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Billy Graham Draws Huge Audiences in Los Angeles

Aug. 17, 1963 - One of the world’s most successful evangelists registered new triumphs this week in the city where his career began to rocket 14 years ago. The Rev. Dr. Billy Graham attracted the largest opening-night throng of any of the revival meetings in his world travels for the first of a three-week “crusade” in Los Angeles. About 38,000 attended the service at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The occasion was recorded for a television broadcast over 200 stations throughout the country. The 44-year-old North Carolina Baptist, whose activities now constitute a multimillion-dollar enterprise involving thousands of people, announced that he was suspending his overseas travels. He said that he would focus on two years of crusades in this country because of the state of national affairs. “In my opinion, the next 24 months will decide the destiny of the United States,” he said. “The racial crisis is a judgment upon us. And it’s only the beginning of a situation that could be worse than the Civil War unless we, as a people, turn to God.” The Los Angeles operation is costing $600,000 — all of which and more is expected to be raised through contributions of those attending services. Today, Dr. Graham put this figure into perspective. “That is what Sonny Liston got for a minute or two of work recently,” he remarked. “It is one fourth the cost of a fighter plane. It is what crime costs Los Angeles in half of one day.” He firmly disclaims any mystic personal gifts. “I am what every evangelist has been — the herald, the trumpeter, telling the good news of the Gospel,” he says. “I can’t convert anybody. God converts them. I am only the channel through which He works.”


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