Here are 10 things you should know about Will Rogers, born 129 years ago today. He was a hugely influential figure in American culture: stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator. Few have ever matched what he accomplished in such a relatively short time. We could use wry sanity and common sense today, that’s for sure.
THE GREAT GOD O’NEILL
A million lights that dim the stars. . .”
Heart of the World . . .”
A helping hand—they’re all for sale,
On Broadway, Broadway. . . .
When you’re on top;
Same crowd hissing you and dismissing you
If you should flop . . .
Tomorrow is another day . . .
The Heart of the World. . . .”
An acquaintance of ours once wrote of New York City and its denizens:
“Even New Yorkers who have lived here all their lives are happy to sit back and chat away about the place as if they’d just come across it. It’s a regular topic of conversation. And what’s nice is that it’s neither particularly narcissistic nor self-loathing, this chatter, but more curious and delighted.”
We think that as apt and accurate a description of New Yorkers’ attitude toward their town as we’ve ever heard.
We find that New Yorkers not only like to talk about their town, to commiserate over its delights and surprises (and, yes, miseries) with one another, but most every New Yorker we know also likes to see the city on the silver screen (or perhaps the small screen at home). Even though we’re surrounded at all times by the hustle and bustle, the noise and hordes of people and row after row of concrete towers, most of us still get a kick out of seeing them depicted cinematically.
And it’s an even rarer treat to see the streets of the city as they once were, in old movies and promotional films.
The film we’re sharing with you today, “Flight to New York,” is a promo film for Trans-World Airlines, but it touts the Big Apple just as much as that now-defunct air carrier. It was shot in 1950, and most of the attractions featured in it are still around today. But there’s something about seeing them as they once were, captured in glorious black-and-white.