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Stuart Hamblen

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Stuart Hamblen (October 20, 1908–March 8, 1989), born Carl Stuart Hamblen, was one of American radio’s first singing cowboys in 1926, and later became a Christian songwriter, temperance supporter and recurring candidate for political office.

Hamblen was born to the family of an itinerant Methodist preacher on 20 October 1908, in Kellyville, Texas, USA. He was married to Suzy Daniels and fathered two children with her. Hamblen’s father was Dr. J. H. Hamblen, a minister in the Methodist Church in Texas, who in 1946 founded the Evangelical Methodist Church denomination in Abilene, Texas.

From 1931-52, Hamblen had a series of highly popular radio programs on the West Coast of the United States. He composed music and acted in motion pictures with such other stars as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne. He was the first artist signed by the American subsidiary of Decca Records in 1934.
Hamblen didn’t cope well with the pressures of his high profile career and sought relief in alcohol. Many times, his drinking landed him in jail for public brawling and other destructive behavior. The Texas State Historical Association reports that Hamblen identified himself as the “original juvenile delinquent.” Hamblen was hugely popular, and his radio sponsors regularly bailed him out of jail. For a while, he ventured into horse-racing as an owner. Inevitably, Hamblen’s drinking and gambling problems severely affected his life and career. After years of struggle with alcohol, Hamblen, in 1949, underwent a religious conversion at a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles. He was fired from his radio career after he declined to continue with his radio sponsor’s beer commercials.

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