Celebrity Deaths ›

The Rest of Paul Harvey's Story

AP Photo / Fred Jewell, File

The Rest of Paul Harvey's Story

Until his death 5 years ago today, Paul Harvey could be heard by as many as 24 million people every week on 1,200 U.S. radio stations and 400 Armed Forces Radio stations. For decades listeners waited through his expertly timed pauses, followed his seamlessly delivered advertisements, and anticipated his famous tagline, "And now you know the rest of the story."

His popular feature, The Rest of the Story, took listeners to obscure, forgotten and sometimes unbelievable parts of history, illuminating people and events that otherwise might have slipped through the cracks of our collective knowledge. The man behind the microphone had his own intriguing history, too, some of which only came to light a year after his death at 90 in 2009, when The Washington Post obtained 1,400 pages of FBI documents on the famed broadcaster.

The year was 1951. Harvey, a respected radio host and newsman, was out driving with a friend late at night, about 20 miles west of Chicago. There was not a lot to see except for the Argonne National Laboratory, originally created to carry out work on nuclear reactors for the Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II. Harvey's plan, according to the FBI documents, was to break into the lab, leave evidence of his visit behind, and then file a story on the lax security at one of the nation's most important nuclear research facilities.

The plan flopped. Security forces apprehended Harvey and his friend almost immediately after Harvey climbed over the lab’s barbed wire fence. The subsequent investigation revealed that Harvey had already begun writing the script for his report, claiming he and his friend had accidentally wandered onto the laboratory property.

Harvey was never indicted on any charges, although the U.S. attorney for Illinois asked a grand jury to consider charges of espionage against the beloved broadcaster. Harvey went on to report the news for nearly six more decades, picking up the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Written by Seth Joseph. Find him on Google+.