August 15th, 2011 14:21 EST
Through a Connection of Spirit, The Legend Lives On in Our Modern Day Will Rogers
For some, dreams start with school, for others with an inheritance, for these two men it started with a rope and an audience. Working through life, driven by a career and a passion, they ride the horizons from sunrise to sunset on a common goal; not to strike it rich and call it quits, but to engage an audience of citizens to embark on a participatory challenge of common sense and communication.
Growing up through the industrial revolution an American icon took the limelight not only as an esteemed entertainer, but also as the humorist that sparked interest in individuals and demanded societal involvement in communication. From high ticket film sets to center stage in one of the greatest theatrical productions of its time, the Ziegfeld Follies, to the comfort of leaning over the warn keys of a metal typewriter, Will Rogers became the humorist philosopher that entertained and engrossed audiences in interpersonal connections. His routines focused on intelligent and humorous observations of people, life, the nation and government.
As a figure in show business, he jumped into what he called "the best show in the world" and took to politics, not as a participant behind a desk but as a solicitor of national thought and interaction. He broadened his career from jobs as an actor and trick roper and let his real passion loose, taking on syndicated columns, books, radio broadcasting and political commentating. His simple humor and direct, intelligent political writings and observations about the government and America earned him the respect of the nation.
In 1935 a plane crash took his life, but over 60 years later, a 35-year-old rising entertainer picked up his story in the form of a script for a tribute performance in the Will Rogers Follies and from that moment, adopted his passion and set out to continue the efforts. The 35-year-old trick roper and entertainer, Will Roberts was given an offer to play the role of Rogers during a four-week production that told the life story of the humorist-roping writer. Though only a four-week gig, it was more than enough time for Roberts to acknowledge his newly increased passion. He adopted the Will Rogers-style of incorporating common sense, respect and an open mind to all sides and developed his own material that stove to evoke Rogers` same goal.
Lasso in hand their passions flow on the ability to rope people together to divulge in communication and in-depth interaction. "I meet so many people and folks who spend so much time keeping it in. They are not talking to each other, just talking to themselves, and you know what happens to folks that talk to themselves, people think they are crazy. I want to talk to folks; `cause people are what it`s all about. Bring back the history, bring back the conversation," Roberts said. "I made a choice that I`m marketing the Will Rogers philosophy and not doing Will Rogers himself, because I realized that 99% of the world don`t know who Will Rogers is now a days, so I`m trying to promote the ideas and way of thinking because none of that has changed."And so began his life passion to implore society to indulge in old-fashioned communication and interaction, ultimately branding himself the modern day Will Rogers. While simultaneously entertaining as part of one of the largest production companies on the Las Vegas Strip, Roberts has his daily column syndicated to about 70 sites and has been featured and participates in podcasts, video segments and political cartoons.
"Will Rogers died in `35, I was 35 when I started this, I worked at Fox 35, he worked for Fox Pictures. He worked in the extravaganza production and now I work at one of the largest extravaganzas in the world doing the same thing, spinning a rope in a humorous way. I`m really emulating and living the life Will Rogers had just with a modern twist," said Roberts. From 1911 to 2011, patterns and customs in everyday life shift and develop accordingly to the times but the need for communication stays steady. While the mode of encouraging the exchange of ideas and thoughts has shifted from typewriter to iPhone and from radio to YouTube, 70 years have passed from one Will to another, the times haven`t changed much and the message stays the same."Will Rogers use to say, all I know is what I read in the newspaper.
The same holds true today except the saying now for me is, all I know is what I read on the Internet," said Roberts. "Nothing really changes; it`s all just kind of a cycle."Communication and Entertainment, to some these may be seem as two atypical terms of two realms of society; human interaction and amusement, but to engage both efforts of performance to achieve a societal participation and exchange of thoughts and ideas is what the hard work is all about.
Encouraging society to get involved in the conversation and make themselves heard by the general public, Roberts initiated and maintains an open forum, www.TweetTheStreets.com, a gathering of the minds to discuss world news beyond the media and Hollywood`s perspectives and is told by the people directly."People really want to be heard and they don`t necessarily want to be talked at and they want to know that they are being listened to, so this has become my passion, to help provide that," said Rogers. Throughout their careers on and off the stages, in front and behind the cameras and whether it is in written or spoken dialect, Will Rogers and Will Roberts provide a communication link to a more commonsensical future and a more comprehensible past.
By Nikki Villoria
Will Roberts websites: