LOST AND FOUND SOUND: Aimee Semple McPherson

NPR's Deborah George tells us the story of pioneering radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. She was among the first to take her preaching to the radio, bringing innovative ideas to the airwaves. In the first half of this century she was a celebrity of the first order, listened to by movie stars and common folk. She was a striking stage presence who used humor and song to make her message heard. In the first of these two segments, we hear from the movie actor Anthony Quinn who played saxophone at her rallies as a boy in East Los Angeles. He tells us he learned a lot of his stage presence from her — using pauses and staring at the audience to get attention. We learn how scandal rocked her life. McPherson vanished at Venice Beach and turned up a month later in a Mexican border town with a strange story that few believed. There were rumors she had been seen in a love nest with a married man in California. This shadow over her Godliness was compounded during the stock market crash of 1929 by money woes and family arguments over money. She died in 1944 at age 54, long after her heyday ended.

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