Everything you HATE about "Televangelism" and "Radio Gospel" got it's start with the vivacious Canadian Sister Aimee Semple McPherson.
She discovered young actor ANTHONY QUINN.
She personally chose him from a crowd of under-privileged Los Angeles youths and made him an Altar Boy.
It is the personal memories and LOVE for Aimee Semple McPherson that Anthony Quinn held all of his life that inspired me to write this piece....
Aimee was born on October 9, 1890 in Salford, Ontario, Canada. Her mother was involved with The Salvation Army, her father a simple farmer.
Of course, as a young woman in her teens, she rebelled against most everything her hyper-religious mother was FOR. Radio, Nickelodeons, Novels, Magazines, Fashion and all the new technology of the times filled her fertile mind, the precepts stored away for FUTURE use...
She married at 17, a young pentecostal Minister named Robert James Semple, a missionary, and moved away with him to CHINA. Both Aimee and Robert Semple contracted the dreaded MALARIA that was so prevalent in the slums and along the waterways of Hong Kong.
Aimee was pregnant, but she somehow recovered from the disease and gave birth to a healthy daughter.
Robert was not so lucky. He died and was buried in a Hong Kong cemetery.
Devastated, Aimee and her young child moved back to America, where she re-joined her mother on her Salvation Army rounds.
She re-married in 1913 to Harold Stewart McPherson. They had a son together, Rolf Potter Kennedy McPherson.
Aimee never got over the death of her first love Robert Semple, and continued to use the "Semple" name for the rest of her life...
Life on the road with her mother and children, Barnstorming throughout America and Canada, holding tent revivals, constantly traveling, traveling, traveling, helped her hone her skills as an orator, but LIFE itself was so hard....
Her new husband filed for divorce while she was out on the road, citing ABANDONMENT as the cause. Aimee resolved to quit the road and settle down in the Promised Land:
Los Angeles, California.
She was certain that her skills would be recognized and appreciated.
And, with Los Angeles the veritable DEN of debauchery, she felt that she was sorely needed.
She was correct. She and her children soon had a home, provided by those whom believed in her message, and she set to work...
She needed a PULPIT to speak from. Riding in the rear of an automobile with a megaphone was effective, but quite limited in scope. She needed to reach the MASSES....
She bought a chunk of land in Los Angeles, near Echo Park and the La Brea Tar Pits. She gave $5,000.00 to Architect A.F. Leicht and asked him to build her a magnificent CHURCH. He informed her that the 5k would be just about enough to dig the hole and get started, little else.
She instructed him to just get started on the hole, she would provide the church.
She went on a whirlwind, standing-room only tour of America and raised over $300,000.00.
The ground broken at 1100 North Glendale Avenue in 1920 sprouted the massive Angelus Temple, the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which opened for worship New Years Day, 1923.
The Angelus Temple was open to every Race, Creed and Religion in America.
There was no segregation, no prejudice
Women had firm positions within the church. In fact, the beliefs of Aimee Semple McPherson helped fuel the Suffragette Movement.
She became a national SENSATION, becoming the first RADIO Evangelist, KFSG Radio.
Hollywood Stars flocked to her church, incognito, of course, EVERY Sunday.
She was called the smartest, most attractive, most canny person alive in modern ADVERTISING.
The Angelus Church drew standing-room only crowds of over 50,000 people every Worship day for YEARS, unabated...
She was the darling of MILLIONS, one of the greatest business women in HISTORY.
SEXY. Yes, she was considered to be QUITE sexually attractive, which made her MANY enemies among the lesser, jealous MALE religious leaders. They set out to DESTROY Aimee Semple McPherson and everything she stood for...
But first, she began to destroy HERSELF....
-end part one-