April 26, 2003
DAYTON, Ohio: I’m over here tonight in the home town of those two pioneers of aviation, Orville and Wilbur Wright. It was 100 years ago those two designed and built their first airplane. Folks around here still don’t understand why they drove it all the way to North Carolina to fly it the first time.
Well, the biggest hospital in this part of the state (Miami Valley Hospital) put on a big shindig to raise money to add on to their baby care unit. A nurse told me sometimes they have so many newborns they practically have to stack ’em two deep, even if they ain’t twins.
In honor of Orville and Wilbur they had a theme, “Fly Back with us to the Glamorous Era of Hollywood.” They cleared out a big hangar at the airport, decorated it with a Hollywood flavor, and invited me and Marilyn Monroe to make it authentic. Marilyn supplied all the glamour and I covered the “fly back” part.
Now, I have kidded Mae West, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, even little Shirley Temple, but I had never before met Marilyn Monroe. We hit it off pretty good… I think she mistook me for Clark Gable. You know these Hollywood leading men, with rugged good looks and debonaire, distinguished manner, why sometimes it’s hard to tell us apart.
But nobody mistook Marilyn. If she had been with us back there in the Follies, she would have been Mr. Ziegfeld’s Favorite for sure.
She wore that white flowing dress, the one that helped make here famous. (I know you’ve seen the photo, the one where it was more blowin’ than flowin’.)
She’s an intelligent woman, don’t let anybody kid you on that. She’s intelligent, but she don’t let anyone know it. She’s demure, but sometimes she can jump right in and be assertive with that quiet voice and nobody complains about it, at least not the men.
Well, I said once, a long time ago, I would like to be in a movie with Katie Hepburn. And I sure wouldn’t mind making one today with Marilyn Monroe. I think we would make a good pair, but you know Hollywood. They would probably put me in there as her great grandpappy. Still, that’s not bad when you’re pushing 124.
There was about 500 tonight in that hangar, and by the time they got around to the auction everyone was in a generous mood. I don’t know if they got enough for a new wing, but it’s a start.
You know, I bet there ain’t a hospital anywhere that doesn’t need more dough. And they put it to great use. In fact, next time you get one of those annoying phone calls asking you to give to some so-called charity is a distant land or even next door, and you’re tempted by a smooth-talking sales person to write a big check, instead just hang up and mail it to a hospital in your hometown, or a church or other worthwhile organization right there local. They’ll appreciate it, and you know for a fact they won’t spend three-fourths of it to pay someone to call you asking for more next month.
And if they ever decide to throw a Hollywood party, kinda hint for ’em to invite Marilyn Monroe and Grandpap Rogers.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“I hold two distinctions in the movie business. I’m the ugliest fellow in ’em, and I still have the same wife I started with.”
“In Hollywood, we’re pretty broke up. Greta Garbo left us last night to go home. It was a tremendous personal loss to me. Only consolation I have is that Mae West is still with us. Greta left us. She says, “I tank I go home.” When she gets over there in Sweden and sees those salaries, I tank Greta will come back.” Radio broadcast, June 2, 1935