When Will Rogers died in 1935, the nation mourned. Flags flew at half-staff. Movie screens went dark. Radio broadcasters observed 30 minutes of silence. Under a scorching sun in Glendale, 50,000 people filed past his casket. In an era of hip-hop and reality TV, it is difficult to grasp the hold this man had on Americans. He was the most beloved person of his day, the country's first multimedia star. Damon Runyon wrote in tribute that he was "America's most complete human document. One-third humor. One-third humanitarian. One-third heart."  In "a time grown too solemn and somber," President Franklin D. Roosevelt would say, he "showed us all how to laugh."

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Will Rogers State Historic Park Video Transcript

Located on a hillside on the Pacific Palisades is the historic ranch house that once belonged to one of the most beloved men of his time, Will Rogers.

Known for his profound wit and cowboy philosophy, Rogers got his start performing horse and rope tricks.

His career led him to the Siegfield Follies and then into Hollywood films.

His love of horses and anything pertaining to the culture of the old west never left him.

His 186 acre ranch was deeded to the State of California by Will's wife Betty, after her death in 1944, and has been preserved to look exactly as it did when the Rogers family lived in it during the 1920's and 30's.

Today, visitors will enjoy the features of the landscaped grounds at Will Rogers State Historic Park.

In addition to the main house, Rogers had a stable built on the property which continues to board horses.

The structure includes 19 stalls and an open rotunda for exercising his boarders.

The ranch house overlooks this regulation size polo field where the sport is still played on some weekends April through September.

A visitor center sits next to the ranch house and contains a bookstore and some displays that educate the public on Roger's life.

Tours of the house interior begins here so it's a good place to start.

The park's interpretive specialist Mike, talks about house tours.

Mike: Well the living room is very unique. It's a national treasure. Everything here is original and actually belonged to the Rogers family. So when you come to visit, each room contains everything the way it was originally when the Rogers family lived here.

It's very unique in that sense. There are very few historic sites that have all original objects.

Will Rogers is one of those places.

The north wing side of the house we also have the living room combination library and study, and then we also have the upstairs study. We call it Will's study and the bedrooms are also upstairs.

Russ: Now Mike, this isn't just another house, we're saving it for some reason, why?

Mike: Well this is a national treasure because it represents Will Rogers, the man and who he was.

He was an extraordinary person. Everything he did seemed to have an element of magic to it. Whether he made a fortune, lost a fortune, and made it back again, that's the kind of life Will lived.

Narrated by Russ Christoff