Let’s let the Oklahoma State Quarter tell about one of her more famous residents and wish him a happy birthday.
Today, in 1907, the Singing Cowboy arrived to his parents in Tioga, Texas.
At age 12, he purchased his first guitar from Sears Roebuck and Company for $8, saved from his work as hired hand working hay on his uncle’s farm.
While still a young teenager, his family moved to a ranch in Oklahoma.
There, he went to school, helped on the ranch and continued practicing his guitar playing along with singing.
After he left school, he worked as a telegraph operator in Chelsea, Oklahoma.
During the summer nights on his four-to-midnight shift, he played his guitar and sang to break the monotony between customers.
One evening, a customer arrived during a song and motioned for him to continue singing rather than stopping to transmit his message.
The customer even had him sing another song while finalizing his message.
The customer, another famous Oklahoman – Will Rogers, advised him that with some hard work he might have a future in radio.
His singing, though, was his downfall as a telegraph operator. His boss did not like him singing on the job.
Persevering, he worked hard and became a singing sensation, a radio star, a film star, a TV star and a popular live performer.
Plus, he was an astute businessman with insightful vision on how to use the up and coming technology to produce entertainment people wanted.
For his many talents, he was the only entertainer to win all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for film, television, music, radio and live performance.
In addition, for his musical talents – singing and writing – he won membership into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
As a businessman, he wanted a part of the entertainment business. He owned radio stations, a production company for his television shows and a baseball team along with other interests such as rodeos.
Born Orvon Grover Autry, his talents, hard work and broad interests made him successful as both an entertainer and a savvy businessman.
Interesting, Gene Autry came into the world roughly a month and a half before his teenage home became a state on November 16.
The Oklahoma State Quarter shows the year of their statehood, 1907.