Stuart Hamblen, Songwriter + John Wayne, Actor + Billy Graham, Preacher = ?
Do You Know Who Stuart Hamblen Is?
Note. I try to check out the stories I post before posting them, especially if they are “Author Unknown”. Snopes.com says this story is mostly true with only a few minor inaccuracies or embellishments that don’t interfere with the basic truth of the story. – Dick S
Back in the 50’s there was a well known radio host/comedian/song writer in Hollywood named Stuart Hamblen who was noted for his drinking,womanizing, partying, etc.
One of his bigger hits at the time was “I won’t go hunting with you Jake, but I’ll go chasing women.”
One day, along came a young preacher holding a tent revival. Hamblen had him on his radio show presumably to poke fun at him.
In order to gather more material for his show, Hamblen showed up at one of the revival meetings.
Early in the service the preacher announced, “There is one man in this audience who is a big fake.” There were probably others who thought the same thing, but Hamblen was convinced that he was the one the preacher was talking about (some would call that conviction) but he was having none of that.
Still the words continued to haunt him until a couple of nights later he showed up drunk at the preacher’s hotel door around 2AM demanding that the preacher pray for him!
But the preacher refused, saying, “This is between you and God and I’m not going to get in the middle of it.”
But he did invite Stuart in and they talked until about 5 AM at which point Stuart dropped to his knees and with tears, cried out to God.
But that is not the end of the story. Stuart quit drinking, quit chasing women, quit everything that was ‘fun.’ Soon he began to lose favor with the Hollywood crowd.
He was ultimately fired by the radio station when he refused to accept a beer company as a sponsor.
Hard times were upon him. He tried writing a couple of “Christian” songs but the only one that had much success was “This Old House”, written for his friend Rosemary Clooney.
As he continued to struggle, a long time friend named John took him aside and told him, “All your troubles started when you ‘got religion,’ Was it worth it all?” Stuart answered simply, “Yes.”
Then his friend asked, “You liked your booze so much, don’t you ever miss it?” And his answer was, “No.” John then said, “I don’t understand how you could give it up so easily.”
And Stuart’s response was, “It’s no big secret. All things are possible with God.” To this John said, “That’s a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it.”
And as they say, “The rest is history.”
The song Stuart wrote was “It Is No Secret.”
“It is no secret what God can do. What He’s done for others, He’ll do f or you.
With arms wide open, He’ll welcome you. It is no secret, what God can do….”
By the way… the friend was John Wayne.
And the young preacher who refused to pray for Stuart Hamblen?
….That was Billy Graham.
And there is a lot more to know about Stuart Hamblen and his music.
For more information, click the Wikipedia link below. Do it. Its worth a few minutes of your time (and more!).before
Here is an excerpt.
In 1949 after years of struggle with alcohol, Hamblen underwent a religious conversion at a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, and was soon fired from his radio program after refusing to do beer commercials. He subsequently gave up gambling and horse racing, and entered Christian broadcasting with his radio show The Cowboy Church of the Air, which ran until 1952.
During a 1963 crusade in Los Angeles, Graham called Hamblen’s conversion “the turning point” in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s ministry, where before Hamblen accepted Christ the crowds were rather small. Graham said Hamblen was the No. 1 radio personality in Los Angeles, which drew in crowds. That evening, also Graham’s first coast-to-coast television broadcast, Hamblen shared about his faith and sang/spoke his signature hymn “It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)” .
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