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First prize was a trip to New York City and an audition for "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour."


At the age of eighteen Boone won the East Nashville High School Talent Contest. First prize was a trip to New York City and an audition for The Ted Mack Amateur Hour. He won 3 weeks in a row and song in the national finals a year or so later, competing against other 3-time winners, but was disqualified because while waiting to see if he'd one (the voting process was by cards, letters and telephone) he entered (and later won) Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts Show, which was for professionals.


Although he loved singing for people and recording, Boone felt an entertainment career was too unlikely, so he planned to be a high school English teacher and local preacher. He graduated in 1952 from David Lipscomb High School in Nashville and in 1953, shortly before his 19th birthday, Boone and Shirley Foley were married.

Following a period at Nashville's David Lipscomb College he transferred to North Texas State University. In 1958, after five years of college, launching a family of four daughters, a television career, a record career, a movie career, and a concert career---all at the same time---Boone graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia University School of General Studies. To this day he suggests that Shirley's name should have been on the diploma alongside his.

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