Paul Harvey (1918-2009): The Rest of the Story
Young Tulsan Paul Aurandt not only rose up through the suffering and hardship of Depression and Dust Bowl Era Oklahoma, he overcame the murder of his policeman father when he was three years old. Over the course of the next nine decades, he became the most revered radio personality in history.
Harvey’s illustrious career, like so many, launched from Tulsa’s iconic KVOO radio station. Isabelle Ronan, his freshman English teacher at Tulsa Central High School, discerned his evocative voice and got him a part time job cleaning up the station. He worked his way onto the air, eventually as program director while getting his degree at Tulsa University. For nearly a decade he worked in Oklahoma radio, including as news director at KOMA in Oklahoma City.
He gained immortal broadcasting fame in Chicago, with his daily news commentaries. Such talks as his mid-1960s “If I Were the Devil” cast a permanent imprint on the American heartland:
“To the young I would whisper “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that “man created God,” instead of the other way around…
“And the old I would teach to pray — to say after me — “Our father which are in Washington.”
“I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, then from the Houses of Congress.
“Then in his own churches I’d substitute psychology for religion and deify science.
“If I were Satan I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg
And the symbol of Christmas a bottle…”
The New York Times obituary well summarized this God-fearing Oklahoma patriot, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, and his:
“heart-warming tales of average Americans and folksy observations that evoked the heartland, family values and the old-fashioned plain talk one heard around the dinner table on Sunday…He championed rugged individualism, love of God and country, and the fundamental decency of ordinary people.”
For nearly 70 years, friends, family, and nearly 20,000,000 radio listeners per week heard Paul Harvey revere his “Angel.” That was Harvey’s affectionate term for his wife, Lynne. Herself one of the great luminaries of American radio history, she was the first producer to gain entrance into the Radio Hall of Fame, the person who established 10 p.m. as the normative hour for late evening news casts, and developer of some of Paul’s most famous features, including “The Rest of the Story.”
Like so many of the great, lasting loves, when one half of the couple died, the other soon followed. After living more than nine decades of life, Paul survived only months longer than “Angel.”
The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book
Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
which can be purchased HERE.
View the inspiring 2-minute preview video HERE.