|Laughing Bill Hyde (1918)||$150 /week|
|They Had to See Paris (1929)||$150,000|
|So This Is London (1930)||$150,000|
|A Connecticut Yankee (1931)||$150,000|
World-famous, widely popular American humorist of the vaudeville stage and of silent and sound films, Will Rogers graduated from military school, but his first real job was in the livestock business in Argentina, of all places. He transported pack animals across the South Atlantic from Buenos Aires to South Africa for use in the Boer War (1899-1902). He stayed in Johannesburg for a short while, appearing there in Wild West shows where he drew upon his expertise with horse and lasso. Returning to America, he brought his talents to vaudeville and by 1917 was a Ziegfeld Follies star. Over the years he gradually blended into his act his unique style of topical, iconoclastic humor, in which he speared the efforts of the powerful to trample the rights of the common man, while twirling his lariat and perhaps chewing on a blade of straw. Although appearing in many silents, he reached his motion-picture zenith with the arrival of sound. Now mass audiences could hear his rural twang as he delivered his homespun philosophy on behalf of Everyman. The appeal and weight of his words carried such weight with the average citizen that he was even nominated for governor of Oklahoma (which he declined).