Monday, February 23, 2015

Will Roger’s Ghost

“I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this--no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.”
                                                                  --Will Rogers

Will Rogers was a popular Cowboy Philosopher, humorist and one of America’s first political satirists in the early 1900s. At the time of his tragic death, he was a beloved entertainer who had performed his popular stage act across the U.S. and around the world.

Rogers’ was born in Oklahoma and spent his youth riding and roping. He was an indifferent student, but he was highly intelligent.

In 1898, he left his home and worked as a cowboy in Texas. He then traveled to Argentina, where he worked as a gaucho.

When he returned to the U.S. he worked for Texas Jack’s Wild West Show as a trick roper. Rogers quickly realized the audiences loved his quick humor as much as his tricks.

He then created a vaudeville act that centered on his witty commentary about world events. He still performed rope tricks but now on a stage instead of on a horse.

Rogers’s warmth and affinity for the common man were genuine, which made him a big star. He worked in films, wrote seven books, performed on the radio, and wrote a series of highly popular newspaper and magazine articles.

He often performed to raise money for charitable causes. He died at the age of 55 in a plane crash.

California Theatre
His last public performance was at the California Theatre in San Bernardino, California.

This theatre first opened in 1928, and was the site for many movie studio premieres. Rodgers performed here in August of 1935, before heading to Alaska.

He was traveling on a plane with his good friend and aviator Wily Post, from Fairbanks to Point Barrow, when Post landed his Lockheed Orion just miles out of Point Barrow.

Post thought they were lost and stopped to ask directions. Once back in the air, the plane’s engine stalled, and it plunged into water facedown. Both Wily Post and Will Rogers were killed.

Since his death, patrons and employees at the California Theatre state that Rogers haunts this old theatre.

The Cowboy Philosopher
There are several reports that his apparition has been seen over the years in the dressing room he used during his last performance.

One account states a group of shocked visitors watched his ghost in this dressing room as he prepared for a performance. They saw him changing his clothes and putting on stage make-up.

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