Those roots run deep

A couple of responses to my post on Tony Gore and aggressive merchandising by gospel musicians caught my eye, so I thought I’d share them, mostly because they help counteract the unintentional implication in what I wrote that there was something new or previously unheard of involved in Gore’s behavior. First that inimitable JL, who ventriloquizes Mr. JL in her email. Mr JL worked for years as an editor at a major Christian publishing house. My post on Gore and his motley assortment of merchandise reminded Mr. JL of what he’d encounter at conventions and exhibits:

[He] and the rest of the editors [he worked with] used to call [the stuff] “holy hardware” - the totebags, t-shirts, scarves, stationery, bumper stickers, pins, pens, clips, nail clippers and anything else they could figure out how to screen a chalice emblem onto. [the chalice was the symbol of the denomination with which the publishing house was associated]

Holy Hardware is perhaps the most clever thing I’ve heard of in weeks. I wish I’d thought of that. But nevertheless, reader RF wrote describing an even older form of holy hardware peddling:

Tony is doing nothing but practicing a method from the good old days of gospel radio. Back in the 50’s (when I was a child), WOAY radio in Oak Hill, WV was filled with preaching and singing all day long between the horrid country [music] of the time. A preacher by the name of Freddy Steele was the big star. He had a half hour each day. He preached for ten minutes and sold items for twenty minutes. He had rose bushes, Bibles, prayer scarfs–you name it. After selling he’d beg. One day my father and I were listening and he was telling a story of woe about an unexpected flat tire. He ended his pitch with, “If you want me to continue this ministry the size of that tire is 775-14.” We broke into laughter and then got serious wondering how many tires he actually received and whether or not he’s sell them on the show.

Tires … now that’s some holy hardware for sure.

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