My VIP for this week is Paul Harvey Aurandt, more widely known simply as Paul Harvey. He was born on September 4, 1918, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Harry Harrison Aurandt (1873-1921) and Anna Dagmar Christensen Aurandt (1883-1960). His father was born in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, and his mother was a native of Denmark. Paul had an older sister named Frances Harrietta Aurandt price (1908-1988).
Harvey was only three years old when his policeman father was murdered while hunting rabbits with a friend, a Tulsa police detective. Four men attempted to rob the two friends; Aurandt was shot and died two days later. The four robbers were identified by the friend, arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life terms in prison.
As a boy Paul had a job making radio receivers. While attending Tulsa Central High school, one of his teachers was “impressed by his voice.” Isabelle Ronan gave her recommendation, and Paul started work at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933; he was only 14 years old. He started by cleaning up but eventually was allowed to read commercials and news on the air.
In 1940, Paul Harvey married Lynne Cooper of St. Louis. She was a former schoolteacher, and he was working at KXOK. She came to the station for a school news program, and he invited her to dinner. He conversed with her for a few minutes and then proposed to her; she accepted a year later, and the couple moved to Chicago in 1944. From the day he met her, Paul always referred to Lynne as “Angel.” The couple became parents of one son, Paul Aurandt, Jr. who goes by the name Paul Harvey, Jr.
Paul continued to work at KVOO while attending the University of Tulsa, first as an announcer and then as program director. When he was nineteen years old he worked as a station manager for KFVI AM, now known as KFDI. He moved to a job as a news caster at KOMA in Oklahoma City; he went to KXOK in St. Louis in 1938 where he was Director of Special Events and a roving reporter. He then went to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy in the Pacific and was returning to the Mainland when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. He served in the United States Army Air Forces from December 1943 to March 1944.
Paul continued to work at radio stations and became famous as Paul Harvey. He was a conservative broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks. He broadcast News and Comment weekday mornings and mid-days and again at noon on Saturdays; he also did the program for which he became best known, The Rest of the Story. His program reached as many as 24 million people each week from the 1950s through the 1990s. “Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers.
Lynne developed leukemia, and Harvey told his radio audience of it on May 17, 2007. Nearly a year later on May 3, 2008, ABC radio announced her death at age 92. Paul and Lynne were partners in every part of their lives, including his career, and their son worked with them.
Harvey died less than a year after Lynne on February 28, 2009, at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 90 years old and was surrounded by family and friends. No cause of death was announced.
“Harvey’s full-length biography, Good Day! The Paul Harvey Story, was published in May 2009 by Regnery Publishing. On Sunday, February 3, 2013, a recording of Paul Harvey’s `So God Made a Farmer’ commentary was used by Ram Trucks in a commercial titled `Farmer,’ which aired during Super Bowl XLVII.”
I listened to Paul Harvey for many years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I particularly enjoyed The Rest of the Story. I enjoyed listening to his voice as well as his words. I missed his program when he left the airways.
In 1965 Paul Harvey broadcast a radio program that Glenn Beck considers to be prophetic and “absolutely inspired of God.” On GBTV, Beck shared the following words of Paul Harvey.
“If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the three – Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first – I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: `Do as you please.’ `Do as you please.’ 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. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is `square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to pray after me, `Our Father, which art in Washington…’ And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to [make] lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
“If I were the devil, I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war with themselves, and nations that war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flame.
“If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects and neglect to discipline emotions – just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door. Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing; I’d have judges promoting pornography – soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls – and church money.
“If I were the devil, I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
“If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would question against extremes and hard work – and Patriotism and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
“In other words, if I were the devil, I’d keep on doing what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”