Stuart Hamblen, Billy Graham and John Wayne

>> Monday, January 23, 2012

Stuart Hamblen was a popular singer, songwriter, actor, poet, and radio personality from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was first a hit on radio but appeared in films with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and John Wayne and wrote several chart-topping country songs. Some have called him radio's first singing cowboy.

Billy Graham came to Los Angeles in 1949 for what became an historic evangelistic crusade. Graham's appearance on Hamblen's radio show was arranged as part of the publicity for the crusade, not because Hamblen wanted to poke fun at Graham. Although Hamblen was known for his hard living and drinking, he had been reared as the son of a Methodist minister and warmly welcomed Graham as a guest. It was at that interview that Graham extended an invitation to Hamblen to attend the crusade and he accepted.

Hamblen later contacted Graham at his hotel and asked to talk. The result was that he "surrendered his life to Christ." Hamblen became the first publicized conversion from the 1949 crusade and contributed to the decision to extend the event, which lasted for 8 weeks and put Billy Graham on the map.

It was on a street in Hollywood that Hamblen later ran into John Wayne who asked him about the rumor around town that he'd changed his ways. Hamblen told Wayne that it was no secret what God had done for him and that he could do it for Wayne too. Wayne said it sounded like a song and suggested he write one. The result was one of Hamblen's best known tunes; It is No Secret What God Can Do. It was a crossover song that is regarded as the first to have been #1 in the gospel, country, and pop categories. The original manuscript of It is No Secret is buried in the cornerstone of one of the Copyright Buildings of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

After his conversion, Hamblen announced that he was going to devote his time to "serving Christ" and he started a new radio program titled The Cowboy Church of the Air which became nationally syndicated. A confrontation developed with his sponsors, however, when he told them that he would refuse to advertise alcohol. His much publicized departure from the program resulted in his being asked to run for President of the United States in 1952 under the banner of the Prohibition Party. He accepted and ran fourth to Republican Dwight Eisenhower who was elected president.

(Truth or Fiction)


7 comments:

Joanne Sher January 23, 2012 at 6:48 AM  

I'm guessing truth. Interesting regardless :)

Joy Bach January 23, 2012 at 7:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joy Bach January 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM  

Posted twice. I tried to remove one. Oooops.

Rita Garcia January 23, 2012 at 11:44 PM  

Interesting! I recall my mom singing that song. I love the old hymns.

Joy Bach January 24, 2012 at 6:13 AM  

I have sung it. Didn't know the whole story before.

robert January 25, 2012 at 6:46 AM  

Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. Thanks for your post about Stuart Hamblen. Yes indeed he did run for president of the United States. Your information on his contact with John Wayne is slightly off. But if you click on the site page below (third item), it'll take you to more information about it--details I heard Mr. Hamblen himself tell. And there's a bonus. You can hear Stuart leading the song "It Is No Secret" at a Billy Graham evangelistic meeting, many years ago. See...

http://wordwisehymns.com/2010/03/08/today-in-1857-william-fullerton-born/

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