed one of the finest Dialect lessons you ever had. I thought maby it was the Rock Bass that had got crossways in his throat that was causing us all not only to wonder what he was saying, but even what tongue he was speaking. But when the fish was finished, he got worse. I wanted to get him back on some more fish. I could understand him better when he was drinking water. He is a great fellow, however, and Dempsey’s most loyal friend. He has been with Jack ever since Jack was able to buy two tickets for a drawing room. He hollers out the signals in the ring and the other side can’t get them. It was the first time I had ever been to a training camp in my life, and the first time I had ever watched a fellow in training eat. The fish was so good, and things were cooked so good, I was sorry I hadent taken up a little box cuffing
Now as far as his condition in training was concerned. Why he dident look as good at the table as either I, or Jerry, or Fitzsimmons. We went right in wide open and never pulled our punches with either knife or fork. I thought maby they would make a boxer in training eat with his boxing gloves on. Well we made a sucker out of him for eating. I thought they would of course talk about boxing and fighting, but all they talked about was aviation. Jack hadent done any training so far that day, outside of eating breakfast. Tunney was coming into town that day to establish his training camp.
Well the camp was all agog getting ready for the training. We all got in cars and went over about 10 miles to where a fellow really had room to
train. It was my first experience seeing a fighter train, so I dident know what to expect. Instead of boxing gloves they all got a club apiece and instead of some husky fighter or punching bag why they all took a poor little innocent white ball apiece and they started in whaling the gizzards out of it. Well they hadent trained very long before I could see the ball wasent getting much the worst of it. It was holding its own. If I could a made a bet I would have bet on the ball. Leo Flynn was training with him, and he asked me how I thought Jack looked.8
I told him he looked terrible on that long five-fifty hole, that his footwork was all right. He was getting plenty of that
going back and forth over to adjoining fairways but that his direction was terrible for a man with a fight only three weeks away.
Flynn says, “Yes but his mind is good. Nothing is worrying him.” I says, “Did you see him when he got to that creek?” I never saw a man so
worried in my life. He tried to knock it across on the bridge. And Jimmy Hussy the comedian couldent put his ball in his pocket and carry it across.9
Flynn trained pretty good. He must have had a lot of leisure time in his life and never had to work for a living. After seeing Jerry the Greek play I know why Greece declined as an athletic nation. Dempsey’s long range punches were better than when the ball was up close to him. It’s his Inn fighting on the greens that he has to perfect. His approaches is wild. Once the ball got him over against the ropes in the sand and it made a sucker out of him. It looked like he was out there for awhile. Just as they counted nine he got up
Course on the other hand Tunney is just as liable to look bad in the sand as Jack. Jack’s judge of distance seemed to be bad, why half a dozen
times he dident get up there, or the hole would duck and he would go way on past. Course I am telling you his shortcomings more than I am his good points. You are going to bet your money and I want you to know just what shape he is in. As I tell you I dident get to see Tunney train as his clubs hadent come, but the chances are that he is just as liable to pull ’em, or top his long ones as not. Course you got to figure this if Jack ever connects with one of those swings he will “Hole Mr. Tunney out in one.” He will make a DODO if he lands right. Then he has a mashie punch if it gets to working along in the center of Tunney’s fairway is liable to cause some trouble.
Now this is the condition that I found him in. I watched and studied every move of every bite he took, and every stroke he made. His breathing
after eating was perfect, and he dident seem to tire on the links only when he got in the sand, or a running creek. If he can get by those two things he ought to be sitting pretty. He made a 92 the day I was there. Now lay your bets according. They was giving him 32, so that made him a 60 which wasent a bad workout, 60 will win pretty near any fight. Jones can only do a 67.10
He looks great. His muscles stood out like whip cords when he was passing me some more fish. They say you can tell a fighter’s real condition
by his color. I guess that’s why Jack Johnston always fooled ’em.11
He said he sleeps fine, that’s what all sporting writers are supposed to ask them. If that means anything I would be champion of the world myself. He is about five pounds over weight, but two good sand bunkers and Jerry the Greek getting to the table first for about two meals and he will take that off. Now boys I have given you the dope as I saw it, so lay your bets accordingly.
1For Jack Dempsey see WA 241:N 6.
2For Gene Tunney see WA 229:N 7. Tunney met Dempsey on September 23 at Soldier Field in Chicago in a rematch of their championship bout of a year earlier. Tunney won the fight, which was marred by a “long count,” one of the most famous moments in boxing history.
3George Lewis “Tex” Rickard, famous American sports promoter who arranged and promoted the Tunney-Dempsey rematch.
4John Leo “Jack” Kearns, American boxing promoter who managed Dempsey and other champions. Kearns who parted company from Dempsey in 1925 because of personal and contractual conflicts, went to court against his former protégé, claiming to share Dempsey’s earnings.
5Jack Sharkey, American prizefighter who held the world heavyweight title from 1932 to 1933. See also WA 241:N 6.
6Floyd Fitzsimmons, prizefight promoter from Michigan who was a close friend of Jack Dempsey.
7Jerry Invadis, Greek-born American boxing trainer, who acted as a second for Dempsey in his return bout against Tunney.
8Leo P. Flynn, American boxing trainer, manager, and promoter. Elynn served as Dempsey’s trainer for his bouts with Sharkey and Tunney in 1927.
9Jimmy Hussey, American musical comedy and vaudeville performer who was a close friend of Dempsey and other boxers.
10Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, American amateur golfer who was one of the all-time great players of the sport; winner of four United States Open championships, three British Open crowns, and five United States amateur titles.
11John Arthur “Jack” Johnson, black American boxer who was the first of his race to win the world heavyweight title, holding the crown from 1908 to 1915.
WA248 September 25, 1927
WAIT TILL CONGRESS MEETS AGAIN!
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. We are going to be awful short of news, especially of pictures of our President attending the Rodeos and Wild West shows. I think we will have to have a little show go to Washington and put on a few bronk riding and Bull Dogging stunts to make him feel like old times. Course a little later on he will have about all the bronk riding himself that he can do. The minute the Congress comes, when he starts breaking them in again after a long summer's lay off he will be pretty busy.
Wait till he starts trying to bull-dog Jim Reed, when Jim comes in with all this election evidence to try and show that the Republicans are paying admission when the show was supposed to be free.1
Wait till farm relief bills start coming in and Cal will have to get those spurs out (that he had so much trouble walking in), and he will need 'em to stay on top when the vetoing starts.
You know one thing I missed when they come back to the White House and that was news of Rebecca, the Coon. Rebecca left Washington with more billing and advertising than any racoon that ever left them parts. She hit the Black Hills and was the headliner in all the news dispatches, and now they come back and I have looked through all the baggage and I can't find hide nor hair of that Racoon. Now what I want to know is what become of her? I am just afraid of two things. One is she might have contracted a morganatic alliance with some political male member of her fraternity and decided to remain in the Black Hills. She had seen the political side of Washington and decided that it was very much to the Apple Sauce. Or the main thing I fear and the reason you never read about Rebecca again is that she might have possibly turned Democrat. In that case of course she would have been banished without trial. But anyhow we have lost somewhere one of the most colorful members of the Presidential party. My Lord you don't read any more about her now, than if she was one of the Secretaries, or detectives.
Course by the time this reaches you the Big prize fight will be over.2
It will be the most money that these two have ever fought for up to now. I tell you those big purses sure make a man think. I certainly kick myself I dident learn to box. I was going to learn but we used to hear so many terrible things about John L. Sullivan and how rough it was.3
But I certainly am making up for it, for my oldest boy that is in Culver Military Academy.4
I am having him drop all his studies and just specialize on boxing.
Of course I want him to have golf so that he will be able to train for his fights. Then I also am having him take writing too so that he will be equipped in case he does ever make the prize ring. For I can think of no worse catastrophe than to become champion in any line of athletic endeavor and then couldent be able to write about it for the papers.
I hope when my boy becomes champion he can find some good partner to fight with every year or so, so he won't have to go out and meet a lot
of outsiders. It's so much easier after you get used to fighting with the same fellow. You take some stranger and you never know what they are going to do. But you take two fellows that know each other fight and the hardest part then is to carry the money away. And to think that crazy kid of mine wanted to be a lawyer!
Well, what else do we see in the papers nowadays? The League of Nations are meeting and Germany was rude enough to suggest disarming. They said it was in the League's business and they wanted to see about it. Well, Lord, Mr. Coolidge's little three-horse conference had already
crabbed that, so the disarming is out now until we get enough ships ahead to start sinking again. Mr. Hoover has just returned again from the South.
He is about the only one that seems to still remember that they had a flood.5
The others thought the minute the water had gone why everything was all right. He certainly is trying to do something for a people that he knows need it worse than anybody in the world. Nobody don't know now what is going to keep the waters from breaking over next spring if they get high enough. The only thing they will have is just Congress in session, that's all we got to hold 'em back.
It's been a kinder slow time for our marines lately. We haven't had 'em shooting at anybody anywhere now in several weeks. I never knew of a
time when we had fewer wars on our hands. The Mexican election, I guess, will be about the next one for them.
There has been a great fellow died since I wrote you all last week. That's this fellow Marcus Loew.6
The owner of all the big movie houses. I had the good fortune to have known him since his early start in the show business, and I always considered him one of my best friends. He was the most modest rich man you ever saw. He had a great sense of humor, more than any one I know of in the movie business and that's saying a lot.
Dr. Gianini one of the owners and founders of the great Bank of Italy, told me just today out at the Studio where I am working, that he thought
Marcus Loew was the squarest man he believe he ever dealt with.7
That he was more than honest. He was a great credit to his race. You would have loved him, everybody that ever knew him did. I remember last summer when I was on the boat going to Europe he and Lee Schubert the big Theatrical Producer, were on the boat.8
The big General strike was declared in England just a night or two before we were to land, and most everyone that was originally going to go to London switched and got off at Cherburg to go to Paris. I told him I was going right on to London. I had my family with me, and do you know that man talked to me till about two o'clock in the morning when we were going to land at Cherburg about eight. He was afraid that during the strike there would be riots and bloodshed, and that I or my folks might get hurt. I felt there was no danger. But he certainly was thinking of our welfare. He gave lots of people amusement at a very low price. He was a real human fellow was Marcus Loew. Dr. Gianini told me today that Marcus was perhaps worth 35 million when he died, and you wouldent have thought he had ten thousand if you had met him.
1For Jim Reed see WA 228:N 2.
2For the Tunney-Dempsey prizefight see WA 247:N 2.
3John Lawrence Sullivan, American bare-knuckle boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1882 to 1892; later, appeared on stage, in vaudeville, and in motion pictures.
4For Bill Rogers, Jr., see WA 224:N 3.
5For the Mississippi River flood see WA 230:N 1.
6Marcus Loew, American theater owner and motion picture producer who was a cofounder and controller of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation.
7Amadee Peter Giannini, Italian-American from California who founded the Bank of Italy and who also was a director of several corporations.
8Lee Shubert, American theatrical producer who with his brother, Jacob, Jr., owned a nationwide chain of vaudeville and motion picture theaters.