July 2, 1933 - September 24, 1933
GOSSIPS ARE EXPERTSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. Well, we been kicking along out here in the movies. I been working on a country doctor story, handed out enough pills and castor oil to do something to the whole world.1
Driving around, Mrs. Rogers and I, the other night and passed a theatre where there was a terrible lot of cars parked and we got out and went in, and there was a preview of Marlene Deitrick’s picture and we couldent get in, so we had to keep on driving.2 Wanted to see it pretty bad, but it dident do any good. It was a piece called “Song of Songs.” It was done I think by Poli Negri.3 In fact, anything that’s any good has been done from once to a hundred times in some shape or another.
You see we had the silent pictures, and they did every story under the sun, then along came the talkies, and that gave ’em an excuse to do all the silent ones over. Generally with what they called younger actors, but just because they were young didn’t necessarily mean that they were better actors. In fact, on the stage we thought that your talent grew with experience, that if you had had many years to your credit that you had perhaps learned your trade, but in the movies, if you were a good actor five or six years ago, that means that you have forgot how to act by now, and that some young girl that has just looked well in a bathing suit can out-act you, and you must give way to her. Or that if it’s a boy, and if he has curlier hair and looks nicer why naturally you must pass out. So as I say maybe Marlene did this about one-tenth as good as Poli Negri, (or whoever it was that did it last) but youth must be looked at, talent be dashed.
Well that’s that. Walter Winchell, the old boy that told the stork where to go and when, he was out about 10 days ago on our set.4 (Meaning at the place where we were taking movies.) Well he is a very surprising fellow, he is small of statue, nice looking, well dressed (as far as I could judge) seemed awful pleasant, very modest, looking for information instead of trying to give out any. I asked him how it was that he could tell the forecoming of a blessed event, and he said, it was just second sight he recknoned. That in the early days among all his other accomplishments he studied to be a doctor, and that naturally a doctor had a keen eye and that he attributed any premonition along that line to his early medical training. Then I asked him how it was he knew when people were going to get married, and when they were going to be divorced. That was not on the regular medical routine.
Well for instance marriage. He said he watched the divorce first, that was to give him a line on who was to get married. That there never was a divorce without at least a 50 percent marriage being in the offing. So he watched ’em before they was divorced to see who they would marry after the divorce. He says that marriage is a habit, and divorce is a necessity.
Then of course the minute he finds out who is marrying, it don’t take a bit of thinking or figuring on who will be divorced. In fact he seemed kinder astonished at me, that I was so dumb as to not know who would be divorced. “Why the ones that got married.“ Well as stupid as I am I had never thought of that, but that’s just what he does, he just watches the marriage notices, and then announces the divorces after that. You see with the people that he writes about this record is infallible. When they are married you take no chances on announcing their divorce, and when they are divorced you take no chances on announcing their marriage. Course you got to work on a certain class of people to do that, but that is the class of people that he works on.
Now I work on an entirely different class of people. I work on politicians. Well they are not as mechanical as these that Walter works on. My bunch is harder to figure. A politician just figures on a job. How can I make this job last, or how can I get another one? But with Winchell’s bunch it’s, how long will this wife last and where will I get the next? Ones mind is centered on a wife, and the other is centered on a job.
So every one of our businesses is a racket and because Winchell can tell you who is going to have a baby and who is going to be divorced, and who married. If he can and does do that quicker than I can tell who will be our next Senator, Governor, Congressman, it’s because he is better posted than me. So all power to him.
1Rogers was involved at the time in the filming of Doctor Bull, a 1933 motion picture based on a novel by James Gould Cozzens.
2Dietrich appeared in the 1933 motion-picture remake of Song of Songs. The original version, released in 1918, starred Elsie Ferguson.
3Pola Negri, Polish actress who arrived in the United States in 1923 and starred in such films as Bella Donna and Passion.
4Walter Winchell, syndicated columnist for the New York Mirror from 1929 to 1963. Winchell, one of the best-known journalists and radio broadcasters in the country, specialized in show business gossip and political commentary.
SO WAGS THE WORLDWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I see hither and yon, I told you all to come out here and see our Air Races, that if you dident you would miss one of the biggest shows you ever saw. Well there is no use bragging about it now, but it was much better than I ever dreamed of.
You know some of you folks got a funny complex about a thing if it happens to be held here in L. A. You just figure “Oh just another one of those windy Californians’ rackets.” That’s how a lot of you missed the Olympic games, absolutely the biggest and most remembered things that any person ever saw. It won’t happen again in our lifetime in our country, but you thought it was a California real Estate scheme, and that they was giving lots instead of medals as prizes to the foreign winners to get ’em to settle here.
Now I will admit that there is more hooey to the syllable out here than most places in inches, but these rascals can do things when they set their minds to it. Air races should be here. It’s an aviation center. Why they have more landing fields here than most cities have planes. New York gets excited over an Automobile show, when all they can possible have new in it is a new style cigaret lighter, or plush instead of velvet cushions this year. While here was these foreigners flying upside down so long that when one’s plane was right side up, we thought he was stunting and records fell by the wayside like Eighteenth Amendments.
That flying is a great gag. I wish I could do it, but I figure I am just too old and too dumb. Somebody will invent one that a dumb guy can get off and come back purposely. When he does I will take a shot at it. Well it was a great show.
Glad to see Mr. Roosevelt get out of that Central Park row boat that he was messing around out in the ocean in, and get back into the more substantial White House. It’s awful hot there, but no Tidal wave or squall ever hit it. That fellow must be a pretty good sailor. Funny how he got mixed up in the Navy that time as an Official.
And say speaking of those times when Mr. Roosevelt was under Uncle Josephus Daniels, Uncle Joe is doing a mighty fine job of Ambassing down in Mexico.1 Some of ’em thought they wasent going to like him at first down there because he sent the Marines into Vera Cruz that time. Well he really dident do that, and he was sorrier than anybody, afterwards. It was just during an adolescent period in our life as a Nation, when we thought it was up to us to regulate the affairs of everybody. We was in Nicaraugua, Hayti, San Domingo, China, Mexico, anywhere in the world we could find a place where we had no business why there is where we were.
But Uncle Josephus I know has great regard for our neighbors, and things have been going along fine down there between us. There is nobody any easier to get along with than a Mexican. If you don’t go strutting your superiority. Now Uncle Josephus is a mighty human man, an old Newspaper man of great knowledge and understanding, and he has the grandest wife you ever saw.2 Mrs. Daniels is a snow white haired lady with a heavenly face of good will and understanding. They will love ’em down there. Dwight Morrow set the pace down there of showing ’em we wasent trying to dictate or dominate ’em, and Mr. Clark of Salt Lake followed it up.3 He knows Mexico as few Americans do, and he did a fine job. Now comes Mr. Daniels and is carrying out the program.
It’s never the Mexican Government, or the Mexicans, that they have any trouble with, it’s the Americans, or it’s the Americans in any country that cause the Ambassador or Minister or Consul all the trouble. There is more renegade Americans abroad than there is at home. Still we got some very fine citizens doing a legitimate business down in Mexico, and they got very fair treatment from that Government.
If you have had any hot weather in your part of the country, we have certainly heard of it out here, for to pick up our papers and read about the heat in the East and Middle West, you would think Death Valley was a summer resort in Comparison. You all played up our earthquake, well we will get even with you on your heat prostrations. (If you have had any.)
Kinder tough times for news, the new plans are just beginning to work out and everybody is hopeful, and it looks like it’s starting working.
Hope Aimee don’t throw any more of those baby scares into us any more.4 Walter Winchell is out here, but that’s one maternity cases he seemed to have no advance dope on.5 Wake up Walter and start Diagnosing. You rascal you been having too good a time. You are loafing on the job.
1Josephus Daniels, editor of the Raleigh (North Carolina) News and Observer from 1894 to 1933; United States secretary of the navy from 1913 to 1921; United States ambassador to Mexico from 1933 to 1941. Franklin Roosevelt served under Daniels as an assistant secretary of the navy.
2Daniels was married to the former Addie Worth Bagley, a former women’s suffrage leader from North Carolina.
3For Dwight W. Morrow see WA 545:N 3. Joshua Reuben Clark, Jr., United States ambassador to Mexico from 1930 to 1933.
4Aimee Semple McPherson, controversial American evangelist, self-proclaimed faith healer, and founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. McPherson was the subject of false rumors about the birth of a son in June.
5For Walter Winchell see WA 549:N 4.
RIDE ’EM, COWBOY,
The other day, in fact a couple of weeks ago on the Fourth of July, I went over to Prescott, Arizona, to see their Frontier Celebration, it’s the oldest rodeo or affair of that sort. In existence 45 years. It has the best calf and steer ropers come there. In fact it’s mighty near home for a lot of them, for Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, harbors the cream of the ropers. The North has the riders. Canada, Montana, Wyoming, and all those Northern
states where the big stout horses grow is the home of the real bucking horse setters, but when you want a mean loop spread on something, come South, and if you get over into Mexico you get still better. But the Mexican has never gone in for contest roping, like tying calves or steers against time.
FOR A WORLD’S RECORD
Well over at this contest all the boys were excited for the biggest contest ever held in the history of all rodeo history is to be held in Chicago in Soldiers Field right in the World’s Fair Grounds, the biggest stadium in America. It runs about seventeen days from August 25 to September 10th. Now what had all these old boys excited was that this contest was not like all the others that they hold. If you come and paid your entrance fees, you were one of the contestants. But not at this one. You come by invitation, and just some friend couldent invite you. You have to be selected by a committee of well known and prominent rodeo men, who took the results of 24 of the leading contests like Cheyenne, Pendleton, Calgary, Ft. Worth, Madison Square Garden N. Y. and Prescott, (well, as I say, 24 of the biggest). Then they took the records of these for 4 years, and added up the numbers of times each contestant had won first, 2nd, or third, and got each man’s general average over all this time. They pick 30 men in each line, also some alternates in case some of the first 30 are not able to go, but the alternates are the next best records in line to the first ones picked.
There will be 30 in each event, 30 calf ropers, 30 bronk riders, 30 bulldoggers, bareback riders, and all the other main contested events. Then they are bringing 10 champion charraos, or champion Mexican cowboys from Mexico, to do the stuff as it is done down there. You see, at all the contests you have ever seen anywhere there is always some mighty good top boys, but there is also a lot of punks that there has never been any way of keeping out, for they traveled there and paid their entrance fees.
But at this one it’s like that championship ball game they had the other day between the very pick of each league, just anybody that had a bat couldent get in it.1 You had to be chosen, so naturally every cowboy in Canada, the U. S. and Mexico wants to go to the World’s Fair to do his stuff. It’s an olympic games of the wild west sports. It will mean something to win there. Then, too, running 17 days, that means you will rope seventeen calves, ride seventeen bronks. Generally they run about 4 days, and your time or performance is judged by that many times, but this will be so long that any element of luck will be eliminated. It will be like a golf championship, instead of being 36 or seventy-two holes, being about 300 holes.
I been a sight seeing patron of these things for a long time, and have been yapping for just such a mode of really selecting the best boy in each event every year, but this is the first one. You see this is not a show, it is really and truly a contest. No person is paid a cent unless they win it. There will be various prize money given each day for just the winners of that particular day. That gives a chance to the boys who might not win the grand finals (meaning an average of all days) but who might do the best on some particular day. But he ships his own horse there, pays his own expenses while there, and pays 30 dollars entrance fees for each thing he enters. There is no wild west show about it. It’s a real business and not a racket with these boys, so no wonder these old cowboys over at Prescott the other day was trying to make this preferred list.
It’s an honor to be on there, even if you don’t win anything. It means you are among the 30 best in your line. I would sho give a lock of my best hair to be among the best at anything, checkers, horseshoes, spitting at a crack, or even golf or beer drinking, it would show you I was really good at something. I sho want to see this contest, if I am not right in the middle of a movie, which I will just about be. Imagine a fellow having to miss a big rodeo, just to make a lot of faces at a camera. And not very good faces either.
1The All-Star Game, the mid-summer classic of major league baseball, was first played in 1933. The American League, led by the home run hitting Babe Ruth, won the initial All-Star Game, 4 to 2.
WHAT IS A DOLLAR WORTH
Well all I know is just what I read in the weeklys, been kinder dull the last couple weeks, outside of what little scare we had over the prohibition issue in the various states. Couple of weeks ago our own Governor Bill Murray kicked up quite a muss when he called out the Marines to halt the premature drinking of 3 by 2.1
Voting in the other states was just about what was expected. Poor Old London Conference, it’s trying so hard to live, that is outwardly it is. Inwardly none of ’em care what happens to it. Nations have just about reconciled themselves to believing that they each one got to help themselves out of the mud, and not just do it by conferring, and agreements with some other Nations.
We ourselves only export five percent. Well our business for the last three years has been off 50 or 60 percent, and yet we lived through it. Well that little old five percent won’t do us much good. It’s that 40 to 45 to 55 that we lost at home that we want. Nations are going to buy from you just what they have to have, and that’s all.
When we went off the gold that did more good than all the other things we could have done to build up exports. I happened to be in Manchuria and down in China proper, and in the Malay States along about the time England went off the gold, and after they did that it lowered their prices almost a third, well our own Government men, commercial attaches, and Department of Commerce fellows told me that we hadent sold an automobile, or a thing that England made, after they went off the gold, for if our prices had been practically equal before then all at once they drop off one third, why naturally that left us high and dry with a money that was too expensive according to England’s. So they got the business, and that’s what’s all this hollering about by France and the so called gold block, over in London now, it’s the fact that our money is cheap and our stuff is within the reach of all buyers now for the first time in years.
Roosevelt just kinder outfigured the boys. Why during the last couple or three of our administrations, we would no more think of doing anything that would antagonize Europe than we would fly. This Roosevelt is the most original fellow, he figures if he can help the fellow at home he has done a pretty good job, even if he has made all Europe sore at him. France got where she is today by taking care of France. Along about the summer of 26 I was over there and their Franc was selling by the pound, and bushel, and not by count at all. Well America wasent hollering their heads off. “Why don’t France stabilize their Franc?” It was their Franc. They would sell ’em by the bale if they wanted too. Things were not a whole lot cheaper for naturally with cheap money, things go up in proportion, so why all this holler about the world not being able to do anything till America tells what their dollar is worth.
Our dollar hasent got any more business over there prowling around than we have over there messing about. If our dollar goes over there and gets bad, that deserves no more sympathy than us going over there and getting in the cooler. It’s got to take its chances the same as an individual has. Your worth is at home, your dollars worth is at home, you as an individual are worth what’s it’s worth to its community.
If five per cent of exports are going to save us, we never was very bad off. But we have been bad off, and five percent won’t save us. We got to fix so we get this home market. It’s many many times five per cent. Of course we have always had a great group of Internationalists, who rush over to Europe and cancel the debts, cancel the tarriff, anything to make a local hit.
Mr. Hugh Gibson, one of our most able foreign Ambassadors, who last served in Belgium, is now in Brazil, he said that half our foreign trouble was with unofficial Ambassadors who went speech making around Europe, eating on the Country, and giving a wrong mpression of what the real American sentiment was. 2 All Americans are wired for sound, and before they go abroad they ought to detach the wiring. In five years we would be the most popular Nation in the world. I run my ranch, you run your ranch. What you do with yours has nothing to do with me. If I can’t manage mine without consulting you and yours why I am a pretty poor ranchman. So our problem is not what is the dollar worth in London, Rome or Paris, or what even it is worth at home. It’s how to get hold of it, whatever it’s worth.
1Oklahomans voted nearly two to one on July 11, 1933, for the legalization of beer in the state. To insure against premature celebrating, Governor Murray (see WA 546:N 5) ordered the National Guard into the streets of Oklahoma City on election night.
2Hugh Simons Gibson, United States ambassador to Belgium from 1927 to 1933 and 1937 to 1938 and to Brazil from 1933 to 1937.
AIMEE, WALL STREET, AND LONDONAll I know is just what I read in the papers. As I told you a week or so ago, sister Aimee just come along like the war and gobbled up all the wires.1 Why we couldent even find out if Babe Ruth had hit a home run, or struck out.2 Even Mr Roosevelt and half his cabinet had to go on the air in order get over a little message they had for the forest builders. The papers dident have room to use their statements.
We had just got rid of one Hutton out of the news, (the one that pensioned off the Atlanta Georgian Prince) when along comes Dave Hutton.3 He had been a kind of a man about town, in a local way. Like this Georgian Prince, he was good looking too, only in a larger way. He was the first religious crooner. (Yes they are getting ’em in churches now.) Now all this might not hit you all over like it did us out here. Being so far away we are naturally dependant on news from our local source, and when Sister Aimee breaks out, all communication with the outside world is null and void during the time of her escapade.
Now I like it and I read it, for she is a very remarkable woman, and does much good. But I do so hate to be without my news of the outside world. There should be a way of importing some outside paper to come into Los An- geles during one, or each of these McPherson campaighns, and they could give us the other news, just for the duration of her sworray. Then it could fold up and wait a little while, and then stand by and be ready.
But it’s kinder quieting down now and a little stuff is drifting in from the outside world, I wrote a little gag about the market about ten days ago, for it seemed to be the general impression that it was full of hop and was going far beyond its legitimate stride. It was running on opiates. Well the very day my little gag broke out, why the market tumbled, and Roosevelt did say that he was going to keep an eye on it.
Well I sure did get a lucky break with that prediction, for if I had pulled it a day later it wouldent have been any good. But you could just see and feel it coming. Everybody can’t make a living gambling. Some can, but there must always be money made in some other business and brought into the game to keep it going. Well Wall Street was getting ahead of their money supply.
You see that’s one thing about the Democrats that make ’em different from the Republicans. This fellow Roosevelt has got the nerve to defy those fellows if he thinks it’s for the good of all. Now with a Republican there is just something about his make-up, that the richer the man, the less he should be watched, the bigger the industry the wider open it should run. It’s just against their principles to stop a guy from making a big killing, even if he is robbing a bank. They claim you are “Hamstringing Big Business.”
This sales tax is a-coming in all these states. We got a load of it the other day, 3 percent. That about takes the cake. Most states vote one percent, one and a half, or at most two but we saw ’em all that and raised ’em a couple. I guess it’s the least objectionable of taxes, if there is such a thing. I think Mississippi was the starter of it. It pulled them out in good shape.
The poor old London Conference, they still are dragging in one by one, “America failed to do what we wanted ’em too, so the whole thing failed.”
Every one of those guys come over here before the thing started, and all left with a lot of magnified hooey about what the conference held in store for the world. Well in any legitimate business in the world if you met and talked with all your customers, or all your clients, or all your neighbors about some forthcoming thing, why when you met, you would know pretty well what to do. In other words what was the first meeting for, and if it was seen that it looked bad, then why hold the other one?
If a man has a horse to sell and he wants two hundred, and I know I will only give one hundred, and I know he won’t come down, and I won’t go up, there is no use in us conferring. If the whole conference was just to juggle with the price of our money, why, why hold it? Just say, “Boys you got to get get somebody else’s dollar to play with, mine is busy.” But we are a nation of conferrers. Americans without a deligation going somewhere for no reason at all, well it wouldent be America.
1McPherson (see WA 550:N 4) returned to her home in Los Angeles from a trip abroad in mid-July of 1933 amidst a blaze of publicity.
2George Herman “Babe” Ruth, extremely popular baseball player who starred for the New York Yankees from 1920 to 1933. Renowned as a home run slugger, Ruth was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
3Barbara Hutton, often-married American heiress to a vast dime store fortune. On June 20, 1933, she married Alexis Zachary Mdivani, a member of a Russia-Georgian family of princes that moved conspicuously in international society circles during the 1920s and 1930s. David Hutton, singer and member of McPherson’s Los Angeles congregation. Hutton and McPherson were married in September 1931.
VALET TO GOVERNORSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I saw a couple of weeks ago when I was herding Governors around.1 Was you ever chaperone to a troop of Governors? Well now it’s a mighty nice pleasant job, especially when you got the right bunch of Governors, and I had the right bunch. I had about a dozen of the pick of the country. I went up with Governor Rolph, of California, and Gov. Green, of Rhode Island (who was already in our state) and Governor Balzar of Nevada.2
Well we were to meet the others at the state line. They were to get to the line at 11:30 at night. Well where the railroad crosses the line was down in a canyon quite a ways away from the highway (away up the side of the hill) but they had a trail dug down there. Mr. Cato, the Head of the State Motor Police, he and his gang was the ones that looked after them during all their stay out here, and they did a great job.3
Well they had a cannon down in the canyon, and it was to shoot 19 times, then they had to reload it between and then they would shoot a big roman candle in between the cannon shots and they sounded almost as loud as the cannon. So it looked like they got a 38 gun salute. Then we all went to Lake Tahoe for the night, then up to the little town of Truckee the next morning to a celebration, and they had a real one. Then a beautiful drive to Sacramento, one night there then to San Francisco.
There was lots of speeches, and lots of fun. Green of Rhode Island is very highly educated fellow, studied in Germany and goes there to lecture. He was a Governor before it became fashionable to consult college professors. Then too, Governor Cross of Connecticut.4 Like Green he has a bunch of degrees after his name till it sounds like a radio station. Got his A. B. in Yale in 85 and has just made a business of collecting station announcements after his name ever since. Professor of English at Yale, author of Development of the English Novel is what would get these two old boys and we would talk over the English classics. We would run over Bacon and Shakespeare and Winchell.5 They were a couple of mighty sweet, pleasant fellows. Why they were slumming in politics the Lord only knows. Course Rolph is a dandy and the best host in the world, and did everything just right.
Governor Pollard of Virginia was President of the Conference, and the finest type of Virginian.6 Lots of eloquence and lots of humor and lovely gentleman. He was quite a favorite with everybody and he was no slouch on the degree racket. He had about everything you could get in Virginia. Right down south of him always come South Carolina, Governor Blackwood.7 Good speaker, mighty jovial. He seemed to know what it was all about. Then Governor Park of Missouri, prominent lawyer and Judge and graduate of Missouri University, awful fine fellow.8 Right from a state where they breed mules and politicians, the best in the world of both.
Then of course we had the sensational Governor McNutt of Indiana, who has quite a unique record in achievement and who has been voted more power as Governor than any other in any state ever had.9 He is only about 43. He has straightened Indiana out and is about to get some decency in politics in a state that’s been in a political cesspool for the last 15 years, or more. He is an awfully pleasant fellow and was once head of the American Legion. Their budget is balanced and no sales tax.
Then we had two old rough and tumble western boys, Ben Ross of Idaho, who is a better roper than I am, and he brought us quite a surprise.10 We dident think there was anybody in Idaho but my old friend Bill Borah.11 But they sho know they got this Ben Ross. He is an awful fine chap, plain and no frills but genuine.
Then Fred Balzar of Nevada, everybody knows Fred as cowpuncher, sheriff, miner, brakeman, and a real old he boy. No college degree, but one of the few in the bunch that have been re-elected. Budget balanced, no extra taxes and his flea circus has gone home, (some of ’em still got theirs on their hands). Then Gov. Miller of Montana, dandy little chap, he would sho tell ’em about Montana and well he should for it embraces some of our most wonderful scenery.12
Now we jump clear up to New Hampshire. This Gov. Winans is quite a fellow, another type of the rich fellow who really wants to do something worth while for his country.13 A great war record and they say a mighty able governor. I know he is mighty nice and a good speaker. Then there was quite a few wives and families, and aides. It was a jolly troop, and I think they all enjoyed it and I think they did some substantial work. It wasent just all play and blab. One of the hard workers was Ex-Governor Hardee of Florida, who is Secretary of the Conference and has been for years.14 He was very considerate of California (brought his own grapefruit however). Last but not least comes my old friend Gov. White of the great state of Ohio.15 He beat my good friend Dave Ingalls, but I like him, and did before that.16 We about had him nominated for Vice Pres. He flew clear out there, he and his daughter. You would like White. Not a Governor now.
But really the high ranking member of the conference was Secretary of war, Dern, former Governor of Utah.17 He really represented the President. He is a very democratic fellow and being made a member of the Cabinet seems not to have changed him from when he was Utah’s most popular Governor. I think he is doing a fine job of the War Department. He believes in making it mean something. My association with them will remain a very happy memory and is one of my bright spots. “I joke about all the politicians but if I dident like ’em I wouldent. I like ’em all.”
1The National Governors’ Conference was held in California in late July 1933. Rogers, who was a member of the state welcoming party, attended and hosted many of the official functions.
2James Rolph, Jr., Republican mayor of San Francisco from 1911 to 1931; governor of California from 1931 until his death in 1934. Theodore Francis Green, Democratic governor of Rhode Island from 1933 to 1937. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Green held degrees from Brown and Harvard universities. Fred Bennett Balzar, Republican governor of Nevada from 1927 until his death in 1934.
3E. Raymond Cato, chief of the California Highway Patrol from 1931 to 1954.
4Wilbur Lucius Cross, Democratic governor of Connecticut from 1931 to 1939. A former professor of English at Yale University, Cross served as dean of the Yale Graduate School from 1916 to 1930.
5Francis Bacon, English philosopher and author. His chief literary works include Essays (1625) and History of Henry VII (1622). For Walter Winchell see WA 549:N 4.
6John Garland Pollard, Democratic governor of Virginia from 1930 to 1934. An attorney, Pollard held honorary degrees from five universities.
7Ibra Charles Blackwood, Democratic governor of South Carolina from 1931 to 1935.
8Guy Brasfield Park, Democratic governor of Missouri from 1933 to 1937.
9Paul Vories McNutt, Democratic governor of Indiana from 1933 to 1937. McNutt became dean of the Indiana University School of Law at the age of thirty-four and was one of the youngest men ever elected governor of Indiana.
10Charles Ben Ross, Democratic governor of Idaho from 1930 to 1937; Pocatello farmer and stock raiser for many years.
11For this and all further references to William E. Borah see WA 542:N 6.
12Leslie Andrew Miller, Democratic governor of Wyoming from 1929 to 1931 and 1932 to 1939.
13John Gilbert Winant, Republican governor of New Hampshire from 1925 to 1926 and 1931 to 1934.
14Gary Augustus Hardee, Democratic governor of Florida from 1921 to 1925; banker and attorney from Live Oak, Florida.
15George White, Democratic governor of Ohio from 1931 to 1935.
16David Sinton Ingalls, United States assistant secretary of the navy for aeronautics from 1929 to 1932. Ingalls lost to White in the Ohio gubernatorial election of 1932.
17George Henry Dern, United States secretary of war from 1933 to 1936. A mining executive, Dern served as Democratic governor of Utah from 1925 to 1932.
A HOLLYWOOD FIELD DAYWell all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I run into hither and yon. I am just a sitting here with no more idea of what to write about than a billy goat. Just a kind of reminencing on the past two or three weeks. The memory of a lot of the various associations with the pack of Governors is fresh in my mind. For instance the Governor of Virginia give us no inkling that he had anything on his mind but the affairs of his English subjects in the Old Commonwealth of Virginia. Yet he sneaked off one night, we thought he had gone to get a drink in true Virginia fashion, and lo and behold he had gone to Canada and took himself a wife.1 They say a very charming lady that had run the state of Virginia under the last half dozen Governors, for you know no state is better than its Governors’ secretary.
We got to Hollywood with our troop and at a very sumptious feed at Metro Goldwyns studio, where we had a most excellent show. Think of seeing the following people in person and seeing them act right out loud for you: Jack Pearl, the old Baron Munchouser himself, and he was never lying better.2 If he had been on the green in one, he couldent lied better than he did this day. Ed Wynn, the old fire hose himself, who I have been going to see, and envying in his shows for years.3 Ed is just out here now for pictures, and if he gets a break in stories, he will squirt laughter on all the gloom and put it out. He made a corking impromptu talk. He is a hard, conscientious worker is Wynn, and has style like nobody else.
Marie Dressler, the Schumein Heink of the movies.4 If you don’t love both of ’em, then your liver is bad. Marie has got class in anything she does. She can make an appropriate talk in any gathering. And by the way she told me that she has entirely recovered, and is in fine health again. That’s the best news I could tell you in a month.
Harold Lloyd has been laughed at by the world, and admired by all of Hollywood, was there.5 Hal Roach who year after year, regardless of conditions, times, actors growing up, or anything else, just keeps making funny pictures, he and Harold were together.6 You remember both their early successes were made together. Both went their own way and both made good. No bitterness, just good feeling and friends forever.
Polly Moran, by golly Polly, you was funny.7 You was always funny, but you was extra funny that day. Ted Healy, did you ever see him and what he calls his stooges?8 You know what a stooge is? Well, it’s a fellow, or group of fellows that are just made up funny, and do and say silly things. You just wonder some time what they are doing, it all seems so cuckoo. The nearest thing I can compare to a stage stooge is a congressman or Senator. It’s awful hard to tell what they are getting at sometimes. Well, Ted Healy and his quorum is a sort of glorified congressional executive meeting.
Oh there was just lots of stars there they introduced, your favorites and mine. Missed Wally Berry.9 He wasent there. He is one of my pets. Clark Gable works at that studio but he was in the hospital.10 You know I don’t believe I ever did see him, and I was just as anxious as the Governor’s wives and daughters were. They are talking about suing the studio, and I am with ’em.
Greta Garbo works there too, but as the Governor of Minneapolis was not with us, she dident show up, she don’t let anybody see her.11 In fact, I don’t believe there is such a person. I think it’s just this Marlene Deitrick that takes her men’s breeches off and puts on dresses and goes under the name of Garbo. Louis B. Mayer who fed all of us, and charged it up to “Tug Boat Annie,” Louie made a good speech.12 He was a very staunch Republican. He is still a Republican, but he has discarded the “Staunch” or maybe it’s the “Stance,” he hasent the old bocky “Stance” he had when the money had gold in it. But he has been mighty loyal to the dealer and the new deal.
Will Hayes was there, but he left as soon as he eat, and when they called on him he was out somewhere trying to dig up a place for dinner.13 Bill has sit at so many banquet luncheon and dinner tables, that he has a dias or raised platform in his home, and he stands up and moves the water glasses around every time his wife or son Bill ask him a question.14 Bill can make a good speech on anything. He give me some tips of some of these Governors early history in the days when it was not only unfashionable to be a Democrat, but it was a miracle. Bill is in pretty fair touch with pretty near everything and everybody. While he is not physically able to deep the movies out of all devilment, he has come nearer it than anybody else could.
They put Governor Cross of Connecticut right next to Jean Harlow, the Palimeno Blonde.15 So Jean is liable to be moving into Hartford any day now. This old Governor was quite a favorite out here. A grand soul. He and Governor Green of Rhode Island while both were intellectual, they could act awful human at times, which after all is the real test of a “Guy” with a high education.16
Conrad Nagel was the Toastmaster and he is just about the best there is.17 Humor, good English, and tact, a rare combination. Helen Hayes’ place card was by me, and I was all excited to death, then she dident come.18 Some way she had found out where she was seated I guess. I could choke the guy that tipped her off. I never did meet her. I was going to lay off onions during the meal just for her. She is the girl that revolutionized the whole movie industry by showing ’em you could act without being beautiful. In fact, you could act better if you wasent beautiful. Well, that’s about all I can think of now.
1Governor Pollard of Virginia (see WA 554:N 6) married Violet Elizabeth McDougall on July 31, 1933.
2Jack Pearl, American vaudeville, stage, and screen star; creator of the famed “Baron von Munchausen” character.
3Ed Wynn, American vaudeville, radio, and television comic who after initial film failure in Rubber Heels in 1927 returned to Hollywood in the 1950s as a successful character actor. One of Wynn’s most popular characters was the “Fire Chief.”
4Marie Dressler, American comedienne of silent and early sound films; winner of an Academy Award in 1931. Dressler, who suffered from a recurring illness, died on July 28, 1934, at the age of sixty-four. Ernestine Roessler Schumann-Heink, Austrian-American operatic contralto who first appeared with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City in 1898 and reappeared with the same company in 1926 at the age of sixty-four.
5Harold Clayton Lloyd, American motion-picture actor, noted for his comic portrayals of wistful innocents who blunder in and out of “hair-raising” situations.
6Hal E. Roach, American producer of comedy films, including the profitable serials Lonesome Luke, Our Gang, and Laurel and Hardy. Roach produced many of Rogers’ early silent films.
7Pauline Theresa “Polly” Moran, American vaudeville and motion-picture comedy actress. Moran often teamed with Marie Dressler in silent films.
8Ted Healey, star of vaudeville, stage, and radio who was prominently billed in many musical comedy films in the 1930s. Healey had one of the premier “nut” acts in vaudeville.
9Wallace Beery, American actor with circus and musical comedy experience. He played villains in the early silent films and then developed into a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star and one of the studio’s greatest box-office attractions in the 1930s and 1940s.
10Clark Gable, American leading man of the cinema who became known as the “king” of Hollywood actors. A stalwart of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for twenty-five years, Gable received an Academy Award in 1934 and was nominated on two other occasions.
11For this and all further references to Greta Garbo see WA 534:N 1.
12Louis Burt Mayer, Russian-born American film producer who was a cofounder and the first vice president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation. Tugboat Annie, enormously successful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production of 1933 which starred Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery.
13For Will H. Hays see WA 540:N 3.
14Hays was married to the former Helen Louise Thomas. The couple had one son, William Harrison Hays, Jr., who served as an Army officer in World War II and later taught English at Wabash College in Indiana.
15For Wilbur L. Cross see WA 554:N 4. Jean Harlow, platinum blonde American motion-picture actress ;the most sensational actress in Hollywood in the early 1930s with a private life that matched her public image.
16For Theodore F. Green see WA 554:N 2.
17Conrad Nagel, American stage actor and motion-picture leading man of the 1920s and 1930s.
18Helen Hayes, distinguished American actress of the stage who made few film appearances early in her career. She won the Academy Award for best actress in 1931 for her performance in The Sin of Madelon Claudet.
DON’T GET EXCITEDWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. I been pretty busy trying to keep peace in Cuba. I know Mr. Roosevelt dident want any armed trouble with them and he was doing the right thing, but we still have a lot of that old domineering spirit in us. We just can’t forget our size and our strength and we do kinder like to go prowling off into some outlandish place with a bunch of marines and settling somebody’s troubles for ’em.
You see, we have always figured that Cuba was a kind of stepchild and while it was big enough to earn its own living and was not living at home any more, why we still had the right to step in and advise. You see, the child has grown up but we haven’t. We still think in terms of Nicaragua, of Hati, of San Domingo, of Mexico, all these we have been in some sort of messes with. We meant well, but we just do love to nose about. We can’t seem to bear to seeing anything going on without us at least offering advice.
Advice can get you in more trouble than a gun can. I just don’t want somebody telling me how to run my business, or my country. I want to ruin it myself without outside aid, and that’s especially true of these Latin races. The minute there is any trouble in any Latin American Country, that should be the tip right there for us to crawl in a hole and not even be allowed to poke our head out till it was all over, for as sure as we could see it we would either be in it or offering advice. We can’t help it, it’s just second nature with us. We mean well, but the better we mean the worse we get in.
Let the Argentine come up and settle it. They speak the same language, and they are a big influntial country. Let Mexico advise Cuba, they have no stepfather treaty with ’em. You see there is where we got in wrong, we retained a clause in our Treaty with ’em where we had a kind of a string tied to ’em yet so while they got their liberty from Spain, there was still a second mortgage given to us which we still hold and shake over their head every once in a while. We just sit by the hour at home and abroad and tell “Why don’t England give India her freedom. What’s England got to do with Canada. Australia should be a free country, why should she have a string on South Africa.”
That’s all fine, but the minute an Englishman reminds us of Cuba, or the Phillipines we are up in arms and come back at ’em. “Well that’s different we are only in there to help them out. We get nothing out of it.” And the Englishman says, yeah, and we can’t make him see it our way. Ain’t people dumb when they won’t see things your way. That’s why we have always thought Englishmen have no sense of humor they just won’t laugh at our jokes as much as we think the jokes demand.
Another thing about all this trouble in Cuba, Boliva, Paraguay, and all those is that folks forget that a Latin American Country must have so much revolution and wars anyhow. They don’t look on a revolution as being such a terrible thing like we do. They are a people that don’t get much excitement and a good revolution is a sort of relaxation for ’em. Now take the Argentine, they had peace for a long time and finally it began to get on their nerves and they couldent stand it any longer so they just broke out.
Well I was down there since then, and the humiliation of the thing was terrible to ’em. Not that they had had a revolution, that was really a picnic, but what they hated more than anything was that the rest of the world would class them as “Just another South American revolutionist Country.” In other words they had lost face (as the Chinese say) if there was some way where every once in awhile they could have them a nice little home talent revolution with out the rest of the World knowing it. Why it would be fine everybody would be for it. But it hurts their credit with the rest of the world to have the news get out.
A revolution kinder comes under the heading of amusement as well as a nessisity with them in all those countries and we shouldent get so excited about it. We take everything too serious. The greatest contribution to peace in the World would be an international clause, “Any Nation can have a nice local revolution any time it sees fit, without any outside aid or advice from America or England.”
PLEASE PASS THE PORK!Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I run into messing about. Here is an item that falls under my gaze, and it’s going to take an awful lot of letter writing to make up for some of these. The following towns received the following “Doles”: Post Office at Huntsville, Alabama, $234,000; Post Office, Waycross, Georgia, $1,350,000 (their representative in Congress is a statesman, not just a Congressman). Now Gainesville, Ga., only gets $301,500. They are just building practically a shed and shouldent be allowed in the same state with Waycross.
My late habitat of California, the old orange squezzers got into Uncle Sam for a Federal Building at San Francisco for the tidy sum of $2,689,089. That first 2 there is millions, brother, them is not thousands. There’s millions in them aire U. S. treasurys. But get poor old Los Angeles. All she got was $63,000 for a quarentine station. That’s a station to dip the people that come in there from the North, or Frisco end of the State. You can build a pretty good dipping vat for $63,000.
New England is still in politics rather heartily. Boston got $3,700,000 for a Parcel Post Building. It’s going to take many a bale of hay shipped by parcel post to pay for that baby. Cambridge, Mass., nicked ’em for $363,919 for a post office. That shows what influence these Harvard professors in the brain trust has had on practical politics. Harvard should have taken some of that to buy football players, instead of putting it all in a post office. Holyoke, Mass., got the following desert, $282,500. Waltham, Mass., $122,792. So you see Massachusetts representatives were not exactly what you would call asleep at the dole bag.
Calais, Maine, did you ever hear of that one? Well it just took $100,000 to find it. They got one hundred grand to build a “Border Station.” That’s a pretty fancy comfort station just for moose hunters to check in and out of on their way to Canada.
We now jump down to the old Empire State of Virginia and we find that their representatives figured out that everything moving down that way was coming by parcel post, so they are putting in a new $610,000 parcel post edifice. When you go in to get your crate of Dominick roosters, or jug of corn, why you can do it in a building that you won’t have to feel ashamed of. Why Boston grabbed off three and a half million for their Passel Post Structure, you must figure that Richmond has always been democratic, and Boston is rather new in line, and must be rewarded.
Des Moines, Iowa was an old Republican stronghold up to the late political change of heart last fall. Well Des Moines commenced drawing dividends on their late investment. They get a new loafing place for the town politicians costing $255,350. I thought I had prowled the width and breadth of that wonderfully progressive state of North Carolina. Their citizens have been mighty good to me in time of need. I have sold ’em a mighty poor grade of jokes, but which they always seemed to accept either out of sheer generosity, or simply because they had nowhere else to go. They always patronized my single hand endeavours most bountifully, and how I ever overlooked a town that would demand a mail structure costing $260,249! Well it just shows that I evidently overlooked the metropolis of that fine old state. This name may hit you too as rather unique as your thoughts. Go to a roster of North Carolina citadels. It’s New Bern, N. C. I will repeat that, New Bern.
Now as I can tell by my mail, there is an awful lot of people that like to write letters for no reason at all, and they seem to be in doubt as to who to write too, so I will ask anyone in that state of mental incapacity to please write to New Bern, N.C. I hate to see a $260,249 post office not be slightly used anyhow. Now naturally the town (or city rather) being new to you, you won’t know who to write too. Well in that case I would write to their Congressman. I don’t know his name now, but he will become famous in a very short time, for he will no doubt have the capitol at Washington moved there. So just write and compliment this Congressman, and if North Carolina don’t properly appreciate him, Claremore Oklahoma, hereby make him an offer. Why with him as our representative, and a town the size of Claremore, we would have gotten a million dollar P. O., a three quarter million bucks Passell post shack, a quarentine dipping vat, and a two hundred thousand smackers comfort station.
THE POLO MATCHWell sir you would be surprised the amount of questions I have been asked the last couple of weeks since I come back from the East-West Polo games, wanting to know about the games. Folks that you wouldent think knew a polo ball from a cocoanut, but they do. They are all interested. You know there is something about any game that is connected with a horse, and you get a whole new bunch of folks interested.
Of course it was a great series. Different people for years have been trying to fix one up, but of course the general impression was that two local teams wouldent mean anything. You had to have an Argentine, or a Greek, or an Englishman. Then too the East never thought the West could muster up four guys with white pants, much less some mallets. Then the minute you mentioned horses, why the East had a good laugh. Horses? Why the East will run over ’em on their high priced horses. Why the East will be mounted on horses that will cost thousands of dollars apiece.
Well they dident figure that the old western pony couldent read figures, and he dident know enough to look back and see what the horse he had just passed cost. He figured the game was just a lot of fun, and not a lot of figures. But we are not here to make light of the East, or its horses, or its team. It’s sorter the habit in sport, in business, or in public life, to kinder kid the old loser. The world is with the fellow coming up. Let the fellow that’s already up look after himself. Every crowd wants to see a new champion crowned.
Tommy is the greatest polo player during our generation.1 As a boy of only eighteen years, Hitchcock helped America bring the cup from England, and he has been the mainstay in defending and retaining it ever since. Year in and year out he has fought against the Argentine, and the British. If you had taken Hitchcock out of any international game that America has played since he was just a kid, you would have lost your game. Now he has lost his first major combat, the first “big” series he ever lost in his life. And it’s the fashion, as I say, about “Down with the Champion.”
Well before “We down with the champion,” let’s see “if the champion is down.” No He is not down, he has simply lost two out of three games to a fine fighting western team. On this western team, is a fellow named Cecil Smith, a great polo player, a man who will perhaps supplant Hitchcock.2 He is as good as Tommy today, but does that mean you are going to make a “bum” out of Tommy, just because he is only as “good” as the new champion? Are you going to forget everything that Hitchcock has meant to us?
A play come up on the field in the final game, a foul was called on Tommy. The ball was left laying there after the referee’s whistle blew. Tommy knocked it off the field, as is done 10 or 15 times a game, but this ball that Tommy hit hit Cecil as he was riding up in a walk to see what it was all about. just by a million to one, it happened to hit Cecil Smith (the opposing hero) on the shin bone just below the knee. Well it was like a rifle bullet hitting you in the leg, and Cecil’s leg being just (temporarily) paralized, fell right off his horse. Well the crowd thought it looked deliberate, “That the great Hitchcock had it in for Smith and deliberately hit him” and they did a lot of “booing.”
Well nothing ever happened unfairer to a great sportsman. The whole thing was an accident. I was asked to go on the radio, and the public address system, that gave the game to the 21 thousand that were there. I tried to explain to ’em what it was that they had just “hissed,” that it was no dirty work, not even a foul, it was just an unfortunate occurrence.
Now here is what I am getting at. Here was Hitchcock being hissed for something that he was absolutely innocent. Tommy is a rough, tough player. He is really the originator of the “wide open” style of polo that has kept America in the forefront of polo. It was Tommy that brought in the “slam bang, hit and follow through” type of play that has made America supreme in this game. So the very idea of anybody “hissing” Tommy was terrible to my ears. If Cecil Smith was asked tomorrow, “Who do you want to play with you in this tough game?” He would answer without a moment’s hesitation, “Tommy Hitchcock.” They are just two great players, and because one beat the other, that don’t mean that one is great, and the other is a “bum.”
What hurt me is that Mrs. Hitchcock (Tommy’s mother) is responsible for all these young players in the East.3 She is truly, not only the mother of Tommy, but she is the mother of polo. These wonderful Guest boys started under her, she coached ’em, taught ’em, and mothered ’em.4 Years ago I played with these young boys in what was called the “Meadowlarks,” now they are all champions, and I am a “bum.”
Now these Easterners played a great game. They lost. Sure somebody had to lose, but they lost with a fine spirit. Winston Guest, a great player, was all excited about how his brother, Raymond Guest, had played. That’s all he talked about. Well he played fine. Young Earl Hopping kept the Eastern team in the tournament, for he won the second game for ’em.5 There is glory enough for all. Ten great players took part. Not four, but five of the west, and not four, but five for the East. Pedley replaced Williams, and Hopping replaced Mike Phipps.6
But it’s just the starting of what will be a great event. I hope that it is made an annual thing, one year played in the East, and the next year played in the West, and the third year played in Chicago or the middle West. It can be made bigger than the International and Louie Stoddard will do it, and our great leader Carleton Burke will assist.7
1Thomas “Tommy” Hitchcock, Jr., American polo player and society figure who has been rated as the greatest American polo player of all time. Hitchcock led the eastern all-stars in the first East-West polo match, which was held at Lake Forest, Illinois, in August 1933. The West took the series, two games to one, but an eastern team won the rematch in 1934.
2Cecil Smith, Texas polo player who carried a superb handicap of ten goals for twenty-five years. One of the premier players in the world, he was on the winning team at the United States Championship matches five times between 1937 and 1960.
5Louise Eustis Hitchcock, American socialite and horsewoman who trained the champion polo team captained by her son, Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.
4Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, English-born American polo player and sportsman whose father excelled in international cup competition for Great Britain. Raymond Richard Guest, American polo player and younger brother of Winston Guest; United States ambassador to Ireland in the 1960s.
5Earl A. S. Hopping, twenty-five-year-old native of New York City who received his education in England and his polo training at the best clubs in America and England.
6Eric Pedley, champion California polo player and one of the top American poloists in the history of the sport. Pedley often competed with Rogers at clubs in the Los Angeles area. Hubert W. “Rube” Williams, American polo player and race horse trainer who starred on several championship polo teams during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Williams, who played on the West team in the East-West series, fractured his right leg during the second match and had to be replaced by Pedley. Michael Grace Phipps, American polo star and investment banker who was one of the outstanding players in the 1930s and 1940s.
7Louis Ezekiel Stoddard, New York City financier and sportsman, active in several commercial enterprises. An internationally-known polo player, Stoddard was chairman of the United States Polo Association from 1922 to 1936, Carleton F. Burke, California horseman who was a director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and a vice president of the Santa Anita racetrack.
JIMMIE IS A GREAT GUYWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I run into here and there. Not long ago when I was back in Chicago to see the West clean the East at Polo I run onto Jimmy Mattern.1 I had met him before he made this last round the world flight, but this was the first time I had met him since he got back from just about the greatest adventure that any aviator ever had. They have all had some pretty queer ones and are a great gang these aviators. Just about the most interesting fellows to talk too of any bunch of men I ever saw. Lindbergh, Post, Hawkes, Doolittle, Al Williams, Roscoe Turner, and dozens of others that have really done things.2
Well this guy Mattern—oh boy!—if he dident have some time when he set that old Lockhead down in Siberia. Just about a drive and two niblick shots from the North Pole. That’s twice he has started on a round the world trip and been grounded in Russia.
If I was Jimmy the next time I made a trip around the world I would go round Russia, but Russia is just about as tough to go round as it is to go through. Well he said one of the things that got him off to a bad start was the rough weather crossing the Atlantic. The first trip crossing the Atlantic, he and his pardner had a joy ride, so he just figured the old Atlantic was duck soup, and that’s just what it was this trip, duck soup. Just as thick all the way across, he couldent see the sky and he couldent see the ocean. His altimeter showed nothing so he must have been flying right on the water. But he never saw it when he went up, his wings coated with ice. So he had to stay low.
Well he claims he took such a beating that he was really all in from then on. He never did really recover this strength. He claims that the whole thing of making a record around the world is a case of physical endurance. Well that was news because most of us had come to look upon it as a case of mechanical luck. But he says its mostly physical endurance. He claims that if he had been lucky enough to have had a fair trip across the Atlantic he would not have been so tired, and done a lot of things that afterwards his fatigue and dopiness made him do.
He paid a fine compliment to little Wiley Post. He says, “Wiley is plenty tough. He has got the endurance of a burro.” And he has too, I tell you. I met him after he and Gatty made their wonderful trip, and he is tough as a boot physically, and as determined as a bull.3 This Mattern guy along with an adventerous spirit, has got some internal lentals there that are not all just “tripe.”
But the best part of Jimmy’s trip was after he landed and joined the Esquimoes. His oil feed line froze on him. His plane, he said, was never going better and he had plenty of oil and gas but here was this oil stopped coming and he had the Behring Sea to cross to make Nome, Alaska. Well for thousands of miles it was the “Tundra” bumpy, mossy growth. So he did quite a stunt I claim, he put on full power and brought it close to the ground and knocked his undercarriage off. That is he did that purposely. When he felt the crash back against the body of his plane, he took her up off the ground again and then brought her down with no wheels to hinder him. In that way when he landed he dident nose over. Now I claim that was pretty hot aviating. Spraining his ankle in landing was his worst injury.
It’s about two miles down to the river and he went down there and built him a kind of brush hut. He stayed there 14 days, on three chocolate bars, not only quite an accomplishment but the best add I ever heard of for chocolate. I suppose along with Jimmy and his other bad luck it was some Russian brand chocolate, and he can’t get anything out of the add.
Well then some Esquimoes come floating down the river, picked him up and dident seem the least interested in how he got there, what he was or anything. They spent the next two weeks doing nothing day and night but play with the “zippers” on his flying suit. Laying in the hut, or igloo at night, they would be zipping ’em up and down his legs and arms. In fact it looked like they had saved him entirely for his zippers. They would have preferred saving the zippers and letting him go.
Then he had some rubber bands around some maps. Well when they saw those bands, what little interest they had previously showed in him was off. They snapped bands and pulled zippers for two weeks steady. Sounds silly don’t it? Just about as silly as spending the same time on bridge and golf.
Then they took him down the river to Anadir, (that’s the only town in Russia with a short name). Sixty white people there, that is if you want to be lienient and call Russians white. According to their constitution now they are supposed to be “red.” None could talk English, so they started playing with the zippers. So Siberia is just a zipping and snapping, and having the time of their lives. Nobody ever asked how he got there, or why, or when, they just figured he was an advance agent for zippers and rubber bands.
So if you go to see the Esquimoes don’t take gum drops, that’s old stuff. Take zippers and rubber bands and you can come back with all the white fox skins in the Behring Sea area. Their minds are just as simple as ours. You would think they would get civilized, and learn to sit all day working a cross word puzzle. Something ought to be done about these “Primitative” people who live off what nature provides. You would think they would get civilized, and learn to live off each other like us civilized folks do.
1James J. “Jimmy” Mattern, American long-distance flyer who took off from a Long Island airstrip on June 3, 1933, in an attempt at the first successful solo, around-the-world flight. The adventure ended twelve days later when his plane crashed in Siberia.
2Charles Augustus Lindbergh, internationally acclaimed American aviator who in May 1927 made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. Wiley Hardeman Post, American long-distance and high altitude flyer. Post and Harold Gatty set an around-the-world speed record in 1931, and Post, alone, broke the same record in July 1933. Post and Rogers perished in the crash of their airplane at Point Barrow, Alaska, in August 1935. Francis Monroe “Frank” Hawks, American aviator who established numerous transcontinental and point-to-point speed records in the 1920s and 1930s. James Harold “Jimmy” Doolittle, American flyer noted for his speed marks set in the 1920s and 1930s, for his interests in commercial aviation, and later for his heroism during World War II. Alford Joseph “Al” Williams, Jr., research pilot with the United States Navy from 1917 to 1930 and holder of several air records and aviation awards. Roscoe Turner, American flier who during a long and colorful career broke seven transcontinental speed records and collected most of the top aviation awards.
3Harold Gatty, Australian navigator who began a lifelong study of flight navigation after his arrival in the United States in 1927. Gatty and Post established an around-the-world speed record in June-July 1931.
HOST FOR A DAYWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers, or who I see here, there and yon. Bill Hayes was out to my “Ranchirito” the other day.1 You see we all call ’em ranches in Cal. It sounds big, and don’t cost any more on the loan. Mine is called “Rancho Premiro Y Segundo Mortgages.” The literal translation of that, is the Ranch of the first and second mortgage. And there would be a third if these old bankers was more liberal minded.
Bill was up with Mike Gallager.2 Mike handles all the coal mines and soot for the whole Van Swerigan system.3 That’s that Cleveland outfit. They just rounded up a passell of roads like we would a bunch of yearling heifers. Mike has always been a big coal man. I asked him right to his face why it was the coal business was always in such a mess. Times can be good, bad, worse, or terrible and there is static in the coal mining business. Well, prompted by Bill Hayes who of course is a lawyer, why between the two of ’em they cooked up a pretty fair sounding side to their argument.
One of the reasons is the Communistic tendencies. Outside of a Park Avenue drawing room there is nowhere where a Red can be listened to any easier than in the coal mines. He ain’t personally working in there. He is just talking his way through. And they claim that the degree of loyalty to his employer was lower in the coal business than anywhere else. That they worked for a company, but they cussed the company. That wasent so clear, but they was pretty fair about it, and they do think there has been evils, and they want to see ’em remedied, and they think this N.R.A. will be a great help to a better understanding.4
Mike has been in the coal business since we burned cord wood. Bill was born a Republican and naturally a lawyer. He used to handle lots of coal cases down around Sullivan, Ind. He and Mike are old friends from away back, in days when Republicans wore a badge, even so you could see it. Bill has made a fine job of his work in our business, otherwise it would be as cockeyed as the coal business. The old miner packs a lot of sympathy on account of his work. That “going down into the very bowels of the earth” has stirred us all up more than any phrase about our anatomy. Then those accidents make it so they ought to be mighty well paid. So if this N. R. A. can just settle the coal business it will have justified its existence.
So our coal conference was well worth the lunch I give ’em. Course like all conferences we dident accomplish much, but on the other hand, I dident feed ’em much. For, after all, they are still Republicans; and we feed up here like they vote.
Well, sir, I like to be confused about a town or place, and ask about it. For every guy that lives within coon dog sound will send in his historical version of the place. New Bern, N. C. (or is it just South Carolina?) Well, I wrote a few weeks ago about ’em getting a Post Office costing $260,000. Well, that will house an awful lot of chain letters and oil prospectuses, and I figured the boys had had something on the Democrats in Washington, and reached in and got quite a whack of loot money. And I complimented their Congressman. I figured that he was a man that Al Capone could use some time.5 But now after cotton sacks full of mail, I find I have libeled New Bern, (either North or South Carolina). It’s an old historical town, and if I printed all these letters it would be more historical, for it’s got more different kinds of early history than Greta Garbo.
There is two things you musent stir up, one is a gentle looking old Jersey Bull, and the other is a southern historian. Now I am not belittling ’em, for I come from below that corn pone and chitlin belt myself. But every one of us write our own history. If it sounds better the way we want it than the way it might have been why that don’t stop us any more than an amber light. So don’t send me any more historical sketches of New Bern. All I want to know was it settled by Columbus and the Italians, Columbus and Spaniards or Al Smith and Pocohontas.6 Gov. William Tryon, who was called by my people the (Cherokees) “The wolf of Carolina,” well if he mistreated the Cherokees he goes right in the dog house with Andrew Jackson with me.7 One historian says he took all the money and built a palace there. This looks like this old boy left some descendants there. They claimed he kinder turned his lady friends loose on reluctant tax payers.
Now here is an awful nice one from the Congressman who brought home the bacon. Charles L. Abernathy, the modern Tryon.8 He don’t give much history. He brought home concrete. He does however say it was settled by the Swiss, who brought Hill Billy yodeling to America. Well if that fact had come out that they was responsible for this yowling over the radio, New Bern wouldent have gotten an R. F. D. box.
Now let’s see what the next historian sicks onto us. “New Bern was settled by Baron De Graftenreid.”9 See how history will repeat itself, “Graftenreid?” There was a promoter who was honest enough to go under his right name. Now here is another one. I knew this had to come. It’s almost impossible to have a town in the South, if it’s got a school teacher at all, without somebody calling “The Athens of the South.” And sure nuff they did. Here is another thing I knew was coming, and I bet you readers guessed it too. Yep, “Washington stayed all night there.” Here is another collosal blow to it. “The first Provisional Congress assembled.”
So that’s the town we been looking for that started Congress. Well, that’s all we want to know. But here is where he squares it all. It’s where Sam Houston met a Cherokee girl named Rogers.10 That was my great, great, great, great Aunt. But you all want to look this little eastern seaport of North Carolina up. I doubt if they need a post office, but brothers it is mangy with history. There was a lot of things took place there before the Revolution, it was the Hollywood of its day. But don’t write and tell me any more about it. I know more about it now than anybody in North Carolina.
1For Will H. Hays see WA 540:N 3.
2Michael Gallagher, Cleveland railroad president, banker, shipping executive, and mine owner.
3Oris Paxton and Mantis James Van Sweringen, brothers who built a real estate and transportation empire based in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1932 they controlled 21,000 miles of rail in the East and Midwest.
4National Recovery Administration (NRA), a major New Deal agency established in 1933 and empowered to make voluntary agreements with employers dealing with hours of work, rates of pay, and fixing of prices. It was ruled unconstitutional in 1935.
5Alphonse “Scarface Al” Capone, Italian-born American gangster whose crime syndicate terrorized Chicago in the 1920s. Capone was convicted and imprisoned for federal tax evasion in 1931.
6Alfred Emanuel “Al” Smith, governor of New York from 1919 to 1921 and 1923 to 1929; unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee in 1928 and contender for the nomination in 1924 and 1932.
7William Tryon, British colonial governor of North Carolina from 1765 to 1771. In the 1830s, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, many Cherokees and other eastern tribesmen were removed to then newly-formed Indian Territory.
8Charles Laban Abernathey, Democratic United States representative from North Carolina from 1922 to 1935.
9Christopher de Graffenried, German nobleman who led Swiss and German colonists in the settlement of New Bern in the colony of North Carolina in 1710.
10Tiana or “Talihina” Rogers, the Cherokee second wife of Samuel “Sam” Houston, American soldier and statesman who led the revolt of Texas against Mexico in the 1830s. No direct relationship has been proven between the family of John Rogers, from whom Tiana Rogers was descended, and that of Will Rogers.
HORSES FOR GARAGESWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I run into here and there. Been pretty busy here last few weeks working on a movie. Jimmy Cruze is directing it.1 He is the man that became world famous as the director of the Epic of America, “The Covered Wagon.” I worked for him in a picture just ahead of The Covered Wagon that he directed called “One Glorious Day.”2 It was a kind of high class satire of spiritualism. I knew then that this guy Cruze was a real director. He is a fast worker and knows exactly what he wants.
By the way wasent that terrible here not long ago about Earnest Torrence dying.3 He is the man that did that great old bewhiskered character in The Covered Wagon, that to my mind (and to many) was just about the greatest character ever put on the screen. That scene where he pulled the fellow out of the mud, and then found he was the villian and his enemy, then he shoves him back again. That will be remembered to our dying days. It always seemed a crime to me that they dident keep Earnest Torrence playing in just such old western characters. Not the young dashing cowboy western, but the old fellows like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Daniel Boone, and a raft of others, that I would know about if I had read ’em.
We are working on the arranging of one for the screen now that I think you will remember. “David Harum,” they claim that’s the most widely read book over a course of years, that is in the library.4 I will be a terrible guy to play it, for I am the world’s worst horse trader. I give all the boot and get all the worst horses. But I love to trade.
You know the old horse is coming back faster than he left. This racing all over the country is going to help a lot to popularize the horse and add greatly to better breeding all over the country. You know when you see a horse race the horse that’s in front is the winner, but when you see a 50, 100, or 500 mile automobile race, why the fellow that is in front may be 30 laps behind. You don’t look at the race, you look at a big score board to see who is ahead. No sir, there is no kick in the world like a nose and nose finish of the old bang tails. It’s universal, it’s all over the world, anywhere there is horses raised, there is horse racing. And there is nothing prettier than a beautiful race track or fine racing plant or a fine breeding farm. Around Lexington, Kentucky, is beauty that can’t be surpassed by the Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Riverside Drive, Yellowstone Park, or Glacier National Park. That’s those wonderful breeding farms, blue grass fields, white fences, scampering thoroughbred colts, and wonderful stables. But it’s not only the thoroughbred, or high class horses that’s coming back. Just the old mongrels are charging toward us with heads up and in increasing numbers.
Why the only thing out here thicker than corner drug stores and inside filling stations, is riding academys. They first get the breeches, (riding breeches) and the first thing you know it’s not over a year or so till they decide to go riding in ’em. Course most of it is a pretty poor grade of riding, but it all helps to give the old horse employment. Then the farms are all going back to the horse and mule. There is no team of horses in the world that depreciate three or four hundred dollars a year. And you can raise what he eats. But can’t raise what a tractor eats. A horse will keep on going even when it’s hungry, but let the old tractor get hungry and, brother, he stops.
Then too there is this polo, which used to be looked on as a cavier game. Why now it’s commoner than bridge. Especially since the West took the East. You can play it on any kind of an old “Dog.” I know because I do it. All you have to do is just scratch off a piece of level land, whittle you out some round pieces of wood out of a hickory tree, take a broom handle, and fasten a crochet mallet on the end of it. Get on your old filley and start swinging at it. Cecil Smith, this wonderful Texas player you hear so much of, learned on round rocks or big pebbles.5 He used to knock them from Austin, Texas, clear to Angelo. He dident know for years that it was played with a wooden ball.
Then another thing that I bet you never thought about that’s bringing the old horse back is parades. Everybody looks alike in an automobile, and the people on the sidewalk always pointing out the wrong person. Then another thing there is not getting to be enough open cars to parade in, and a parade in closed cars is just like trying to find a number in a telephone booth. I can take Dave Hutton, Aimee’s husband, and shut him up in a big car and have him “doublin” for President Roosevelt in a closed car parade, but when you get ’em all dressed up and put ’em on a horse, and then a parade means something.6 Even if the parade don’t interest you, you can always watch it to see how many fall off.
There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain’t a thing. Unless there is war on, marching men don’t mean anything, cars passing don’t mean anything. But a band playing, and a horse that is about to bolt and run away, why that is of interest to everybody, and they are all praying for it.
So take that side of the garage where the old Republicans were going to put in an extra car. Remember, two cars to every garage. Well put in a manger, get you an old plug. The kids will all have fun, Ma can be kept busy feeding him, and Pa can ride him on parade days. By the way, I don’t by any means want this to be taken as an add, but I have got some mighty good “All purpose” horses that can be bought, worth the money.
1James Cruze, Danish-American motion-picture director, best-remembered for the 1923 western classic The Covered Wagon. Cruze directed Rogers in Mr. Skitch, a 1933 film based on the story of Green Dice by Anne Cameron.
2One Glorious Day, a feature film of 1922 which starred Will Rogers and Lila Lee.
3Ernest Torrance, Scottish-American character actor of motion pictures. Torrance gave several memorable performances in films in the 1920s, including his role as a frontier scout in The Covered Wagon.
4David Harum, novel by Edward Noyes Westcott that was adapted for the screen. James Cruze directed the film, which starred Rogers and was released in February 1934.
5For Cecil Smith see WA 558:N 2.
6For David Hutton see WA 553:N 3; for Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 550:N 4.