Sister Aimee, Christian Radio Pioneer Aimee Semple McPherson was one of the first preachers to wed Christian fundamentalism with Hollywood-style theatrics and tabloid-worthy controversy. The charismatic Sister Aimee's story is told in a new book and PBS documentary.

Sister Aimee, Christian Radio Pioneer

Sister Aimee, Christian Radio Pioneer

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Aimee Semple McPherson, famous for her trademark props, dressed as a motorcycle cop for a sermon entitled "Arrested for Speeding." International Church of the Foursquare Gospel hide caption

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International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

Aimee Semple McPherson, famous for her trademark props, dressed as a motorcycle cop for a sermon entitled "Arrested for Speeding."

International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

'Lost and Found Sound'

In 1999, All Things Considered aired a story about Aimee Semple McPherson as part of its "Lost and Found Sound" series.

Aimee Semple McPherson: An Oral Mystery

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Tammy Faye Bakker Messner may come to mind when you think of controversial female evangelists. But in the early decades of the 20th century, a charismatic preacher named Aimee Semple McPherson used the new medium of radio to spread the gospel to millions of loyal followers.

Sister Aimee, as she was known, made her name in Hollywood in the 1920s, and was one of the first preachers to wed Christian fundamentalism with Hollywood-style theatrics and tabloid-worthy controversy, including her own mysterious disappearance. She founded the Church of the Foursquare Gospel and built a monumental temple in Los Angeles.

A documentary on Sister Aimee airs Monday night on PBS. It's based on a new book by Matthew Avery Sutton, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America.

Renee Montagne talks to the author about the woman who became a symbol for religious manipulation and extravagance.

Aimee Semple Mcpherson and the Resurrection of Christian America
By Matthew Avery Sutton

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Aimee Semple Mcpherson and the Resurrection of Christian America
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Matthew Avery Sutton

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