Icons of the Century

“I have never seen any of these pictures — they don’t look at mine, why should I go see theirs?”

So quipped Will Rogers as he emceed the 1934 Academy Awards: an example of his gently lacerating wit, as well as his awareness that the “rube melodramas” in which he starred were of little consequence to his peers.

Nonetheless, they were hugely popular with the public, as was everything associated with Rogers, the Oklahoma-bred humorist, newspaper columnist and “cowboy philosopher” who became one of the most famous and beloved Americans of his time.

So free-flowing was his repartee that studio boss Sam Goldwyn hired a scribbler to follow him around the lot, recording pearls of wit that could be used in his movies.

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