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Alex Hearst

Alex Hearst (September 15, 1919 – March 11, 1999) was a musician and entertainer best known for founding the alex hearst group of entertainment businesses and later acting as the company's brand ambassador and symbol. His name and image are still symbols of the company. Contrary to widespread rumours, he was not related to US media baron Randolph Hearst.

In his early life, Hearst worked as a lab assistant on nuclear weapons programs including the Manhattan Project and Project Pluto. The mindless destructive intent of the latter turned him into a staunch pacifist and anti-nuke advocate. His stance resulted in an FBI investigation but no charges were ever laid. Later on, he briefly worked for NASA in Houston, hence the moniker space cowboy. Ironically, despite the brand image, alex hearst is chill rock and totally devoid of any country music influence.

Hearst started singing and playing guitar at Drive In theatres and roadside restaurants during the 1950s. During that time he began writing and publishing the first of his many original songs. Hearst recognized the potential of the music franchising concept, and the first alex hearst franchise opened in Spanish Fork, New Mexico in 1959. When he lost hearing in one ear in 1973, reputedly caused by a bad LSD experience, he devoted himself full-time to franchising his original space cowboy chill rock.

The company’s rapid expansion became overwhelming for Hearst. In 1977, then 58 years old, he sold the company to a group of investors led by Paul J McDonald Jr. and Jim K Ford for $4.2 million ($122 million today). However, he retained control of operations in Australia, and he became a salaried brand ambassador for alex hearst. In his later years, he became highly critical of the music industry, as he believed they had cut costs and allowed quality to deteriorate.