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About The Artist
Homer Harris was known as the "Seven Foot Smiling Cowboy". From the old song folio / folder we have about him, he may have had shows on WROL at 4:30, 6:15 and 7:30. Then also on WIBK, from 11:15 to 12:15 daily. From early radio history information we have found, WIBK was out of Toledo, Ohio 800 on the AM dial while WROL was located in Knoxville, Tennessee and at 620 on the AM dial.
Homer wrote a few notes to his listener fans in this folder. He was a bit of a western star and also had an 'educated horse' named PRIMA. He mentioned he got hundreds of letters every week and at the time he wrote his notes, had over 40,000 letters, cards, greetings and telegrams. He also had 88 Little Brown Jugs and 114 little horses the fans had sent him.
His parents were both from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee. His father was David M. Harris and his mother was Debbie Laws Harris. They had both retired back then and living on a small farm and operating a small country store near Newport, Tennessee. Homer mentions his father was a well known Doctor, school teacher, saw-mill operator and farmer. Home also had two brothers, Oran and Oscar and two sisters, Nora and Dorothy. He mentions he was born May 18 (no year given however) and was the tallest one in the family - six feet five inches.
His radio career began in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the home town of Cowboy Copas. While he was there, he won first prize in a radio contest singing the song "Little Brown Jug", which he later sang in the movie, "Welcome To Britain", with Bob Hope and Burgess Meredith. (We did some digging around and found that the movie was made in 1943. It was produced by Arthur Elton and Directed by Anthony Asquith. It starred Burgess Meredith, Carla Lehmann, Beatrice Lillie, Bob Hope, Felix Aylmer.) In April 1947, Homer recorded the song for the Nation Record Company in New York, NY and said it 'should be released soon'.
Before World War II came, Homer had played in Hollywood, California for about four years and was settled in a little ranch house in Bishop, California. He was called into the army on May 5, 1942 and served 38 months overseas in England, France, Belgium and Germany. He returned to civilian life on October 5, 1945.
After that stint in the service and since he was still single, he took his pay from his discharge and bought a Palamino horse he named Prima.
It was while he was riding Prima one Sunday that he got the idea of writing a song called "I'm Riding My Horse On The Radio". It seemed to be a big hit with the little boys and girls and he wrote he hoped to bring Prima with him on his personal appearances. In fact, Prima also had a PO Box to receive fan mail, too in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Homer was a friendly type person and enjoyed his relationship with his fans. Here's what he wrote to close his session in the old folder we found of his:
"So may I say thanks to each and everyone of you for making this book possible, and may I shake your hand some day and thank you personally for being so wonderful to me."
Credits & Sources