July 6 - September 28, 1930
ALL ABOUT CHICAGOWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I see as I prowl the hinterlands. Now let’s get this Chicago thing straightened out. I was out there for a whole week right here lately, and talked with everybody that I thought might know something of the real condition as it is out there. Course it was kinder like Politics, you have to discount about 90 percent of what each side says. But the main thing we did find out, and that was that as far as crime in proportion to its population, why it has less than anybody’s town. There has been lots of men killed here, but they have been gangsters, and 90 percent of them have been killed by their own Gang, not by a rival Gang. It’s been by their own, for some double crossing and holding out on their bosses.
You see they have very elaborate systems of checking up on you, the same as any big business has of checking up on their clerks or employees, and the minute they discover that you are not handing over all the “loot” or that you might be dealing with some rival enterprise, why they what is called, “Put you on the spot.” That means you are sentenced, and if your last insurance is not paid, it would be well to look into it, for you are “not going to be with us long.” But if you go along and do your work and turn in all that’s coming, why you have nothing to fear, and maby get a raise, the same as in any other business.
You see lots of people think that all this Racketeering and Bootlegging and corruption is just a fly by night affair, run on a slipshod haphazard way. Well you never were more wrong in your life. You know as a matter of fact there is nothing as old as crookedness. It started away back when Eve used some political and Sex influence on poor old Dumb Adam to get him to gnaw on a forbidden Apple. Old Cain slew Abel, or visa versa, I don’t know which. But anyhow it was an argument over the spoils.
So you see on account of its age it’s not a fly by night Industry. Meanness has always been better organized and conducted than rightiousness. So these Lads here are really of an old and ancient (and sometimes) honorable profession. Chicago has no more cussedness than any other City but it’s been better advertised. They have never lacked for newspaper space. If out of town papers wouldent supply it why their own would.
Naturally there is different Gangs, as there is different groups in every line. People are going to drink, and somebody has to supply it to them. People are going to gamble, and somebody has to prepare them a place to do it. It was of course in the early days back in 1918[sic] or 20 a small business, but it grew and grew far beyond even the expectations of its most optimistic boosters, till today Bootlegging and Racketeering of various sorts are not a business, it’s an Industry.
There is no such thing as a little Bootlegger, no more than there is a little Banker. The day of the little Banker in a small town is past. He is a Member of a chain. He is a subsidiary of some big Concern. Well that’s what this is. The little fellow can’t live in this business on his own, he has to work for some one else. He can’t go out and buy his goods and peddle it to you on his own. No he simply makes delivery, and it’s for the chain. He is simply an order clerk, or delivery man, or one of dozens of other menial work hands in this great and intricate Industry. It’s not done by some little fellow with a few hundred dollars capital, it’s done by Financiers. It takes more capital to invest to insure the safe delivery of Liquor into Chicago and distribute it around than it does for to do the same thing with your milk, your bread or even your meat. They have to control ships, aeroplanes and trucks by the hundreds. High wages.
Then look at an expenditure that none of the other basic commodities have to meet, and that is Protection. Talk about a Tarriff wall! Why the tarriff is only collected by one party and that’s at the port of entry. But with this there is no end of the collectors who are there to levy tributes. What percent of the cost of a bottle, do you think goes to Protection? Why say there is more collecting than there is selling.
So you see all this entails a pretty big Organization. It not only takes millions to operate one of these big going concerns, but it takes a lot of a lot of other things. So you see this stuff all comes under the heading of “Big Business,” and the big ones have to look after and protect their customers. You can’t kill off your customers, neither can you afford to let them maby go to some other firm. You have to strive to please. So they try their best to run it as you would a legitimate business.
Another thing, it’s not so much that Chicago is such a terrible drinking place, but it is the clearing House the same as they are in the Wheat, or Cattle Market. The nice little decent towns that you never read about what’s going on there, well they must get their stuff through Chicago. It comes in here from Canada, by every known conveyance. Then it’s made here lots of it, and it’s cut here. Then it goes out to the various branch places for delivery. Well that’s a tremendous business, when you supply America thirst, why you have been to a supplying.
So this gang thing is bigger than most people realize. They are too smart to go and kill each other off. They don’t do that. The ones that are killed are the ones that have pulled something on their own bunch, such as not handing over everything, or have done some sort of double crossing. Then they have them bumped off. Naturally the Police know what it is, and they are not going to break their neck in an argument where they know, no innocent are going to suffer, but they don’t go out and shoot somebody down just for the sake of getting his money. No they get theirs too easy for that. They don’t have to resort to that. They have a big business and they run it in a BIG legitimate way.
Now what’s going to be done to stop ’em? Well it’s as I have said off hand I can’t think of anything unless the “Town’s best people” quit drinking. These Boys couldent get far if nobody was buying. The demand must be there to create the market. So that’s all we got to do to stop the whole thing. It don’t seem much does it? Maby by next week everybody will have turned decent.
NEWS FROM MINNESOTAWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I see as I prowl hither and thither. You know week before last I had a fine week up among our Nordic Brothers in Minneapolis. You know they live and prosper and get along better than any other distinct bunch of folks we have in this Country. They are about the best Farmers we have in this Country, and even they are having a tough time making farms pay, and when they can’t do it why it’s time for the rest to let ’em foreclose and get a filling station and get out. Dairying is what saves them up there, and hard work has something to do with it. For those old boys really work. They have beautiful Cities, some of the loveliest parks and beautiful lakes, and lots of private homes. The Apartment epidemic hasent hit ’em yet, and what a rush they are getting to those Lakes for the vacation period. Bands of boys and girls from southern States are all coming here to summer Camps.
They say there is ten thousand lakes in the state of Minnesota alone. You know there is three or four different bunches up here. The general impression is that everything is a Swede, but these Norweigans, and Danes are just as proud of their Native land and will tell you they come from a better country than Sweden. But the great part about it is they all get along fine together. Any rivalry is good natured. That Maverick of the Senate, Senator Shipstead, who is supposed for lack of name to be a farmer-Laborite, he is strong up here.1 I met him in Washington for the first time a few weeks ago and he said he had been reading some of my junk, and that he thought He and I had about the right idea that both sides were wrong about 90 percent of the time, and that’s the way he votes, he just guesses at the side that is the furtherest wrong and votes against them, with the side that is maby the less wrong.
Like all Towns they was mighty dissapointed in their Census Reports. Minneapolis was trying to reach the half million, and they only got about 462,000. St. Paul about a third less.
You see what causes all this dissapointment in these Cities is these Chamber of Commerces. They start yapping about what they have in their Town, and they tell it so long that they get their people to believing it, and then when the Government comes along, and the people have to really be there, and NOT just accounted for by a Luncheon Club Speaker, why the old Census Boys can’t dig ’em up as easy as the “Speaker of the Day.” But what a difference does it make what your town is? A growing City is just like fifty Guys starting to climb up a ladder. While you are trying your best to get one rung higher, why the babies at the top like New York and Chicago are skipping rungs by the dozens, so that even if you climb your relative position is the same. When Minneapolis gets a million, Chicago will have fifteen, so what’s the answer? But it’s sure does make a good Chamber of Commerce rally talk.
Well sir I was up there one night and who do you think dropped in on me but, Doctor Mayo, the old Country Doctor of Rochester Minn.2 Mrs Mayo was with him, and another accomplice from down in Nashville, Tenn, I forget his name, but he is head of the Committee that is raising money for Tennessee to build a combined monument to its 3 Presidents of the United States, Jackson, and Johnson, and I don’t know who to the other was. Well they want to build one while this present wave of Prosperity is on. They want to get it built before a Democratic Administration gets in and demoralizes the country. This fellow is from Nashville. He had his Daughter with him. He and Charley Mayo are prowling around trying to drum up some trade for his little medical practice out there. They say he has in addition to dosing out calumel and assaifititi to the ailing Norweigans, he has put in a branch line of “Operation” while you wait. Somebody give him a knife, and he and a Brother of his will have your frame into kindling wood before you know it. He had been over in Italy, and it was reported that he was going to slice into Mussolini and cut out his French Complex. So that give me a chance to get in my Monologue about Mussolini and the Castor Oil.3 Well as we were sitting in a Drug Store at the time having a drink, my Castor Oil story naturally reminded him of one. (That’s the worst part about a story, you can’t hardly tell one that it don’t remind somebody of another one.) But this one of his was a good one. It’s all right for his wife, (and by the way a lovely, sweet-faced grey-haired young looking Woman) she and the other fellow’s daughter were there, so don’t stop reading this out loud, go ahead.
A Woman come into a Drug Store and asked the clerk if there wasent some way he could fix up Castor Oil so that it would be tasteless and not objectionable to take. He said he could, while she was sitting at the Soda Counter waiting he asked her if she wouldent have a cool refreshing drink of some kind, and he handed her a glass of Sasspharilla. She drank it, and after waiting a few minutes she noticed that he was not doing anything toward giving her the Castor oil she had asked for, so she asked him for it. “Why Lady you have already taken it.”
“Already taken it?” she hollered, “Why it wasent for me, it was for my Sister.”
He is full of stories, and is a great little fellow. Gosh when you think of what those fellows have done! That’s what you call being a real Benafactor to mankind.
You know to me the greatest thing they have done, and that is the system of charging everyone in proportion to what they can pay. Course some let a yell out of them like a hoot Owl, and claim that they paid more than so and so, but it’s the greatest system ever invented. All Doctors should make enough out of those who are well able to pay, to be able to do all work for the poor free. That is one thing that a poor person should never be even expected to pay for is medical attention, and not from an organized Charity, but from our best Doctors. But your Doctor bill should be paid like your Income tax, according to what you have. There is nothing that keeps poor people poor as much as paying Doctor bills. It always wipes out their savings, and it’s that fear of not being able to pay is what makes it ten times worse on them. It ought to be a law, not only a custom.
1Henrik Shipstead, United States senator from Minnesota from 1923 to 1947. Originally elected to the Senate as a Farmer-Laborite, Shipstead later switched to the Republican party.
2For Charles H. Mayo see WA 347:N 3. He was married to the former Edith Graham.
3For the story of Mussolini and the castor oil see Rogers’ Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat to His President.
IT’S HARD TO TELL
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. With Mr Coolidge writing for the papers why we got a lot of new reading to do now. He had one in the other day that kinder jarred all of us, and made us wonder if he wasent having a Ghost Writer do some of his stuff. It advised the working man to spend his money, and buy everything that he could possibly afford, and in that way help out the whole economic thing, so that it would put more money into circulation, and make more jobs for those that had none. Now that is absolutely going against all the laws we have been brought up too. We have always been taught to save and put by every dollar that we could, and not buy anything unless we absolutely needed it, and to spend no money for things that we could do without. Now all at once we are advised by everybody to start spending, so it will help somebody else. Imagine telling the working man to spend, that if he don’t put his money into circulation why he won’t have a job very long. That is what Mr Coolidge said. Now that sounds so unlike him. Here is a man that the whole basis of his popularity is based on his economy and thrift, and all at once to help out a situation, why he says “Spend.” So it’s hard to tell what to believe nowadays.
WHAT TO BELIEVE NOWADAYS
Speaking of Prosperity, which is about all we are doing is speaking of it, why I read with great interest the other day the celebrating of the ninty some birthday of our genial benefactor Mr Rockefeller Sr, and it brought back many happy thoughts of my meeting with him every winter when I would play my little “talk dates” at Daytona Beach Florida.1 He would always come to the Auditorium and bring all the people from his winter household, servants and all. The three years I did that, he was right there in the audience, and was always well versed on Topics, as on Oil Gravity. He knew as much about the dissarmament Conference as he did what the “Dutch Shell” were doing. I always had a few local jokes about him, and would go down off the “Rostrum” and shake hands with him and he would quietly ask me to come to his home on the following morning and have breakfast with him, at eight o’clock. In fact after the first time, I would not only give him the chance to ask me, but would encourage it. I would stand by his seat till he had to do something to get rid of me, so the easiest thing would be to “Come have breakfast with us?”
Then after a fine breakfast, when he would give us all a dime each as he come down in the morning, we would go nearby to the Golf Course, and he would play eight holes. It took a pretty tough day, that kept him away. The reason for the eight holes only was that the eighth hole was over by a back road where he could have his car meet him, and go direct home from that hole. I don’t play the game, (not even at three at night for money) but he made lots of the holes in what you call Par. He was always straight down the course, not so terribly far, but ON IT.
The old fellow looks like he is extremely happy and satisfied, and I think feels that he has been of some service to his Country as well as to the passing Motorist. He has not only filled the Country’s tanks, but has filled many a diseased man with hope of a cure.
Then it’s the lesson he has been to other rich men. We all have a good deal of Sheep in us. If somebody does something, we are awful liable to jump over the same place he did. So it’s his lesson to other rich men, that has made them more liberal. Now we have hardly any great rich man that has not some form of Charity that he is extremely interested in. They know that to just be rich in this Country is no longer any novelty. It’s not the wealth they had that we remember, it’s what they did with it.Just last week the Prince of Wales made almost a prayer over the Radio that England might develop some one in their Country comparable to Rockefeller in philanthropy.2
That’s about the biggest single praise that has come his way. When the future ruler of a great Kingdom asks for a similar man in their Country, you must have accomplished something. He is a great old fellow and I tell you this Son of his is a wonder.3 He gives away money with fine judgement.
Well let’s get some comedy subject into this serious piece someway, so here goes, THE SENATE MET IN AN EXTRA EXTRA SESSION AGAIN. Now that ought to keep you laughing all summer. They let Congress go home for good behaviour, but they kept the Senate in.
They are there argueing over the London Treaty. Of course that just happens to be thing they thought of at the moment; if it wasent that it would be something else. They are trying to find out what Mr Ramsey McDonald said to Mr Hoover when they were out on the Rapidan River last fall.4 It’s always hurt them that they wasent invited to be present and hear every word said, so now they demand that Mr Hoover give them the Menu of that visit. What in the world does what was said and done eight months ago have to do with a six inch gun or an eight inch gun? We got to shoot ’em with guns and not with old Notes and letters from the Foreign Embassies.
Course Mr Hoover is all set out there in his camp, and while these old Boys are argueing and cussing each other over something that is going to pass, why he is out there in old Virginia dragging in the Trout, and giving these Lads the Ha Ha. He has ’em working after hours with no time and a half for overtime. In other words they are just staying for the argument and not for any results. They know the treaty will be passed, and to do so at the least expense would be the proper thing. But not for a Senator. But Mr Hoover gets the last laugh.
1For John D. Rockefeller, Sr., see WA 351:N 5.
2For the Prince of Wales see WA 336:N 8.
3For John D. Rockefeller, Jr., see WA 358:N 3.
4For J. Ramsay MacDonald see WA 344:N 2.
YES, IT’S HOT IN CALIFORNIA!Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I know when I am there to know it. Now don’t let them tell you it hasent been hot here in California the past few weeks. Brother it’s been roasting, and we havent got the usual Alabi, “It’s the humidity.” We havent even got any of that. Course it’s been cool in the nights. (That is fairly cool.) I am not going to be too big a liar just for the sake of the State. It’s just been hot, that’s all. Of course the papers out here can always kill off hundreds with the heat some place back east. But I think the Editors here were so overcome they couldent even get up enough energy to kill any off with a headline back there.
You can publish all the statistics and junk you want but I guess the whole country has been hit pretty hard. But I lay it to the Stock Market crash last fall. Soon as the market gets a little better we will have some cold weather. Yes we are liable to have snow just as soon as the Market gets better.
Say you know what we got out here besides the heat. Well it’s a Fish they call it Grunion, (Not Grundy) Grunion.1 At a certain time of the day and year why it washes right up on the bank or beach rather. You can tell where I did all my early swimming. It’s just a few inches long and pretty small even in a story. Well people go to the Beaches by the Fordsfull and after a big wave come in why they make a dive and tackle these things with their hands, and the funny part of it is, they know when it’s going to happen just like an eclipse. The papers all announce it, “Grunion will appear on such and such a Beach at 9:43 Tuesday night, July 12, 1930. If there is any change in the Grunions’ arrival time, like there was in Amos and Andy’s, why it will be announced as soon as we hear from them.”2 And by golly sure enough at 9:43 on said night, a wave come in and sure enough riding it in was old man Grundy, (I mean Grunion). Well everybody was a Tackle or a halfback, they made a flying tackle at ’em, and when their heads were pried out of the sand, it was found that each hand held two and three ounces of Grunion. So you see California again will get the reputation of being the biggest liars on earth by saying they can catch fish right out on the dry land, and the Rascals won’t be lying. They will be telling the truth for the first time in years.
See by the papers that Mr Hoover’s western vacation trip has been cut to two weeks in the Rockies, all on account of Hiram Johnston wanting to argue over the Treaty. He knew it would pass.3 But that made no difference to him. So he just kept everybody in Washington during this terrible weather. Course Mr Hoover is not so bad off, as he has fixed him up a Camp out in Virginia some place, and I reckon it’s pretty cool there.
But the President should be compelled to leave Washington early in the summer, even if he is forced to miss Johnston. Mind you I believe he is sincere about this, but he knew it was going to pass, and all he had to do was to register his opposition, and not drag it out into all this mess. He and Senator Dave Reed had a pretty set to last week.4 Dave told him he could go and see the papers, and learn all that was in them, but that he would not be allowed to show them to anybody else. Well he went up in the air, he said he could not conceive on any Senator ever looking at anything and not be able to tell about it. So he certainly bawled Davey out.
To have to read something and then keep it to yourself dident appeal to him in the least. Well we have no monopoly on kicking on the Treaty. England says we got the best of it. That shows they have a sense of humor. And in Japan they are hollering their heads off, they say their Delogation dident bring home enough ships. So if there is that much dissatisfaction, it’s like I have always preached, why hold these things? There is always more hatreds formed at any meeting than there is friendships, no matter what they agree too they know they should have done better. The Nations in this world that get along and never have any trouble are the ones that never meet in conference at all.
The minute you confer you find out each other’s short comings. But anyhow what difference does it make? The minute a war breaks out Treatys don’t mean a thing anyhow. If England went to war tomorrow, do you think this being bound to only a given number of ships would hold good? Say they would break that Treaty the minute they could get some boards and carpenters and start building. Everything is all right when things are going good, but when it’s bad, then nothing means anything. You naturally got to look to self preservation.
But who cares about all that? Say did you know they arrested a Girl here in Hollywood the other day? She was driving down our main thoroughfare with nothing on but a heavy tan, not a stich. A Modern Lady Godiva. She dident even have the advantage of long hair. You remember the old original over in Coventry England, (by the way I played there in Vaudeville, many years ago, it tain’t far from Shakespeare’s old stomping ground,) well that Lady had a horse, and she had a mane longer than the horse’s. But this one here the other day had traded her “Cayuse” for a Chevrolet Roadster, and her hair was short. Course this is all from heresay. I would miss it.
I think she come clear for it’s awful hard to tell when a woman is nude nowadays and when she is fully clothed. If the worst come to the worst she could always say it was an evening dress. But we do have great time out here, with Women driving nude and fish attacking people right up on dry land, and the heat 120 in the shade. We have lots of fun here. Come on out we will put you in the Movies.
1For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3.
2For “Amos ’n Andy” see WA 386:N 1.
3For Hiram W. Johnson see WA 360:N 3.
4For David A. Reed see WA 348:N 1.
HOW ARE YOUR TEETH
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I hear over the Radio during the various toothe paste hours. I tell you it’s a lucky thing for us that people’s teeth are in such bad shape or we never would get any amusement at all. In the old days when we did nothing with our teeth till we died off, why we had no amusement at all, we couldent turn a dial and get our favorites Amos and Andy.1 Tooth paste has been responsible for more good laughs than Barnum’s Circus has, and you can use the wrong kind too.2 According to the announcers, there is various kinds that cause decay, while their kind brings on added growth, so you got to be mighty careful.
Course the best thing in the world in the old days was to chew on a tough piece of steak, or kinder gnaw on and around a bone. But nowadays on account of having to buy so much toothe paste why it don’t leave enough to get the steak to whiten and toughen the teeth. A good old rump steak would give your teeth more exercise and build up a foundation than a steel tooth brush would.
But these lettuce sandwitches just don’t offer much resistance to the old Molars and they don’t get much exercise on them. Malted milk over a soda fountain just might as well be inhaled as far as the teeth is concerned. This Caviar assisted by Cocktails is another National dish that don’t offer much physical resistance to the eye teeth. In fact as far as the old Tusks are concerned there is really no reason for owning them.
An old toothless man or Woman is not inconvenienced in the least with our modern type of food. There is nothing that comes in cans that he can’t bulldog with ease and comfort. Our more rough type of food nowadays is a ham sandwitch, and the Boys that slice it fix it so that the teeth have no function to perform in its digestion.
Most of our up to date food is by absorptution. It melts in your mouth, so when the old Tooth brush gets a crack at the teeth it’s about the only thing they have encountered since babyhood. You have to brush ’em for they have had nothing rub up against ’em lately.
A wolf has the best looking teeth in the World. They are always white. Even the announcer won’t tell you that there is film forms over them. But on the other hand look what the old Coyote misses. He never did hear about Madam Queen. He don’t the King fish from a Setter pup. He has nothing to console his lonely hours only chewing on some competitor. He has the whitest teeth, but he is not informed on how many times a day the little Baby Wolves should grab a tube of “Never tarnish” and scrape the wisdom teeth.
On account of no particular demand for teeth it will only be a short time till we will be hearing over the Radio ways and means to maintain ’em at all, for we will quit growing ’em. You quit walking and you will soon have no legs. You stop arguments and you will soon have no Senators. You stop anything and nature provides that it will be discontinued, and you stop using the teeth only for artificial purposes and you will soon see there will be none. So then we will have to find something else to occupy our time and adds.
You know the old toe nail has never received its proper amount of public care and instruction. It won’t be many years before we will be a tuning in on “Calvin and Herbert, those two boys who will tickle you for the next half hour on personal experiences while prowling in the undergrowth of National incompetence. They come to you by permission of the Anti Ingrowing Toe Nail Company. Have you watched your pedal extremities lately? The toe is an important ingredient of the system. All National ills can be traced, detourly, to the toe, so watch your toes. The Anti Ingrowing Toe Nail Co. have devised a concoction that head toe nails out in the right direction. Just a little application night and morning. Remember, watch the Kiddies, and don’t forget, Calvin and Herbert every evening, brought to you by the Anti Ingrowing Toe Nail Co.”
If this Country had static for a solid month, there is no telling what would become of people’s teeth. But everything is sorter drifting to the sanitary anyhow. In the old days when we wasent so sanitary, why we were strong enough to withstand all the germs. But nowadays we have to be careful of the Microbes for if they get a hold on us we are gone. We are not physically able to withstand ’em. In the old days as many as wanted to could drink out of one cup, and the last one would just shake his head and swallow down Mike-Robies just as fast as they would acumilate. But now the old individual cup won’t go for over one sitting, or it will knock the second individual right into the infested class. The old fashioned Goard that the whole family drank out of from birth till death, would kill off more of the modern population than a war. We just ain’t built to stand the assults and batteries of an unwrapped-in-paper containers. New handkerchiefs, everything is bundled up seperately. Nothing comes in the gross anymore.
But while we have lost in strength and endurance we have gained in amusement and instruction. For there is not an hour of any day that some one on the Air don’t keep us warned of what lies in wait for us in case we don’t use their remedy. There is just more different things that can happen to us than there used to be. An open cuspidor is not only passe, but it’s a social horror.
1For “Amos ’n Andy” see WA 386:N 1.
2Phineas Taylor Barnum, American showman who was a cofounder in 1881 of the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus.
WILL DIPS INTO THE BLUEWell all I know is just what little I read in the papers. Somebody just sent me a clipping I see here and it says who has been left off and who added to the Social Register. Now that is a laugh ain’t it? (I would be dropped if I ever got on for saying “ain’t.”) If all the undemocratic things you can think of just off hand, that is the prize “Hooey,” a book to tell you who is good Parlor Hound and who is a sort of Mongrel around the tea table.
I see just offhand here that Polly Lauder, (a niece of Harry Lauder’s) who married Gene Tunney has been dropped from the “Register.”1 If she had married a Society Bootlegger she would have made the grade but when she married Gene, a man who had been a pretty fare type of Gentleman who’s only fault in his profession was that he shook hands with you before knocking you Cuckoo, why they right away said that Polly dident grade up to par. She had been negligent in picking a Mayflower weed. Tunney’s name never had been in “Baloney sheet.” But it had to tell in there who she had “promised to Love honor and break clean in the clinches with,” so in that way it had to name Gene. So in a kind of a back alley way his name was in there, not intentionally, but in there. So I guess that’s why they had to drop Polly’s. They left her in there for one year to see if she wouldent repent and come back to Cocktail cavalcade, but as she dident why they just got themselvs a great big eraser and she dropped in Social oblivion. And I bet that just about broke that girl’s heart. For here she had spent a lifetime picking out parents who were eligible, and now she had gone and flopped after working hard to make the grade, and here at the last minute flunk. Now what can she do, where can she go? Decent people won’t have anything to do with her. Everybody will look at her and say, “Why that’s Polly Lauder! She used to be somebody and was fine and social. But they dropped her right off the Book and here she is practically Destitute of all the other Members of the great Fraternity of those who are somebody by grace of proper propogation, (and ordering enough books).”
You see there is something you might not know. If your name goes in you order so many books. It’s not exactly a philanthropic organization, and it’s not exactly to keep track of those worth while. It’s just sorter like all the rest of us are when we really admit it, it’s to get the dough. Now about what Gene did was (as he couldent fight Dempesy any more and that big income wasent coming in) why he decided to cut down on his Charaties and this happened to seem to them to be the least necessary, why they discontinued their subscriptions to this Elite Periodical and they give ’em so many months warning and then when the Tunneys dident come through why they just washed ’em up.2
All of which gets us back to “What is Society and what is a Gentleman?” Well of course it’s easy to define a Gentleman, a gentleman is to my way of thinking a man that can play Golf and don’t say so. But as there is so few in fact it has been discussed whether there is any at all.
Now as to “What is Society?” Society is any band of folks that kinder throw in with each other, and mess around togeather for each others disscomfort. Any little or big group of folks that sorter flock togeather are “Society” in some form or other. The ones with the more money have more to eat and drink at their affairs, and their clothes cost more, and so that’s called “High Society.” Now the morals or personal behaviour of its Members have nothing to do with it. The oftener they can crash the front page the solider they are in their fraternity. And it’s sorter heriditary. No matter who you raise up in your family Zoo why they naturally inherit your space in the “Social Register.” Your personall accomplishments have nothing to do with it. Mind you the Tunneys are not alone. Caruso’s wife was in there, and after she married him, they scratched her out.3 So they evidentally have a pet aversion to “Tenors.” Now there I kinder agree with ’em. There should be something done about Tenors, otherwise you encourage ’em.
Rear Admiral Byrd is among the missing.4 Guess he has been running around these Poles when he should have been at home taking care of his duties in the drawing room. But can you imagine leaving Byrd out, when his family have more record of breeding and tradition than half the book put together?
Then here is a fellow that I bet it just broke him right square up when he opened the book and found he was out on his ear. That’s Henry Ford. Transportationally he is a Giant, but socially he is a Gnat. I can just imagine his embarrassment when he found that out. For he has been so ambitious, and has strived all his life to be somebody, and now to find that he dident make it. Little Boys will be pointing him out on the running boards. “Oh look there is Henry Ford, he is not in the Social Register! Don‘t touch him he will contaminate you.”
So for downright amusement in reading matter that Register will compete with the Congressional Register and College Humor.
1May Josephine “Polly” Lauder, debutante heiress of Greenwich, Connecticut, who married boxer Gene Tunney (see WA 338:N 2) in Rome, Italy, on October 3, 1928. Harry Lauder, popular Scottish singer and songwriter who was knighted in 1919 for entertaining troops during World War I.
2William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey, American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 until he lost the crown to Tunney in 1926.
3Enrico Caruso, Italian operatic star who was the leading tenor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1903 to 1920. After his death in 1921, his many recordings perpetuated his fame. His wife was the former Dorothy Park Benjamin, daughter of a prominent New York City patent attorney.
4Richard Evelyn Byrd, American naval officer and explorer, renowned for his expeditions to the North and South Poles in the 1920s and 1930s.
KANSAS, COOLIDGE, AND THERMOMETERSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. And outside of the thermometer reports, there just ain’t much in the newsprints nowadays. This heat thing accompanied by drouth has had everybody pretty bad scared up. Mr Hoover dident go away on his vacation as expected. He got right after it. Course there is not much a man can do when it’s heat that’s bothering us. He can advise everybody to sit in the shade, and avoid the sun as much as possible. Then if it’s rain they need why advise them to raise crops that don’t need much rain.
Kansas had an election a week or so ago, and Mr Hoover seemed mighty pleased when his backer from there was nominated by a big majority. It was thought that Kansas on account of being a sort of an Amateur Farming State might go against the Administration because the heat had spoiled the crops, but they dident, they voted for a good friend of mine, Henry Allen.1 (Well he is a friend of Hoover’s too.) Henry is an old Crony of William Randolph White, only Henry gets elected.2 Henry had been in Washington as a stop gap Senator and evidentally did pretty good. He was about the best dressed Senator there. Course that’s not much of an accomplishment, as he could be that and still be taken up for indecency among good Society.
So take it all in all it looks like Mr Hoover is going into the late summer pretty well intrenched. Course the Southern Republicans have broke out against him, which would be expected, for there must be something the matter with a Southerner that would be a Republican. So they are naturally in the observation ward all the time anyway. There is some Guy down there named Mann, and he hasent got quite all the appointments that he expected for his Campaign money and he is out for The President’s scalp in 32.3 But by that time maby Mr Hoover will appoint him on some Commission and he will be all O. K. again. A Politician is just like spoiled Kid. If he feels that his stick of candy is not the longest why he will let out a yap that will drown out the neighborhood.
Mr Coolidge is still going along, knocking out his 150 words a day. I am sorry I ever started that idea of wiring in a little dispatch every day on current events. We will have everybody in the world trying it before long. But he has had some mighty nice reading, and some sound advice. Not that anybody is interested in advice whether it’s sound or not. In fact the sounder it is the less it’s received. But he has done a good job has Mr Coolidge, and I hope he keeps it up. Course it will be against him if he ever wants to run for anything. But there is no job that pays as good as it does, so why would anyone want to run for anything. No Columnist was ever elected to anything any time any place.
This conducting a columns is considered a kind of a low grade type of human endeavor. It’s not classed among what might be called the Arts. It’s just a kind of a stop gap to keep the Cayote from the doorstep, and as a dignified proffession it’s sorter null and void. It’s just sorter in the papers to break your jump on the way over to the advertising pages. But while it does not bring home the Literary praise it does fetch in some buck-wheat cakes accompanied by bacon. It can be sneered at till meal time; then it has its good points.
There has been a good deal of trouble out in the Dakotas about the history that Mr Coolidge was supposed to write on a rock.4 It was to run 500 words and give the history of America and still not go into details. Well 500 words don’t allow you much history. Course we never had much history, but like all Nations we think we have. While we can’t trace our Ancestors back any further than you can trust a Congressman, why we naturally think we are saturated with “Tradition” when as a matter of fact it’s only payments on objects that we are immersed in.
Well the Sculptor dident like the history that our Ex President had cooked up so he made as we say in the eighth art, (the Movies) why he made some re-takes on the manuscript. It seems that Mr Coolidge had with an eye to future Campaigns given our History from a Republican standpoint. There had been Democrats engaged in our history but only in the capacity of Villans. We had reached our present state of taxation by the far sightedness of the Republican Organizations. Well this Gutsom Borglum, who is a foreigner by birth, but an Atlanta Georgian by argument, he had studied his history of our land from the standpoint of Stone Mountain and Major Cohen, and Congressman Upshaw.5 He believed that Lee, Davis and Jackson participated in our early escapades, while Mr Coolidge took the view that we had reached our present indebtedness by the sole aid of the Grundy’s, the Reeds, the Lodges, and the Vares.6 He had taken his history of America from the Congressional Record, while Gutsom wanted his from the Atlanta Constitution. Coolidge believed that Jefferson was a fictitious Character, and that the income tax was entirely due to Alexander Hamilton, (the inventor of a time lock safe).
Well poor Dakota dident know what it was all about, all the interest they had in the matter was to furnish the Mountain. They just wanted something that a Tourist could read, or have read to him. In fact the more controversy the more would come to read. What constitued our early history dident mean a thing to my old Friend Beulow and his co-horts.7 The Dakotas just said “we got the rock. Print an Aimee McPherson sermon on it, just so somebody will burn out his break bands to come and see it.”8 If they leave the Coolidge version on there, they should advertise it, “Come and see the Republican history of America in 500 words.”
1Henry Justin Allen, Republican United States senator from Kansas from 1920 to 1930. A newspaper publisher and former governor, Allen was appointed to the Senate in 1929 to fill a vacancy. He handily won the Republican senatorial primary in 1930 but lost the general election.
2William Allen White, owner and editor of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette from 1895 until his death in 1943; Republican politician; recipient of a Pulitzer prize in 1923. Rogers often interchanged the middle names of White and fellow publisher William Randolph Hearst (see WA 334:N 6).
3Horace A. Mann, Republican politician and one of the managers of Hoover’s campaign in the South in 1928; founder of an anti-administration organization of southern Republicans.
4Coolidge was asked in January 1930 to write a 500-word history of the United States to be inscribed on Mount Rushmore. He wrote a text, but the sculptor of the project disliked it and asked him to contribute another version. Coolidge’s death in 1933 left the work unfinished.
5Gutzon Borglum, American sculptor who supervised the work at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota and designed and did much of the labor on the Confederate memorial at Stone Mountain, Georgia. Octavus Roy Cohen, American fiction writer, noted as the author of a series of Negro stories set in his native South. William David Upshaw, Democratic United States representative from Georgia from 1919 to 1927; leading prohibitionist and religious fundamentalist.
6For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3; for David A. Reed see WA 348:N 1. Henry Cabot Lodge, leading Republican figure; United States senator from Massachusetts from 1893 until his death in 1924. For William S. Vare see WA 365:N 3.
7William John Bulow, Democratic governor of South Dakota from 1927 to 1931.
8For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 344:N 6.
THIS CIVILIZATION OF OURSWell all I know is just what I read in the Papers. Now I have been perusing the Periodicals with an eagle eye, and to save my soul I can’t see a thing that will bear repeating. Premature Golf has got us by the ears, and America has a putter in its hand.1 It’s been a godsend to vacant lots. They look beautiful at nights, but in the day time when the lights are not on, the Gingerbread kinder crops out. But it’s been a great thing, the working men who put them in, and at a time when Prosperity was at what you might say was its lowest ebb. In fact it wasent even ebbing.
They say “It started in old Chatanooga a long time ago.” Now I know Chatanooga pretty well, it’s a great old town. Lookout Mountain is perched at its doorstep. Adolph Ochs the Publisher and Owner of the great New York Times comes from there.2 But this Snare Drum Golf that started from there has got the town more publicity than Mr Ochs or the Battles of Chicamagua, or Lookout Mountain, or even the Bend in the river. To look at it you wouldent think that it was the City that was the start of the whole of America “picking it up and putting it down.”
But those old Southerners are mighty ingenious. You know it was a Guy in Memphis that started this Piggly Wiggly business. He figured that if somebody give you a basket and told you to go to it, that you would take up more junk than if somebody was digging it out for you. The Woman instinct would naturally make her believe that the fellow looking in the bag at the finish might overlook something.
But anyhow he made a great thing of it, and say, by the way, I want to ask him, that man Saunders, (Owner of his own name) what he ever did with that invention for parking Automobiles.3 He took me while I was in Memphis one time and showed me a working model of it, and I thought at the time that it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. It was a gag like an elevator, with cages on both sides. One coming down and one going up, and it stood about twenty or thirty stories or cars high. You drove into a cage with your car, got out, and shut the gate, and it automatically went on up till an empty space come along, and it stopped there to wait for the next car, and your car went on up. You remembered the number of the elevator it was in, when you come for it you pressed your number and it went over the top and on down the other side, and when it reached the ground it stopped, and you drove it out. The whole thing could go on a lot twenty feet wide, and that deep, and would park all these cars. Well anyhow it was a great idea, looked sorter like a Ferris wheel. I wonder what he ever did with it.
Speaking of Politics, I was up at a Rodeo at Salinas, California the other day, and their great speciality there is riding Bucking Bulls. Well the Governor was there and as he was up for re-election he spoke and casually reminded the people that a vote for him would not be un-appreciated.4 Well just as he would reach an important part of his address why out would come a bucking bull and maby throw a Cowpuncher higher than a Republican Tarriff bill, and the crowd would roar and applaud. The Governor would start again, “As I was saying, I have down more for Monterey County and ----------- Ba, ba. “Ride him Cowboy, hook him Cow!” “Monterey County has been my special pet in handing out appropriations,” and “Here comes another one, watch that Baby buck! What a Bull! You are riding him pretty Boy!” “If I am re-elected, I will give...” “Set in the middle of that Animal old hand!”
Well all this went on for quite a spell, and we never could find out what the Governor had done for old Monterey County. From the looks of the Bulls there dident seem much that he could do for old Monterey County. What the County needed politically was noiseless bulls. Well they finally wanted me to go over and deliver a Theme song on the Merits of Herbert and Calvin, or “What the Republican Party has done to us.” But not me, I wouldent go over there and compete with those Bovines. “Bull” is all right but not when you are competing with the original. I could have told ’em in a minute what was the matter with Old Monterey County, Cal. or old Rogers County Okla, or Brown County Indiana.
We are just stepping too fast. In the old days we figured the world owed us a living, now we figure he owes us an Automobile, a Player Piano, and Radio, Frigid Air, and Clara Bow.5 The Automobile is to take you places you would be better off if you dident go to. The player Piano is to discourage you from trying to play your own simple little tunes that your folks spent so much on your learning. The Radio is for Pepsident. The Frigid Air is too give you ice water when you would be better off if you dident load up on it, and Clara Bow will just lead you plum astray. She will give a Country boy the wrong impressions.
But it’s all coming under the heading of higher Civilization. Till now it’s a case of what is Civilization. Was our old folks dumb and dident know nothing? Say don’t you kid yourself, those old Boys in their youth could take a big silver Dollar and go out and corrall more “Hot times” than we ever thought of. There is many a Barrimore hid behind long whiskers.6 Say they did a lot of prowling in their time. A horse and Buggy could take you so far that it wasent impossible to walk home, but it was inconvenient. Even back in my time, when I was going good, I have come dragging in from a dance horseback, by daylight.
We wasent making payments on as many things, but we was making some mighty nifty “Whoopee.” Your Mother gets mighty shocked at you Girls nowadays, but in her day her Mother was just on the verge of sending her to a reformatory, so we just got to live and let live and laugh the thing off. The Republicans got the Country and what can you expect?
1A miniature golf craze swept the country in the early 1930s.
2Adolph Simon Ochs, publisher of the New York Times from 1896 until his death in 1935; publisher of the Chattanooga Times from 1878 until his death.
3Clarence Saunders, Memphis grocer who revolutionized the industry with the Piggly Wiggly supermarkets. After losing control of the stores in 1924, Saunders established another grocery chain known as “Clarence Saunders, Sole Owner of My Name.”
4Clement Calhoun Young, Republican governor of California from 1927 to 1931.
5Clara Bow, vivacious American motion picture actress who symbolized the flapper age and “ the roaring 20s” as the “It” girl of the decade. Bow personified playful feminine allure.
6The Barrymores—John (see WA 337:N 1), Lionel, and Ethel—comprised one of the most famous and successful family of actors in the United States.
SEEING OUR FRONT YARD IS GREAT FUNWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I see while prowling. Well sir a week or so ago had a great trip. We were starting to go to the famous Lake Tahoe in California to film the old Frank Bacon play “Lightnin” right on the ground that it was laid on.1 You know it was a hotel on the Nevada and California line, and the Divorcees would stop there and it had a California address but in reality you would be living in Nevada.
Well Fred Stone and his family were out at our little ranch at Santa Monica spending a little vacation with us, so we all decided to go up.2 We first hit out for Yosemite. I hate to admit it but I had never been there. My family had, but not me, and Fred and his folks hadent been. If you never have been there, don’t miss it. It’s great sight. I am not going to tell you about it for you can get folders that can make it wilder than I can.
First place they have one of the most unique Hotels you ever saw. In fact lots of dandy places to stop. Everybody was apoligising for the falls, as on account of the Republicans giving us no more rains than they have why there hasent been in years as little water coming over. But there was some, and it would give you an idea of where they were and what could happen to some water if it did happen along that way, what a drop it would get.
We took drives and we took walks, and then we had a Barbecue down on the river bank on the gravel bar. They sure do know how to cook up steaks, and they sent their old Cowboy Banjo player and singer down and he was sure good. He had lots of old ones I hadent heard in years, and he had some I had never heard. Then they had an awful good Cowboy Rope spinner and Fred and I got a kick out of him, for we had both wrestled with one of those things long enough to know how hard it really was.
There was just 10 or 12 in the party, and then Fred picked up the old rope and he roped like he hadent been off it a day. It will take more than an Aeroplane to knock that Guy out. Then he sang a lot of his old songs from his various hits. I tried a little rope, but I was getting too old and fat. I took up eating again. Down there by the moonlight, and a campfire, and hemmed in by partitions that are three thousand feet straight up, I tell you New York’s Yosemite, down in those Canyons can’t touch it. You would see little deer playing around. Then we went to see the fire fall, on a high cliff. They build every night a big log fire, and as it burns into small embers, just at nine o’clock they push it over in a steady stream that lasts several minutes these burning embers, and here you are almost a mile straight down, and see this fall over this great precepice, and at one of the Camps a women sang that beautiful Indian song, “The waters of Minnetonka.”
Well it was a beautiful sight. Then we went to see ’em feed the bears. There is lots of bears in there, and they take the garbage from the hotels, and have little pits built like tables, and spot lights up in the trees, and it’s on the bank of this beautiful little river, and all the crowd are just across on the opposite side. They put all the food in these places, and then they turn the lights on, and all at once right across the river is all these old bears, fussing and eating, and playing. They put food up on an old standing tree trunk, and they climb up there for it, and then the Naturalist of the park gives a very entertaining talk on them. They go to sleep in the fall in caves, and old trunks of trees, and they don’t come out or wake up till spring, and their little ones are born during this sleep, and they only weigh about a pound at birth, and they sleep and suck their paw.
They feed ’em, otherwise they would break in people’s tents to get their bacon, or they will go into a car when parked at night if they smell food in there. You are not supposed to feed ’em from your hand but they have a hospital there for the ones that do. Well we started early the next morning, and went out of their in our cars, by the eastern way, the Tiago Route, and it is without a doubt the most beautiful trip I ever saw. It’s about 225 miles from there to Lake Tahoe, by way of Mona Lake and that’s the one where there is nothing lives in.
I don’t know why, for they dident have any naturalist there to tell us. That’s how come me to know so much about the bears. They are getting very fine roads, that is for mountain roads all over these places, and touring through America now is really becoming a real pleasure. We swung over into Nevada from all this Big Trees and Pine timber, down into the desert Country, then by the most beautiful watered valleys, with mighty pretty Cow ranches in ’em, that made my mouth water. Then up over another high mountain pass and there was this wonderful Lake Tahoe, over six thousand feet up in the air, with one hundred miles of shore line, and nobody knows how deep, and beautiful and marvelous places all around it. It’s right in the heart of all the old California and Nevada mining places that have made history.
The state line runs through the lake. We drove over to Virginia City, the mining town that built the great San Francisco. $800,000.000, eight hundred million taken from there. Now it’s just almost a Ghost town. It’s Mark Twain’s old town where he worked on the paper.3 Fred crawled in the window of the old Opera House, and dug around in the dressing rooms and stage. That was the hit of the trip with him. He said he had never played there in the early days but he had played lots of’em like it, around the middle west. Then to Carson City, Nevada, one of the most picturesque and historic old State Capitols we have, saw where Corbett and Fitsimmons fought the famous “Solar Plexus” fight.4 Fred got a kick out of that for he used to box with Corbett all during his Championship days, and Corbett always said he would have been a Champion middleweight if he had taken it up as a profession. He was always the best boxer, (and fighter) of any Actor we ever had on the stage. Then to Reno, which is only forty miles from the lake. But Reno I will have to take a whole Chapter to tell you about it, and its “Industry.” But if you want to have a good time, I don’t care where you live, just load in your kids, and take some congenial friends, and just start out. You would be surprised what there is to see in this great Country within 200 miles of where any of us live. I don’t care what State or what town. I tell you Henry Ford has been good to us.
1Frank Bacon, American actor and playwright; co-author of Lightnin’, which had a long, uninterrupted theatrical run in New York City from 1918 to 1921.
2Fred Andrew Stone, well known American stage and screen actor. In 1903 he created the Scarecrow role in the theatrical production of the Wizard of Oz. Stone was one of Rogers’ dearest friends.
3Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, American author and humorist. Twain resided in Carson City in 1861 and in Virginia City in 1862, during which time he prospected for gold and silver and wrote for a local newspaper.
4James John “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1892 to 1897. One of the first of the modern-day scientific boxers, Corbett retired from the ring in 1903. He later appeared on the stage, in motion pictures, and on radio. Robert Prometheus “Bob” Fitzsimmons, English-born prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship from Corbett in a famous bout at Carson City, Nevada, on March 17, 1897. He lost the title two years later.
AIRPLANES, LADIES, AND POLITICSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I “Contact” from hither to thither. I sure did hate missing that big Air Show in Chicago. I think that is becoming to be the one great show we will have. Just think how it will grow in importance when everybody really goes to traveling by air, and it’s coming all the time. They have some big 32 passengers ships out here between Los Angeles and Frisco and they are full all the time.
There is really something to see at one of those shows. You take Automobile shows and all you have to do is to go in the show rooms in every town and you see the same thing you can at a show, and they have them so perfected that about all that ever shows up new at a show is some new fangled Cigar lighter, or odd shape door knobs. But at an air show there is hundreds of entirely different models that you had ever seen before. Then to see fellows like Al Williams, the great Ex Naval Flyer (who they all say is one of the best in the world) and Jimmy Doolittle who can fly and land blind, only by using instruments and all the dozens of others.1 Now it’s a real show.
You know I was reading the other day about the big Military air show they had held in England the other day, and they had a battle between an invading army of them, with the other side protecting the City, and with the speed and the altitude that the Bombing plane can make now, they found that it was almost impossible to keep them away. That is if they dident know they was coming. They say there has to be some way of detecting when they are coming so they can go up and be ready for ’em. As it is now by the time they leave the ground and get to an altitude of 18 and 20 thousand feet why they have already dropped their bombs and gone. They have Bombers now that travel 175 miles an hour.
While we were up at Lake Tahoe in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains we would see the mail plane sometimes going over the mountains. They had to get a high altitude to make it, and there is not much chance of landing if the old Put Put goes bluey, and they do that both ways in the night too. I tell you when you get an air mail letter from away out here, you just ought to stop and think what a chance a half dozen fine young men have taken with their lives to get you that letter there one, two or three days earlier. Gosh that’s a risky old game over these mountains at night.
Well let’s see what other shows we had lately. Out our way for the last few weeks Aimee and Ma McPherson have just about run the spotlight ragged.2 We can’t find out if Aimee really did swing on Ma or not. Then to make the argument better why the “Face histing” entered into it. Ma said Aimee had her face re-upholstered, Aimee said she dident. Ma said that her (Ma’s) nose was broken, Aimee said she broke it putting it in the Church’s business, and in the meantime the Congregation never lost its faith. It was with ’em, nose or no nose, face or two faced, it didn’t matter. They went down to her beach House in Malibu, (by the way there’s where all the Pajama Actorines cavort). Well it seems that Aimee had a beach House, and the Choir would go there and sing to her. Nobody sang to Ma but she never did stop denouncing. So us poor readers have just been about run ragged trying to keep up with so many different developments. It seems that our various assortment of Clergymen, and Clergywomen, won’t give one of the ordinary paying congregation a chance to make the front page. Bishop Cannon no more slows up or re-marries or does something, than Aimee and Ma are ready for a go.3 And speaking of Ma’s why I havent communed with you since Ma Furgeson was defeated for the nomination, and of course the election, for it was on the Democratic side, and Texas has about been cured of its last election’s short sightedness.4 Democrats are coming back in the fold so fast and praying for forgiveness that it looks like a bargain sale.
This fellow Sterling that beat Ma is a fine fellow.5 It took a good man to beat Ma. Got to give her and old Jim credit they come back mighty strong, and the large vote she received certainly showed that old Texas thinks a lot of the old Gal yet. There has been an awful lot of people defeated this year in the primary. Everybody was running that could get some cards printed. It was a great year for the printers.
We got an awful good man beat in Oklahoma for the Senate nomination, Wrightsman.6 But he was up against another case of too much opposition. It was our old time Senator Gore, the first blind man, (physically) to sit in the Senate.7 He lost out away back during one of those early Republican landslides. There is going to be a lot of changes in Washington when the boys gather after the next election. Democrats are going to make some big gains for the people are sore at Hoover because they had to go back to work and couldent just make a living by buying a stock and selling it to the other fellow at a raise. Then him not giving ’em rain, has hurt him. Then the people will get all excited around November over wets and drys, and the law will stay like it is, and the thirsts will be quenched as usual, then the “Hooey” will die out till then we will have the same thing over again. Oh, hum!
1Alford Joseph “Al” Williams, Jr., research pilot with the United States Navy from 1917 to 1930; holder of several air records and aviation awards. James Harold “Jimmy” Doolittle, American flier noted for his speed marks set in the 1920s and 1930s, his interest in commercial aviation, and his later heroism during World War II.
2Minnie Pearce “Ma” Kennedy, evangelist and mother of Aimee Semple McPherson (see WA 344:N 6); credited with much influence in the development of her daughter’s early career. On August 18, 1930, Kennedy appeared at a Los Angeles health center with a broken nose. The press reported that McPherson had inflicted the injury during a fight with her mother a few days earlier.
3For James Cannon, Jr., see WA 335:N 15.
4Miriam Amanda Wallace “Ma” Ferguson, Democratic governor of Texas from 1925 to 1927 and 1933 to 1935.
5Ross S. Sterling, Texas oilman and newspaper publisher who was elected governor of Texas in 1930. A Democrat, Sterling served as governor from 1931 to 1933.
6Charles John Wrightsman, Tulsa lawyer, oilman, and Democratic politician.
7Thomas Pryor Gore, Democratic United States senator from Oklahoma from 1907 to 1921 and 1931 to 1937.
WHERE’S ALL THIS FARM RELIEF?Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. Here about a week or ten days ago we had quite a mess of news happening. But here lately it’s pretty well bogged down. When those Frenchmen was flying the Ocean, and Lindy was receiving ’em, you know that must have been quite a Novelty.1 Think of Lindy meeting somebody instead of being met. But he did a mighty gracious thing, as he always does. When those boys landed he was right there, to give them the glad hand of welcome, and it was real too. For he is for anything that is for the good of aviation whether he is the one doing it or not. Yes sir he and Annie was there.2
Well those fellows had a right to make that trip. They were real Aviators in the first place, and they had made every known preperation and taken every precaution. The trouble with most of the other trials that have failed, they were by practically unknown Aviators, and they were just taking a chance, and figuring maby they could make it. You see when those Germans come meandering in here by way of the North Pole and way stations (which by the way was a great trip) why that stirred the French. You let a German do something and even if it’s wrong the Frenchmen will want to out do him. Now that they have it done, I look to have to put up immigration laws against visiting foreign Aviators. They will be dropping in here so fast that Grover Whalen will have to be shaking hands with both mits.3
Then Mr Hearst getting thrown out of France was awful big news away back in the same days the Frenchmen were landing.4 He went on over to England and they received him with open arms, and even asked him to write something about them. France got sore at something he wrote about ’em, and England with their minds on what could be accomplished by publicity, as they had seen it done by America, they said, “Sure W. R. publish any of our old Treatys you want. We will even write you one to publish, go ahead, write what you want and stay as long as you like.” Well anyhow they lost a mighty good spender, when they let him go. Outside of Flo Zeigfeld he does things in a bigger way than any man I ever knew.5 Course Zeigfeld, the Marharajah of Johdpurr can’t travel and operate like Zeigy.6
Well let’s see what else there is in the prints. I thought we was going to have some Farm Relief to report to you by this sabbath day. But the commissions are just gathering data. They won’t take the farmer’s word for it that he is poor. They hire men to find out how poor he is. If they took all the money they spend on finding out how he is, and give it to the Farmer he wouldent need any more relief. But soon as winter comes he will be OK, soon as snow flies he can kill Rabbits, that will be the biggest relief he has had so far.
Well the elections will be breaking out pretty soon, and a flock of Democrats will replace a mess of Republicans in quite a few districts. It won’t mean a thing, they will go in like all the rest of ’em, go in on promises and come out on Alabi’s. If the Farmer could harvest his promises he would be sitting pretty. The party that’s in and not doing so good, when the election comes they throw him out, but all these things happen on what they call the “Off Years,” on those years the Republicans see that things go pretty good. So what happens at the coming one won’t have a thing to do with the big finals in 32.
I tell you what I bet you. I bet you that Hoover walks in, in 32. It looks kinder goofy for him now. But by then we will have heard him knocked so much that we will begin to feel sorry for him and figure that he hasent had a chance, and by then the Farmers that want relief now will be starved to death, and a new crop will be along that have sold the old farm and put in a “Minature” so he will walk in. There is something about a Republican Administration that it only functions one year in four. But they make sure that year is the presidential election year. So now is the time to take some bets. Paste this up and drop me a line around November 32. Never mind what happens at this one that’s coming up in a few weeks, that’s only a decoy. That’s just to keep the Democrats enthused, and keep them from giving up their character.
By the way all the reports from New Yaork are that Jimmy Walker is folding up and going into the old camphor balls.7 Well Jimmy has had a good run and it won’t worry him much. He has kept ’em fooled for quite awhile, and has made ’em about as good a man as any of the rest of ’em. Jimmy could at least make ’em a good speech. He called in a hundred prominent citizens to disscuss “graft” with him. A man naturally wouldent call in 100 poor men to disscuss graft, they would have no technical knowledge of the subject. These 100 met and adjourned without adopting any resolution to either halt or increase it. It seemed everyone was satisfied as it is.
1Two Frenchmen, Dieudonne Coste and J. Maurice Bellonte, completed the first nonstop flight from Paris to New York on September 3, 1930. For Charles A. Lindbergh see WA 338:N 1.
2For Anne Morrow Lindbergh see WA 338:N 1.
3Grover Aloysius Whalen, New York City merchant and civic leader; police commissioner from 1928 to 1930; long-time official “greeter” for the city.
4For William Randolph Hearst see WA 334:N 6.
5For Flo Ziegfeld see WA 336:N 3.
6Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Abu Bakar, sultan of Jahore from 1895 until his death in 1959. Sir Ibrahim, who ruled his rubber-rich southern Malaya state with the aid of British advisers, was one of the wealthiest men in the Far East.
7For Jimmy Walker see WA 351:N 4.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT NEVADA?Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what comes along where I happen to be messing around. I don’t care where, or how much you have traveled, if you want to hit a unique neck of the woods go up around Lake Tahoe, and over into Nevada, Reno, Carson City, Virginia City, all those Hot Springs up around there, then that Lake Tahoe 6300 hundred hoofs high, 26 miles long and 12 wide, and all the resorts around it, and the California and Nevada line running right through the lake. In fact it makes a bend right in the lake.
It’s not only the unique country, it’s the people too that you run onto up there. Lots of Frisco people have their summer homes up there. The Fleishackers have a great place, and he goes back to his business and rounds up a new gang of guests and brings ’em up for every week end.1 He has got that big old Boy that played such great football for Standford, and a fine big Kid he is too, and not spoiled. This Fleishacker is the man that every big business man or financier knows. I have heard more tales of big men being temporarily in need of money and going to the phone and calling up “Herb Fleishacker” and he would fix ’em up. I never heard of a business man that had done as many good deeds for his friends.
Then down the Lake further on Emerald Bay Mrs Knight has I’ll bet is the most unique House in America, a Sweedish House.2 Now we never thought about the Swedes having houses. We just kinder pictured em being born, and then leaving the next day for Minnesota, and then live in American made homes. But say on their native heath those Johnsons know how to live. This house of hers is absolutely authentic, and it’s the most livable thing I ever saw, all heavy substantial stuff; lots of fireplaces, up off the floor level, and most of them in the corners of the room, and low ceilings, and heavy pannelings, and the outbuildings have sod covered roofs, and it’s in a great setting, as she owns Emerald bay, and it’s backed up with those giant saw tooth mountains, and a big waterfall coming down at the back of the place. Then another great one is Anita Baldwin’s summer place just off the big lake on Fallen Leaf Lake.3 It’s log, the biggest ones you ever saw. The Living room with the highest ceiling, and everything in it is Indian, and I mean authentic Indian, as she has one of the greatest Indian collections in America. A great part of it is now in the Southwestern Museum. There is not one thing you see or touch when you get in that house that’s not Indian, or Indian design. Dishes, Knives, Forks, all the cushions of the chairs and settees are cowskin covered, sofa pillows are woven corn husks. She has the oddest mantel in her room. Her Father Lucky Baldwin made his first big money in mining, and you’ve all seen these piles of rocks of odd colors, and mineral contents that most old homes used to possess, (I know we had some and I been trying for years to find out what become of them). Well she has a concrete mantel, and on the out edges of that mantel is all these wonderfully valuable pieces of mineral, imbedded in the concrete, and of course hers was valuable as it was a fine collection of her Father’s that had come from his diggings in the old “Comstock” not many miles from where these are now. I was admiring some of her Indian Baskets, and happened to say that I wanted to get hold of some, and she said, “Over in Carson City there is some very nice ones, they were made by a very famous Washoe Indian woman now dead, but they are rather dear, they run about ten thousand each.” When I regained part consciousness, I thanked her for the information and asked if she thought I could get a slight reduction if I sent over and got say a dozen or so. I wouldent give ten thousand dollars for the basket they had Moses stored away in the bullrushes in.
But we must get away from homes and get to the real interest up around Nevada, and thats the “Divorcees.” All of ’em don’t live in Reno. They live over on, or near the California line, they have to serve three months. If they leave the State during that time and stay a week, they have to add that on to their sentence at the end. Most of them are young women. There is on an average of about 2,000 here all the time. Two Judges in Reno are trying cases most all the time. Judge Bartlett, one of Nevada’s most famous Judges was down to watch us shoot our Picture, and he is a mighty pleasant, shrewd, fine little fellow.4 He tells me that a great percentage of the women who come, it’s planned and premeditaded with the Husband. He has fallen in love with somebody, or she has, or they both have, and they have decided they can’t tough it out so they claim desertion, or something, and the alimony is generally arranged beforehand between them, if any.
It’s a funny colony, and it ain’t funny, it’s sad. You talk to these women, and the most of ’em would like to go back and have another try with the husband. But they are game and they won’t come till he wires, and he is all hopped up over some other younger Gal, and he don’t wire, and they sadly go through with it. Course you don’t hear the man’s side out here. They don’t always tell you about the man they are going to marry the next day after the decree. But it’s really pitiful. Course there is the old Stagers here who think no more of changing husbands than they do their brand of Gin. But there is many a heart break here, and lots of children, that’s the tough part. Some of them their Mothers told me they hadent told them yet, they thought they were just here for a summer vacation. Divorce ain’t so bad I guess when it’s only the participants suffer, but it’s sure tough on the children. Well anyhow it’s a great Industry, and I guess about the only way to stop it is to stop marriage.
1Herbert Fleishhacker, California lumberman, utilities magnate, banker, and philanthropist. His eldest son, Herbert Fleishhacker, Jr., played football at Stanford University from 1927 to 1929.
2Ella J. Waters Knight, wife of William Henry Knight, a San Francisco cartographer, astronomer, and publisher who played a leading role in the naming of Lake Tahoe.
3Anita M. Baldwin, heiress to the estate of Elias Johnson “Lucky” Baldwin, earlyday San Francisco mining stock and land speculator.
4George Arthur Bartlett, Democratic United States representative from Nevada from 1907 to 1911; district court judge at Reno, Nevada, from 1918 to 1931.
IN MARK TWAIN’S COUNTRYWell all I know is just what I read in the scandal sheets, and what I hold a clinic over as I prowl hither and non. Well sir I must tell you more about that mining town of “Bodie,” Cal. It was one of the famous mining camps of later days, but had been practically deserted for years, but with the demand for gold here lately and the improved and cheaper method of extracting it, there was a revival of the famous old place. Harry Carr, one of the best newspaper men on this or any other coast, had been up there writing wonderful stories of what it meant to a mining town to be convalescing, and about to reach good health again.1 He claimed the thing was running almost as wide open as one of our big Cities, that the gambling and drinking was in a small way on a comparison with New York or Los Angeles.
Well in my times, (I am talking like one of the early Pioneers,) I have seen some of the boys foolishly, and at times otherwise, lay a small wager on the outcome of what later would be apparent as a hazardous game. And in passing by I had peeped in under swinging doors and there would be men sipping various nectars. Well Mrs Rogers and I were just out prowling around. We were working on spoiling a fine old classic, and had been taking a great part of the Scenes on the original site where the play was laid, at Lake Tahoe. Mr Henry King our Director had told me that he had seen just about all of my face that he desired for exterior photographic purposes, and that if I wanted I could head for home, and as they had a few more days without me I neededn’t be in any hurry to get to home.2 Well that was right up my alley. I bet a lot of you like this too. I love to drive around and look over queer places, especially historic old spots. Well that Country up around in the mountains of California, why you could be there from now on, just looking at places that you had read about all your life.
Right under our nose was “Donner Lake” the place where the most famous of all pioneer stories of hardships, why there was where they had spent the winter within fifteen miles of the summitt but just to late to get over. That’s where perhaps the only case of cannibalism was ever practiced in our country. It was afterwards admitted on the very best of authority that they actually had to resort to the use of human flesh to exist. It was one of the greatest stories of pioneer life. If you havent read the “Life of the Donner Party” you don’t know nothing of suffering and hardships. The California Societies are doing a great deal to preserve the spirits and history of these things and they have a fine monument to commerate the spot. Then we went over practically the route that they hoped to make, from Donner Lake to Sutter’s Fort, (now Sacremento) and through the old fort as it is preserved today by patriotic citizens, and it should be but it’s kinder a travesty on justice that while they kept the Fort, they did nothing for the man, that made the Fort and saved the early settlers.3
He died destitute in Washington trying to get a little dab of money from our great Government, a mere pittance of what he had spent on preserving the life of some of the early settlers. There is a story, the life of that fellow Sutter. All the gold was found on his place. He owned all the country. He developed it, he improved conditions there, and yet by the aid of thieves, courts, and injustice, he lost the whole thing. Yet he had done more for his Country, real constructive work, than Washington had, up to the time he was chosen to lead our Army. California should have maintained him in splendor for the balance of his days if he had lived even till Farmers got relief. But you get the life of this fellow Sutter, and it will make any other Autobiography look like the life of an Interior Decorator. But we got to be on our way. Then we went down through all the old early 49 camps, Sutter Creek, Angels Camp, in Caliveras, that’s the exact home of Mark Twain’s Jumping frog, and really the story that did more to make Twain than any other one thing he ever did. They have Frog Rodeo there every year, Frog Singing, Frog Jumping, and wind up by eating all the frogs that had contested, and everybody wind up with a Frog in their throat. Then Brete Hart was there and all his stories are around in that country.4 Jackson, one of the early ones, I had made two pictures there previously, and hadent been back for ten years.
They got a great bunch of folks, Italian Americans, fine citizens, and the most hospitable people on you ever saw. Sure glad to see the old place again. Then to Senora, another old timer, but which held on fine, and is today a real little town. Then over Senora pass. Scenery, Oh Boy what views! But it’s getting late we must get to Bodie. It’s away over near the Nevada line in the sage brush desert. My wife was afraid to go, she had read Carr’s articles and she was looking for whooping, shooting, and gamboleering. Well the poor Devils, the night before, just twenty four hours to correct time announcement, why the Pro-Hi’s, had raided the place, broke all the booze in 13 saloons, put 15 men under 1500 hundred dollar bonds, and you should have seen the place this night. Our car was the only thing moving in the town. Indignation meetings consisted of two and three huddled in front of what had been a saloon door. It was still lighted up, but saspharilla was their diet. It was a real surprise raid. The mines hadent opened that day, for they had had no sustenance for 24 hours and couldent work. I talked with them, but it was almost like speaking over the body of a fallen comrade. Their voice was not only reverent but parched. They couldent understand why they out of 120 million people should be discriminated against. Why should they be the only example of Prohibition? They felt that their work demanded as much or more liquid fortitude as is allowed toilers on Wall Street. They estimated in low tones the amount of Bootleggers that these officers must have passed in their trip away out in this desert, from San Francisco where they had come. It will always remain in my memory as the saddest one town I ever saw.
1Harry Carr, widely read reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 1897 until his death in 1936.
2Henry King, American motion picture director, noted especially for his sentimental, nostalgic American period films; active as a director from 1915 to 1961.
3John Augustus Sutter, nineteenth century California trader who founded a colony on the site of modern-day Sacramento. Gold was discovered on his property in 1848, and in the subsequent “rush” he lost his land to squatters.
4Francis Brett “Bret” Harte, American writer of humorous short stories. In 1868 Harte cofounded the Overland Monthly, a literary magazine which he published in his adopted California and in which appeared the first of his renowned stories of local color, “The Luck of Roaring Camp.”