Welcome back. It was 1931 when Will Rogers gave his famous speech about employment on the radio and I quote: “There is not one unemployed man in the country who hasn’t contributed to the wealth of every millionaire in America.” Rogers died at 8:18 on August 15, 1935, 77 years ago today. Last Sunday at his birthplace in Claremore, the legendary Dog Iron Ranch, traffic was backed up for miles all morning as people waited for their chance to celebrate his life with hundreds of other Will Rogers fans. The celebration included dozens of vintage planes that lined the grass air field by the original ranch house. There were airplane rides, kid’s games, a car show and several speakers. Will’s niece, Bartlesville resident Coke Meyer was there autographing her book about her renowned uncle and several Will Rogers impersonators were also on hand. Truly a wonderful day to remember a great Oklahoman the likes of which we won’t see again.
Another Oklahoman making his mark in the movies business is Tracy Letts. Letts is a Tulsa born actor and playwright whose most recent play, August Osage County, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As you may have heard, the film adaptation starring Meryl Strep and Julia Roberts will begin filming in the area in September.
August Osage County started as a small production at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater before it moved to New York where it played to sold out audiences. After a rave review from Oprah Winfrey the play was performed in cities across the country. It has also been successful internationally, with productions in Australia, Germany and Israel and many other countries where no one had ever heard of Bartlesville or Pawhuska, Oklahoma before.
The film production and the presence of big name movie stars are putting Bartlesville in the spotlight again. Sources tell me that auditions for extras are coming up so its time once more for “Lights! Camera! Action!”
Also going on is a display at Gilgrease Museum called “Discover the Real George Washington.” This interesting historical exhibit highlights Washington’s private life at his home Mt. Vernon. After touring the exhibit with my daughter I’d say it’s a must see for school kids of any age as it offers insight into a more human side of our first President.
To The Wonder directed by Terrence Malick and filmed here will be premièring worldwide this month. August Osage County by Tracy Letts begins filming this fall and the real George Washington at Gilgrease Museum. Its all happening right here.
One more date to mark in your calendar is September 21st, the first day of autumn.
This is the opening day for the Oklahoma Indian Summer Festival at the Bartlesville Community Center, the Tulsa Fly-in at Phillips Airfield and Western Heritage weekend in Dewey. The National Speedboat races will be held at Copan Lake the same weekend
and the organizers tell me they expect 25,000 people to attend. If you need a hotel room you’d better book it now!
Till next week I’ll see ya down the road….