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Thu Aug 15, 2019, 09:39 AM

84 Years Ago Today; Will Rogers and Wiley Post die in Alaska plane crash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Rogers


Rogers in 1922

William Penn Adair Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son", Rogers was born to a Cherokee family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). As an entertainer and humorist, he traveled around the world three times, made 71 films (50 silent films and 21 "talkies" ), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns.

By the mid-1930s Rogers was hugely popular in the United States, its leading political wit and the highest paid of Hollywood film stars. He died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.

Rogers's vaudeville rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies, which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts. His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity. Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion and provided Americans with first-hand accounts of his world travels. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that was appreciated by a national audience, with no one offended. His aphorisms, couched in humorous terms, were widely quoted: "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Rogers even provided an epigram on his most famous epigram:

When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like." I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved."


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiley_Post


Wiley Post

Wiley Hardeman Post (November 22, 1898 – August 15, 1935) was a famed American aviator during the interwar period and the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Also known for his work in high-altitude flying, Post helped develop one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream. On August 15, 1935, Post and American humorist Will Rogers were killed when Post's aircraft crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Point Barrow in the Territory of Alaska.

Post's Lockheed Vega aircraft, the Winnie Mae, was on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center from 2003 to 2011. It is now featured in the "Time and Navigation" gallery on the second floor of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

<snip>

Aviation and death


Rogers standing on the wing of a seaplane belonging to famed aviation pioneer Wiley Post, hours before their fatal crash on 15 August 1935

Rogers became an advocate for the aviation industry after noticing advancements in Europe and befriending Charles Lindbergh, the most famous American aviator of the era. During his 1926 European trip, Rogers witnessed the European advances in commercial air service and compared them to the almost nonexistent facilities in the United States. Rogers' newspaper columns frequently emphasized the safety record, speed, and convenience of this means of transportation, and he helped shape public opinion on the subject.

In 1935 the famed aviator Wiley Post, an Oklahoman, became interested in surveying a mail-and-passenger air route from the West Coast to Russia. He attached a Lockheed Explorer wing to a Lockheed Orion fuselage, fitting floats for landing in the lakes of Alaska and Siberia. Rogers visited Post often at the airport in Burbank, California, while he was modifying the aircraft. He asked Post to fly him through Alaska in search of new material for his newspaper column.

After making a test flight in July, Post and Rogers left Lake Washington in Renton in the Lockheed Orion-Explorer in early August and then made several stops in Alaska. While Post piloted the aircraft, Rogers wrote his columns on his typewriter. Before they left Fairbanks, they signed and mailed a burgee, a distinguishing flag belonging to the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club. The signed burgee is on display at South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. On August 15, they left Fairbanks for Point Barrow.

When about 20 miles southwest of Point Barrow and having difficulty in figuring their position due to bad weather, they landed in a lagoon to ask directions. On takeoff, the engine failed at low altitude, and the aircraft plunged into the lagoon, shearing off the right wing, and ended up inverted in the shallow water of the lagoon. Both men died instantly. Rogers was buried August 21, 1935, in Forest Lawn Park in Glendale, California;[30] it was a temporary interment. He was reinterred at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.

Experts have studied the factors in the accident, and still disagree about it. Bobby H. Johnson and R. Stanley Mohler argued in a 1971 article that Post had ordered floats that did not reach Seattle in time for the planned trip. He used a set that was designed for a larger type of plane, making the already nose-heavy hybrid aircraft still more nose-heavy. But, Bryan and Frances Sterling maintain in their 2001 book Forgotten Eagle: Wiley Post: America's Heroic Aviation Pioneer that their research showed the floats were the correct type for the aircraft, thereby suggesting another cause for the crash.

</snip>


Two of my heroes.

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Reply 84 Years Ago Today; Will Rogers and Wiley Post die in Alaska plane crash (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Aug 15 OP
pangaia Aug 15 #1
Dennis Donovan Aug 15 #2
malaise Aug 15 #5
pangaia Aug 15 #6
appalachiablue Aug 15 #11
pangaia Aug 15 #12
appalachiablue Aug 17 #13
pangaia Aug 17 #14
Bengus81 Aug 17 #15
pangaia Aug 17 #16
Cracklin Charlie Aug 15 #3
Dennis Donovan Aug 15 #4
pangaia Aug 15 #7
COLGATE4 Aug 15 #8
Dennis Donovan Aug 15 #9
COLGATE4 Aug 15 #10

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 09:56 AM

1. The father of a good friend of mine knew Post.

He was somehow connected with the original floats that were supposed to be on the plane, or something like that. I forget exactly. But my 80 year old friend is a genius machinist, as was his father. This friend of mine lived and still lives in the Finger Lakes region in Up-state NY. As a kid, he built an ice boat with-- I don;t know exactly- a humongous car engine- and had the boat up to like 120 mph on the lake.

He once was zooming it down an icy street. The cops chased him but could'n catch him

Also, my mother was a 'stewardess' on American Airlines and met Will Rogers. I have a photo of them on the steps of a DC-2 not long before the ill-fated trip. She also flew several DC/NYC flights with Eleanor Roosevelt, who taught my mom how to knit..

cool...


OK. back to Will and Wiley---

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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:00 AM

2. Fascinating stuff!!

To meet both Rogers and ER!!

As it happens, I'm in the Finger Lakes! On Cayuga Lake, to be precise!

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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:26 AM

5. Lovely

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:59 AM

6. I tell that story about my mom and ER every chance I get here..

too often, probably...

My sis in Long Beach, CA is a die hard ER fan and amateur 'historian.'

We went to Hyde Park when we were in NYC a few years back...


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Response to pangaia (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 01:42 PM

11. Keep telling the story, it's wonderful. I don't know why

but all the times I was in NY and family was living there we didn't think to visit Hyde Park although we enjoyed touring plenty of historic and cultural sites in the city, also Vermont & no. PA. Mom would have liked that so much, our loss.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 03:40 PM

12. Thanks. that's nice to hear. If I knew how to post pics I could probably post a couple of mom

with ER and WR.


i live near rochester.. rochester, and this area are quite well known

for the fight for equal rights, abolitionists, etc

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass were both active here as was the underground railroad.

Check out--https://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm

Douglass lived longer in Rochester, NY than anywhere else. He is buried there in Mount Hope Cemetery.

http://www.visitrochester.com/blog/post/finding-frederick-douglass-in-rochester/

Susan B Anthony's funeral was held in the sanctuary of the Central Presbyterian Church, which is now the HOCHSTEIN SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DANCE on Plymouth Ave. Before it w a s even the church, it was a stop on the underground railway.
https://hochstein.org/About/Rentals/Performance-Hall



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Response to pangaia (Reply #12)

Sat Aug 17, 2019, 02:20 PM

13. Your mom must have been very sharp and physically healthy

to have worked in the airline industry, esp. in the earlier days when the ride and service was much less 'comfortable' compared to later years.

If I ever get back up that way I'll check out R. and the sites. I know that so much early industry and tech flourished there and around Buffalo and Syracuse- pre Silicon Valley!

Mom would always talk about early inventors and business leaders like the Wright Bros., Edison, George Eastman and more; her grandfather from Phila. took a business course at Eastman College in Poughkeepsie way back and was one of the first men to drive across the Brooklyn Bridge in a Model T Ford she said.

Douglass, and Susan Anthony were such major forces in the progressive era; I also like Douglass' home Cedar Hill in Anacostia, DC from the later 1880s, 1890s when he held a federal post in the city.

A great place to tour, Cedar Hill overlooks the capitol and offers views of the WDC skyline. More people need to visit the historic property, beyond Mt. Vernon, Monticello, etc. The site opened fairly recently to the public, 1988, and is administered by the NPS. Fortunately it's being toured by more and more school groups, a primary avenue for history education.



Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Cedar Hill, Wash. DC

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass_National_Historic_Site

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #13)

Sat Aug 17, 2019, 03:26 PM

14. Mom was a nurse, which I think was a requirement at that time.. not sure.

After she stopped flying, she met my dad when he was a patient at a hospital in NYC where she was a nurse... and the rest is history, so to speak.
(She was always sticking me with needles when I got sick.)

The Erie Canal goes right through Rochester and until the NYS Thruway was built, which politicos kept AWAY from ROC, it was a thriving quasi-industrial city....


I'll have to go to Cedar Hill with my sister next time she comes east from Long Beach. Her husband being a black dude, they both are something of amateur historians on.. what..... being black in America.....They teach me a lot....


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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 17, 2019, 05:16 PM

15. That aircraft in the pic was known as Wiley's bastard.......

It was basically two planes put together with floats and was way way nose heavy. Wiley had to contact several companies before he could find one to do the work.

Will Rogers was in the rear of the plane which was kind of set up like his office where he could type out his columns as they went around Alaska toward Barrow. IF he would have been strapped in when they took off that final time (and quickly crashed) it's very possible he would have lived. Wiley's grave and his wife's is in Edmond,Ok......I've been there a couple of times and seen it.

The book Forgotten Eagle is very good. He was loved,he was hated,could be very nice,could be nasty. Did time in prison,lost his eye in a oil rig accident which got him enough money to buy an airplane. Unlike most accounts have it (weather guys on TV all the time) HE discovered what is known as the jet stream--not WWII pilots years later.

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Response to Bengus81 (Reply #15)

Sat Aug 17, 2019, 05:40 PM

16. Interesting history..... what a life.....

The float story is the one my friend Skip told me (he is 82)
It may have been his dad that had fabricated proper floats for the plane, the ones that didn't make it.. or something.,... I forget exactly the connection.... I know he worked at some point with Glenn Curtiss in Watkins Glenn.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:09 AM

3. I was driving through Claremore, OK one day.

Right through the middle of town. I was trying to get to my nephew’s football game in Owasso, and was running a little late.
So, we’re coming through the middle of town, I took the normal left turn to go west. We hadn’t gone more that 100 feet when I realize we have gotten ourselves into a parade! With bands, horses, and floats.

It was Will Rogers Days!

About that time a cop walking in the parade walks up to the window and offers help. He was laughing so hard. We ended up driving in the parade for about two blocks, before we could take cop’s directions out. My kids were waving at spectators all the way. We were late to the game, but we had a great story to tell.

I always thought Will Rogers would like it.

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:11 AM

4. Hope you didn't run over Robert Preston!

Great story!!

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 11:01 AM

7. great story....



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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 12:59 PM

8. Will Rogers never met Donald Trump

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 01:08 PM

9. I can hear ol' Will now...

"...I never met a man I dident [sic] like, EXCEPT that orange mees-creant [sic] inhabiting OUR house!"

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 01:12 PM

10. Yep.

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