August 13, 1919
Rex Humbard—a traveling evangelist who became a well-known gospel singer, pastor, and pioneer in Christian television—was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Young Humbard was inspired to become an evangelist after seeing a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus tent fill with crowds in Hot Springs (Garland County)—although he refused to attend such a “worldly” diversion himself. By the 1970s, a large network of between 1,500 to 1,600 stations worldwide in ninety-one languages carried his Sunday morning services. One of Humbard’s loyal viewers was Elvis Presley, who regularly watched “his preacher” each Sunday morning. Elvis Presley’s father, Vernon, asked Humbard to officiate at his son’s funeral in 1977.