Sister Aimee, American Experience on PBS World

Sister Aimee, American Experience on PBS World

Tue, 03/09/2010 - 8:00pm
Religious zealot. Hollywood darling. Media mogul. Aimee Semple McPherson moved conservative Protestantism from the fringes mainstream - but at a price.

Credit: ©International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

A complex and revealing portrait of one of the most significant religious figures of the early 20th century.

Sister Aimee tells the dramatic life story of Aimee Semple McPherson, the controversial, charismatic, wildly popular evangelist who was instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture and American politics. McPherson began her mission humbly, traveling across the country staging tent revivals. In 1921, at the age of 31, she settled in Los Angeles, founded the Church of the Four Square Gospel and built the Angelus Temple, where she often preached before a packed house of 5,000 believers, using elaborate musical productions worthy of Broadway. During her emotional revivals, McPherson performed controversial healings and soon started drawing bigger crowds than those of P.T. Barnum, Houdini or Teddy Roosevelt. Employing a publicist, she became a darling of the Los Angeles journalists and newsreel crews. McPherson also created her own radio station - one of the first Christian radio stations in the United States - and used it to broadcast daily sermons to her followers. Through interviews with her biographers, historians and scholars, this program presents a complex and revealing portrait of one of the most significant religious figures of the early 20th century.

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