to listen to an audio file of this interview (94 minutes).
This is a complete and accurate transcript of a tape of the oral history interviews of Merrill Dunlop (CN50, #T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. Nothing recorded has been omitted, except for any nonEnglish phrases which could not be understood by the transcriber. In a few cases, words were too unclear to be distinguished, in which cases, the word "[unclear]" was inserted. Where the spelling of a name has been proved impossible to authenticate, the symbol "[sp?]" has been put next to it. This is a transcription of spoken English, which of course follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Robert Shuster, and was completed in July, 1989.
Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (94 minutes).
Collection #50, #T1. Interview of Merrill Dunlop, by Robert Shuster, November 21, 1978.
SHUSTER: [This introduction was added after the interview.] Interview of Reverend Merrill Dunlop, conducted by Robert Shuster for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. This interview took place on November 21st, 1978 at Mr. Dunlop's home at 712 Fair Oaks Street in Oak Park, Illinois. It took place between 9:30 and 12 o'clock in the morning.
SHUSTER: Well, why don't we start with some family background? Where were you born?
DUNLOP: I was born in Chicago. 1905.
SHUSTER: And what business was your family in?
DUNLOP: Well, my father had been born in Ireland and he was the son of a great, widely-known, Irish Methodist preacher. My father planned to be a preacher for a while, but he decided that was not his calling and he became associated with a woolens company in their sales.
SHUSTER: Were you....
DUNLOP: My mother was born in Canada and the home of course was in Chicago, where I was born in 1905.
SHUSTER: Were you an only child?
DUNLOP: An only child, right.
DUNLOP: By the way, I was named after a Methodist bishop, Bob. My name, as you know, is Merrill Dunlop and my first name "Merrill" was given to me because my folks esteemed Bishop Merrill of the Methodist Church so highly. And so that is how I happened to be named Merrill Dunlop.
SHUSTER: He was Methodist bishop of the Chicago area bishop?
DUNLOP: I assume in this area somewhere. Yes, he must have been.
SHUSTER: And you also had your schooling in Chicago?
DUNLOP: Yes. Right. The usual grammar school and high school and college. I also went to Moody Bible Institute, graduated there. And so forth.
SHUSTER: And your major study at Moody was in theology or in music?
DUNLOP: It was the Bible course. I did not take music at Moody because I was studying privately with an English concert organist, Dr. Francis Hemington. And because of that, I was busy with him on the musical end of it and while I was at Moody. Although I did write the words for the class song while I was at Moody Bible Institute. I couldn't compete on the music because I hadn't studied it there. [Chuckles.]
SHUSTER: How did you interest in music start?
DUNLOP: Well, my mother was an organist and a teacher, a teacher of piano. She had alot of students. And I just had to learn music. My mother made me. [Chuckles.] Didn't have any choice in it. If I didn't do my practicing, I was warmed on a certain part of my anatomy. [Chuckles.] But she loved me very dearly and wanted me to become a musician so I was the usual young rebel in the early days when I was five until I saw I had to do it. She put me with a... with Dr. Hemington when I was about eight and I studied for years with him.
SHUSTER: And when did you start composing for the piano? When you were still...?
DUNLOP: I think it was in my teens. I got the idea of writing a song early in my teens when I was associated with a church here in Oak Park and on, I remember so proudly working that song out, laboriously. And we even had a music plate made of it, the choir of the church did, and I was so proud as a young boy in my early teens at that time. But, of course, that goes way back. It has been repeated over and over many times over the years.
SHUSTER: So you were involved from your teenage years on in the churches which you attended in the music program.
DUNLOP: Yes, that's right. I became a pianist of the church, which was called Madison Street Bible Church in Oak Park here. That must of been way back about... oh it was in the early... it must have been in the late...to the late nine. Probably around 1918 and 19. It would have to be around in those days. And they...the church was meeting in a store building because it was a new venture, church. And some of the people who were tired of denominational liberalism which was creeping in pulled away and started this own...this church on Madison Street called Madison Street Bible Church and I was one of the boys in the Sunday School class there. When they found out I was playing, my mother taught[sp?] me.... But I had heard Paul Rader play...Paul Rader preach in the old Moody Tabernacle. And I went home and I thought, "Oh, the music they have there's so wonderful!" And I learned the hymns and began to amplify them myself and of the people of the Calvary Church (Did I say Calvary Church? I mean Madison Street Church) liked it so well they asked me to become their church pianist, so I did. And I was the pianist there for quite some little time. And they had a building program to build a new building and Homer Hammontree was invited to become the song director for a two week special campaign... a dedicatory two weeks of special meetings when the Madison Street church was built. And had a man by the name of James Conant who was the evangelist. And so the three of us were featured in those days for two weeks then. And Hammontree enjoyed my work, apparently, so much that he went down to the Moody Church and told the people, "There's a young guy out there in Madison Street Church maybe you should get down here." And they called me on the phone and asked me to come down and play for the Moody Tabernacle, which was built then. And so I went down there and Paul Rader had been there and he'd just left but my friend Lance Latham had been the pianist there. So they asked me to take his place. So I became pianist of the Moody Church in the big tabernacle and I was about sixteen years of age.
SHUSTER: When...when were you converted and where?
DUNLOP: In the Moody Tabernacle. My grandmother took me down there to hear this.... She didn't take me down there to hear Paul Rader. She said, "Oh, Merrill, you ought to come down to Moody Tabernacle and hear the music. They have a band and a big choir of two hundred voices and all kinds of music and somebody plays the piano." So I wanted to go and I went down there as a boy of about thirteen years of age, twelve years I guess. And I just sat there kicking the shavings between the wood pine benches, waiting for the music to start. When the service started and the music started, I was just all ears. And then this great big man got up and began to preach with a big white handkerchief he waved around. His name was Paul Rader, but it didn't mean anything to me as a young boy. I didn't care too much about him. But little by little as I began to listen to him, the message of the Gospel began to hit me in the heart. I loved the music so much, I wanted to go back again. I said to my grandmother, "Oh, take me again." And so Sunday after Sunday we went. And I would...she lived in Chicago and I lived here in Oak Park, of course. I had to go down on the elevated to her home on Saturdays and I'd stay overnight with the anticipation of going the next day to Moody Tabernacle. We'd spent all day there, just listening to the music. And little did I realize that I would someday be the pianist of that place. But I was so thrilled with it. The messages of Paul Rader hit my heart and I got deeply under conviction and it was there one Sunday night after the message was given. Paul Rader was asking people to walk down those aisles and go to the inquiry room. I was deeply under conviction myself. I stood there as everybody was singing "Just As I Am" and I saw a very nice looking young man (blonde haired fellow, I can still see him, must have been about twenty-five or so). He was a personal worker and he was making his way slowly down the aisle and coming back from the platform, you know, looking to see where people might be that he'd want to talk to. And I thought that he might be coming toward me and I was worried about it. But he came down to the aisle where I was and I was about five or six people in and I saw him push his way in and put his arm gently on my shoulder and he said, "Buddy, are you a Christian?" Just ever so kindly. And I was deeply under conviction. But I lied. I said, "Yes, I am." And I think he knew immediately that I was lying to him. All he said was, "Buddy, I'm going to be praying for you." And boy, that really did it as far as I was concerned. I could hardly stand it. I was so deeply under conviction when I went out of that tabernacle that night. And it wasn't long after that I personally accepted Christ. But that was the way it started. So Paul Rader was really my father in the Lord.
SHUSTER: Did you ever find out the name of the blonde-haired....
DUNLOP: I've never seen him since, I don't know who he was. But I can still see that picture in my mind all these years since. God used him.
SHUSTER: What was the inside of the old Moody Church like?
DUNLOP: The old Moody Tabernacle. Are you speaking about the Chicago Avenue church?
SHUSTER: Well, the...yeah. The meeting where you used to go. Where your grandmother took you.
DUNLOP: No, that was the Tabernacle. The Moody Church, of course, was located for years.... The building that D. L. Moody built was on Chicago and LaSalle. And when Paul Rader became pastor, he was pastor there. But the crowds were so great that they couldn't get them in and they had to get a larger building and Paul Rader himself found a big lot down at the corner of North Avenue and Clark Street, across from the Lincoln Park.
SHUSTER: Where the brick Moody Church is now.
DUNLOP: Where the...where the Moody Memorial Church stands now, yes. And they were able to buy that lot for what now seems a ridiculous price. And brought the whole lot, the big long lot there.
SHUSTER: Was it a few hundred dollars?
DUNLOP: I've forgotten what the price was now. I suppose the records of the Moody Church would show. But I know that latter when the Moody Church sold the first...the section that runs along North Avenue, (I think it was about three hundred feet. No, it may not have been three hundred feet. It was a big plot.) they sold that for three hundred thousand. Just that section alone. And that one end, of course, is part of the Moody Church...where they later built the memorial building. But the Tabernacle stood there. It seated five thousand people. It was a steel structure with wooden sides and Paul Rader was not then in the frame of mind to want to put up and big memorial building. He wanted to put a temporary building that would accommodate the people and wouldn't cost a great deal. So it was one big area with pinewood benches and they just used wood shavings on the floor. Just like the old Billy Sunday tabernacles used to be. And then later they divided it up into rooms along the sides and they used to have Sunday School classes and meeting rooms there. But the big Tabernacle itself for that first summer was just about jam backed every night.
SHUSTER: How many could it hold?
DUNLOP: Five, about five thousand people. It was a big, big place. Sundays you had to go real early even to get a seat, and that's when I used to go.
SHUSTER: Was there some kind of sounding board in the front or...?
DUNLOP: Yes. They didn't have any such thing as a p.a. system then, an electrified p.a. system as we now know them but had one of these big affairs that was suspended over the speaker. It had...looked like wings that opened up, you know, which would have little sections which would be pointed toward the various areas of the, of the building itself and the speakers voice was supposed to go up and carry out from that. I think it helped a great day and that was the best they could do in that day. But Paul Rader had a built in p.a. system anyway, so he could he heard, you know.
SHUSTER: Yeah, Sunday, Billy Sunday used something called an augophone that was put in front of all his podiums. Something like that.
DUNLOP: He had that big metal affair also.
SHUSTER: Speaking of Billy Sunday, he had a crusade in Chicago in 1918. Did you attend that? Or had you....
DUNLOP: Yes, I did. Was it '17 or '18. I know it was during the World War years, World War I.
SHUSTER: Let's see, March to May, 1918.
DUNLOP: Yes. That was a huge tabernacle. As I remember, it seated sixteen thousand people and it was a temporary structure, of course. Just huge place, And Homer Rodeheaver (whom I'm glad to say was a good friend of mine over many years) was the man of course that conducted the huge choirs. They've have two thousand voices, you know, up there. And it was a thrill, just a thrill to be there to hear Billy Sunday. Yes, I attended there a number of times and of course Paul Rader knew him very well. It was of course while the Moody Tabernacle was at North Avenue and Clark Street, but nearly all the churches suspended things for the big Billy Sunday meetings during those weeks.
SHUSTER: Were you in the choir or involved in the program?
DUNLOP: No, I was...I was too young for that. I was just a teenager, just a young boy.
SHUSTER: What...what kind of impression did get of Sunday preaching.
DUNLOP: I thought he was a tremendous preacher. Of course, he was highly criticized by some of his language. He used the language as someone who had been a baseball player. He had been under the influence of alcohol; he'd been a rough and ready man, you know, when God touched him and he was converted and Pacific Garden Mission had something to do with that, as you know. But he would be up there.... Very...he was a very demonstrative preacher. Sometimes he'd even take a chair and be holding it up and throwing it...well, not throwing it around but I mean waving it around. He wanted to make a point. And I even saw him stand...jump up on the pulpit one time. And he spoke to the crowds and he had a great invitation and people would come down those aisles by the hundreds, you know. Many people were criticizing back in those days. They were saying he wasn't a refined preacher and all that type of thing but oh how people came to the Lord back in those days and I guess he was God's man for that day. Just as Billy Graham is for this day.
SHUSTER: Well, God has many men.
DUNLOP: Oh yes.
SHUSTER: With your.... How did you yourself decide to go into the ministry?
DUNLOP: Well, actually I had not decided then to go into the ministry as such. And I should say my...my entry into the full time Christian service was more as a musician. I was ordained to the ministry long after that.
SHUSTER: When was that?
DUNLOP: Well, it was in the Paul Rader days. I suppose when I became.... In my late twenties I was ordained. But during the early of course I was there only as a musician. I joined Paul's Rader's staff in 1925.
SHUSTER: So this was after you had graduated from Moody.
DUNLOP: I graduated from Moody Bible...from Moody Bible Institute. But I was playing as organist at the Moody Church. They temporarily had had to leave the old Tabernacle, because Moody Church was going to build a big memorial building, that's...which is now there. And during those days they went back to the Chicago Avenue church and I had been pianist at the Tabernacle for about four years and then I went back to the old [unclear] Church organist and became organist of the Moody Church
SHUSTER: And by this time this was a full time position?
DUNLOP: Yes, I was there.... Well, no, I was a student at the Institute during the daytime hours. But I was organist at the church on Sundays. And for the choir rehearsals and so forth. They had a choir director by the name of Talmadge Bidekopher [sp?] and he and I worked together for about four years. And then after...about this time I was asked to come over...to go with Clarence Jones, who was on the Paul Rader staff. To be with him for a year. Well, I wasn't asked to go for a year but we were there a year together at the South Side Gospel Tabernacle that Paul Rader had built after he had left Moody Church as pastor. In fact, when Paul Rader left Moody Church after seven years as pastor, he was itinerating as an evangelist for a year or so. But a group of people who prized his ministry wanted him to return to Chicago and although Paul Rader had planned to go to New York City and build a big tabernacle (in fact, they'd had built the steel structure for it). And a committee in New York City had gotten together and invited Paul Rader to come as the pastor of a big evangelistic center...evangelistic center in New York City. And they had the specifications drawn and the steel was ordered and was built for that tabernacle in New York City, which was never built because something happened. And there was some kind of change or disagreement on the part of those men as to lot and the building and all of that. Financing and so forth. And Paul Rader was left with big steel structure.
DUNLOP: The steel. It wasn't a structure yet.
SHUSTER: But he was the owner, He owned it; he was responsible for it.
DUNLOP: Apparently so. I am not just sure of all of those details, of ownership. However, Paul Rader then decided to accept the invitation of some of the folks who wanted him to come back to Chicago. And so he found a lot at the corner of Clark, Barry, and Halsted, which was 3100 north, about two miles north of the Moody Church. And so the steel that had been made for the New York tabernacle fitted that lot and Paul Rader just intended it to be a big summer campaign. So they put it up, they put the steel structure there and they put concrete blocks as the roof over the big structure. And that seated about six thousand people. But it was a huge area. And it was all open, there had no sides. They put big sheets of white canvas which they attached to the sides which the winds from going through, the cool breeze, you know, and gave protection against rain or weather. Paul Rader opened that as The Big Steel Tent in June...June the eighteenth, 1922 the opening service. That was the beginning of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. And that big summertime, the crowds just came there, just surged through that building and filled it up night after night. And Paul Rader had his big set-up of the Band and choir. And when the fall days came along, he had planned to take the tabernacle down. There was such a hue and cry to keep it going that he decided to brick it in if he could. But instead of using good building tiles, they just used temporary indoor wall tiles and used that for the walls on the outside, which of course was not the wise thing to do if it were to stand up for any length of time, as it did stand for many years. But those tiles began to deteriorate eventually and that when repairs had to be made. But the Tabernacle served well and Paul Rader kept it going and it was started, as I say, in 1922 and went right along during those years. I was there for twenty-five years. And that's where I was associated so strongly and intimately with Paul Rader as a member of the staff.
SHUSTER: When did you first get to know him personally?
DUNLOP: Now that's a good question. When was...
SHUSTER: Was he still at Moody Church?
DUNLOP: ...the first time I ever met Paul Rader. I don't think it was at the Moody church, no, because he had already left the Moody Church when I had become associated with the Tabernacle. No, I did not actually meet Paul Rader until...until I started at the Tabernacle. It must have been back in 1925, 'cause that is when I started at the Tabernacle. And my father died during those early days at the Tabernacle. In 1928. Er, those early years at the Tabernacle. I remember I had...Paul Rader conducted my father's funeral. Well that has nothing really to do with what we are talking about, but I just think of it right now, Bob, and I mention that. But I loved him during those days because as I say, he was my father in the Lord. I may have met him back at the Moody Church, but I don't remember that, because that is where I accepted Christ, you see, in the old Tabernacle.
SHUSTER: Why did he leave the Moody Church to become an itinerant evangelist?
DUNLOP: Well he left the Moody Church feeling that his work there was done. He had wanted to do things concerning the Moody Church and he had been pastor of.... And he had also had a dual ministry for a while as President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. This was almost too much, but I think he had to give that up. But he felt his work was done at the Moody Church and he wanted to go in a different direction than the board of the Moody Church at that time, so there was that separation and he left, resigned from the Moody Church.
SHUSTER: He wanted to do more evangelism?
DUNLOP: I think that is what he felt he should do, yes. But it did not work out that way. He had of course conducted numerous crusades, but he always had his own home base tabernacle, you see. So he was only without this kind of home base for a year and a half, I suppose it would be.
SHUSTER: With the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle.... You have already described it somewhat, but inside what...there was a main auditorium. Were there other rooms or divisions?
DUNLOP: During that first summer it was just one big area. Pine benches again, you know. Shavings. I guess they used shavings because it....
SHUSTER: Sawdust trail
DUNLOP: Yeah, the sawdust trail. I don't think they used sawdust but I think they used some other type of shavings which wouldn't be so dusty, because those sawdust shavings were pretty dusty. But they just had.... They had ten big furnaces along the sides. When they decided to close the Tabernacle in and use it as more of a permanent building and it was heated by just coal furnaces which had to be stoked up ahead of time, you know, because they couldn't do that during meetings. But it seemed to heat the meeting place adequately. And then later they were changed to a better heating system as the years went on. They put steam heat in and so forth. But those early days, it was one big expansion of thousands of people. But of course during that fall then, when they began to...to need space for club meetings, for Sunday School classes, for departments and smaller meetings, then they divided some of the side areas and rear areas into rooms...into rooms, cut down the seating area.
SHUSTER: So there was a Sunday School too, a Sunday School...
DUNLOP: A Sunday School, yes.
SHUSTER: ...in the Tabernacle.
DUNLOP: Paul Rader did not want to conduct, did not want to have a morning service because he did not want to put the Tabernacle up in competition to the churches in the area. His idea was a big evangelistic center without membership. And so the Sunday School was at two o'clock on Sunday afternoons and the Sunday afternoon service was at three, following the Sunday School. And then he had a cafeteria. They could stay right through after the Sunday afternoon service was over about five and they could go in there and get their food and then the band concert started at six thirty for a half hour. During that time people were pouring into the auditorium, you see, to get there for the evening service. And the evening service started at seven and the big Tabernacle choir would come in and take their places there and we would have a big musical program. We had a big musical staff then, just a big staff. I think I gave you the pictures here of some of the staff. We had Clarence Jones, Howard Jones (his brother). The band director was Richard J. Oliver, a fine man. He had been a Salvation Army man, came out of the Salvation Army and Paul Rader had him directing for his band there. His son Richard W. Oliver was a fine young pianist. He was a good friend of mine, I just so loved his friendship. And so for the opening days of the Tabernacle he and Lance Latham used to play together. He was killed in an automobile accident, a most unfortunate thing, when he had left to go to teach at Dudley Bible Institute, which was way over in New England. And that's when I came to the Tabernacle in 1925. And Lance Latham and I used to work together as a piano team from then on. James Neilson [sp?] was also on the staff, a fine cornetist. James Neilson and Howard and Clarence Jones and R. J. Oliver became our brass quartet which became famous all over the whole area. And they....
SHUSTER: So that started at the Gospel Tabernacle.
DUNLOP: That was.... At the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, yes. So that was...that was quite a quartet. And then we enlarged our music staff because Paul Rader went on the air then. He was one of the first broadcasters in the city. In 1924, I think it was, he went up on the top of the Wrigley building to make a test on broadcasting and they had some horns there. He took some of the boys and they was going to make a test for broadcasting and I just don't know how they did it now, although I used to hear Paul Rader talk about that. And this resulted in his going on...on the air on the old Chicago station WHT. These call letters stood for William Hale Thompson back in those days because Thompson was one of the former mayors of Chicago
SHUSTER: Big Bill Thompson
DUNLOP: And WHT, the radio station, was located in the Wrigley building and they had an organ down there and they...very nice studios and Paul Rader would go down there and broadcast. And then he, they ran the wires out, as we call it. You know, the telephone company's wires of course were engaged and they set up a studio in the Tabernacle, the Chicago Tabernacle, which was out about six miles. So Lance Latham and I would still go down to the old Wrigley building for our organ recitals and we would have earphones on and...and know what was going on back at the Tabernacle and they would announce us and we would be ready to play. And our organ numbers would go out that way. And sometimes we would even do a little feat which we thought was quite wonderful in those days. We'd have Floyd Johnson singing back at the Tabernacle and we'd accompany him at the Wrigley building. We could hear him over our earphones so we could put the accompaniment on there and of course the people listening on the radio what it was all coming in one place. And we did alot of interesting things that way. But of course later on we got a big pipe organ at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. We didn't have to go down anymore to broadcast. But Paul Rader changed from WHT when [pauses] I've forgotten the name of the owner of the other station. I may...may think of it in a moment. WBBM came into existence then and they had the studios down there in the Wrigley Building. And they enlarged the studios and it became quite a place because WBBM of course was one of the big stations on the network, the Columbia network. Paul Rader wanted to get on that and so he arranged with the owners of the station to take a broadcast on...on...on Sundays. And Paul Rader didn't do things in a small way. He did them in a big way. And so he engaged fourteen hours, from ten o'clock in the morning on Sunday until midnight on Sunday and so our staff, which began to be increased in size, really had a full time major job in...in manning the hours of that fourteen hours on the radio and the, the..... What do they call it? The radio? What is it? The Commerce...? I can't recall think of call letters now that controlled the broadcasting in those days.
SHUSTER: Oh, the...
DUNLOP: Was it ICC? Not ICC. Federal Communications Commission.
DUNLOP: Yes, they wouldn't permit for some reason the use of the call letters WBBM on Sunday. I don't remember just why that was. So they insisted on selecting other call letters and they assigned WJBT to...to just the Sunday use of the Tabernacle. I remember Paul Rader put on a sort of a little appeal to the radio people to suggest what those letters might stand for: WJBT.
SHUSTER: Like a contest?
DUNLOP: Well, it wasn't exactly a contest. Telephone your suggestions in. You see they always had the switchboards open for people to call in and girls were there to take the messages. We had a whole battery of telephones there in the office for that purpose when we were on the air. And I remember he was asking people to suggest. WJBT. We had all kinds of suggestions. In fact even humor came into it. They were going to have the big prize fight down at Soldier Field with...with Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney at that time. And some wag phones in and said "WJBD...WJBT should stand for watch Jack beat Tunney" [Laughs] But anyway, the good suggestion came along, "Where Jesus Blesses Thousands." And that was the thing that answered the question. And so that became the real big caption underneath the name Chicago Gospel Tabernacle: Where Jesus Blesses Thousands. And the broadcasts went on all day Sunday. And then Paul Rader wanted it to become a network deal for the weekdays and he arranged for the morning hour from seven thirty to eight thirty. A full hour every morning across the network. Well, I tell you that really meant that we really had to get down to brass tacks. We had a big staff then, as I said, and we broadcast the band on Sunday nights, we broadcast the afternoon service, the three o'clock afternoon service and the seven o'clock service at night, on Sunday night, which would take from seven until nine thirty, I suppose, with all the music and the message and the invitation, everything. Everything was on the radio. So all those other hours had to be filled in. After the evening service, we put on what was called the request hour and people could phone in their requests and the staff was all in the studio then and we would do the things people wanted us to do, the songs that were popular that day. We had to be able to build a big hymn book library to be able to pull the hymn books out quickly if we didn't know a song to look it up. And we had a whole staff of people helping us on that. Lance Latham and I were there at the pianos and we had the brass quartet and we had James Neilson, who was a fine cornetist. Clifford Benson [sp?] came along and joined our staff. And I can't remember all that we had, but Paul Rader came in after that had been going on for an hour. And he came in at eleven o'clock. From eleven to twelve we had what became famous as the Back Home Hour. Paul Rader took his place at the desk with microphone. (And that's shown on the Paul Rader movie which we have.) And he took charge of that in a very masterful way. He had a great sense of humor and a great message and he made it very informal and he'd present the staff for special numbers which they had worked hard to prepare. You know, combinations of things. Our soloists would sing, we'd have ensemble music, we'd have instrumental things. Lance would play, I would play. We would use the pianos, we would go out to the auditorium and play the big pipe organ. It was just a great time. And in those days we had no competition. We were the only ones really on the air at that time as far as a sacred broadcast was concerned.
SHUSTER: There was no other religious programing of any kind?
DUNLOP: No, it was even before the wonderful programing of WMBI, which came in I think about 1926 or '27. And during those early days from 1925, when we started to broadcast, until 19... the first two or three years, we were practically on the air alone with religious broadcasting in this area.
SHUSTER: Did you help Moody broadcasting get started in any way
DUNLOP: At Moody?
SHUSTER: Or any other religious programs get started?
DUNLOP: Well, yes, Wendell Loveless was a good friend of mine and when they went on the air at WMBI, he would invite to come down and have part of every broadcast, which I did and was happy to do. Because I had been a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute, you see, so I had a special rapport back there, at least I felt I did and it was always a joy to go back there and have a part with anything that had to do with Moody Bible Institute.
SHUSTER: After that first broadcast when you were on fourteen hours, the Sundays after that you weren't on fourteen hours, every Sunday?
SHUSTER: Just that first one.
DUNLOP: No, no. No. This was...this was every Sunday.
SHUSTER: Fourteen hours?
DUNLOP: Every Sunday. Fourteen hours. I should say so. We had one hour which was the missions' hour. We had another hour which was the boys' and girls' hour. We had a little tots hour, we had the Radio Rangers, we had the Aerial Girls, we had the program for late teens. And Christian Eicher had conducted the missions hour. Mrs. A. M. Johnson had her woman's Bible class hour. We had a guest hour when we would have quest Bible teachers come in. We also had an hour when we would have...we would feature Chicago pastors. Every Sunday a different Chicago pastor would come in and...and present a message. And it was a great variety program. But I started to say that every morning we began what became called the Reveille Hour. And....
SHUSTER: This was every weekday morning.
DUNLOP: Every weekday morning except Saturday. Monday through...well, it may have been six days. I guess, I guess it was not Saturday. It was five days a week. Seven thirty to eight thirty. Floyd Johnson was one of our early singers there. He coined a little theme song. "We'll...." Called it the Breakfast Brigade. "We'll be sugar in your coffee and honey on your bread. We'll be any kind of sweetness to get you out of bed." Let's see. "We'll be telling you a story and singing you a song...." [pauses] I don't know that I can get that next line, Bob. "And we'll be fellowshipping with you all day long." Something like that. [Laughs.] And that was the little opening theme song. And then Paul Rader of course had a message every morning. It was a great, great time of broadcasting.
SHUSTER: And how was the show sponsored? Was it solely from the Gospel Tabernacle
DUNLOP: It was...it was sponsored...it was not a sponsored thing of course. It was paid for with the gifts of the people. Paul Rader began to institute sending out some gifts to people. He would send out pictures and souvenirs of the Tabernacle and the staff and various things. People would write in for these souvenirs. There were all kinds of them. I guess we had scores of those souvenirs that went out as the weeks went on. And, Bob, we had as high as ten thousand letters in a week coming in in those early broadcasting days. And we had to have a huge office staff. Now that...I don't want to indicate that that was every week. The peak weeks would be weeks of ten thousand letters. So it was usually two or three thousand a day coming in and you can see it took a staff, a corp of workers to answer these...these letters.
SHUSTER: How large a staff was there?
DUNLOP: I suppose we had...I suppose fifteen girls in the office there approximately working out all these things. We had a music staff of eighteen at one time. This was not to say anything of other associates there in the work because the cafeteria set up for the Sunday services, you see; we had the Sunday School administration. Just alot of people. We had a business manager and we had a treasurer. All these things. So it was a large staff in those days.
SHUSTER: About how...how large was it all together?
DUNLOP: I don't know if I quite remember. I suppose we must had twenty-five or thirty on the staff in those days, which doesn't seem maybe too large when you think of a huge organization, but for us it was large then.
SHUSTER: And it was.... I forgot what I was going to say. But we were talking before about Paul Rader's Pantry. How did that get started? What...
DUNLOP: Yes. We were coming up, Bob, toward...
SHUSTER: ...was that about?
DUNLOP: ...the time when there was to be a financial panic, I suppose you could call it, in the United States. They called them the depression years. But they came up to the point in 1929 when we had a stock market crash. And Paul Rader had been financed as far as his own personal family needs were concerned by his friend Mr. A. M. Johnson. And he was head of the National Life Insurance Company. And when that stock market crash came along, there were businesses, industries just all over America which were just closing up and just being ruined over night. In fact, we understood that Mr. A. M. Johnson lost three million dollars over night with his National Life Insurance Company, which did have to go into bankruptcy. That was the day when some of these presidents of concerns and important business men were jumping out of windows from the downtown skyscrapers and committing suicide. There were quite a wave of those suicides. And they were difficult days. I remember that suddenly, everything...the wheels began to stop because the banks closed. That's when Franklin Roosevelt was president.
SHUSTER: He had the banker's holiday.
DUNLOP: He had the banks close for about three days and none of us knew a thing about it, of course. We woke up one morning to find that all across the country the banks had closed. And then the panic lines started. People would line up at the banks trying to get their funds out of the banks. Well, the banks were closed. They couldn't. I remember I was one of those standing...trying to stand in line at the bank where I had a little bit of money that as young guy...
SHUSTER: Did you have a family then?
DUNLOP: ...was hoping to hang on to and I lost it. What was that?
SHUSTER: Did you have a family then?
DUNLOP: No, I was married in 1932. This was a.... Yes, I hadn't had a family, but I was married, I was married in 1932 and the stock market...market crash was before that in 1929 but the worst of the thing really began to hit in...in...in the latter part of 31...the latter part of 32, rather, and that's when we had these difficult days when the banks closed and they closed there in 1932. I had just been married. We had a big wedding there in the Tabernacle. But we were really having problems. And because of the banks closing and everything changing, the funds at the Tabernacle almost stopped. I mean, people just did not have money to give. And so we.... Not that they weren't giving some. But I mean everything was changing. And so Paul Rader's work faced many, many large bills. And as you....
SHUSTER: Was this the Tabernacle and the radio ministry?
DUNLOP: The radio ministry, the work. There was a forty thousand dollar debt to station WBBM for our WJBT broadcasts at that time. Now today, we look back and we think, "Forty thousand dollars?" You'd snap your fingers now and say, "Well, you know, raise that not too much." But that was the thing that caused Paul Rader to have to go into bankruptcy. There was just no money. They were really difficult days. And Paul Rader, in order not to close up the Tabernacle work, decided the only way out was for him to take the bankruptcy on himself personally and step out of the work. And he had invited, as he had been doing for several years.... He had...was running a regular, every night evangelistic campaign right down through the years. And he would invite various evangelists to come in and speak for a week. He would only preach on Sundays. And sometimes he wouldn't be there, he would be traveling on Sundays and he'd have an evangelist take his place on Sunday. And it was usually a changing program every week for five nights, no meetings on Saturdays. And the crowds used to come weeks...week nights in those days. We had a big musical program. So it was an every night deal at Chicago Gospel Tabernacle! And at this time, this difficult time, the man who was preaching at the Tabernacle was...was evangelist Clarence Erickson. He had had his headquarters in Indianapolis and he had been an itinerant...itinerating evangelist. He would go to a town and build a tabernacle, like Billy Sunday did, only on a much smaller scale. And he was a very successful preacher. Paul Rader had him come in to take about two weeks at that time. And during that time, these difficult times, this was the time Paul Rader had to step out. And he said to Clarence Erickson, said, "Clarence, will you go ahead and continue with the Tabernacle?"
SHUSTER: So, Paul Rader then basically resigned as head of the Tabern....
DUNLOP: Had to resign. He signed on the business basis of taking over the bankruptcy. And so Clarence Erickson then, who had been preaching for about two weeks, then at Paul Rader's request.... He said to me, "Merrill, I will only say yes to Paul Rader if you will agree to stay with me and we work together." Well, I didn't know what I was going to do. I had no idea what I was going to do in the future. But when this happened and he said that, I prayed about it and felt that maybe this was God's leading for me. So after some prayer and deliberation, I gave him my answer. I said, "All right, Clarence. I will work with you if you want me." So Paul Rader stepped out and he stepped in and I worked with him. One of the first things we did was to go around and screw out all the big, high wattage electric light bulbs all over the Tabernacle and put in the smaller ones. And the...the property of the Tabernacle, of course, since the bankruptcy that Paul Rader was taking.... It was put into the hands of one of the insurance companies. It seemed to me the name of it was the Lincoln Insurance Company. I could be wrong on the name of that. But anyway, the...the Tabernacle properties were put into their hands, so they had to administer the properties. So when Clarence Erickson became pastor, he had to try to work some arrangement to...to get the properties back. And this took time. And we worked together. We continued with the Tabernacle meetings. We had no problem having big crowds. There were plenty of people back in those days, but nobody had any money. So the offering was very, very scanty. Clarence Erickson came without a salary. And the way we took care of him was to just after a sermon was over, we would tell people that Mr. Erickson is pastor now but he has no salary and he's going along from week to week just with what people want to give him, so we're going to pass the offering plates. And it became my job to get up and make the appeal after the message was over. [Chuckles.] And people were as generous as they could be. But, I mean, if Clarence Erickson back in those days got an offering of thirty five dollars, you know, for the week, he was happy to have that.
SHUSTER: What about the rest of the staff?
DUNLOP: The rest of the staff.... We didn't...we didn't have the big staff in those days. They just weren't able to stay. So Clarence and I stayed together and we...we had those who would stay such as the choir and the band, who were not paid people, but we lost alot of the folks that had been on salaries. In fact, we hadn't had salaries for some long time. They'd had to set up the cafeteria during the weekdays for even the staff people who had stayed, because we were...our salaries were all gone.
SHUSTER: Was the radio program then also canceled, because of....
DUNLOP: The radio program, yes, the big radio program stopped because when they couldn't...when...when the bankruptcy took place, of course, that ended the WJBT broadcasting.
SHUSTER: That was around 1932?
DUNLOP: That was...that was... 30...32. Yes. Right. And, but Paul...but Clarence Erickson made arrangements to go onto another broadcasting station and we continued the seven thirty broadcast as Paul Rader had it, with Clarence Erickson as pastor. And we went to another station, which was WCBT. WCBD at that time, which was in Waukegan. And that is now the station that has the call letters WAIT. And they moved later from Waukegan to Chicago. And of course WAIT is now a Chicago radio station. But that is what we were on for some years. [Pauses] This story is getting kind of disjointed, isn't it Bob?
SHUSTER: No, no, its moving along.
DUNLOP: I'm sorry, I've just been speaking as these thoughts have come, you know.
SHUSTER: Well, that's...that's what we want. With the radio program, the WJBT, how large was the audience. Did it just reach the Chicago area? It wasn't broadcast nationally was it?
DUNLOP: The WJBT hours, fourteen hours, were on Sunday only. The call letters for the week morning...weekday mornings were...were on WBBM, you see. So, the WJBT Sunday audiences reached a large area of the Midwest. Radio at night is kind of jumpy, you know. Our night broadcasts were heard sometimes way over in New Jersey. Sometimes in...in alot of the eastern states, Ohio and Pennsylvania could pick it up in...as the night hours went along, especially in the winter time. That wasn't true in the daytime hours, though, on Sunday, but we had a large coverage. We had people all over Michigan listening to us just all the time. And radio sets then were...well, you would not know about what they were unless you saw pictures of them, Bob, because they were the....
SHUSTER: Crystal sets.
DUNLOP: Crystal sets. And they started...they began to get them these cone speakers, strange looking affairs. We watched the evolution of the radio sets [chuckles] and they got better and better. And some people who had more money to spend would get a better radio set and...could pull in greater distance, you see. So we had listeners from the various areas.
SHUSTER: After the bankruptcy, was Paul Rader in any way continued to be associated with the Tabernacle?
DUNLOP: He wasn't officially associated with the Tabernacle, but Paul Rader.... We came to 1933 and if you remember, the big thing in 1933, when the country was trying to pull out of this terrible depression, Chicago put on the Century of Progress Exposition or World's Fair. And this was the opening of the big World's Fair, down there on the lake from, you know, Grant Park and all there. They had the island and it was quite a set-up there. And Paul Rader was always a jump ahead of most things (A man of great vision), he decided he should put up a big tent right along side of the...the fair grounds and he did that. And I suppose the tent seated probably a thousand people. And he conducted services there nightly. He got a staff of his own to work with him. His idea was to attract people coming to the fair, so they carried on there. Paul Rader did that, so he was remaining in Chicago, in a sense. But he wasn't conducting Sunday services. But this...these week night services...I guess the services were on Sunday just during the World's Fair, but it was a World's Fair special. Paul Rader was not starting another organization, you see.
SHUSTER: Did you continue to work with him on a regular basis?
DUNLOP: Not on a regular basis. I was down at the tent there. I played for some services there because of course I still had great love for Paul Rader, the man through whom I found Christ. But then after those meetings were over Paul Rader went to Fort Wayne, became the pastor of the Fort Wayne Gospel Temple. That had been started some years before by B. E, Rediger [sp?] who died and they wanted Paul Rader to come over and continue. So far two or three years, he moved over to Fort Wayne on a farm there. But then he was pastoring there and he had his broadcasts there, from the Fort Wayne Gospel Temple, so Paul Rader would sometimes ask me to come over and be with him for a weekend and I would do that. So I broadcast many times from Fort Wayne Gospel Temple as well.
SHUSTER: Did he ever return to Chicago as a pastor?
DUNLOP: No, he never returned to Chicago as a pastor. He went to...he went to Europe in 1938, in the spring of 1938 for a series of meetings in England and he had crusades over in...in England and he took with him Mildred and Bill Dillion [sp?], who were pretty well known Chicago people, musicians. Bill was a trombonist and a song leader and Mildred his wife was the pianist and they had formerly been at...down at the mission on North Clark Street. [Pauses] Oh, I can't even say that mission right now.
SHUSTER: Pacific Garden Mission?
DUNLOP: Not Pacific Garden Mission, no. Well known old mission. I'll think of it, I think. Anyway, he took those two with him across the ocean on the...on the steamer, the liner and they had meetings around England and that's when Paul Rader became ill and in May he came back across on the Queen Mary and he was in the ship's hospital all the way back. He was ailing, didn't know what the...what the real trouble was. Very, very ill. Got to New York and he was afraid to fly then, because he thought he had a heart condition. So he took a lower berth on a railroad train all the way across to Los Angeles, there. For he had moved his home to Los Angeles by that time. And a very, very difficult trip. Very difficult trip. But he finally got out to Los Angeles and got into the home there, But he never recovered. He became very ill and...and for weeks he was ill at home, then. His ministry had ceased, practically, except that he was still supporting his own missionaries. He had his own missionaries who he supported. And he had a home on Barnum [sp?] Boulevard, there in the Los Angeles area. He worked out from there. But he was ill and then he was taken to the hospital in August, or July I think it was, and my wife and I went out to visit him in the hospital on a vacation there. And we went up to see him every day. And he would welcome us. We were just shocked to see he had lost so much weight. From the big man of two hundred and fifty pounds that he used to carry around with him. As a pugilist, he was a former pugilist you know, he was a big man, a powerful man. To about ninety pounds as we saw him then. We realized he was desperately ill and it wasn't long after that that he passed away. But just a couple of nights before he died, Lenore and I, my wife and I, decided we wanted to go in the afternoon to see him again because we had visited him and he talked with us. He looked forward to our coming. And we tried to go up softly, so as not to...to make any noise in that Hollywood Hospital. And Mrs Rader and the family had a room along side of his, just so they could be with him on a vigil basis, you see. But Paul Rader was not sleeping at the moment when we came up the stair and went into the room...went into the family room. He called Mrs Rader, he said, "Who just came in? I know somebody just came in." And she said, "Well, its Merrill and Lenore." "Oh, " he said, "Have them come in." He said, "I want to see them." So we walked into the room along with Mrs. Rader and his daughter Pauline, Willamine and I think Harriet was there probably also. They were all there, the family. So we walked in and my wife stood on the right side of Paul Rader's bed, his right, and I stood along side him on his left. And he said, "Merrill and Lenore, I want you to sing for me." He said, " That song that Rody sang, you know, that new one that Rody taught us not long ago." Homer Rodeheaver. A good friend of Paul Rader. And Rodeheaver had been up to visit him and there had been a...a song that Rodeheaver was featuring those days and he wanted to sing it for Paul Rader. And so he sang that song for Paul Rader. So Paul Rader wanted us to sing it and we sang that particular song. Trying to think of the name of it. I can think of the song but I can't think of the name of it. But we sang that song and then we sang a couple of his own songs. And of course we were looking at him all the time and he'd had that wonderful smile even though he'd lost so much weight. And then suddenly his eyes seemed to flash as we stopped singing one of the numbers and he said, "Say, whose dying here anyway?" And I looked as if...I looked at him as if, "What's happening?" you know. A loud voice, "Whose dying here anyway?" And kind of half sat up a little bit, although he didn't make it. Had to lean back again. Then he reached down and took a hold of my...my hand and pulled it up along side of him on the bed and I was a little embarrassed. I didn't know what he had in mind, you know. He looked at my hand. And then he slowly looked at me and looked at my hand. He said, "Merrill, there's no more death in me this moment than there is in you." And then, you know, I didn't say anything at the moment, but I thought, "Boy, there must be something wrong up here in his mind, saying a thing like that." And the family wondered the same thing. Kept on holding my hand. "There is no more death in me this moment than there is in you." And then he smiled and he said, "I died twenty-five years ago." Oh my, I what to tell you it just nearly floored all of us, because we knew just exactly what he meant. It was twenty five years ago that he had met the Lord in a very special way in a rented room in New York City when he had decided he had to get back to his father's God, because he had been far away from the Lord in his college days and he had never forgotten the message his father preached, because his father was a Methodist preacher. He remembered the night that he was walking down Time Square and he looked up and he saw that kitten sign. It was the Quartaseelye [sp?] Silk Company that had a big sign in white and red lights. And a big kitten would flash on as the sign started and then the white paw of the kitchen...the kitten would catch a red thread in the red lights and the red thread would get larger and larger and the red thread would tangle the kitten all up until he was a hopeless mess. Then the lights would go out and start all over again. And that was a well know sign back in those days at Times Square. Paul Rader saw that sign. He said, "That's Paul Rader up there. He's all tangled up." He said, "I've got to get right with God." He rented that room. For three days and nights he was on his face and on his.... With his open Bible in prayer. That's when he said he was really filled with the spirit of God for his ministry. Then that's when he started out and began his crusading and went to Pittsburgh and began to associate with Mr. Whiteside of the Alliance...Reverend Whiteside. And then later came to Moody Church as pastor. But that's what he referred to. He said, "I died twenty five years ago." And I want to tell you there was victory and blessing in that hospital room then, because we realized what he meant. And his mind was not deranged at all. It was just perfectly wonderful. But that's what he meant. So, it was a precious time. Well, Paul Rader lapsed into a coma toward the end. But I should say this. One time I was up there, one afternoon. He described death. He said, "You know Merrill, its a strange thing." He said, "I...it just seems as though the Lord has...." He said, "Last night, for instance, I felt as though I was suspended over a great chasm. Huge chasm." And he said, "I began to be lowered just little by little over that chasm, just." He said, "Oh, it took so long!" He said. "I was hours going down. And I didn't know whether that chasm...where the bottom would be." But then he said, "All of a sudden I sensed that I had reached the lowest point." Then he said, "I began to descend just about as slowly..." uh, to ascend I mean, "just about as slowly." He said, "It took hours and I came to the top." And he said, " then it was daylight." And he said, "I was back again." And he said, "This happened another time." And he said, "I went through that experience twice." Then he said, and this is the way he put it to me, "Merrill, I said to the Lord, 'Quit kidding me, Lord. Take me over!" He said, "I want to go." And then he told me about A. M. Johnson, his dear friend from...who had formerly been a president of a life insurance company in Chicago, the man who supported Paul Rader personally for some years. He came in every day and Paul Rader said, "Al brings me one long ro...one long stemmed American Beauty rose each time. Just one." And he said, "I said to Al yesterday, 'Al, you cheapskate, why do you just bring me one. Why don't you bring me a dozen of them?'" [Chuckles.] Well, of course, that was Paul Rader's sense of humor. Of course, Mr. Rader got...Mr. Johnson got a real bang out of that, you know. But he brought a rose every day. And some people visited Paul Rader who knew him then, but just only those that were rather close because he couldn't see too many folks. And about two or three days later, Paul Rader died in a coma. He was alone in his room and he was not conscious. Just passed away. We had a big funeral out for him there, in the Hollywood Presbyterian Church. And, Bob, in looking through the souvenirs I had of the Paul Rader days, I found the memorial program of that...that funeral service and I've given you a copy there. You see what it is, order by order. The staff was there, Clarence Ericksen was there, Lance Latham was there, his...Paul's brother Luke Rader was there. He was an evangelist from Minneapolis. Mrs. Rader, his wife (Luke Rader's wife, Mrs. Luke Rader), sang one of Paul Rader's songs. It was a great service of real triumph. A tremendous service it was, Bob. I suppose about an hour or so long, maybe a little longer. And they had asked me to give a little anecdote, the story I've just told you about "Who's dying here?" you know. And I gave that at the funeral. And then we had the procession out to the cemetery. He was buried out on the hillside there in Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery. And we realized it was a great day of triumph, it was coronation day. He had been promoted to glory.
SHUSTER: What kind of speaker was he? Was he, for example, like very...Billy Sunday, very vigorous and moved around the stage or....
DUNLOP: That was the day of the somewhat demonstrative type speakers. Its kind of different today, since we have microphones the men don't seem to have to walk around the platform so much. But he had a great white handkerchief that when he was preaching up a storm and he would heap that handkerchief, mopping his brow, you know. He'd wave it around in his hand and use it for illustrations. But he had a great, wonderful resonant voice, beautiful voice. You'd get just a little sample of it on that one record that's in existence where he speaks for three minutes on the record called "The Stone Age." The woman taken in adultery. But that was a powerful voice and he had a great tremendous gift of using illustrations. Oh, I mean he could tell a story. Put you on the edge of your seat, listening to that story. And then he would apply that story to the Gospel as he was...he was...as he was preaching in such a way that you would say, "How could that ever be so wonderful?" People just came from miles and miles to hear Paul Rader preach. A tremendous preacher. And one of the great aspects of his preaching was his love for souls, his love for people. He just exuded...he exuded love and compassion for people and he had a great missionary passion. And that why the missionary...the annual missionary conventions were really something. He went all out on the...he used to raise huge sums of money for the support of foreign missions and of course he had missionaries all over the world. When I traveled around the world in later years.... Dr. Bob Cook, who is now president of the...the King's College in Briarcliffe, New York, he and I went around the world together for Youth for Christ. And nearly everywhere we went on that world tour we'd find missionaries who were there because they had been sent out years ago by Paul Rader. And so we saw that aspect of his work too.
SHUSTER: Were these missionary conferences only in Chicago or did he hold them around the country?
DUNLOP: He did held...hold them in other places, but they were mainly in Chicago, yes.
SHUSTER: What was the format of the meeting? Were they a week long or...?
DUNLOP: Yes, they usually...they used to be a week long. The two main Sundays bracketing the week, of course, were the big deals. We had morning services usually, during those five day...five weekday mornings. And of course every evening service was a great service. It featured missionaries constantly. And Paul Rader would select those missionaries which were most effective on the platform and as public speakers, of course. And there was great interest then. And of course always there was a consecration meeting when he would ask people to come forward and consecrate their lives for mission...missionary service. And since we always had a great crowd of young people at the old Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, when that big invitation was given for people to come forward and consecrate their lives, there would sometimes be two or three hundred people. And then he would ask them to spread out and take hands around the whole auditorium and so the whole Tabernacle would be encircled with this...within the hands of the circled missionaries, missionary volunteers. It was a tremendously impressive final service. And then on the final day he would take the pledges, the missionary pledges for foreign missions. That was always the big day.
SHUSTER: How many missionaries did the church support?
DUNLOP: Well, I don't know as I could quite remember the exact number. We were...there was a constant missions thing. I remember the big Sunday...the biggest Sunday...the biggest amount of money that Paul Rader ever raised, I think, on one of those closing Sundays was three hundred thousand dollars. Now up in Toronto today, this day, which is many generations later, Oswald Smith and his son Paul last year raised over a million dollars for missions. But three hundred thousand dollars in that day, in the 1930's, was three times, at least, what it would be in today's values. And so that was a tremendous amount of money and missionaries were sent all around the globe. He had many missionaries going constantly. Every year.
SHUSTER: Someone was suggesting to me the other day that the program of People's Church in Toronto was partially inspired...
DUNLOP: I think it was.
SHUSTER: ...by Paul Rader.
DUNLOP: I think that's very true, Bob. I think that Oswald Smith was a young preacher at the time Paul Rader was preaching, he got his s...torch lighted in the fires there at Chicago Tabernacle. And Oswald Smith became a great missionary preacher.
SHUSTER: Did they work together or...
DUNLOP: They were.... Yes, they did.
SHUSTER: ...know each other.
DUNLOP: They worked together in a very wonderful fellowship. But Paul Rader when he would go up there many times in Toronto for Oswald Smith and Smith would be down in Chicago and so forth. Of course they had the same identical missionary vision.
SHUSTER: Where did most of the missionaries from the Gospel Tabernacle go, what countries?
DUNLOP: Well, he sent them to Africa, India, to South America. In fact his own daughter, his oldest daughter Pauline, went as a missionary to India. I remember the group that she went with. They sent about six or seven missionaries in one group to India at one time. She was among them. And another time his second daughter, Willamine, became a missionary and I think that her...I think she spent time in India also. I'm not quite sure. But he had missionaries going to many, many place.
SHUSTER: Were the....
DUNLOP: In fact Clarence Jones going to HCJB in Quito, which is now a great broadcasting station, you know. Clarence Jones was on Paul Rader's early staff and I remember the time when Paul Rader was farewelling Clarence Jones to start out on his missionary venture down in South America. I helped to finance his early trips down there and his early beginnings of that station.
SHUSTER: So the Tabernacle financed both long term and short term missionaries?
DUNLOP: That's right, yes.
SHUSTER: Those who would go for a year and those who would go for say...?
DUNLOP: Well, I don't think there were so much of the short term missionaries in those days. Only in the sense that Clarence Jones did not have so far to go. But he couldn't fly down there then. He had to go by ship because there were no planes going in those days. But Clarence Jones had to make several trips down there. He would be gone for a period of weeks or months and then come back again until he was pretty firmly established.
SHUSTER: Did the Tabernacle set up some kind of mission board to take care of the missionaries?
DUNLOP: Yes. We had a regular missionary department and Paul Rader had appointed a man who was a great missionary in his own right years before, Christian L. Eicher. And he had him come onto our staff and become the head of the missionary department. And Mr. Eicher had two fine women secretaries that worked the missionary department with him. Julia Plecher [sp?] and Myrtle Renney [sp?] were the two. And he had brought them from New York City where they had been in the Christian and Missionary Alliance office. They were experienced in mission things. And so he set them up and they came willingly to join him in Chicago with Paul Rader. So we had the missions department.
SHUSTER: How did Paul Rader's missionary journeys around the world get started?
DUNLOP: I think as the result of his...of the requests of missionaries in various parts of the world for him to come over there and visit them and hold meetings. And to instruct them and to inspire other missionaries. In fact groups of missionaries would come and he would minister to them. And....
SHUSTER: So this was...the meetings were more for missionaries than the general population.
DUNLOP: Yes, he would have to speak through interpreters of course when they had the public meetings but the missionaries would interpret, you see. But those would be long drawn out journeys. They would be three or four months long because he'd have to go across the Atlantic or the Pacific by ship. Those were long trips. And on a couple of occasions, Paul Rader would become quite ill on those trips. And we wondered whether he was going to make it or not. But God brought him back and up again. Full strength. And we'd have great welcome home services for him. During the times he was absent, he would have others manning the Tabernacle, doing the preaching. For instance, he had Gerald B. Winrod one time. Took over the Tabernacle work there as our boss so to speak. [Chuckles.] For a period of I guess two or three months. And another time we had Dr. W. B. Hogg. who was a famous Southern preacher. And Paul Rader brought him up to Chicago and he just became dearly loved by people and he put on his own skits on the radio on our fourteen hour Sunday broadcasts and he called himself "The Country Parson." And he took on the name Josiah Hopkins. And he got to be known over our broadcasts as "The Country Parson, Josiah Hopkins." And I remember he'd have his horse and buggy and he would take...clasp his hands together this way and he would have the sounds of the hoofs of the horses [makes a clopping sound with the palms of his hands], you know, going on like that. And that was a part of his skit. And then later, after Paul Rader returned, after I think.... Hogg was there, I think it must have been four months then and then Dr. Hogg went to California and put on his own broadcast, carried on the whole Josiah Hopkins thing, the Country Parson, he started a country parsonage in Hollywood, which is still in existence. But of course Dr. Hogg is long since been gone to be with the Lord also but he was greatly beloved. But he was one of those men that Paul Rader valued so highly when he carried on his ministry for him.
SHUSTER: What.... Would Paul Rader go every year on a missionary journey?
DUNLOP: No, I don't think so. I think that he had three of these world missionary journeys. Some of the literature I've given you will show you some of these missionary journeys. They called it Paul's third missionary journey on some of the publicity I gave you this morning. He did one of them I think when he was pastor of the Moody Church. And then he did two of them I think at the time...during his years at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. You see, Paul Rader started the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle in '22, 1922. And he left the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle in 1932, during the...when the bankruptcy took place. So he had ten tremendous years there. They were just terrific years. Never can stop talking about all the things that happened back in those days. People were influenced by Paul Rader and his ministry and by the Tabernacle and by the radio. And I still meet people from place to place (of course, naturally they are quite elderly now) who tell me. Oh, I was saved under the ministry...the radio ministry of Paul Rader."
SHUSTER: What...what countries did he visit during missionary journeys?
DUNLOP: Well, he went to China, of course. He went to India. He went to some of those island countries. I think...he had a great friend. One of his personal friends was R. A. Jaffray who was done in Indonesia. In Dutch...the Dutch area, you know. The [unclear] island. I think they call it Indonesia...Sumatra. He went to Sumatra. He visited with R. A. Jaffray. In fact, R. A. Jaffray was a great missionary friend of Paul Rader. And he was a tremendous missionary in his own right. I never forget one time that R. A. Jaffray was visiting Paul Rader in Chicago on a furlough. Those two men got together, they had a tremendous time. And Paul Rader present R. A. Jaffray for some of the sessions as a speaker at the Tabernacle. We were all greatly inspired by Jaffray. And when he went back to the field (of course, it would be weeks later) and during one of these times, during that Depression time when Paul Rader found that money ceased almost after the stock market crash. So difficult. Then in the middle of all of it he had a heart attack. He thought it was a heart attack. Later it proved not to be a heart attack, but he thought it was. He said, "My heart is giving me problems. I can't...." And he was...had to lie flat for hours at a time, you know. And he wrote to Jaffray. And the people were getting all uptight over the fact that they couldn't pay the bills, having problems. And they were dark days of the Tabernacle. And Paul Rader wrote to Jaffray and said, "You know, the people seem to be against me now. They're not for me, they're criticizing me." And he said, "The devil just tells me I'm through." And he said, "My heart's giving me problems." He said, "I having a heart...problems with my heart." He sent that letter to Jaffray and a few weeks later, the letter came back from Jaffray. He said, "Paul," He said, I read your letter." He said...he said "You said the people are not so much for you." He said, "Don't forget, God is working through men." And he said, "Don't forget that many times in the Bible, you find the people who were wrong and it was God's leader who was right." He said, "The people are not always right." He said, "You say that your heart is giving you problems." He said, "Don't forget the Bible says the heart is deceitful about all things, desperately wicked." And he said, "You say the devil tells you you're through." He said, "Don't believe him. He's a liar. The Bible says the devil's a liar." And Paul Rader came down that day, I remember, at the broadcast.... He said, "Oh, look at the letter I got from Jaffray...." He said, "Oh, what a letter!" And he told us what the letter said. I never will forget that. How it buoyed Paul Rader up in those dark, depressing days.
SHUSTER: You already talked a little bit earlier about Paul Rader's Pantry for giving food to...
DUNLOP: I did.
DUNLOP: And I guess I got off the track on that. During those days....
SHUSTER: I wanted to ask you. Did...
SHUSTER: ...the Gospel Tabernacle do alot of work like that for the down and out or kind of social work?
DUNLOP: At that time they did. Paul Rader saw, of course, that in this needy time, that people were not really having incomes. Their salaries were cut off. People were worried about where they were going to get food and so he decided he could do something about that. On his broadcast, which of course, was still the big broadcast in those days, he asked the farmers all over, "If you have anything...excess produce which you're willing to sacrifice," He said, "I'm starting Paul Rader's Pantry." He said, "We're going to...going to take all the...the food produce we can get. Carrots and...and onions and anything that would be....that we can can and make soup out of." And he said, We're going to get some big cauldrons." And so they set the cauldrons up, the soup kettles. And they had a regular staff, a great volunteer staff, to man the kitchens and the soup cauldrons. And the farmers would drive up in trucks. I'll never forget they just...just trucks load...truck loads of all these kinds of produce. And it was just dumped off there. They would bring it inside the Tabernacle. My, the...the...the...the aroma used to call the fellowship hall and the cafeteria was turn into...really a workshop. And the...so the bread companies were asked to bring the bread...they couldn't sell it, you know. Day and two day old bread. Ans so they did that. They'd drive up with truckloads of that stuff. The bread was tumbled out of those baskets and brought into the interior. And they had other companies that were helping to bring in food of various kinds. So we had a whole crew that was fitting up these shopping bags full of meats and vegetables and canned soup that they had canned right there. And in order to get that, a person would have to come in the morning. You had to get there for the noon service because they made it necessary for everybody who...who wanted these food packages to come attend the one hour service form eleven to twelve every noon. Or was it noon to one. I forget. It was one of the two. Now back...that service was broadcast over our radio station. It would fill up Faith Chapel, which would hold about four hundred people. And then after that service was over those people who file over to the other side of the Tabernacle, where all these food shopping bags had been prepared by the staff. One by one as they filed out they were given one of the bags. It was called the Paul Rader Pantry. Well, that went on for a lot of months and Paul Rader was greatly criticized and you know, a person can't...you can't win them all. There is always bound to be some critics. But they said he was...was forgetting his message of preaching and going out into social work. But Paul Rader felt he could do both in those days. And I think he did a great job.
SHUSTER: How long did that continue?
DUNLOP: Well, several months. Then they had problems I guess not getting enough of the food. Of course, the country was trying to get back on its feet again, you know. So we weren't able to get as much food and the canning just sort of petered out, little by little and that...that ministry stopped.
SHUSTER: Did the Tabernacle work any with rescue missions in Chicago?
DUNLOP: Always in fellowship with the rescue missions. Oh yes. In fact, we had one man there...Paul Rader put down in the...by the name of McNamara down the...in the West Madison Street Mission. It was run by the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. It was called the Chicago Gospel Mission back at that time. That mission still goes on. Its had changes of administration since then, but its still a wonderful mission and they do a great work. But....
SHUSTER: But that was started by the Tabernacle?
DUNLOP: Yes, it was formerly the Tabernacle mission,
SHUSTER: How did that get started?
DUNLOP: McNamara was a convert of Paul Rader. And he was a rough and ready type of a fellow. And he just had a way with the down and outers, men who were alcoholics and that type of thing. So McNamara did his work down there. Did a fine job. His wife was with him. They were two fine mission people. And he worked with other mission people, too.
SHUSTER: You mentioned in your biography that you were producer, director of The Heaven and Home Hour. Was that any...
DUNLOP: I wouldn't want to say I was the...
SHUSTER: ...connection with Paul Rader?
DUNLOP: the producer, director. The Heaven and Home Hour was the name given to the broadcast by Clarence Erickson, who succeeded Paul Rader as pastor. And that was started about 194... I think it was about 1944. And I was the organist on that. And it was just the two of us. Clarence Erickson and I started that program.
SHUSTER: Of it was an indirect outgrowth of Paul Rader's....
DUNLOP: Yes, it really was.
DUNLOP: But that broadcast still goes on and Clarence Erickson conducted that for years, even after he left the Tabernacle. And its heard now in many parts of the country. And his son-in-law Russell Kilman [sp?] still carried that broadcast on.. So there are many works all over this country, many of us who would have to point our finger back to say Paul Rader was the source of our inspiration and blessing. I know Lane Latham would to tell you the same thing. He probably already has. Andrew Wyzenbeek probably told you the same thing. Peter Deyneka's another one.
SHUSTER: Yes, yes I was just taking with Peter Deyneka Jr.
DUNLOP: Yes, he really was caught up on fire by...caught his light down there at the old Moody Tabernacle.
SHUSTER: Well, I guess one final question would be, what finally happened to the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle?
DUNLOP: Well, the Tabernacle went on for many, many years. I spent twenty-five years there on the staff. Then I went out on the...somewhat on the evangelistic circuit, working. I still had association as a sort of an evangelist at large with the Tabernacle for another five years. And then I, in 1953 I left the Tabernacle work and I was associated with other evangelists. And the Tabernacle continued on under...under Reverend Wally White. And he carried the work on quite effectively for quite some long time. Several years. And then he left the work and it was taken over by Doug Fisher. Became pastor. But by this time, the Tabernacle had been sold and the big tabernacle itself.... We had a board of men who were set up under Clarence Ericksen to administer the Tabernacle. And they carried on the Tabernacle for many years in a very wonderfully fine way of administering the affairs of the Tabernacle. And we noticed that the Tabernacle sides became deteriorated. And the roof, which we had had to restore one had begun to leak again. And the heating plant was getting bad. So they decided that the best thing to do was to get rid of the Tabernacle, sell the Tabernacle. The audiences had somewhat dwindled, it was much smaller. And they decided to build in another place and so that Tabernacle was sold. And the building is still standing, Bob, it's still there. But if you went by it today, you'd see its a great big A and P, a huge market store. They had to put a new roof on and they changed the floor from the nicely old floor down like a big auditorium. They had to make it flat, you know and modernize the building. So the building's still there, but its a store now.
SHUSTER: Where did the congregation...?
DUNLOP: The congregation moved to a temporary location and its still on a temporary basis, strangely enough. They not having a building, they took a temporary arrangement with a church on Addison Street, out near...near Damen, I think it is. And they're meeting today. The remains of the congregation meets today in combination with the other congregation. And they join this congregation for the morning service and that congregation and the pastor turn the evening service over to the Tabernacle. So the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle still goes on officially as a much smaller organization. And without a pastor at the present time.
SHUSTER: Well, thank you.
DUNLOP: Thank you for listening Bob. [Chuckles.]
END OF TAPE