Will Rogers and Rubinoff and His Violin- My Story

Will rogers playing Rubinoff's Strad in a gag picture. What a Story!

Will Rodgers and Rubinoff and His Violin- My Story: Who is Will Rogers? How is he relevant to modern times? Most of all, what is my indirect connection to him? In 1991, a Broadway show brought attention to his life and humor. The Will Rogers Follies, starred Keith Carradine. It focused on Rogers’s performances as a headliner of the Ziegfield Follies. The show won several Tony Awards. They included best musical, score and  direction. Rogers was also a great film actor. Above he’s holding Rubinoff’s violin. Dave Rubinoff is looking on.

Will Rogers Taught Rubinoff the Art of Stagecraft

First, I need to thank someone for the blog’s information: Dame Darlene Azar Rubinoff.  After she married Rubinoff,  Darlene accepted me. His arranger was part of the deal.  I was so honored and will always remember her kindness.  Rubinoff dictated his life story to her. She recorded it on cassettes. Here’s what Rogers said to Rubinoff . This is from her ensuing book: Dance of the Russian Peasant. Dave said:

“Will used to give me advice. He was a happy fellow and a pleasure to be near. Will advised me on timing, how to time my gestures, how to get the audience to do my bidding, and how to talk to provoke the appropriate responses.”

I, David the blogger,  might add, that is the sign of the truest friend. Here is a sample of Will’s kindness. He gave Rubinoff a gigantic pocket watch. Will had the poem below engraved on its back. Will also included his picture with Dave with the following inscription: “To the greatest fiddler in the world. Your Pal, Will Rogers 1932.” Rubinoff recited it at every single concert. The audience always loved it. Here are some paraphrases::

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

Now is the only time we own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.

Robert H. Smith

Below is my last performance with  Rubinoff and His Violin from the Summer of 1984.  Dave personally mentions Will Rogers and many other great entertainers. This concert was lost for 30 years. Virtaully every gesture Rubinoff makes while performing was taught to him by Will Rogers. Its effect on this “smallish” audience is magical.Finally, below is a picture of the lake by which the concert took place: Scott’s Oquaga Lake House.

Having fun on Oquaga Lake!
The kids are just getting used to canoeing at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Rubinoff, friend of Will Rogers, played with me at this resort. His stage was just off the lake at the Playhouse.

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