Countdown to Will Rogers Motion Picture Festival

WILL ROGERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM — Just as Will Rogers’ foray into the movies changed his life, making a move from New York to California, his movie career has brought changes to festivities at Will Rogers Memorial Museum marking the annual celebration of his birth.

A hundred years ago Will Rogers made his first movie. He went on to make 50 silents and 21 talkies. In 1934 he was the number one movie star in America. In August of 1935, after completing his movie contract for the year, he and pilot Wiley Post perished in an Alaska plane crash.

On Nov. 4, 1938, the Claremore Museum opened in a tradition that has continued on that date the past 81 years.

During the past year, special attention has been brought to Will’s movie success. The anniversary of his birth on an Oologah Indian Territory Ranch and his movie success, will be remembered in the Will Rogers Motion Picture Festival, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, by films, old and new, and special events. Appearances and lectures by movie stars, stuntmen, comedians, television personalities, casting directors and producers dot the program with the showing of almost 50 Movie Festival entries from around the world.

Highlight of the four-day film blocks, lectures, and Red Sash Event will be the Dog Iron Awards on Saturday night, Nov. 2. Winners of Festival entries in categories from documentary and narrative to Native American and comedy and others will be recognized and awarded the prestigious Dog Iron, Will’s brand.

Film blocks, lectures, and the Oct. 30 kickoff party and Nov. 2 Red Sash and Dog Iron Awards ceremony will be by ticket. Admission is free to an Oct. 30, 3:30 p.m. showing of Lynn Riggs’s “A Day in Santa Fe”, and the Nov. 1, 7 p.m., showing of Will and co-star Joel McCrea in “Lightning’”, both in the Will Rogers Memorial Theatre.

Other events paying tribute to Will Rogers will be the Nov. 2 annual Will Rogers Run through the Rogers State University Reserve and Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club wreath-laying, program and reception at the Museum.

Lyle Johnston, who has written a book about Will Rogers Jr., will be in the Museum on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 3- 4 p.m. to talk about the book and sign copies.

Area schools will share in a birthday party on Monday, Nov. 4, at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch when Oologah-Talala School students will present an original musical, written and directed by OT teacher Kim Grazier. The following day is “Kids Day” at the Museum with special events especially for students from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Admission to the Museum is free on Will’s Nov. 4 birthday.

For information on ticket purchase, full schedule of times and venues for special events and showing of film entries visit

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