Oklahoma Yesterday Today Tomorrow Various Cuts - Various Subjects - See Rundown 1992
In the first half of this century, the world's reporters voted that Will Rogers was the world's greatest humerus. There's no great way to share the heritage and the roots of Oklahoma, then through this native son, Will Rogers. He is synonymous with good feeling, good cheer and love for his fellow man, and Will Rogers is synonymous with Oklahoma. Will Rogers was born in then-Indian territory near Ulega in Northeast Oklahoma in 1879. His father was part Cherokee, a judge and a state senator. Will's mother was also a quarter-Indian. Will was a restless young man, and I doubt that as he was wondering in South America having joined Texas Jack's Wild West Show, that he ever dreamed that this boy from Ulega would go to the Ziegfield Follies in New York and become the Toaster Broadway.
In 1919, Will and his wife Betty moved to California, where he went to work for MGM and starred in 70 films, first in the silence, and then making the transition to the talkies, becoming Hollywood's top box office attraction. Will Rogers was decorated by royalty and presidents all around the world, but he still kept his home spun humor. Dr. Reba Collins of the Will Rogers Memorial and Clermore reflects on Will the actor. She says Will ad-libbed many of his lines and his movies.
He finally did have to learn his script because he confused everybody else and said, you know, how we know when our cues come up. Joe McRae has told me this, first movie he made was with Will Rogers, and he created him with a great deal of his success. And he said, you know, I will, I know. Will says, well, you just listen and when it's your turn I'll reach over and yank on your coat tail. Then you go. Then when you quit I'll go. But some of the best lines are the ad-libbing. Everyone thought of Will as a humorous, but he was a very serious reporter. He wrote magazine articles and a column which appeared in 350 daily newspapers, somewhat of a record itself. To get material for his column and his articles, he traveled the world. And every time he returned from a foreign country, the president of the United States always wanted to talk to him. Franklin Roosevelt said he could learn more from Will Rogers in a half hour than he could from any official diplomat. He was a very serious columnist, even though they were humorous, the facts in them. If you read them today, you can learn a great deal of history from reading his material.
Will Rogers also love to fly. Rogers and another native Oklahoma, Wiley Post, set out on a sightseeing trip to Russia by way of Alaska in 1935. They had just taken off from Port Barrow, Alaska when the plane crashed, killing Rogers and Post. August 15, 1935, became the day that the smile disappeared from the lips of America. At the time of Will Rogers' death, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote, his humor and his comments were always kind. Every state has two statues in Statuary Hall and our nation's capital in Washington, DC. I don't know how the other states selected theirs or who they were, but I know who ours are. They incidentally are two Native Americans, Sequoia and Will Rogers. And as each statue came for placement in the Statuary Hall, they just placed them at
random wherever there was a vacant spot. That is, Albert I. So where Rogers statue arrived at the nation's capital, they did something special. This man's target, favorite target, in fact, were politicians. And he had asked while he was alive here on Earth, who will keep an eye on Congress when I'm gone? So Congress passed a resolution that placed his statue in a special place. With his hands in his pocket, his head kind of down, his brows kind of furrowed. And today, Will Rogers keeps an eye on Congress. And another thing about Will Rogers statue is his toe shine a little brighter than any of the others because legend has a tradition hasn't. If you rub the toes of Will Rogers statue, it'll bring you good luck. Will Rogers is the heritage that is Oklahoma. In fact, that's why the Will Rogers Memorial at Claremont still attracts thousands of tourists every year. So this man who was able to say while he lived, I never met a man I didn't like.
Well in America, in the world, while he was alive, there never was a man who didn't love Will Rogers. I'm George Nye. Thanks for joining us in this segment of Oklahoma yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thanks for joining us in this segment of the Will Rogers Memorial at Claremont. You can tell a lot about people by what they've adopted officially as their symbol or
their emblem, for example, a flag. The state flag of Oklahoma, this is obviously it. Anywhere you go around the world, it's uniqueness, make it easily recognizable. It had always been our flag. In fact, we haven't always had a flag. We came into the Union in 1907, but it wasn't until 1911 that the legislature adopted a flag, a field of red with a single star with the numbers 46, the 46 star. In fact, we have a history book called The 46 Star. But it didn't take Oklahoma long to realize that because of the rivals we have south of the Red River, we weren't about to be any part of a single star, the lone star state of Oklahoma.
It didn't fly. In 1925, the daughters of the American Revolution sponsored a contest to see what kind of design an Oklahoma could come up with to replace the original flag. As I said, flags tell you a little bit about the government, about the people. We're all familiar with the American flag. Let's look at it. The American flag with the field of blue, always the field of blue in the upper left-hand corner. And then one star for each of the states of the Union, now 50. So any time a state is admitted, obviously, those stars change. But remaining constant and permanent are the 13 stripes alternating red and white, recognizing the original 13 colonies, red for the red badge of courage, of value, white for the purity, the love that we have in this country. And so the American flag tells a lot about our country. So does the Oklahoma flag. The Wies fluke who won the contest originally from Ponca City, then from Oklahoma City, and now deceased, took an Osage warrior shield as the beginning of her flag and placed it
on a field of blue. Blue representing, like in the American flag, the love that we have for our state and our country, and the warrior shield, recognizing the Osage Indians, the planes Indians, because the state's seal recognized the five civilized tribes. And on that planes Indian shield of an Osage, she placed the six Indian stars, or their crosses, but their really Native American stars, representing high principle lofty ideas. Now that's a shield, a warrior shield. And to symbolize that we would fight if necessary, but that we were defensive, we super imposed over the warrior shield, two symbols of peace. The Calumette, the peace pipe, the Red Man's emblem for peace, the Ali Brants, the white man's emblem for peace. And so as you look at our flag, we're proud, we will fight, we're defensive, but always superimposed are the signs of peace.
And then later on, we did one other thing that very few states or countries have done. We added our name. We just simply put Oklahoma at the bottom of the flag. And so there you have it, one of our symbols, the Oklahoma flag. We have a pledge to the American flag, you all know it by heart, we have a pledge to the Oklahoma flag. It's new. During the bicentennial, a very simple pledge was made official, and it says, I salute the flag of the state of Oklahoma. It's symbols of peace unite all people, beautifully said. But equally beautiful were the words that Louise Flew herself wrote about the flag and the symbols of peace over the war shield. She said, wherever the Oklahoma state flag waves, there waves a symbol of peace. I'm George Nye. Thanks for joining us on this segment of Oklahoma yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks for joining us on this segment of Oklahoma today, today, and today, and today,
we'll see you next week. As you look at the history of Oklahoma, the state seal played a very important role. Our first state capital was Guthrie, but the people of Oklahoma had voted to move it to Oklahoma City, and there was a great debate, a legal argument about it. But in the middle of the night, according to history, the state seal was removed from the capital at Guthrie to the hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, and thus, for a while, that hotel became the state capital of Oklahoma because where the seal was was the capital. But the seal also tells a lot of other history in our state.
Because our seal was designed and honored the five civilized tribes, in fact, it was adopted by the territorial government in 1893, and actually placed into the Constitution when we came into the union in 1907. We began in the seal with a circle, and in the circle wrote the words, the great seal of the state of Oklahoma, 1907. And then in the seal, we placed a five-pointed star because the American star has five points, and it just worked out that with five civilized tribes, we could honor each of those tribes by putting their seal in one of the points or the rays, the chaktoes, chicasols, creeks, and simonos are all represented in that seal, and then in the middle, the red man and the white man together in unity. And there, the big star, the 46th star, and because we came in the union when we did, with 45 states preceding us, it worked out geometrically.
That between these points, in clusters of nine, we were able to place five clusters of nine stars, representing the other 45 states that preceded Oklahoma into the union. And so there you have the seal that makes everything official, the great seal of the state of Oklahoma. This is George Nye. Thank you for joining us in this segment of Oklahoma yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Through history and the movies, we're all familiar with the stories of covered wagons
and prairie scooters, and we most of the time associate those with families heading west seeking homes. One of the best examples of a home-seeker trail is the Oregon Trail, far to our north that was opened in 1843. But the trails that we as Oklahoma are most familiar with were the chism and the Santa Fe trails. Two trails used for commerce. The Santa Fe trail began as a trail for trade from Mid-America to the Great Southwest. Traders and the U.S. Army traveling with pack animals and heavily laden wagons left a trail for us to follow. Literally today, you can stand in the Panhandle counties and see the ruts left by the travelers on the old Santa Fe trail. Seventy miles of the trail ran across the Oklahoma Panhandle from the Oklahoma Kansas border to the border on the west with New Mexico. Now about 150 years ago, the first group of traders left from Independence, Missouri with 21 men, three wagons, and $5,000 worth of merchandise.
The traders followed the Arkansas River to Fort Dodge, Kansas, and then wound west through the Oklahoma No Man's Land, and then on to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The old Santa Fe trail was surveyed and established by active congress in 1825. During more than a half century of travel, the Santa Fe trail was never used as a home seekers trail. It wasn't as we said a trail for commerce. The trip each way on the Santa Fe trail took about 90 days depending on the weather, and as you might suspect, there was very little traffic in the winter months. There were occasionally problems with some Indians, but most of the Indians were friendly. The greatest threats were the length of the trail and the weather. Any John Wayne fan from his movie, such as Red River and one of his later films named Chisholm, knows that the route to get the Texas cattle to the Kansas Railroads was through Indian territory on the Chisholm Trail.
After the Civil War, the need for a cattle drive developed. The cattle were in Texas, the market was in the east, and the railhead was in Kansas. So it was a simple problem of getting from A in Texas to point B in Kansas to get the cattle to point C in the east, and that meant driving the cattle through Indian territory that would later become Oklahoma. Cowboys of that era said that the Chisholm was the longest, roughest, toughest trail on earth. The Chisholm Trail crossed into Oklahoma, south of Olrica, and continued north through the Kansas line. Millions of cattle were driven the entire width from south to north of Oklahoma. Today, State Highway 81 follows the Old Chisholm Trail. When the young lad of 10, Jesse Chisholm, Part Indian, moved to Indian territory, I doubt if he knew the role that he was going to play in Oklahoma's yesterday. When I was Lieutenant Governor Don and I lived out by Lake Overholster, and one day to my
surprise, I came across this historical marker. It marked the establishment of a trading post in 1858 by Jesse Chisholm. Jesse Chisholm and his family left the trail all across this state from Texas to Kansas that became famous and bears his name, 650 miles long. We remember the trail by markers along the route. Chisholm died in what is now Blaine County and is buried there. We have Chisholm Trail museums and monuments in Olrica, Kingfisher, and Inet. At the northern end of the trail, the cattle were kept in pins of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. There weren't many settlements along the way north, and the Cowboys ate from the Chuck Wagon with that meal, oftentimes, the only break of their 14 to 16 hours in the saddle. In the early 1880s, ranchers began home-stating in Kansas, Missouri, and New Mexico. They raised cattle, built fences, and refused to buy cattle with what was known as Texas Fever.
In 1885, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and several other states and territories quarantined themselves against Texas cattle and their disease. At that same time, railroads connected towns and the west to the northeast. So the railroad, Texas Fever, and ranches with their fences silenced the great trails of the Old South West. Beef continues to play a great role in the Oklahoma economy, but today, the difference is that the Texas trails have been replaced by ranchers and major-feet-lawed operations. Oklahoma is number five in the nation in beef production, and our agriculture receipts are almost $2 billion per year. And the modern Chisholm Trail is just a short trip by truck. I'm George Nye. Thanks for joining us in this segment of Oklahoma yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks for joining us in this segment of Texas Fever, and I'm George Nye.
Thanks for joining us in this segment of Texas Fever, and I'm George Nye. They say the influence of a teacher goes forever. You may be familiar with this, it's a weekly reader. This is volume 42 issue 14, January 22, 1988. Here's a copy of my weekly reader, September 21, 1928, volume 1, number 1. A newspaper for school students, the weekly reader, was founded by an Oklahoma teacher, Eleanor Johnson. This paper for school children has a circulation of over nine million readers.
That's a lot of readers, and that's a lot of influence in these pages over the past half century. Eleanor Johnson was born in 1892 in Maryland. She moved west with her family and developed a vision to take school children beyond their classrooms. As a teacher in Lawton, Johnson taught her students to be interested in current events. She then joined a company that printed a current events newspaper for school children, and there she founded the weekly reader. That was in 1928, and for the next 60 years, Johnson had a leading role at the paper. Johnson was known for her sense of reality. My brain works on two levels, reality and imagination. On reality, I try to meet the world as it is and make adjustments every day as you have to do.
On imagination, I let my brain run wild. Eleanor Johnson sometimes taught as many as 48 children in one classroom. She developed a theory that a current events newspaper for school children needed appropriate news to the child interest. She wrote for weekly reader at different levels for grade school, junior and senior high. She included news stories of child interest, and she wasn't afraid of controversies. Present. Both sides of a controversial question. We've been bearcaps on that, because then we try to, on the back page, have them discuss that, where you've given them two points of view. And they remember hearing their parents talk at home about taxes going up. My taxes will be more and my taxes won't be as much a rot not. Let them talk about it.
It's good for them to talk about news. This is a copy of the weekly reader that was first published in September of 1928. There are stories of child interest, a story about a quaker boy named Herbert and a news boy named Alfred. The stories identify the children as presidential candidates of that year, Herbert Hoover and Al Smith. And there are questions for discussion. This is an issue of weekly reader in January 1988. The 1988 presidential candidates are shown. And there are questions here that many grown-ups couldn't answer about current events. Eleanor Johnson taught school in Oklahoma from 1912 until 1926 in Loughton, Chicochet, Oklahoma City, and Drum Ride. It was here that she gained the experience in the classroom that she took to the pages of the weekly reader.
Many of us were taught from weekly readers. Publishers estimate that two-thirds of the adults in the United States read weekly readers in school. That's 145 million Americans. Eleanor Johnson died in 1987. But she'll always be remembered for her contributions to educating school children. Her experience will live on. The efforts of this Oklahoma teacher will go on. As tomorrow students read the weekly reader. As a former teacher of Oklahoma history, and as a student who grew up reading the weekly reader, I know of her influence. I'm George Nye. Thanks for joining us in this segment of Oklahoma yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
- Contributing Organization
- OETA (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Oklahoma Yesterday Today and Tomorrow 1992 with Host George Nigh covers the following: CUT 1 Will Rogers (6:06); CUT 2 State Flag (4:28); CUT 3 State Seal (2:42); CUT 4 Chisholm and Santa Fe Trails (5:51); CUT 5 Weekly Reader (5:15); end.Summary
- Copyright Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Media type
- Moving Image
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
OETA - Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
Identifier: AR-1334/1 (OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Authority))
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- MLA: “ Oklahoma Yesterday Today Tomorrow Various Cuts - Various Subjects - See Rundown 1992 .” 2002-01-16. OETA, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-521-445h99075w>.
- APA: Oklahoma Yesterday Today Tomorrow Various Cuts - Various Subjects - See Rundown 1992 . Boston, MA: OETA, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-521-445h99075w