One famous, but unlikely couple who made news for their crumbling marriage was a couple that clearly shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. But finding a man had become difficult for the world's most famous evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson. For one thing, she was a bit of a flake, often taking wild liberties with the truth about her activities. (Hmmm. Maybe she was related to Donald Trump.)

For another, she was, to her followers, larger than life. She had set up a California base for her work, a place called Angelus Temple, and some of the people who worked there didn't always have her best interest at heart. Any man who went so far as to marry her would undoubtedly become known as Mr. McPherson.

But in 1931, at the age of 41, she found husband number three in a singer who was several years younger, a man, who, unfortunately, was always described in stories as "fat," "round," "rotund," "portly" or several other uncomplimentary adjectives.

In 1933, McPherson went to France for some mysterious medical procedure, leaving her husband back in Los Angeles, where he started whining about his treatment at the hands of the evangelist and her flock. In late June the strange marriage became even stranger.


Syracuse Journal, June 24
LOS ANGELES (Universal) — David Hutton Jr., baritone-husband of Aimee Semple McPherson — out on “his own” in the cruel, cold world — has had another problem dumped into his portly lap.

As if he didn’t have enough troubles, he now must learn who sent him a cable from Paris announcing he is the father of a nine-pound boy!

Dave says he knows nothing about said boy, the sender of the cable, or why anyone should spend cable tolls to send such a communication, and furthermore, he doesn’t believe there is a word of truth in it.

So skeptical is the mate of Sister Aimee — now in Paris and reported to be recovering from an operation — that he announced through his new manager, Harry C. Brandon, he is going to ask the telegraph company to trace the sender of the cable.

The mysterious message read:

“David Hutton, Angelus Temple, Los Angeles.

“Darling boy, nine pounds; son doing splendidly. Understand press inquisitive but keeping quiet.


Syracuse Journal, June 24
PARIS (INS) — Admission that Mrs. Aimee Semple McPherson Hutton underwent an operation several days ago was made tonight by Mrs. Charles Bove, wife of the operating physician.

“Dr. Bove operated on Mrs. Hutton at the American Hospital several days ago,” Mrs. Bove said, “but I can say she did not have a baby.”


On July 17 Hutton announced he would file suit for divorce. "Married life for me has been no bed of roses," he said.

As was so often the case, a newspaper syndicate paid Hutton to tell his side of the story:


Syracuse Journal, July 18
As told to Marian Rhea

LOS ANGELES (INS) — Life with even as charming and remarkable a person as Aimee Semple McPherson wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Far from being a “prince consort,” as I was referred to many times, and enjoying the friendship and respect of my associates at Angelus Temple, as any self-respecting man would hope to do, I was just Aimee’s pet poodle. I had plenty of affection — yes — but no privileges.

From the very beginning it was this way. I remember several years ago that the husband of Ruth Elder objected to being called “Mr. Ruth Elder” and finally filed a suit for divorce. Well, I object to being “Mr. Aimee Semple McPherson.” I always did and I always will.

I felt all the time as though I were living in some unreal hectic realm in which nothing was logical or sane, and in which I really had no part, but was only a puppet waiting for someone to pull the strings.

Perhaps the life of any man who is the husband of a celebrity like Aimee is like that. I don’t know. But I do know that mine was no bed of roses.

When Aimee got sick and went away, Angelus Temple became a seething volcano of unrest, intrigue and counter-intrigue, with nobody knowing from one day to the next what was going to happen.

As for me, I don’t want to be sitting on that volcano anymore. I am convinced that what has already happened out there in the way of trouble is only a mere bagatelle in comparison with what’s going to happen now.

Aimee Semple McPherson is a wonderful and dynamic woman. She is probably the greatest evangelist in the world. But she is also a straw in the wind sometimes — blown whichever way the pressure is the greatest. I tried my best to help her, and as I said, I tried to work always for her best interest. But all I got was distrust from her associates. They were suspicious and jealous of everything I did.

As for my own career, it became practically negligible with my marriage with Aimee.

At the time, I was giving over 100 voice lessons a week, conducting a voice clinic and conducting auditions for radio and motion pictures. I was making more money than I was ever paid as Angelus Temple business manager. But all that went by the boards. I kept on singing, it is true, but for nothing.

Later I was offered vaudeville and screen contracts, making a career such as I now contemplate possible. But was I allowed to accept them?

I certainly was not. It wasn’t “fitting” for a man identified with evangelism to have anything to do with a theater, Angelus Temple officials told me.

Here I might say that I don’t want any money from Aimee, nor do I expect to get any.

I am about to embark upon a vaudeville career in which my weekly salary amounts to four figures.

Incidentally, I am not being billed as “Aimee Semple McPherson’s husband.” I have no wish to exploit her name in my own behalf. Nor am I out to sling mud. I am simply seeking my own future happiness, and in so doing I wish Aimee — or “Betty,” as I have always called her — Godspeed.

Perhaps Hutton didn't know the difference between a poodle and a Boston Terrier. In any event, it was his wife's turn to speak:


Syracuse Journal, July 26
ABOARD S. S. CITY OF HAVRE, NORFOLK, Virginia (Universal) — Aimee Semple McPherson Hutton is going to carry the divorce fight back to David and file a cross-complaint to his suit, entered in Los Angeles.

If it’s freedom he wants, he can have it, but there will be no turning of the other cheek.

With flashes of her old self, thus spoke Sister Aimee after she had returned to America to cry a bit, sigh a bit, and tell the world — and David — a few things in general.

“He said he was a child of prayer and wanted to labor in the vineyard, but now he has become a torch singer and a man who does not care,” said Aimee. “I gave him everything my heart and purse possessed.

“I loved him when I married him. I loved him since, and I loved him even until now. But there is a limit to what a woman’s love can bear. Why David ever did these things to me, I can never explain. I doubt if he can.”


Some felt Hutton's biggest complaint was that he wasn't receiving enough money from his wife, who apparently restricted his role at Angelus Temple to singing in the choir.

So he struck out on his own, cashing in on his notoriety while proclaiming that he wanted to be his own man. He turned to vaudeville — what was left of it — and billed himself "a torch singer." Things did not go well.


The New York Sun, July 28
HOLLYWOOD (AP) — Last night, in his first appearance behind Hollywood footlights, David L. Hutton, former choir leader of Angellus Temple, became the target for a volley of eggs thrown by a woman in the audience.

Hutton, who is suing the temple pastor, Aimee Semple McPherson Hutton, for divorce. was not struck by any of the four eggs — good eggs, too — and the woman was arrested by a detective sitting near her.

At the police station she gave her name as Jane Jones, 27, and was booked on a charge of disturbing the peace. She told police she was not a member of the temple congregation.


A few months later, in 1934, David Hutton no longer was Mr. McPherson. His singing career went nowhere and he faded into obscurity.

While never as popular again as she was in the 1920s, Aimee Semple McPherson, despite financial problems and a knack for finding trouble and attracting lawsuits, carried on until her death in 1944. She was only 53 years old.

In 1933, Ms. McPherson crossed paths with one of the year's most notorious women, Mrs. Jessie Costello, who after being acquitted of murder, tried to find a place in the evangelists's organization. But just as Mrs. Costello charmed jurors into a "not guilty" verdict, she may have proved too charming for Mrs. McPherson's audiences. Rumor was the evangelist was jealous of the newcomer and sent her packing.