Will Rogers birthday celebration set for Nov. 1-4
CLAREMORE – Since 1938 when the Will Rogers Memorial Museum opened, people from near and far have gathered to celebrate Will’s birthday, which was Nov. 4, 1879.
Rogers, considered “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son” by many people, was a stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee Nation citizen born in the CN, Indian Territory, near Oologah.
As an entertainer and humorist, Rogers traveled around the world three times, made 71 films and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political columnist of his time and was the highest paid Hollywood film star.
Gray Frederickson, Oscar winning producer for “The Godfather, Part II” and involved of all three Godfather films and “Apocalypse Now,” and an Oklahoman, will be one of the special guests for the 2018 Will Rogers Birthday Bash.
Tad Jones, memorial museum executive director, said Frederickson will be in Claremore for several events including a lecture.
An Oklahoma native who grew up in Oklahoma City, Frederickson is on the staff of Oklahoma City Community College and is still involved in film and television production.
“It’s not too early to start thinking about helping create a movie atmosphere in Claremore with memories of favorite movies,” Jones said. “This year is the 100th anniversary of Will’s first movie, a silent, and the the first of more than 70 he starred in before his death in 1935.”
All activities of the Nov. 1-4 Birthday Bash will focus on a movie theme. He said individuals and businesses are encouraged to dress as a favorite movie character for the celebration, decorate windows and participate in the 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, parade followed by a birthday party at Claremore Museum of History and Gazebo Park.
Michael Wallis, voice of the sheriff in Pixar movie “Cars” will be the parade marshal. He has written about the 101 Ranch, Chief Wilma Mankiller and Pretty Boy Floyd and has been published in national and international magazines and newspapers.
Prizes will be awarded for best movie theme for dress, window, business décor and parade floats.
Other events on the schedule will be a Kids Day at the museum on Nov. 1, the Will Rogers Memorial Wings Race, the 22nd Annual Native American Festival at Rogers State University Centennial Center, 1st Saturday on Main Street on Nov. 3 and a kids program at the Birthplace Ranch in Oologah. A Mid-Afternoon Frolic Talent Show will be Sunday afternoon, Nov. 4 in the Museum Theatre.
Additional information and added events will be released as they are developed, Jones said.
For more information and parade and talent show entry forms and race information, visit willrogers.com