Popular Concert With Rubinoff and His Violin. You can read on the program, the Stradivarius violin was insured for $100.000. That was in the 1930’s. Now it’s closer to 2 million. Rubinoff was a superstar in the 1930’s. Circumstances of the Great Depression favored his rise to fame. During difficult times the public needs beauty in the arts. In music this translate to melody. After the good times of the 1920’s the next decade started out with the Great Depression. Times were tough, crass and violent. We could almost draw a parallel to today. The last thing people needed were rough qualities in their entertainment. Rubinoff offered beautiful melody on the violin. The public ate it up. He became a sensation and made a fortune. Rubinoff credits his success in great measure to an American Indian, Will Rogers.
Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the highest paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.
Rubinoff credits Will Rogers for his success. In his biography, Dance of the Russian Peasant, written by his wife Darlene Rubinoff that she wrote from recording Dave, he states, “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
That is the sign of the truest friend. Here is a sample of Will’s kindness. He gave Rubinoff a giant 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 from the poem engraved on the watch case.
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.
Popular Concert With Rubinoff and His Violin
But it gets even better. As a pianist, I invited him to the resort I was playing at. We gave an unforgettable concert together. Listen to it. Share it with friends. Experience American history as it was actually lived by this great American. He talks about his personal friendships Victor Herbert, John Phillip Sousa, President and Mrs Roosevelt, Will Rogers, President Eisenhower, Irving Berlin……I accompanied him at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, NY, The youtube video is called “Lost Concert Found” from 1984. You can even hear a thunderstorm in the background.