Tag Archives: W.C. Fields

Donald Trump And W.C. Fields On China

A Businessman And A Comedian’s Views On China And The Chinese

Donald Trump’s views on China versus W.C. Field comments on the Chinese may not seem clearly related. But I think they are.

Who’s statements are more accurate?

Donald Trump photo distorted chroniclescomDonald Trump

“Every single country that does business with us is ripping America off. The money China took out of the United States is the greatest theft in the history of our country”

“I’ve been telling everybody for a long time China’s taking our jobs. They’re taking our money. Be careful: They’ll bring us down. You have to know what you’re doing. We have nobody that has a clue.”

“When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.”

WC Fields You Cant CheatW.C. Fields (from W.C. Fields & Me by Carlotta Monti 1971 Prentice Hall)

(On the Chinese) “All they have to do is give each one a gun, plus a few rounds of ammunition and they could conquer the world. It may happen one day.”

“And if they can’t do it by brute force they can accomplish it by cleverness. All they have to do is shrink the neck size of customers’ shirts at every laundry, and everybody will choke to death.”

Fields For President dj

Fields made his statements to Monti in private in the 1930s or 40’s, she does not specify exact dates in her account. Apparently Fields was seriously apprehensive of the Chinese as he was among many other groups (clergy, lawyers, children, film writers, tax collectors, doctors, etc. etc.)

You may not think of Fields as Presidential material the same way some people do not think of Donald Trump as Presidential material.

The funny thing about this is that Fields wrote a book in 1940 called Fields For President, a thin tongue-in-cheek tome on his worthiness as a Presidential candidate. In the book he says, “If he knows nothing else, a President should at least understand the secret of success in the business world. For, after all, what is the Presidency but a a glorified business – or, at least, a fine racket?”

The difference between Fields and Trump? Fields was considered an astute businessman. Trump is not a comedian.

W.C. Fields Will Gave The Bulk Of His Estate To Establish A College For White Orphans

W.C. Fields Died On A Day He Pretended To Despise, Christmas Day 1946. When His Will Was Read, It Had A Peculiar Racial Provision In It

WC Fields full face and portraitsMovie star comedian W.C. Fields is not well remembered by today’s generation, his cerebral brilliance generally going unappreciated or unrecognized. But those who know comedy such as Monty Python’s John Cleese said of Fields, “At a time when political correctness often stifles honesty and impulse to laugh and genuine wit is in such short supply, I think nothing could be healthier than the re-discovery of this most original, perceptive and unrepentant of comedians.”

When Fields died 68 years ago today on December 25, 1946, his will provided small amounts for family members and friends with the $800,000 remainder of his estate being left to establish “The W. C. Fields College for White Orphan Boys and Girls Where No Religion of Any Kind is Ever to be Taught.”

This strange racial provision seemed completely out of character for a man who treated blacks as equals and stood up for racial equality long before it was popular.  It was at W.C. Fields insistence that his Zigfield Follies friend, the great black vaudeville star Bert Williams, be allowed to join Actor’s Equity. Williams was finally admitted to the association. Fields said Williams was, “The funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew.”

So why would Fields put this exclusionary provision in his will? Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #24

W.C. Fields In A Rare Color Photograph Circa 1940

WC Fields color

W.C. Fields or Bill Fields to his friends, was one of the most talented comedians of the first half of the 20th century. He began his show business career in vaudeville as a juggler and worked his way up to top billing in the Ziegfeld Follies for a ten year stretch. From there he went on to become a major film star during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Today, upon viewing his films, many people do not understand why he was considered funny. But I assure you there is a subtle brilliance in Fields’ portrayals of the henpecked husband, disreputable man and misunderstood misanthrope.

One of the more popular, yet apocryphal stories about Fields, was that he had hundreds of bank accounts spread across the country, many under ridiculous pseudonyms such as Otis Criblecoblis; Mahatma Kane Jeeves; Aristotle Hoop; Ludovic Fishpond; Figley E. Whitesides and so on. After Fields died in 1946, his mistress Carlotta Monti claimed that there was over $1.3 million in unclaimed funds in banks under the fake names. An assistant hired to solve the dilemna of Fields estate found only 24 accounts all under Fields real name.

J.P. McEvoy’s profile of Fields in the July 26, 1942 Los Angeles Times revealed some things about Fields and his money:

Bill agrees in part, with Arthur Brisbane, who said that to keep a comic good was to keep him poor. Bill has no intention of becoming poor so that people will think he is funny, but he refuses to let photographers snap him in his big cars or silhouetted against his Hollywood mansion. “People won’t laugh if they think I’m rich,” he says. “They’ll snarl, ‘That so and so. Trying to be funny, eh? I could be funny too if I had all that dough.’ ”

“All that dough” are the words for it, for Bill has been in the big money for years. But he’s never invested, bought a stock, or even owned a house – he’s salted it away in cash and Government bonds. It is reliably reported he had $400,000 cash in the New York Harriman bank in ’29 and got all of it out before it folded in the crash. When he toured the world he banked his salary in every country  – and got it all over here before trouble started. “Bill will feed you, clothe you and house you,” says an old pal, “but he won’t lend you a nickel.”

My favorite story about Fields was told by Groucho Marx. In the early 1940’s Groucho visited Fields at his house on DeMille Drive in the Laughlin Park section of Los Angeles.

Fields took Groucho up to the attic where he showed Groucho his stash of liquor. It was literally thousands of cases of assorted booze. Groucho was shocked and said “Bill what do you need all this liquor for? Prohibition is over.”

Fields looked at Groucho and half seriously replied, “Well, it might come back!”