By Savannah Magoteaux
With Christmas just behind us, the sounds and jingles of the season’s holiday songs still ring in some ears. More than likely you heard the old-time rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, sung by Gene Autry. That song is the second all-time best-selling Christmas single, boasting sales in excess of $30 million. Although Autry wasn’t the author of that song – that honor belongs to writer Robert May – he did pen another well-known Christmas song, Here Comes Santa Clause.
As an Oklahoman who lives in the southern part of the state, I’d always assumed Gene Autry was born in the town that bears his name, Gene Autry. Located just to the northwest of Ardmore, it’s home to a little more than 100 people. The town had originally been named Lou, then Dresden, then was followed by Berwyn, but was finally renamed Gene Autry in 1941.