Born in Tioga, Texas on September 29, 1907, Gene Autry was raised in Texas and Oklahoma. Discovered by humorist Will Rogers, in 1929 Autry was billed as Oklahomas Yodeling Cowboy at KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Born in Tioga, Texas on September 29, 1907, Gene Autry was raised in Texas and Oklahoma. Discovered by humorist Will Rogers, in 1929 Autry was billed as Oklahomas Yodeling Cowboy at KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He gained a popular following, a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1929, and soon after, performed on the National Barn Dance for radio station WLS in Chicago. Autry first appeared on screen in 1934 and up to 1953 popularized the musical Western and starred in 93 feature films. In 1940 theater exhibitors of America voted Autry the fourth biggest box office attraction, behind Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy. Autry made 640 recordings, including more than 300 songs written or co-written by him. His records sold more than 100 million copies and he has more than a dozen gold and platinum records, including the first record ever certified gold. His Christmas and childrens records Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) and Peter Cottontail are among his platinum recordings. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the second all-time best selling Christmas single, boasts in excess of 30 million in sales. From 1940 to 1956 the public listened to him on Gene Autrys Melody Ranch radio show that was heard weekly over the CBS Radio Network, featuring Autrys trademark theme song Back In The Saddle Again. In addition, Autrys popularity was apparent during his personal appearance tours. The first performer to sell out Madison Square Garden, his concert and rodeo appearances throughout the United States and Europe are legendary and served as a model for other performers.