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Collection 235 Papers of Redd Harper

 Collection
Identifier: CN 235

Scope and Contents

Five tapes of country-style Gospel songs; two cassettes of songs sung by Redd Harper, one by Joe Rogers, and two eight-track stereo tapes by Redd Harper.

The five tapes in this collection contain eleven or twelve songs each; four tapes (T1 through T4) were recorded by Redd Harper and one (T5) by Joe Rogers. Both men sing and play with guitar accompaniment, as well as with other instruments and choral background. A complete list of tapes and songs on each tape will be found on the Location Record of this guide. Composers of the songs are not listed.

Dates

  • Created: Undated

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Redd Harper was born in Nocona, Texas, on September 29, 1903, and reared in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Instead of becoming a cowhand or cattleman, he decided to go to the University of Oklahoma and after graduation he became a newspaper reporter. His love of music and abilities on an instrument led to work with a dance band which was hired to do radio broadcasts on WKY in Oklahoma City in 1924-1925. Later, in 1931 to 1933, the band also worked with KSO and KRNT in Des Moines, Iowa.

Harper next decided to try the musical possibilities of films in Hollywood, but without success. Instead, he was hired to play in a band led by Jimmy Greer called "The Musical Host of the West Coast," which played at parties for movie stars and for Academy Award dinners. After doing this for a while, Harper decided to return to radio work, writing and producing for the Mutual Network, a career interrupted for three years by service in the Armed Forces.

For the five years between 1945 and 1950, Harper originated and produced a series of programs titled "Redd Harper's Hollywood Roundup," which featured news of the western scene and interviews of individuals like Eddy Arnold and Tennessee Ernie Ford. During this period, he became close friends of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Sons of the Pioneers, and Stuart Hamblen.

Harper had first worked for Hamblen in 1932, but was fired at a time when Hamblen was struggling with a drinking problem. Hamblen's conversion in 1950 and dramatic change of behavior became known to Harper when he first attended a meeting of the Hollywood Christian Group. When Harper was subsequently converted, he sought out Hamblen, who had changed his career from secular to evangelistic music. Harper made the same decision and wrote many songs which were recorded by Cliff Barrows, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, George Beverly Shea, and others. He also collaborated with Dr. Oswald J. Smith of the People's Church in Toronto. The records were marketed through Capitol, Decca Emerald, Sacred, and Christian Faith and Word. Their success led to Harper's receiving the ASCAP award for song writing in 1954.

Harper's career included three films: The Gospel According to Some People, God Loves People, and Oiltown, USA. As one of his roles, he played a character called Mr. Texas, a name which he retained for professional use from the date of the film's release. Harper also traveled with the Billy Graham party between 1953 and 1956, working with George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows. During that time he held meetings for three months during the Graham Crusade in London in 1954.

In 1956, Harper began an evangelistic career on his own which took him on many missionary journeys to the South Pacific, Europe, and Africa from his home base in Hollywood, California.

Extent

6.00 Sound Recordings

Language of Materials

English

Accruals and Additions

These tapes were received at the Billy Graham Center Archives from Redd Harper in March 1979.

Accession: 79-107

December 15, 1982

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

March 16, 1993, Revised

M. L. Wohlschlegel
Title
Collection 235 Papers of Redd Harper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

Contact:
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