September 7, 2001
Cable network C-SPAN will feature Dr. Doug Watson, Oklahoma Baptist University professor of English, live as Will Rogers on its "American Writers: A Journey Though History" series Monday.
The show, broadcast live from 8-10:30 a.m. at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, will focus on Rogers' social and political commentary in the 1920's and early 1930's and showcase the resources at the museum.
Appearing in costume as Rogers, Watson will perform as the legendary writer and entertainer and also answer questions during the call-in portion of the program.
Other guests on the show will include Steve Gragert, historian and editor of "The Writings of Will Rogers," and Rogers' grandniece Doris Meyer.
The show will look at 1920s America through the life and work of Rogers, including his popularity as a performer, humorist, commentator and writer.
Watson has performed in Oklahoma and across the country as literary characters since 1991 when he debuted his characterization of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the Great Plains Chautauqua Society's "American Renaissance" series. In 1994, he added a Stephen Crane program to his repertoire, and he performed that character for four summers at Chautauqua.
Both programs have continued to be part of the Kansas and Oklahoma state humanities councils' History Alive! Series.
Watson also is director of OBU's honors program. He has taught at OBU since 1980 and was a Fulbright lecturer in Nigeria in 1988-89. His wife, Kay, teaches English at Shawnee Middle School.
The show will be rebroadcast Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. on C-SPAN. For more information, check www.americanwriters.org or call the Will Rogers Memorial Museum at (800) 324-9455.