Will Rogers’ Weekly Articles

April 2, 1933 - Current

Apr 2, 1933


Well all I know is just what I read in the newsprints. If you just read Mr. Roosevelt’s daily orders to Congress why it keeps you pretty well informed on what will happen before it happens. Congress is minding just like a movie mob.

Say this guy Hitler has grabbed off the spotlight from all the dictators. He is a Dictator to end all Dictators.1 When I was in Europe a year ago this last January, I made arrangements from London to go to Munich to see this Hitler for an interview, then some newspaper guys talked me out of it, saying “Why he is only a flash in the pan. Before you get your interview published he will be through.”

Dog gone it, I wish now I had gone. I would like to see what kind of a bird he is. I don’t know but what I will prance over yet and take a look at him. But he is so big now I guess I couldent get an interview. If I did I would sure make it a nice one (all in his favor) till I got out of Germany anyhow. For that old boy runs that Country like a warden.

There must be an awful lot doing over in Europe now. Things are stirring around, kinder smells like another war. Can you imagine the Prime Minister of the Great England going clear down just to see Mussolini?2 Why any time in the past any one to have suggested such a thing would have been thought crazy. Mussolini a few years ago was one of the untouchables, as far as organized society was concerned. But the big boys are even flying to see him now. Ramsey MacDonald going down there to see him dident help out France’s peace of mind any, and now with Hitler doing a Mussolini, and Germany and Italy becoming kinder friendly, France don’t look on that as being so hot either.3

You know those Nations over there are just like a lot of so-called society women in a small town. The minute two of ’em get their heads together, it starts all the others wondering. Each one don’t know which other one to hook up with. They are so busy scheming and fenagling around that it’s no wonder they don’t get anything done at home.

France has been kinder lining up for the forthcoming festivities, signing up what Nations she could. She has Poland under contract. Mr. Woodrow Wilson fought hard to get Poland some freedom, but she is about sick and tired of it, and is about ready to go to war to end the whole thing.4 She is about as big as the lower half of the King Ranch in Texas, but has the biggest standing Army in Europe.5 Poland don’t hardly know who to jump on till France makes up her mind for her.

Then, Rumania signed up with France for the duration of the next war, and one or two of those little nations that France loaned enough money for the King to get him some new Uniforms. I guess we are about the dumbest Nation in the world in that respect. We have loaned more money to foreign Nations than anyone, but we never was smart enough to make ’em sign that they would help us out in case Mexico or Canada or some other bully jumped on us.

But when those bully Nations over there loan money to each other, there is a war clause in it. Of course the Nations like Poland and Rumania and those don’t ever figure on paying France back, but neither do the ones we loaned to, I think Austria too signed with France. No, I believe they got a better offer to go with England and made them the loan.

Your loan value as a Nation is in proportion to your war strength, and also to your geographical position. Now for instance Japan couldent get a dime from France. She is too far away from Germany. If Poland dident join Germany she couldent get any. That’s why Mussolini is sitting so pretty. They join France, so that gives them a mighty good loan value from any Nation that don’t care so much for France. If Germany had any money Italy could borrow all of it.

Switzerland just sits there in the middle of it all and hopes for a war so they can take care of the rich refugees from both sides. Switzerland is just like one of this board things they have in a bull ring where you can run when the bull gets after you. Holland is another one that keeps her nose clean when the European shooting starts too.

She just sells milk and butter to both sides, and an occasional diamond when things are prosperous. Spain is so far off to herself that she can’t afford to pay transportation to any country she could lick. Portugal discovered the whole world, and when there was no new worlds for a Portuguese to find, they just folded up and went out of business. So the old war will be on again pretty soon, but this time with different line ups and we will all say “Ain’t it a terrible thing!” And here we will kill more on a nice Sunday afternoon on our roads than they will in the first year of war. Well if we get in the next one I will vote my first Republican ticket.

1Adolf Hitler, chancellor and Fueher (leader) of Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945. The supreme dictator of Germany, Hitler based much of his political philosophy on racial bigotry, especially anti-Semitism.
2Benito Mussolini, founder and leader of the Fascist movement and dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943.
3James Ramsay MacDonald, Scottish-born British Labour party leader and statesmen who served as prime minister of Great Britain in January 1924 and from 1929 to 1935.
4Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Democratic president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. Wilson played a major role in the settlement of the Polish question during the peace deliberations following World War I.
5The King Ranch, which embraced more than 1 million acres spread over five southern Texas counties was founded in 1852 by cattleman Richard King. Robert Justus Kleberg, son-in-law of King, managed and controlled the ranch after the founder’s death.

Apr 9, 1933


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers.

Bernard Shaw come to town a week or so ago and threw the biggest commotion in the film colony since Marlene Deitrick traded her chemise for breeches.1 That old Shaw baby just had answers to all the riddles.

“When will you have your plays filmed?”
“When the movies are able to handle them as they should be.”
“Which is your best play?”
“They are all good. I don’t write any other kind.”
“Some day I am going to rewrite Hamlet the way that it should have been in the first place. Shakespeare is like a volcano, he erupted, then for a long time he would be dormant.”
“America is not ready for prohibition as they are not happy enough. You have to drink to drown your troubles. I don’t drink, but I don’t expect your country to live up to my standards.”
“In California I had to fly over one mile high to see the sun.”

So you see the old whiskered rascal was really hitting on a mojority of ’em. And here is a funny one. Mr Winfield Sheehan, our studio General Manager, had a party up to his house in Beverley the other night.2 It was given for Miss Diana Winyard, the English lady that did such wonderful work in “Cavalcade.”3 In fact it was given for the whole company that made that photo, which by the way is considered about the classic of the year. So naturally that made “A few Englishmen.”

Mrs Rogers and I ventured out, for it was kind of a home talent affair, all our own studio folks.4 It was about our first venture into the night life of our Metropolis. She stayed awake till 11.30 but I dozed off around 11. We got home a quarter of twelve.

The whole thing was awfully decent. I guess that’s why I dozed off. She stuck it out another half hour figureing something would break out. But we had a fine, what you call buffett supper. Most buffett suppers, or dinners either, are a kind of excuse for not having much to eat. There is something about a “Buffett,” that suggests that it’s only going to be a couple of sandwitches and some potato salad. But this fellow Sheehan doubled crossed everybody much to their enjoyment and physical fortitude, and he not only had a tremendous lot of stuff on the table for the first helping, but he seemed to have more of it in the kitchen, and they just kept on bringing you more. Spagetti, chop suey, baked ham, salads all kinds, then lots of English dishes that we Colonials dident know what they were, but the Englishmen were just using up their knives and vocabularys on.

We had some red wine that on account of him being a very high sachem in New York’s Tammany Hall, they had sent him out to try, to see if it would pass the test for the new law.5 It was three and two percent. It was highly endorsed by all Englishmen and the scattering Plebians that attended. They are an awful nice bunch of folks these Englishmen. Well durn it, come to think of it, everybody is nice, with a host like Mr. Sheehan, and food that don’t include any wings and necks, and a good three and two percent that hasent been tested too strictly. I tell you pretty near any nationality looks good. I don’t mean that you got to get full to make ’em look good, but they just naturally are good. Now we had a Frenchman there, a mighty fine looking young actor called I think it was Garrah.6 Now as we all know Frenchmen are in the dog house with us. But he and I got off in the corner and we went over France’s situation. I have always claimed that France handled their own affairs better than any other nation, (with the possible exception of England). We cuss ’em, but we havent got their troubles. We can tell the world what they should do. For we have two great friends. No nation ever had two better friends than we have. You know who they are. Well they are the Atlantic and Pacific ocean. There is a couple of boys that will stand by you. And you can always depend on ’em, three thousand miles wide and a mile deep.

Give me a couple of good oceans between me and my enemies and I will sink a battleship and do away with a couple of companys of Cavalry. But you take old France bedded right in there next to Germany, with nothing in the world between them but a boundary line of two hundred years of hatred, and I am going to tell you brother, I would look out for France, and I don’t blame ’em for looking out for France. What we forget is that every nation has to look at things from their own angle, not our angle. You must always remember America can get altruestic, (is that what you call it?) well even if it’s not what you call it, that’s what I am going to call it, but remember we got the old two oceans, our pals, the Atlantic and Pacific.

But what I originally started in to tell you about was these Englishmen. At the dinner I would brag on Shaw, and they thought he was the hooey. You see these Englishmen can’t figure out in all these years, is Shaw for ’em or against ’em. They don’t know. So if an old guy 77 years old can outfigure you, why give him credit. So as I started in to say, Bernard Shaw made a sucker out of England. One out of us, and everybody else, so let’s just be good sports and admit that what the world needs is more whiskers, more vegetarians, and more teetotlers.

1George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, novelist, and literary critic noted for his satiric wit; winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1925. Shaw arrived in the United States on March 23, 1933, for his first visit to the country. For this and all further references to Marlene Dietrich see WA 534:N 2.
2Winfield R. “Winnie” Sheehan, American motion-picture director and producer; vice president of Fox Film Corporation from 1921 to 1935.
3Diana Wynyard, British stage and motion-picture actress who made her debut in Hollywood in 1932. She starred in the film Cavalcade in 1933 for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
4Betty Blake Rogers, wife of Will Rogers. She married Rogers at her family home in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1908.
5Tammany Hall, a Democratic political organization in New York City that controlled party politics in the city and wielded much influence in municipal affairs.
6Henri Garat, French supporting actor who appeared in Congress Dances, The Charm School, Adorable, and other films, mostly in the 1930s.