About Will Rogers: An American Original
Will Rogers was a Vaudeville star, newspaper columnist, and silent film comedian during the first two decades of the twentieth century. But his greatest success came when movies learned to talk. In 1929, the Fox Film Corporation signed “Oklahoma’s favorite son” to a staggering contract: $600,000 for four talking pictures a year.
Rogers turned the new medium on its ear, rejecting the stagy style of early “Talkies” in favor of his chatty naturalism. He soon added radio to his repertoire and used his national platform to advocate for Americans struggling through the Great Depression. But at the height of his greatest success, tragedy struck a fatal blow.
This 2004 retrospective includes interviews with family members, historians, and authors as well as clips from his movies and the 1990s Broadway musical The Will Rogers Follies.
Notable guest stars: Keith Carradine, James Whitmore, Jane Withers, Joe Carter, Chuck Rogers, Kem Rogers, Doris Meyer, Ben Yagoda, Jim Hartz
Produced and directed by Jeanne Begley and Jack Walworth
Narrated by Robert Culp