October 4 - December 27, 1931
FROM CHINA TO TEXASWell all I know is just what I read in the Papers. Japan pounced on China.1 She has had China cut off from her hole for a long time, like a cat does a rat and just says, “I’ll nab you when you make a run for it.”
China is in pretty bad shape fighting amongst herself at home, and this Manchuria is a mighty valuable piece of territory and will make mighty nice reperations after the thing is over. You know you often hear it said that nobody got anything after the war. But what about the German Colonies? You don’t see England or France or any of those giving any up do you? Germany I imagine would mortgage quite a lot to pay for them back. That’s one of the reasons that she is up against it, she hasent got those Colonies to transfer trade and raw material with.
China is so big and the names are so much alike that it’s hard to tell where she is fighting at. Texas and Louisiana had war. The Legislature of Texas called the Gov. of Louisiana a Liar by vote.2 Just show you that anything can pass a Legislature. It’s going to take about two years to prove that the old Boy in Louisiana is right. He says they shouldnt plant any cotton at all this year anywhere. Well they havent sold last year’s, or the year’s before crops,so who looks like they are right? It certainly won’t hurt that land in the south to not plant anything on it for a year, for it has had a Negro and a mule walking over it since 65.
There is so many things they can raise down there that they don’t even know exists. There is feed and fertilizing crops that grown in other parts of the country that would be wonderful for their land but it could never get in the country on account of the Cotton which had a monopoly and wouldent let anything in. But if your Father and Grand Father raised wheat, or if he raised Cotton, why Cotton is the only thing. Stick to your raising.
But those little arguments that look big at the time, by next week’s paper they are all forgotten. Texas has got a pretty good bunch in their infirmary there at Austin. It was just one spell binder that got ’em all worked up, over their honor. You can always get a body of folks riled if you drag in that their honor has been attacked. Collectively we havent much more honor than we have individually, so it’s never enough to fight over.
Then England kicked up a mess a couple of weeks ago when they did somthing about their Gold. I don’t know what it was, but it created a lot of ink at the time. It looks like the world is on a Gold Standard but only two have got any gold, Us and France, and if things keep on like they have there won’t be any Us in there.
You see France is getting everything, for they went to work the day they got back from the War, and the rest of the Nations went on a spree, so France got back to normal when the Guns stopped shooting, and we are just getting back, but we havent been normal in so long that we don’t recognize it since we got there.
This finance business has got the big Boys worried as much as the little ones that havent got any of it. Here we talk about high taxes. Say England can show you some taxes, they are getting what we will get if this unemployment keeps up, and it should be that way, there is lots of people able to pay yet over here before the Government starts in to do it itself. That was what Mr. Hoover was doing out in Detroit telling the American Legion not to start asking for aid again. You see, he believes in the people helping themselves right up to the time that’s not possible, then the Government will help.
Now there is a lot to be said for his plan. There is certainly enough wealth to do it. But getting it away from the ones that have it is another thing. When you rely on just voluntary giving you put quite a hardship on the free giver. He will give till it hurts, while a man of perhaps much larger resources will give very little. So it looks like they got to get at this relief thing through taxation on large incomes. But that will all be fixed at the next session of Congress, as five hundred Congressmen and 100 Senators will all have schemes to remedy everything from depression to protruding Adams Apples. It will take two years to just read all the bills that will be introduced when the Legislative Capones meet.
Well I don’t know if I told you or not about Ma Kennedy going and playing a return date with “What-A-Man.”3 We was all in the midst of a lot of excitement out here, when Ma climbs right up on the most protruding rock over Boulder Dam and just took What-A-Man for better or for worse till another wife do them part. I never did get down to Sister Aimee’s show I was telling you about, but they all told me it was mighty fine.4
We are dragging along about as usual out here, raise lots to eat, and it’s cheap, and it’s warm, we don’t need much heat, and it looks like if the worst comes to the worst we could go through almost another Republican Administration.
By the way, they tell me Al Smith is making quite a stir in the east. They had a million Al Smith Buttons made and sold em right out. Course you can get your name on a button easier than you can get it on the letter box in front of the White House. But Al will surprise you with his strength, so we will have lots of Angles and predictions to work on between now and next June. Cause Roosevelt will be a tough man to beat for that nomination.5 Then Calvin is coming out of the bushes I hear. There’s a great Quartette, Hoover, Smith, Coolidge, Roosevelt. There will be a lot of signing done before next November.
1Japanese soldiers seized the important Manchurian city of Makden on September 19, 1931, in an attepmpt to maintain Japan’s commercial interests in northern China. Japanese and Chinese troops clashed repeatedly during the next several months in a bitter struggle for control. Japan completed the occupation of Manchuria in February of 1932 and, soon thereafter, proclaimed the puppet state of Manchukuo.
2Huey Pierce Long, Democratic governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932; United States senator from 1932 until his assassination in 1935. Angered by opposition in the Texas legislature to his plan to stem the overproduction of cotton, Long charged on September 15, 1931, that the legislators had been bribed to obstruct the proposal. The indignant solons responded by passing a resolution condemning Long as a “liar.”
3For Ma Kennedy and Whataman Hudson see WA 457:N 1.
4For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 429:N 4 and WA 457:N 1.
5For this and all further references to Franklin D. Roosevelt see WA 441:N 4.
COLONEL ZACH MULHALLWe lost a mighty fine old Western Character a few weeks ago. I know you all read in the papers about Col. Zack Mulhall dying, in Mulhall, Oklahoma, a town named for him, and in which he had been the leading citizen for many years.1
My show career kinder dates from the time I first run into the Col. It was in 1899 at the St. Louis fair, (not the World’s fair) just the big St. Louis fair they held every year. They had decided as an attraction that they would put on a Roping and Riding Contest. They were not called Rodeo’s, or Stampedes, in those days they were just what they are, a “Roping and Riding Contest.” Well I was pretty much of a Kid, but had just happened to have won the first and about my only Contest at home in Claremore, Okia., and then we read about them wanting entries for this big Contest at St. Louis.
Well some one sent in my name, and the first thing I knew I was getting transportation for myself and pony to the affair. Well I went and Col. Zack Mulhall had charge of it. He was then, and had been for years the General Live Stock Agent for the Frisco Railroad System. That was a very important job in those days, for it took in all the live stock shipments on their whole line. He knew every big cattleman in the Southwest, and almost everybody else. I dident get very far in this St. Louis Contest. I made the serious mistake of catching my steer and he immediately jerked me and my Pony down for our trouble.
But that gave me a touch of “Show business” in a way, so that meant I was ruined for life as far as actual employment was concerned. He had a couple of Daughters, Miss “Bossy” and Lucille.2 Bossy was quite a good rider but she never took it up in the proffessional way that little Lucille did. Lucille was just a little kid when we were in St. Louis that year, but she was riding and running her Pony all over the place, and that was incidentally her start too. It was not only her start, but it was the direct start of what has since come to be known as the Cowgirl. There was no such a thing or no such a word up to then as Cowgirl. But as Col. Mulhall from that date drifted into the proffessional end of the Contest and show business, why Lucille gradually come to the front, and you can go tell the world that his youngest Daughter Lucille Mulhall was the first well known Cowgirl.
She become a very expert roper, and was the first girl that could rope and tie a Steer, not only do it but do it in such time that it would make a good roper hustle to beat her. He also had a younger son Charley that was afterwards a very good Bucking Horse rider.3 Charley is now out around Hollywood and works in the Movies. After that Contest and a few others around the Country that he promoted, why I drifted off to South America and around the rest of the universe awhile, and when I got back it was the fall before the start of the World’s fair in St. Louis, in 1904.
Well I went out to Mulhall from Claremore a lot that fall and winter rehersing and practicing for the big show which he was to have at the fair for the whole year. I lived with the family at Mulhall. The Col. had always kinder seemed to like me, and I thought a lot of the family. His wife Mrs. Mulhall will always be remembered by me as just about as fine a character as I have ever known.4 She was a grand old Lady. She had many trials and hardships, but she stood up under them like a Saint. It was a family of great devotion. The Col. thought a lot of these Children, and they of their parents. Lucille never dressed like the Cowgirl you know today, no loud colors, no short leather skirts, and great big hat, no sir, her skirt was divided, but long, away down over her pattent leather boot tops, a whip cord grey, or grey broadcloth, small stiff brim hat, and always white silk shirt waist.
They were received by the best people in every place. The Girls could have had a Society career if they had preferred. She received more Publicity than has fallen to the lot of any one you have today, perhaps as much as Sister “Aimee” and all favorable.5 We were in St. Louis during the whole summer of the fair, with the “Cummings and Mulhall Wild West Show on the Pike.” The following year he took a small picked bunch of us to the Madison Square Garden, to work as an added attraction with the Horse Show. Lucille his Daughter was the big attraction. New York had read of her but never seen a Cowgirl. Our show was a big success in connection with the Horse show. With my little Roping act I was lucky enough to get on the stage with it direct from the Garden.
He always kept in touch with me, and was very interested in my little carryings on. He was a natural showman, loved the spectacular, but never had any fakes. Every boy was a real one. His Shows were of the very best. Neatness was one of his hobbys. His life was miserable trying to keep me persentable. “Look at the Injun, (he always called me Injun) he won’t wear a silk shirt and I have bought him a dozen!” He was generous to a fault. When Col. Mulhall had money, we were all nigger rich. When he dident, well you wouldent hardly know it. He never hollered; he never squealed; he took the misfortune with a smile.
Being such a liberal spender, and in his older years naturally not able to earn so well, why he had hard luck, but he dident broadcast it to the World. He always maintained his dignity. There was a lot of class to the Mulhall outfit, none of your cheap show stuff, they were always the Mulhall family, the family of southern distinction NOT the Mulhall Family of Show business. He did many a favor for many person. When he had it you had it. The business of making amusement for the world which he adopted was not kind in the long run to him and his. They deserved a happier finish, for no one of them ever harmed a soul, they dealt fair, but dident always receive their breaks themselvs.
We have no one to replace the old fellow. He is of the rugged old Cowman type that is passing out. Lucille is left alone on the old Ranch place at Mulhall. Lucille Mulhall who’s name has blazed across more paper than most public men attain in a long lifetime. The first Cowgirl, one that could do something, not pose, but ride and rope, the only Girl that ever rode a horse exactly like a man, (I mean a real Hand). She is left alone with her memories, and they should be happy, for she has given more than she has received. It’s not a bad legacy to leave, the Best Horsewoman in America. The old Col. has gone to book another Contest, and I can hear him holler, “Come on Boys let’s give ’em a real show, a Mulhall Show! Lucille now Baby, rope like you never roped before! Injun wake up and get in there!”
1Zachary Taylor “Zack” Mulhall, Oklahoma rancher and showman whose Mulhall Wild West Show premiered in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis. On April 23, 1905, Rogers made his New York City debut with the Mulhall show. Mulhall died at this Oklahoma ranch on September 18, 1931.
2Agnes “Bossie” Mulhall, eldest daughter of Zack Mulhall; noted horsewoman. Lucille Mulhall, second eldest daughter of Zack Mulhall; star of wild west shows, vaudeville, and rodeo. She retired from the entertainment circuit in 1920.
3Charles “Charley” Mulhall, youngest son of Zack Mulhall; Oklahoma rodeo and wild west show performer.
4Mary Agnes Locke Mulhall, wife of Zack Mulhall. She died at the Mulhall Ranch on January 19, 1931, at the age of seventy-eight.
5For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 429:N 4.
ZIEGFELD AND THE LIONWell Sir every man that has ever done anything out of the ordinary is a Character, and I would call Flo Zeigfeld a man that had done something out of the ordinary, plum out of the ordinary.1 He has given to the American Public for Lord knows how many years, an entertainment that must have given them more pleasure and happiness than any other for they have paid more to see it than to any other man in the World. A Circus with all its tremendous aggregation of assorted animals from the four corners of all the earths. Yet Mr. Florentz Zeigfeld can take just one breed, in fact just one half the breed, the she of the specie, and can assemble such a round up of beauty that combined with the best there is to offer at that time in the amusement line, and he can concoct an evening’s entertainment that you remember it till the next year.
A funny thing about the “Follies” all the years I was with it, in hearing people speak of the show that year, they never spoke of it in comparison to any other show. It was always “It’s better than last year’s, or it’s not so good as last years.” It always stood alone for there was no other show that they could remember for a year. His hardest opposition has been himself. If he had been new every year, and that particular show was his first, why each one would have been heralded as a masterpiece. But naturally they had to compete with each other. But it’s not of his shows, or his hundred and one other things that anyone could write on by the hour about that he has accomplished in the theatrical world, it’s just of him that I want to tell you something.
The reason is it’s fresh in my mind. He was out on the coast a few weeks ago to visit his charming wife who was playing out there in one of the Coast’s most successful shows, and as myself and my family are tremendously fond of him and his family why he was up to our little Igllo some.2 One evening for dinner, we got him started in on old times, and we had a great evening. Here was the peer of all Revue Producers of all time telling about his barnstorming about the country in his early career. His real start was with Sandow the strong man, I guess the first strong man.3 That is the first strong man that was strong enough to make people pay to see how strong he was. Well Mr. Zeigfeld dug him up over in Europe, and brought him over here. But let him tell it.
“I remember the first time I was out here on the coast. It was on Sandow’s first trip. We had a kind of a vaudeville show built around him sorter like Harry Lauder carried, only a better show.4 One time in Frisco we had him billed to fight a Lion. Just barehanded. It created a lot of excitement and we had a packed house. We were bringing Rome to Frisco. It was not a part of our programme, it was a special stunt that was arranged there. It wasent framed either. This fellow Sandow really thought he was better than a Lion, so we got him a big old Lion. He entered the temporary Colosium with more bravo than any Christian in the early days ever faced one. The Women kinder half hid their eyes, appearing like they dident want it to be seen that they were looking at such a sight, but secretly hoping that something would happen. Instead of the Lion making for him, he had to make for the Lion. Well the old Lion took to outer edges. Sandow had to follow him, in fact chase him.
“The Lion dident pay any more attention to him than a house cat would. Well there wasent much fight. Everybody hollered that the Lion was doped, but he wasent. I wouldent even think of such a thing. I love Lions, especially after I Counted up the house. Well Sandow kept at him, at least he kept at him till I could get the money from the Box Office to a fast moving conveyance. It was a terrible shock to me to hear the Lion was not the King of Beasts for I had read it all my life. Sandow dressed for his performances in a Tiger skin, in fact he brought that style of raiment over here. He was years ahead of Elinor Glynn, who used it as a mattress.5 Well Sandow left the Arena De Lions not ahead of the Lions but ahead of the Populace. He wore his tiger skin for pajamas during the rest of that night ride. He was as downhearted about the Lion as I was. I never went to Frisco till the year of their big fair out there, when I took the Follies out. I thought the odor of the Lion had vanished, but some of the newspapers had a memory and said, ‘The man that arranged for a man to whip a Lion one time is in our midst again. We will watch him this time. If his Follies are doped then give us some of the dope!’ Did I tell you what happened when we were on our way to the Coast? Well the train broke down and a wheel come off a car. When they got a new one fixed I got about 10 men to carry the old broke one into our stateroom. When we arrived at Oakland the Press Boys met us and I had them come in. They saw the wheel in the drawing room. ‘What in the world is this?’ ‘Oh, that’s a wheel we broke off and the Proffessor just picked it up and brought it in here.’ They photographed it, and it made a great story, when as a matter of fact Sandow couldent even have rolled it downhill.
“He was a great fellow, this Sandow, a very high class man, a fine man, and perhaps the strongest of any of them, the most beautiful body. The Women fell for him hard. An imitator was right ahead of us claiming that he was the real Sandow. We finally had him brought to court, and as the case was progressing and all was argument as to who was which and what, I suggested to our Lawyer to tell the Judge to test them and see which was the real one. I had Sandow’s big Iron Dumb Bell brought in, and the Judge asked the other fellow to lift it. He pulled a Kidney loose and couldent even get it out of the box. Sandow reached down picked it up with one hand and was ready to make forward pass with it out of the back window. We won the case. I wish I had some way of testing all my imitators.”
He has had a great experience has Mr. Zeigfeld. He looks and is just the same as the days I went with him on his Midnight Frolic Roof, (the first show) in 1914. A many one of us got out to start, our real start with him. Those were great old days those Folly days, packed houses, wonderful audiences, never bothered me as to what I was to do or say, never suggested or never cut out. And to think after 30 years of giving them the best in town he still has the best show in New York. That shows it wasent the performers that made Zeigfeld shows, (for hundreds have come and gone). It was just Zeigfeld. I think he holds the record for being Champion. He knew colors, and he knew beauty. He knew how to keep nudeness from being vulgar. His was a gift, and not an accomplishment. Long live the old Master.
1For Flo Ziegfeld see WA 447:N 3.
2Billie Burke, American theatrical and motion picture actress. She and Flo Ziegfeld were married in 1914.
3Eugene Sandow, German-born strong man of early vaudeville and burlesque who Ziegfeld his manager and promoter, billed as “Sandow, the Perfect Man.” Sandow died in 1925.
4Harry Lauder, popular Scottish singer and songwriter who was knighted in 1919 for entertaining troops in World War I.
5Elinor Sutherland Glyn, English novelist and script writer whose works included the novel Three Weeks (1907), the story of an extra-marital interlude between a Balkan queen and an Englishman. Friends presented her with a tiger skin, because the animal hide was a much publicized feature of the story.
BACK FROM MEXICOWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. You know you don’t know what a relief it is to get away from the papers a little while, and then sorter make a guess as to what has happened while you dident get to see ’em. Here two or three weeks ago I was down on Mr. W. R. Hearst’s big ranch in Old Mexico and we dident get a whole lot of news while I was out there and when I finally did why you sorter wondered if it was what you was expecting.1
Of course the World Series was on all the time I was there, and that I had figured about right, with the exception of thinking that Philadelphia would win, and I had it that Grove and Ernshaw would be the Heroes.2 Well it was two pitchers but not them. I had just made a mistake in the names.
I had the number right, and the position that they played right. But it was just Grimes and Hallihan.3 Then this Pepper Martin, I had a fellow figured out to be the Hero, but it wasent just exactly Martin, it was two other fellows.4 But I did get part of it right, they played the games in St. Louis and Philadelphia, and they traveled in between. I had all that figured just about as it happened. Then they wanted to kill an Umpire there one day. I had that figured just that way, only I had it every day instead of just one day.
You know you would be surprised at the Mexicans down there that when I finally drifted out into civilization that knew about the games. They are playing a lot of baseball in the cities, and they are getting pretty expert at it too. Of course the other news that traveled so that it reached us away in the interior was the death of Dwight Morrow.5 I don’t know when I had ever come to like and admire a man more than I did him. I had first met him in Mexico, lived at his home there, traveled around that country with him, and he was the finest and most human man I ever saw.
I was in Mexico with him when he first went down, he was just sizing up the situation, he used to say, “I don’t know anything about Diplomacy, but these people are our Neighbors, and we have to live by each other, so their problems can’t be any different from those of any other Neighbors.”
And that’s how he solved everything, he brought it all down from what at first looked like something big, well he just reduced it to its natural size and then sit down across a table and talked it over with the other side. He fixed it so nothing was a “Big Problem.” He said nothing was as big as it seems. He put humaness into his so called Diplomatic job. I knew from the first day that I met him that he was going to make good on that job, and it was considered to be the toughest post of any in the service. More public men have been buried in Mexico than in Washington.
But Mr. Coolidge knew his man, and he trusted him, and he come through for him. He was a loyal fellow, he stuck by Mr. Hoover from start to finish, and in doing it he always retained the friendship and respect of the opposition party. Morrow dident have any enemy on the other side. Gosh, he was a great little fellow. Darn it, why is it the good ones are the ones that go, that’s one thing about an onery Guy, you never hear of him dying. He is into everything else but a Coffin.
Course too while I was gone, Mr. Hoover rounded up the Bankers and told ’em if they wanted to continue getting six and eight percent out of the Yokels, they better start limbering up and let out some dough without the security of a right eye and a left arm. He told ’em to melt some frozen assets. Nobody knows what he told ’em but he sure did send ’em home renewing notes. You know there is nothing as scary as a Banker, he don’t wait till he passes a graveyard to whistle he will do it passing a Hearse. But Mr. Hoover did a good day’s work while things havent been exactly picking up, they havent been falling apart so we are holding our own. They havent been turning loose of it so I guess they are holding their own, and everybody elses that they can get their hands on.
We used to call depression a State of mind, now it’s a state of health, it’s moved from the mind to the stomach. So it’s really with us in spite of all the After Dinner Speakers who have barked for a free meal. It’s really not depression, it’s just a return to normalcy. It’s just getting back to two bit meals and cotton underwear, and off those 150 steaks and silk Rompers. America has been just muscle bound from holding a steering wheel. The only callus place we got on our body is the bottom of the driving toe.
We are getting back to earth and it don’t look good to us after being away so long.
We have watched the parade but we got no money to go to the show on, and we can’t make up our minds to go home and start saving till next year. If people could get that darn wall street off their minds.
Half our people starving and the other half standing around a roulette wheel.
They going to get some easy money if they have to go broke to do it.
If Russia succeeds it will be because they got no stock market.
Before I decided to appear I asked them to submit me the list that would appear, they submitted the eligible ones, and I Picked out Mr. Hoover, I thought that would be about right. Mr. Coolidge is gabbing away somewhere but his is for Insurance. He says just before you starve take out a nice Policy. Mr. Hoover and I are settling the affairs by Suggestion, not Auto Suggestion but Radio suggestion, we suggest that everyone give as much as they can.
1William Randolph Hearst, American journalist, publisher, and political figure who during a turbulent sixty-year career in journalism fashioned a nationwide newspaper empire based in California. The Hearst-owned Babicora Ranch, headquartered 160 miles south of El Paso, Texas, embraced more than 900,000 acres in northern Mexico.
2Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove, professional baseball pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1925 to 1933 and the Boston Red Sox from 1934 to 1941. A winner of 300 games, Grove was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. George Livingston “Moose” Earnshaw, professional baseball pitcher who played for several major league teams, most notably the Philadelphia Athletics from 1928 to 1933.
3Burleigh Arland Grimes, baseball pitcher who played for several clubs, including the Saint Louis Cardinals from 1930 to 1931 and 1933 to 1934; manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1937 to 1938. Grimes, who won two games in the World Series of 1931, was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947. William Anthony “Bill” Hallahan, professional baseball pitcher who played center field for the Saint Louis Cardinals from 1925 to 1936. Hallahan’s best season was in 1931 when he went 19-9 in the regular season and 2-0 in the World Series.
4john Leanard Roosevelt “Pepper” Martin, Oklahoman who played center field for the Saint Lousi Cardinals from 1928 to 1944. Matin’s aggressive play helped the Cardinals defeat the favored Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series of 1931.
5Morrow (see WA 431N: 5) died at his home in Englewood, New Jersey, on October 5, 1931.
FEEDING BALONEY TO THE LITTLE
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I hear between times that I am not Gabbing myself, (which ain’t often). Couble of Weeks ago Pat Hurley, Secretary of War in these Peace times in Mr. Hoover’s Cabinet, well, Pat had been away over in the Philippines.1 Rumors had reached the President that the “Little Brown Brothers” was just about ready to leave our Bed and Board and take up citizenship elsewhere. They had heard of the advantages of Independence, but evidently very little of its drawbacks. So Mr. Hoover looked over his eight or nine hired men in the Cabinet, and he chose Pat. He knew that Pat was a man that no matter what argument the “little Brunette Brothers” put up, why Pat would have an answer to ’em. So he says to Pat:
“Pat along with 876 other difficulties I am having, why the Philippines are perspiring to Independence. Will you go over there and see if it’s Bolsheviki propaganda, or just Democratic influence. You know it’s hard to tell nowadays which causes me the most devilment, the Russians or the Democrats. Now go on over there. You got nothing to do. We havent got a war booked at this time. I don’t know what’s the matter with Stimpson, he is backward, but I got him working on the Jap-China one, and if everything turns out all right why we ought to have a real job for a Secretary of war before long.2 But you havent much on your mind. Your oil is such a good price, and Oklahoma under Bill Murray is sailing along fine, so you havent got a thing to worry about.3
“Now listen; here is some instructions. If they really want their Independence, why about the best way I know to get even with ’em would be to give it to ’em. But don’t do it too quick, for that would make ’em think maby we dident want ’em, and they are a very sensitive people. You know every people you deal with are always sensitive, so you musent hurt their feelings. In Diplomacy, the way they work it they always are careful to not hurt anybody’s feelings but their own people, but you go over there and kinder nose around, and see what’s eating on our Insular Possession. Bring me back a report, for one more report added to the 623 that arrive back to me daily from my Commissions, won’t be much more, but you can give me yours verbally. Don’t come dragging in here with it like Wickersham in a Truck.4 I like you Pat, and your kinder my Head Man, so if you can’t give ’em their freedom, why at least refuse in such a way that you arrive back here with the report. Kinder look China and Japan over while you are there, and see if you can find out who’s baiting that trap every morning.
“One of our Senators from Missouri has been in the Philippines this summer and set ’em free, so you go explain to ’em just what a Senator is and get ’em all laughing again.5 Explain to ’em that when a Senator sets you free, that it’s kind of a Near Beer Freedom, and they don’t want to expect too much results from it. Explain that we have 96 of these that go out every summer, freeing somebody, and we have yet to find one of their cures that was permanent. Now don’t stop in Utah on your way out and let Reed Smoot get ahold of you.6 You must remember that Utah raises sugar beets, and the Philippines raises sugar cane, and both of ’em make sugar. Well you just wave a Philippine sugar cane at Smoot and you got what might be known in the classics as a hostile Senator on your hands. He’ll trade you the whole Islands for a package of Cubebs. So he is not just exactly what you would call a disinterested bystander. He is a mighty able man so don’t let him get you in argueing distance.”
Well Pat went and he saw, and I met him when he come back, he was just oozing Philippine Islands. He flew from one end of ’em to another, he talked with everybody that could talk, and those that couldent why he talked to them. He told ’em that the Great White Father had sent him over to see if they was as bad off as we were. They all nodded and said “Uh, Uh, Yes.” He says, “Well I doubt it.” He says, “We want to give you your Independence.”
McKinley said, “We lost to Spain and had to take you.”7 Roosevelt said, “Aguinaldo, we are here, and I think you should have freedom, but not under my Administration.”8 Taft said, “Ha! Ha! let’s all have a good laugh, and we will set you free, soon as the Democrats get in.”9 Wilson said, “We promised ’em their Independence, and I will see that the next President gives it to ’em.”10 Harding said, “It wont be long now.”11 Coolidge said, “Let Hoover do it.” Hoover says, “If the other Presidents have stalled for 30 years, (as a good Republican of six long years standing), I don’t see why I should not continue likewise.”
So it’s one of those things that each fellow is going to hand down to the other, and the question will eventually be brought to Young Theadore Roosevelt the 8th. Who will pass it on to President Maurice Cohen.12
It’s like Prohibition as a problem, it will always be with us. I asked Pat, “Pat are they really ready for Independence?” He says, “No.” I says how can you tell when a Nation is ready for Independence? He says, “I don’t know. I never saw a Nation that was.“ I says, wouldent Japan pounce on ’em and take ’em over the very day we got out? He says, “No! Not till maby the following morning.” I asked, is there much Russian Propaganda in the far east. He says, “Much more than there is food.”
“Will the five year Plan succeed?”
“If it does the Republicans will adopt it.”
“Who will the Republicans run?”
“When, in 36?”
“Who will the Democrats run in 32?”
“I dont think they will enter a man, Will.”
I says,“Do you know any other things?” He says, “Yes, but I am not going to tell ’em till I get back to the Boss.”
1For Pat Hurley see WA 440:N 9.
2Henry Lewis Stimson, United States secretary of state from 1929 to 1933; secretary of war from 1911 to 1913 and 1940 to 1945.
3For Alfalfa Bill Murray see WA 442:N 1.
4George Woodward Wickersham, New York City attorney and chairman of a Hoover-appointed commission that conducted an extensive investigation in 1929 of the federal system of jurisprudence and administration of laws. Its final report, which called for the continuation of prohibition while providing evidence that it could not be enforced, generated much criticism and discussion.
5Harry Bartow Hawes, Democratic United States senator from Missouri from 1927 to 1933. Hawes co-authored the Hawes-Cutting bill in 1930, which called for the independence of the Philippines five years after the acceptance of a Philippine constitution. He visited the islands in July of 1931 and assured the inhabitants that he would continue to work for independence. The United States granted sovereignty in 1946.
6For Reed Smoot see WA 431:N 3.
7William McKinley, Republican president of the United States from 1897 until his death in 1901. The United States acquired the Philippine Islands in 1898 as a result of the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War.
8Emilia Aguinaldo Filipino revolutionary leader who led an insurrection against American authority from 1899 to 1901.
9William Howard Taft, Republican president of the United States from 1909 to 1913.
10Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Democratic president of the United States from 1913 to 1921.
11For Warren G. Harding see WA 44:N 1.
12Maurice M. Cohen, general manager and president of the Hollywood Palladium
MURDER IN THE NEWSWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers. Well the last few weeks there’s been a good deal of blathering in the paper. Ever since away back when the Frenchman Laval come over and wen back there just don’t seem to be any way finding out what he came after, what he got, what was done or anything.1
About all we do know about him is that his daughter danced with Mayor Walker.2 Now if that was worth the trip why then everything must have been OK. He and Mr. Hoover issued a kind of a joint statement, but the same fellow wrote it that wrote the Wickersham Report.3 We couldn’t tell if they had even met or not.
I think that is the hardest thing in the world to do is tell the press what you and somebody have been doing, when you have been doing anything at all. Laval run into Borah while here and we had no trouble telling what they talked about. He don’t seem to have got far with Borah, but that’s no novelty. Neither did anybody else that wanted anything. Borah is the best “Refuser” we got.
They talked about a corridor in Poland. That’s an alley in Poland that they wanted to get to the sea. Mr. Wilson give it to ’em for he really thought they wanted to see the sea, but a Pole knows no more about the sea than a Cherokee.4 So Borah says it ought to go back to Germany. Well when you talk to France about giving anything back to Germany why you haven’t got a very sympathetic listener. So you can see how far Borah got with his hospitality.
France ain’t going to give Germany back even an alley. Well that’s their business. They live by ’em, they know what to give ’em and what not to give ’em. France dident send Laval over here to suggest giving back California to Mexico.
We are always handing somebody else’s stuff around. Poland is in a mess and always will be, for they just carved the country out of about three other ones. About a fourth of the population is Germans that want to get back under their own country. About a fourth is Checks. Sounds like money, but it’s folks that belong to Czechoslovakia. Well a fourth are them.
Then a fourth are Russians. Now let’s see that’s three fourths. That only leaves one-fourth real Polish. But then the Jews have to be subtracted from that fourth, so there just ain’t a few dozen real Poles.
But they are an old time country and they want to get along. But you can’t get along with somebody else’s land. But that ain’t our business. We got all we can do to capture Sandino.5 Maybe he is in that “Corridor.” We can’t find him in Nicaragua, but he finds us.
Well anyhow they say that J.P. Morgan was pleased with this Laval’s trip and after all he is about the only man in America that everybody seems anxious to please.6 So the trip bore some fruit. Germany has got some fellow coming over now. We get all excited and each one of these pilgrimages or conferences we think and read of it at the time as though it was the last word, and that it would settle everything. Then two weeks after it’s over, we can’t for the life of us remember what happened. If we could get half as excited over what to put in the plate to make it look like soup and taste like soup and act like soup in our bread line, as we do over some international event that ain’t going to ever come off anyway, why we could be better off.
Six months from now we can’t remember whether Laval came from France or Siam. Our minds just flit from hither to thither and all we want is something to occupy ’em till we get to the asylum. And other nations are just as bad off as we are. Look at England, they was all excited over Ghandi coming there to get freedom for India.
Poor old fellow has just hung around and wore pretty near all his clothes out. Been there three months and India hasent got any more freedom than Pat Hurley give the Philippines.7
These big babies ain’t going to give anybody anything. That’s why they are big. Everything in the world that is done nowadays received about ten times as much publicity as it deserves. Publicity should be written after a thing and not before. Then that would save us of having to read. Right now we know more about Mrs. Ruth Judd’s life than we do about Lincoln’s, Washington’s, Napoleon’s, or Greta Garbo’s.8
You can kill all the people you want in this country and not attract any attention, but if you kill ’em and put ’em in a trunk why you become famous. It’s how you dispose of a dead body that makes you sensational in this country and how many dead bodies did you create.
Don’t figure out who you are going to kill, figure out how you are going to kill ’em. But we are all plodding along just as though we were in our right minds. So what’s the answer? If we knew any better country we would go to it. Long as we can go to our radio every hour of the twenty four and be advised what toothpaste to use and what Cigaretts will be fairly kind to our madulla oblong gotta, why we are happy.
1Pierre Laval, premier and minister of foreign affairs of France from 1931 to 1932, from 1935 to 1936, and in 1942. Laval’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Jose, accompanied him on his state visit to the United States.
2For Jimmy Walker see WA 453:N 10.
3For George W. Wickersham and the Wickersham Report see WA 462:N 4.
4For this and all further references to Woodrow Wilson see WA 462:N 10.
5For Augusto C. Sandino see WA 440:N 12.
6John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., chairman of the board of J. P. morgan and Co., one of the most influential banking firms in the world and the major lending house for the Allied nations during World War I.
7For Pat Hurley see WA 440:N 9 and WA 462.
8Winnie Ruth Judd, so-called Arizona trunk murderer who was convicted in 1931 of the murder of Agnes Anne LeRoi, whose body was dismembered and shipped to los Angeles in a steamer trunk. Greta Garbo, Swedish film actress whose sultry sexuality and beautiful features made her one of the foremost star personalities ever to appear on the screen. She arrived in Hollywood in 1926 where she soon became one the highest paid performers in films; she retired suddenly in 1941 at the age of thirty-six.
SOME VIVAS FOR MEXICOWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I see as I flit from limb to limb. Couple of weeks ago I had a great trip down to Mexico City. That is a Town. I like Mexican Towns, and Mexican people, they move just about fast enough to suit me. But I don’t know, they are likeable anyhow, they all got humor, and as for hospitality, well you havent seen any till you see them.
Hal Roach the great Comedy movie Director, who makes all the really funny Pictures, and is responsible for the best team of Comedians, Laurel and Hardy, you know they are the favorites with all us movie folks, as well as the audiences—well Hal, and Eric Pedley the great Polo Player, who played on our international team against England the last time, and he made more goals single handed than all of England combined, well he is a wonderful Athlete, was the champion Boxer of his Division during the war, great Tennis Player, Golf, anything, and a fine fellow with it.1 We were in Hal’s private Plane, piloted by Captain Jimmy Dickson, who has covered this country from more different angles than anybody.2
Well the four of us lit out. We bid our wives good bye at the Airport at five in the morning, thats before daylight. Now that’s what I call a dutiful wife, that will crawl out at that hour and go to the field to see your Husband off for Mexico.
I had kinder promised to take the Women on this trip. But we got out of it in some way. Oh yes I think we kinder hinted that there was a revolution brewing. You see they would have had to have gone on the train.
I was the fellow that was to take them down and then the other fellows fly down and meet us. It was a Dandy idea and I may have to do it yet, and I will be glad to do it, for any excuse that gets me down there is a good one. But I want to compliment these wives. Now Mrs. Pedley knew her Husband hadent flown so much, and it was fine of her to let Eric go. You know Wives have kinder got to get used to this flying business for their husbands.
Mine is pretty well broke in. In fact the last time I went to Oklahoma I took my Mary and Bill Jr. there and back by Hal’s Plane.3 My wife makes short trips, but not any Transcontinental ones. We hit the line and crossed into Mexico at Douglas, Ariz., and if you want to see courtesy why their Authorities sure showed it to us in getting permission to cross. You know this taking a Plane into another Country is not like driving a Ford in, there is more to it.
We hit Torreon about 1100 miles from Los Angeles that night, hit the field after dark and had to throw out a flare. (It’s a kind of a lamp of a thing, fastened onto a silk parachute and goes down and lights up the field.) It only cost $40 so it pays to get in by daylight. That’s a pretty, and clean, prosperous little City, then the next day over the Mountains to Mexico City.
Oh yes I like to forgot we on the first day circled over the great Hearst Ranch, (I had been down there a couple of weeks before).4 It’s a wonderful place. One Million Acres, sixty Thousand Cattle. We would have liked to landed there but the ground looked wet from a lot of rains.
But the one great view of Aviation is the sight of the valley of Mexico City. It’s eight thousand feet high, and still a Valley, with the old Volcano of Popocatepetl, smoking nearby. It was good to see old friends who I had met on previous visits, mostly when I was there with Ambassador Morrow.5 Things are fine there, of course the usual hard times of all Nations but no more than us, or the rest.
We were asked that night to go out and call on ex-Pres. Calles (called Ki-ess).6 Now there is a remarkable man, a really big man, one of the few able men during our generation. That sounds pretty windy don’t it? Well it’s true, if ever a single man kept a Country in check it’s this man Calles. No Dictator. Don’t want to be President again. He simply wants his country to have peace, and they know he is a real Patriot, and not one these idealists. Mexico has had plenty of men that meant well had a certain ability, but lacked the real spark and the downright nerve. I mean Political nerve, and physical nerve. Well that fellow has it.
Both Roach and Pedley said they had never in their lives met a public man that any more impressed them than he did. Now Mexico don’t want any trouble, and the few that do want to make it are held in check by this man. I was pleased with I went in that he gave me the “Embrasso” or embrace, where each of you put your arms over the other’s shoulders into a kind of pat of embrace, and it’s only among particular friends. Well, I swelled up till he couldent hardly embrace me.
We talked mostly of Morrow. He was tremendously fond of him. We also had a very fine man as Ambassador there, a great international Lawyer from Salt Lake, Mr. Clark, he is doing a fine job there, in fact he helped make Morrow’s term there such a success. Morrow asked in going there, “Who is the best man on International Law there is?” They all said this man Clark if he could get him.7 Morrow got him, and he worked with Morrow all the time he was there, then when Morrow left he had him take his place.
He has a great personality, and there will never be any trouble with Mexico while he is there. In fact I don’t think there ever will be. We are neighbors and we both see it to our advantages that we are friends, Roads, Aeroplanes, Sports, Schools, Exchanges of Newspapers, a hundred things that are bringing them closer to each other all the time. Quaintness, hospitality, and beer, and of course the cost is about a fourth or fifth. And don’t fail to read Stuart Chase’s wonderful book, “Mexico a Study.”8 It’s the greatest thing you ever read, on any Country.
1Hal E. Roach, American producer of comedy films, including the profitable serials Lonesome Luke, Our Gang, and Laurel and Hardy. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, American comedians who first teamed in 1927 to initiate a highly successful series of short and feature films. Laurel, British-born, played a childlike character who was the antithesis of Hardy’s pompous father figure. Eric Pedley, California stock broker, sportsman, and internationally-acclaimed polo player of the 1920s and 1930s. Rogers and Pedley often played polo together.
2James Baker “Jimmy” Dickson, veteran military and private pilot who served in the United States Army Air Service in the 1920s.
3For this and all further references to Mary Rogers see WA 447:N 1; for this and all further references to Will Rogers, Jr., see WA 431:N 1.
4For William Randolph Hearst and the Babicore Ranch see WA 461:N 1.
5For Dwight W. Morrow see WA 431:N 5.
6Plutarco Elias Calles, president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928 and the dominant force in Mexican politics during the early 1930s.
7For J. Reuben Clark, Jr., see WA 435:N 4.
8Stuart Chase, American writer and civil servant; author of Your Money’s Worth, A New Deal, and other works.
ALL WESTERN TEAMSWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and the birds I run onto as I prowl hither and thither. Well guess who we had out here a couple of weeks ago. Not a soul but my good friend (and yours), Vice President Charley Curtis.1 Yes Sir, the newspaper men were holding one of the periodicals and Charley was the gold fish. You know he is a mighty human kind of a cuss. He is a Kaw Indian. There ain’t many of ’em. It’s just a little tribe in Kansas and northern Oklahoma. But they are good Indians. Not as good as us Cherokees, but good enough.
Charley is mighty well liked among all injuns. You know it’s a mighty fine thing to have a little old western boy, of part Indian parentage become Vice President of these ex-great United States. He has held about everything worth holding in the way of jobs in the gift of his state and country. He was a Senator for years, and became Republican leader and a good one. He knew trades, he was raised as a jockey and rode on all the little half-mile western tracks, and today he loves racing and never misses going to a meet at any of the tracks over the line from Washington in Maryland. He would rather have a little bet on an old plug, than to hear Borah speak on “The League of Nations and Why.” He sets up there studying the dope sheet, while Jim Watson delivers a tirade against Pat Harrison.2 Then Pat bumps him off with one remark, just as the Vice President has found what he thinks will arrive first in the third race at Pimilco.
I go see him every time I go to Washington. He has always been a good friend of mine. Last time I was there I had lunch with him in the Senate restaurant, and by the way he had Pat Harrison and some other hungry Democrats there with us. You know that’s a funny thing about that Senate, they get up there and bellow and rave against each other, and at heart they are all good friends. They know there is a certain amount of “hooey” to be gone through, and they kinder tolerate each other carryings on. They kinder got Vice President Curtis going now though. He is not right sure if he wants to run for the office again or go back home and come out for the Senate again. You know you take an old football player and he never feels the same refereeing a game that he did when he was down there playing in it. Well, that’s how Charley feels. He sets up there with a hammer, but none of them are close enough that he can really do much good with it. It’s a terrible job, and why they ever wished it on as important a person as the Vice President, Lord only knows.
There ought to be just some clerk or somebody that is drafted for the job. Just a good parliamentarian that knows the rules and he hollers, “Order!” I tried to find out from Charley which job he was out for but you can’t get much out of these politicians. But he is “on the fence.”
Well, the Senate lost a great character lately, that was Senator Caraway of Arkansas, my wife’s old home state.3 I had known him for years too. He lived at Jonesboro, Ark., and I played at his home town on my little tour last year. He has a world of humor, and it had a real kick to it. He did delight in walking up and down the aisles with his hands in his pockets and when the debate got at its hottest he would just inject “one remark,” and that knocked ’em over, and he proceeded with his daily walk.
They were arguing drouth relief one day last spring when I was in the gallery. Senator Gillette of Mass. was against government going into it.4 But some Democrat had dug up some old records (that’s something, too, you got to look out or some fellow will show you how you voted in ’69 on the same kind of a question) well, they dug up where one time when Gillette was in the lower House, some town in Massachusetts had had a calamity and the Governor had voted some fifty thousand for their relief. “Did you vote for it?” asked Caraway. “No I don’t believe I did,” said Gillette. “A town in your own state in ruins and want and you didn’t vote for their relief? What a Statesman!” said Caraway. He had lots of good common sense along with all his sarcasm. It will be a long time before there is ever just such a man in there.
I told you dident I about being down awhile back to John Garner’s home?5 He is the next Speaker of the House. It was an awful homey place. He has about seven acres right in this beautiful little town of Uvalde, Texas, and he has got his own cows, and lots of chickens which he feeds himself every day. Quite a hunter and fisher, he had just killed some deer out of season. He was shooting at some quail when he hit the deer. Course the quail was out of season too, but he dident hit them. I dident want to eat the deer that night for dinner on account of it being against the law to kill it, but it was all the meat they had and I was hungry. He has a lot of pecans too. He said they was soft shelled. Ain’t it funny how a fellow in politics will just lie, when there is really no reason for it? He could see me clamping down on these pecans with one of the best set of tusks ever swabbed in Pepsident, yet I couldn’t even make a dent in ’em. Here I had cracked hickory nuts and old black walnuts with these molars, but they met their waterloo that day when I tried to sink ’em into Jack Garner’s SOFT shelled pecans.
He raises his own grapes too—and—but as I was saying, it’s a mighty livable life he lives there. His son and daughter-in-law, and a mighty pretty little granddaughter lives right next door.6 It was a place I would have liked to stayed longer, but I would have sure wanted a hammer on those SOFT shelled pecans. I am going to Washington to watch him in the speaker’s chair, cracking ’em with his gavel.
1Charles Curtis, vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A republican from Kansas, Curtis previously had served in the United States House and Senate.
2James Eli Watson, Republican United States senator from Indiana from 1916 to 1933; majority leader from 1929 to 1933. Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison, Democratic United States senator from Mississippi from 1919 to 1941.
3Thaddeus Horatius Caraway, Democratic United States senator from Arkansas from 1921 until his death in Little Rock on November 6, 1931.
4Frederick Huntington Gillett, Republican United States senator from Massachusetts from 1925 to 1931.
5John Nance “Jack” garner, Democratic United States representative from Texas from 1903 to 1933; Speaker of the House from 1931 to 1933; vice president of the United States from 1933 to 1941.
6Tully Garner, only son of John Nance Garner; manager of the family property in Uvalda, Texas. He married Ann Fenner of Texas, and they had one daughter, Genevieve.
BACK TO THE SADDLEWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I see from hither to yon. A few weeks ago I was coming out of Mexico, and stopped over at San Antonio to Broadcast on the Rockne Memorial Programme, and the next day I went out to the King Ranch and Kingsville, Texas.1 Of course you could write whole magazine Stories, in fact Books, on the King Ranch, in fact it has been done. But I am going to leave that for awhile, till I am able to get over more of it. It’s just about the biggest Ranch we have in our land. Been in this same family for years, and they are real Ranch folks. Their hospitality is as big as the ranch, and it’s a million and half acres. But what I am going to tell you about now is the “Roping” that’s the thing I wanted to see was the Ropers.
Old Paddy Mayes, the old Cherokee Boy from Pryor Creek, Okla., he had been sent up to the Big League, he had been up there a few weeks when I run onto him in Chicago, he was with the Philly Nationals.2 I met him and asked him how it was going with him in the Big League, he said, “Well all my life I have always heard of the Big Leagues, and heard so much about how they played ball, and how good they were. Well I have been up here just two weeks. Well they wasent overestimated any.” Well that’s the way with the Ropers on the King Ranch, they hadent been overestimated any.
Now I had just seen some mighty good roping. I had just come out of Mexico where they had given me a special exhibition. They have a great thing there it’s called the Charro Club. Charro means Cowpunchers. Well they have a regular place, like a big Corrall, and smaller ones, and all, and some good wild cattle, and all the fellows in the City of Mexico that used to be cowboys, and lots of them that are yet, why they all belong, and on Sundays they go there and have these Mexican Cowboy sports, like “Trailing the Bull,” that one we don’t do up here. Well the old timers here they say used to. You run up on a fast Pony, grab the Steer by the tail, get a good hold then throw your leg, (which is still in the stirrup) throw it over the tail. Then that gives you a good brace. Then turn your horse to the left, and if you do it right you turn the old Critter tail in front of head. You don’t tip him an exact somersault, it’s a kind of a side twister, but he slides along looking back where he come from. Well they had some fine roping there, mostly fancy, as the Mexicans are the real originators, and the best in the world as Ropers.
But it’s of the actual work that I want to tell you of on the King Ranch. We flew down there from San Antonio, me with Mr. Jack Lapham, a good flyer himself.3 A big Oil man, Polo Player, and Aviator. His wife also flys. She took Billy Post, Son of Fred Post, the big Polo man from Long Island.4 Frank Hawkes was down there and he flew his own Plane, the fast one.5 He just played with us, flying all around, yet over, and under us to kill his speed down to ours going down. We landed right at the ranch, met all the folks who I will have to tell you about later, for I got to get to those calf Ropers.
Well, Sarah, that’s the daughter, and Alice, that’s another one, and Bob’s wife, that’s the one that’s got charge of the cattle, they took us to the “Wagon” where one of their Round-ups were working.6 They was dragging out calves for the branding, and when I say calves I mean little fellows, kinder scrawny, weight about seven fifty to eight hundred, just about the size of a horse.
It’s brushy down there, and they can’t miss. They have practiced all their lives. (They are all Mexican Boys that not only them but their Fathers and Grand Fathers were raised on this same ranch). They are a real bunch of cowhands. They can follow a steer through that thick brush so fast and so close to him that they havent got a chance to throw at his head for the brush, but they put their horse right on his heels, then throw and get his hind feet without swinging, and do it too.
They brand right out on the range. Bob Kleberg wanted me to try it, and I did, but Lord I was in there swinging around and messing the thing all up. I would hit where the calf had been just previously. They had Boys that would rope ’em out all day, and NOT swing just pitch away out to the end, and get veal out on the end.
Head, Hind feet, “Mongano” (Front feet) and they got good horses, they had two or three hundred saddle horses in this “Remuther” and good beans. That’s what makes a good Cow outfit, is good beans. Just give me some beans and I will follow you off. I sure wish I was on a ranch. I would like to stay a year on that outfit. But I got to get back and see what Mr. Hoover is doing, and kinder keep my eye on Calvin, and encourage the Democrats. But I like roping the best.
1For Knute K. Rockne see WA 433:N 1. The King Ranch in southern Texas was founded in 1852 by cattleman Richard King. Embracing more than 1,000,000 acres spread over five countries, the ranch supported enormous quantities of livestock and was the birthplace of the Santa Gertrudis breed of cattle.
2Adair Bushyhead “Paddy” Mayes, Oklahoman who played briefly with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1911.
3Jack H. Lapham, wealthy, Texas rancher, oil executive, sportsman, and private pilot. He was married to the former Lucy Jane Thomas.
4William “Billy” Post, II, a leading American. Polo player of the 1930s; member of the national champion Princeton University team of 1930 and victorious American team in the United States-Argentina matches in 1932.
5For Frank Hawks see WA 434:N 3.
6 Sarah Spohn Kleberg, eldest daughter of Alice Gertrudis (King) and Robert Justus Kleberg, owners and developers of the King Ranch. Alice Kleberg East, second daughter of Alice and Robert Kleberg. Helen Campbell Kleberg, wife of Robert Justus “Bob” Kleberg, Jr. Robert Justus “Bob” Kleberg, Jr., youngest son of Alice Hertrudis (King) and Robert Justus Kleberg; manager of the King Ranch after his father’s death in 1932.
HERE COMES CONGRESSWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I see as I prowl about. This is going to be a mighty noisy session of Congress for every man coming in will have a scheme to relieve the unemployed and it’s going to take months just to read all the Bills that will be introduced. Of course they have to go to the Committee first, but it will take the entire Congress and Senate Members to make up enough Committees just to read all of ’ em.
There is going to be many a way to save the Country. In fact there will be six hundred ways. There is about five hundred Congressmen and 100 Senators. There is going to be an awful lot of other things too to argue about. This cancellation of the debt for a year that Mr. Hoover did, that’s going to start a lot of yapping. They will say he dident ask them about it. Of course as a matter of fact he did ask them, that is the main ones. But that is what will make ’em sore because he dident ask the others. Just knowing that they wasent the main ones will make ’em sorer than ever.
Then it’s going to come up as to a Continuation of the Nations not paying. There is going to be great pressure brought to bear from the big financial interests to get a total cancellation. Course that’s what they want. Europe owes them big gobs of money, so if we cancelled what they owe us, why that would leave their loans in better shape. You see what they would lose as a taxpayer in cancelling would be nothing to what they would gain by having the first mortgage on Europe instead of the second as they have now.
Well all that will be dragged out and aired daily and by the hour in this next session of Congress. Then up will pop the old League of Nations argument again. You see we have done a few things in the last few months that have been right on the verge of being in the League, so off that Gang will go again, claiming we should be in.
Then of course the fight over the Speakership. It looks like the Democrats have got the edge as I write this. But even Congressmen die, and when they die at the right time why that always brings on complication. Now take for instance down in Texas, right when and where was recently the only Republican Congressman in Texas out of about 18, well he died. Well they may not have time for an election, so the Governor appoints someone in his place. Now you know that Governor is not going to appoint another Republican. He will naturally put in a Democrat. Well you see what that death does when it comes at a time like this. Well they will have all kinds of arguments and shenannigans over the Speakership. Those Republicans will hate to give that up.
Of course if they should win it will perhaps fall to Tilson, and a fine fellow too.1 He visited me when he was out in California last summer. He was a great friend of Nick’s.2 But it looks like the old Prairie Dog of Uvalde will go dragging into his hole with the swag.3 If the Democrats can keep their health, or life rather till the first Monday in December why they ought to be the Head Men next time.
Poor Mr. Hoover with a foreign Congress on his hands, that looks like it’s too much to add to all his other troubles. Then will come also the argument over how to raise some more money. “What to Tax?” “How to raise it?” I can’t see where the argument against the Sales tax can stand up. It looks to be, (Leaving out essentials) that it would be a mighty fair tax. If you bought high priced things, everyone would know that you had paid your tax, or you couldent have them.
As it is now you can’t look and tell if a man is paying a tax or not. He may be avoiding it in some way or the other. But with the old sales tax, if he is driving a Rolls Royce, why you know the Government got a big cut out of him, or he couldent drive it away. We don’t miss the gasoline tax, it’s paid in such a way that it is painless. Mr. Hearst sent a bunch of Congressmen up to Canada to study it, as it’s used in Canada, and they all claimed that it was “Great.”4 Well, anyhow we will have some excitement in Congress this fall anyhow. If they can’t be instructive and beneficial they can at least be amusing, and they will be too this fall.
1John Quillin Tilson, Republican United States representative from Connecticut from 1909 to 1913 and 1915 to 1932; majority leader in the House from 1928 to 1931.
2Nicholas Longworth, Republican United States representative from Ohio from 1903 to 1913 and 1915 until his death in 1931. Longworth, who had served as Speaker of the House since 1925, died on April 9, 1931.
3For this and all further references to Jack Garner see WA 465:N 5.
4For William Randolph Hearst see WA 461:N 1.
PEARS TO BE NO PEARSA few weeks ago I was flying from Los Angeles to Seattle, and incidentally a beautiful trip, especially from Frisco north, up along the Sacramento River for a long long way. They had just had their first snow, and the Mountain tops were covered, and the Railroad and Highway was winding along down there like a couple of black snakes. Then we begin to hit bad weather, snow and a drizzling rain, and clouds begin to close in on us. It looked like we wasn’t going to get any further than Redding, a little town in the edge of the mountains. But this Pilot had been on this route for five years and he without taking any chances, kept low below the clouds and wound his way right with the big Canyon and Railroad, and we got through as far as Medford (just over the line into Oregon).
Good field and a beautiful little City of twelve thousand. Well the Radio weather report said we couldn’t go, so we decided to take the train in about three hours and arrive in Portland in the morning. Well I was kinder glad. I had never been to this Town before, and I don’t know I kinder like to hit these strange towns. I always run onto a few old Birds or young Kids that recognize the old map from the movies and I never lack for company. The Pilot took us into town in his Car as that was the end of his run anyhow. We went to the Depot first, and got our Tickets. (I keep saying We, what I mean was another passenger and I, who I had just met on the Plane his name was Kennedy, and funny thing he had years ago when he was working for the Frigid Air Co., and they had a big Convention in Akron, he had booked me to appear before the Convention.1 Now he and some other had started in the same business only they called theirs some kind of Ice Box, and they was a great big Company, they catered to the people who dident know what Frigid Air meant but wanted a Ice Box that was cold all the time.)
Well he was on there, and then they had a Stewardess, that’s a very charming Girl, she is a qualified Nurse, and she makes things comfortable for the Passengers, and is a great comfort to Ladies on there, especially if they don’t feel well. Well this one could have been a comfort to a lot men that was even feeling well too.
Did you ever see this Oregon Country? Well say I want to tell you it’s beautiful, lovely streams running all along, big Pine trees, then a long stretch of beautiful Valley. We passed right by Mount Shasta, the clouds and snow was so low that we couldent see the top. A beautiful Stock Farm at the foot of it, where they used to raise those Shasta bred Race Horses. Shasta, Nut, Shasta Daisy, and all named Shasta something. It used to belong to Curley Brown, since dead.2
But this is about Medford and the home folks, the Editor called me, or one of them. There is two just dandy papers. This one said he run my junk. So when I went down town and after checking our Baggage at the Depot I went across the street over to his Newspaper Office. I was a kind of a Traveling man calling on his Trade. Well there was a great Gang in there, as there always is hanging around a Newspaper Office. Out came an old Boy said he used to work on a Paper in Claremore, in ’93. There you are, you thought Claremore was just one of these jumped up towns in the last few years. We was a Real Town when Tulsa and Oklahoma City both was just two section Houses.
I dident know what this Town had, but the Pilot told me all the way in that it specialized in raising Pears, (Not Pairs) Pears. The Depot Agent informed me that they shipped the most Pears ever shipped from one place. The Newspaper Owner told me I should stay and see the Pears, (that meant in eight months from then). The Girls that worked in the Office there all told me of what wonderful Pears they had. Newsboys come in and shook hands and informed me that Pears was right up this town’s alley. Over at the Train a couple of hours later in come a lot of fine wholesome people all telling me that Pears from there was Mellons from Rocky Ford. The Owner and two Reporters from the other paper come to the Depot and they asked me if I knew that Medford was noted for its wonderful Pears. Now I am not criticising this. It was all done in such a proud way, that it made you know these folks had a town, but most of all they had Pears. And the thing that made it all the more enjoyable is that it was done by just everybody you would meet and not by the Chamber of Commerce.
I dident even see the Secretary of the Chamber. So you see it wasent any organized effort to poke Pears down a Visitor’s throat by the better business element. These folks just wanted you to know they raised Pears.
I hadent eaten any lunch on the Plane, and it was then late in the afternoon. I had had two and a half hours of steady Pears, But NO Pears. Just One lone Pear distributed in the right spot would have done the Medford Pear Industry more good than Lip Service from the total population. But not a soul dug up a Pear. Some School Boys and Girls that knew me from the movies come to the train to tell of Pears, but brought no evidence. It’s a beautiful little City, fine folks, but I don’t think there is a Pear in the Country.
1Kennedy, an unidentified businessman
2Curley Brown, a thoroughbred horse breeder and owner of the Brow-Shasta Ranch near Mount Shasta, California.
LET’S GOSSIP AWHILESome great Columnist on days when they have no Gossip, why they tell you things that “Perhaps you dident know before.” Well I never did do that for I never was in any shape to tell you anything you didn’t know. In other words I always had to write UP to my Readers and not down. But I am going to have a crack at that kind of thing.
Now for instance, just the other day Harold Lloyd was up to my little Ranch and he offered me a Great Dane Dog.1 Now did you know that he raises the finest great Danes there is, 40 or 50 of ’em? I dident take him, for the Brutes eat more than I can earn.
And did you know that they (The Lloyds) have the cutest little baby Boy, and two of the sweetest little Girls?2 One theirs, and the other adopted. And did you know, but perhaps you did, that he is a darn great Comedian and one of the finest and best liked men in the Picture Business?
Did you know that Hal Roach is one of our Best Aviation Enthusiasts?3 Has his own Plane, and a great flyer, Captain Dickson, Ex-Army Flyer, as his Pilot, and thinks no more of flying any week end to New York than you would of going to the corner Grocery.4
Hoot Gibson is a good Pilot and flies his own Plane.5 So does Ken Maynard, and Wallace Berry has been flying for years.6 Frank Borzage, just about one of the greatest Directors we have, has just taken up flying and his Instructors said it was uncanny the way he learned.7 He has his own Plane now, also his wife learned to fly. Clarence Brown the Metro Crack Director is a good Flyer.8 I think he got his originally in the war. Henry King who directed “Lightnin’ ” and who has just turned out “Over the Hills,” which they all say is just about the best Picture ever made, he is an old time flyer, and Hosts of others.9
By the way, in this “Over the Hills,” Mae Marsh, who was a big star in the early silent days and did some great things for D.W. Griffith, they say her performance in this “Over the Hills” is simply marvelous.10 You know there is many an old timer that can really troop when they get the chance.
Had dinner recently away down in Texas with John Garner, the new Speaker of the House.11 His wife has been his Secretary for 25 years will continue. She is at the office every morning at 7 o’clock to open up the mail. Alice Longworth always in her home sits in a big easy Chair or on a couch with both feet under her, no matter if it’s just a Congressman there or Hoover.12
Pat Hurley likes to “Whoop and Gobble.13 That’s an Indian trait. The loud whoop is followed by the Gobble, or imitation of the Turkey Gobbling. If it’s done directly at anyone else down in Oklahoma, it means you are crowing over him and it means a challenge to fight. Pat does it in his private capacity, and not as Secretary of War. Incidentally he is making a good job of it, and wouldent be frightened to death if we did match one, which is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Did you know that President Hoover had surrounded himself with a great and very promising bunch of young men as Assistant Secretaries of very high Cabinet jobs? Three of which I will name, and there is lots of others. Dave Ingalls, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aviation.14 I’ll bet it’s not ten years before he is a Presidential Possibility. Not just mention. I mean voted on. Then there is Trubee Davison.15 Assistant for Aviation in the Army, another great future. Then Clarence Young, Aviation head for the Department of Commerce.16 Three Young fellows who are real and “have everything” that a Public man to get far should be equipped with.
Did you know Chick Sale had Twins (not lately), but he has ’em, a great pair and a great family.17 I got the nicest brightest letters in answer to ones that I had written their Fathers, and they were acting as their Dad’s Secretarys. One from one of Eddie Cantor’s five Girls, and one from Will Durant, the Philosopher’s twelve year old girl.18 I am so glad the Fathers dident write, they couldent touch these Kids.
Amon G. Carter the Ft. Worth Pecan, Turkey and Watermellon grower, knows and keeps in touch with more prominent men personally than any man in America.19
Did you know that Marie Dressler was not only the Fans’ favorite, but the best liked Person in the Movies, among movie people?20
Did you know that Bill Hanley an old cattleman of Oregon, wrote a book, “Feeling Fine,” that is the best bit of horse sense published this year?21 That Calles of Mexico is THE STRONGEST AND MOST DOMINATING CHARACTER IN NORTH OR SOUTH AMERICA? That’s all I know.22
1Harold Clayton Lloyd, American motion picture actor, noted for his comic portrayals of wistful innocents who blunder into and out of “hair-raising” situations. Lloyd raised prize-winning Great Danes as a hobby.
2Mildred Davis Lloyd, American motion picture actress and wife of Harold Lloyd. The Lloyds were married in 1923. They had two daughters, Gloria and Marjorie Elizabeth, and one son, Harold, Jr., who was born in January of 1931.
3For Hal E. Roach see WA 464:N 1.
4For Jimmy Dickson see WA 464:N 2.
5Edward “Hoot” Gibson, American cowboy hero of silent films. Winner of the rodeo title “World’s Champion Cowboy” in 1912, Gibson became the leading cowboy star at Universal Studios during the 1920s.
6Ken Maynard, American cowboy star of more than 300 western films. Once a rodeo rider, he broke into motion pictures as n “extra” and remained active in the industry until his death in 1973. Wallace 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 during the 1930s and 1940s.
7Frank Borzager, American motion picture director and actor, known for soft, sentimental, pictorial films. He won Academy Awards for direction in 1928 and 1933.
8Clarence Brown, American film director and former electrical engineer, noted for many spectacular but sensitive motion pictures.
9Henry King, veteran American motion picture director with experience in most branches of show business; an exponent of the expensive, family-oriented film.
10Mary Warner “Mae” Marsh, American leading lady of the silent screen; later played small character roles in films. David Lewelyn Wark Griffith, pioneer American motion picture producer, noted for his technical innovations in Birth of a Nation (1915) and other films.
11Garner was married to the former Ettie Rheiner.
12Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, widow of Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth, and prominent Washington hostess.
13For Pat Hurley see WA 440:N 9.
14For David S. Ingalls see WA 440:N 11.
15Frederick Turbee Davison, United States assistant secretary of war for aeronautics from 1926 to 1932.
16Clarence Marshall Young, United States assistant secretary of commerce for aeronautics from 1929 to 1933.
17For Chic Sale see WA 434:N 8.
18Eddie Cantor, popular American comedian who starred in vaudeville, in motion pictures, and on radio for more than fifty years and who delighted audiences with his rolling eyes, lively movement, and inimitable singing voice. For Will Durant see WA 445:N 1.
19For Amon G. Carter see WA 437:N 2.
20Marie Dressler, American comedienne of silent and early “talkies,” formerly in opera, vaudeville, and burlesque.
21For Bill Hanley see WA 445:N 4.
22For Plutarco E. Calles, see WA 464:N 6
WHEAT AND COMBINESWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I hear as I keep the old long ears to the ground. Here the other week before I started out on this Chinese Roundup, why out to my house one night to pay us a visit and break corn bread with us was a mighty interesting couple, Mr. Tom Campbell and wife.1
Now right off-hand if you are not a Farmer, or a buyer of farm products, you might say, “What Tom Campbell?” for it’s a rather common name. But to anyone that is up on his Onions and wheat, why he will know in a minute. It’s the man we have in the past read so much about.
Don’t you remember a big wheat man up in Montana that was drafted by the Soviet Government of Russia to go over there and show them how to put their big wheat farms on a big mechanical farming basis? Well he is the man. He now lives over in Pasadena.
He don’t belong to the Hoover Commission, but he advises them after they are appointed, that is if they have anything to do about Farming. He had in, up there in Montana, 90 thousand acres of plowed ground. He would rotate the crops, and have about half that in wheat each year. I remember seeing pictures of it, where there would be eight and ten combines running one right behind the other.
You town waddies know what a Combine is? Well to tell the truth I don’t either. When I was the best farmer on the west bank of the Verdigris River, Binders was just coming in, and we was lucky to get to see one of them. As a Kid I used to ride the lead horse, when we used five head, three behind and two leaders.
Then those Combines come along and they just rounded up a whole “remuther” full and hitched on all they had harness for. I think from some of those Pictures I have seen of ’em up in those Northern States they had a whole Cavvy of horses, thirty or forty head. Now they got these Tractors, great big ones that pull the thing. But yet I havent told you Radiator folks what a Combine is.
Well here is all it does—just one machine and in one trip over the ground. On the front end of it is an arrangement that makes a deal to take over the ground (from the bank that is holding the present mortgage). Then right behind that gadget on this big machine is a thing that grubs up the Roots and Herbs. Another thing right behind grinds up the Roots and Herbs into “Sagwa” Indian Medicine, which is sold by a White man who says he was adopted into the Indian tribe. Then just a few feet behind that, all connected with the same machine, are the plows that plow the ground. Then right in the furrow is the seeder, then another plow that plows the furrow back where it was in the first place. Then comes the fertilizer, and then the sickle that cuts the grain. Then it’s carried along a little platform into the Threshing Machine where it’s threshed, then out and into sacks, and into the big Grain Elevator that is fastened onto the thing.
Then on near the back end is a stock market board where a bunch of men that don’t own the farm, the wheat, or the Combine, buy it back and forth from each other. That is if you have threshed a thousand Bushels why they sell each other a million bushels of this thousand bushels which was actually threshed, then they announce to the farmer that on account of supply and demand, the wheat is only worth two bits, (25¢). That’s what you call a Combine.
Well this Campbell fellow is mighty interesting. He thinks that the Farm Board is a mighty good thing. But he does also think that they have had a pretty raw deal from the whole grain trade, and the banks. You see it looked like the Farm Board with its Cooperatives and various other things to do away with the middleman just turned them against the whole scheme. The banks knew that the Farmer would start borrowing from the Government at low interest instead of them at 10 and 12 per cent.
He says that Mr. Hoover knows that it’s been a scheme on all their parts to discredit the Farm Board, so we wondered, he and I, (him furnishing the idea and me doing the wondering) why Mr. Hoover dident just come right out and tell the people what had happened. We figured that if Mr. Hoover went direct to the people and told them the real Lowdown that he would have them with him. But of course neither one of us holds office, or ever was elected to anything. I guess the truth can hurt you worse in an election than about anything that could happen to you.
Mr. Campbell told me a lot about Russia. He says they are farming 90 million, (that’s millions, Brother, Not Thousands) acres of wheat. Most of it is owned and operated by the Government direct. That’s the farms he had charge of.
He says there is no such thing as “Dumping.” You sell a thing because you need the ready money that that product will bring in. You might say that Cattle men are Dumping the Cattle now, because they are at such low prices. But you got to sell ’em at some price. He thinks we make a big mistake by not selling to Russia. He says they are sure pay, and can use more of our material and products than any Nation. He thinks buying Nations of the future will be (in the order of their importance) Russia, India, then Africa.
He told Stalin when they had their first conference, that he dident believe in Communism, and a dozen other things that Russia was practicing.2 Well Stalin got up and shook hands with him very warmly, and told him: “Well, we will get on fine; we at least understand each other. It’s wheat we want to agree on and not politics or religion.”
He says he never saw a people so eager to learn, and that their ideal is always America. He thinks they are a great people trying to work out a way of helping their condition. He and his wife and Children had been in there twice, and they all liked it. Course he says they are going through some tough times, and there is a lot of poverty and hardship, but he thinks they will work out of it. It was a mighty interesting visit, and well worth what little Spare Ribs and sour Kraut that I fed ’em.
1Rogers was enroute to the Orient to observe and report on war torn Manchuria. Thomas Donald Campbell, American agriculturalist, inventor, and engineer. His Campbell Farming Corporation, with headquarters at Hardin, Montana, retained 95,000 acres under cultivation. Recognized as an authority on mechanized farming, Campbell was invited by the Soviet Union in 1929 to advise on the development of an agricultural program in Russia’s first five-year plan. Campbell was married to the former Bess McBride Bull of North Dakota.
1For this and all further references to Josef Stalin see WA 445:N 2