public domain. mp3. will rogers. bankers.

from the pub­lic domain review an 1924 record­ing of will rogers will rogers talks to the bankers

tran­script found at pol­i­tics in the zeros

Loan sharks and inter­est hounds — I have addressed every form of orga­nized graft in the United States, except­ing Con­gress, so it’s nat­u­rally a plea­sure for me to appear before the biggest. You are with­out a doubt the most dis­gust­ingly rich audi­ence I ever talked to, with the pos­si­ble excep­tion of the boot­leg­gers’ union, Local No. 1, com­bined with the enforce­ment officers.

Now, I under­stand that you hold this con­ven­tion every year to announce what the annual gyp will be. I have often won­dered where the depos­i­tors hold their con­ven­tion. I had an account in the bank once, and the banker, he asked me to with­draw it. He said I had used up more red ink than the account was worth.

I see where your con­ven­tion was opened by a prayer, you had to send out­side your ranks to get some­body that knew how to pray. You should have had one cred­i­tor there; he’d have shown you how to pray. I noticed in the prayer the cler­gy­man announced to the Almighty that the bankers were here. Well, it wasn’t exactly an announce­ment. It was more in the nature of a warn­ing. He didn’t tell the devil, as he fig­ured he knew where you all were all the time any­how.

I see by your speeches that you’re very opti­mistic of the busi­ness con­di­tions of the com­ing year. Boy, I don’t blame you. If I had your dough, I’d be opti­mistic too.

Will you please tell me what you all do with the vice pres­i­dents the bank has? I guess that’s to get any­body more dis­cour­aged before they can see the main guy. Why, the United States is the biggest busi­ness insti­tu­tion in the world. They got only one vice pres­i­dent. Nobody’s ever found any­thing for him to do.

You have a won­der­ful orga­ni­za­tion. I under­stand you have 10,000 here, and what you have in fed­eral pris­ons brings your mem­ber­ship up to around 30,000. So good­bye, pau­pers. You’re the finest bunch of shy­locks that ever fore­closed a mort­gage on a widow’s home.