Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-09-16 08:40:09 –
What about the evangelists Tammy Faye and Jim Backer, who have been fascinated for nearly 35 years after the collapse of the evangelical empire?
Jim Backer Still make headlines He sells survival foods and miraculous remedies from his television compound near Branson, Missouri. Tammy Fay died in 2007, but a new biography about her is “Tammy Faye’s eyes, ”Starring Jessica Chastain as Tammy.
Jim and Tammy gained fame as married hosts on a Christian television talk show called the “PTL Club” in the 1970s and 1980s. The show aired live with the studio audience five days a week, with almost no script. Before the name came out, it was reality TV, but at the peak of the show, Aired to 14 million American homes via satellite..
The format of “The PTL Club” was primarily Jim’s invention, but it was Tammy that people came to love. For my book “PTL: The rise and fall of the Gospel Empire of Jim and Tammy Faye Mess.I talked to dozens of former PTL staff. They all remember Tammy in much the same way. Candid, spontaneous and charismatic.
She said exactly what she was thinking, no matter how inappropriate. The viewer only saw what she would say next. And while evangelicals are often portrayed as intolerant fundamentalists, Tammy represents another aspect of faith.
Tamilla Valley was born in 1942 and grew up in the oldest of the eight children in International Falls, Minnesota, in an indoor plumbing-free home. She attended a Pentecostal church with her mother and aunt and did not wear lipstick or watch movies until she got married.
In 1960, Tammy left home to attend the North Central Bible School in Minneapolis. There she met Jim Backer, who arrived a year ago.
On the third day, Jim suggested. They got married on April 1, 1961, bought a second-hand Plymouth Valiant, and set out to become a Pentecostal healing evangelist. Bible belt..
To expand their appeal, they created a puppet show for the children who attended the conference. Tammy was wonderful with her dolls, giving each one a voice and personality. She used them to say things that couldn’t be expressed otherwise, and sometimes continued her previous discussions with Jim in front of the children and parents who gathered for the show.
“I think it was a cure for me.” She later wrote in her autobiography..
PTL gets on track
The puppet show drew them to the attention of recent seminary graduate Pat Robertson A person who has just launched a small Christian TV station In Portsmouth, Virginia.
The Jim and Tammy Show, a children’s variety show featuring Tammy dolls, quickly became the station’s most popular program.
In 1974, Backers moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he launched a PTL television network with six employees at a former furniture store. Four years later, PTL (originally an abbreviation for “Praise the Lord”, but sometimes transformed into “People That Love”) launched its own satellite network.that’s all HBO When Ted Turner’s WTBS Station in Atlanta The jump to the satellite was faster than the PTL. ESPN won’t start Until a year later..
Thanks to the nationwide spread of satellite networks, donations to the province have been poured. Jim and Tammy soon became TV stars.
In addition to hosting a flagship talk show with Jim, Tammy occasionally hosted his own television show for women. The last program is “Tammy’s House PartyShe cooked and talked with guests about decoration, fashion and makeup. She wanted the show to be fun and less religious than Jim (she once did the entire show at a merry-go-round and was one of the shows cast members in the dog costume he wore. I threw it in.)
For more than a dozen years, Tammy has devoted himself to the PTL ministry. But playing on TV wasn’t what she really wanted. She was smart but unconfident, often hiding her anxiety with crazy self-deprecation. She never She wrote, She thought, “quite thin enough, or talented enough.”
instead, Tammy wrote in her second autobiographyThe “happiest time” in her life was that she spent time with her two children, Tammy Sue and Jamie, and just “become a mom”.
Tammy had something to resist Jim’s relentless marketing of faith. When promoting her first autobiography in the episode “The PTL Club” Tammy said If she couldn’t be herself, she would be Sophia Loren or Dolly Parton.
Jim jumped in and suggested she should have said Kathryn Coolman, A famous healing evangelist, or a “spiritual person”.
Crisis of prosperity
In line with their growing fame, the backers accepted The gospel of prosperity, It taught believers to expect all the best. In the post-WWII era of affluence, A good life and a devout life are fused..
The message fits perfectly in the 1980s. Many evangelicals may have disagreed with Gordon Gekko, a fictional character depicted by Michael Douglas in the 1987 movie Wall Street.Greed is goodBut they generally had little patience for the idea that restraint was better, not to mention poverty.
“God wants you to be happy, God wants you to be rich, and God wants you to prosper,” Jim wrote in a 1980 book. writing.8 keys to successThe couple used PTL money to buy a 10,000-square-foot home near Charlotte, Florida, a villa in Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California, and a home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Still, money was not central to Tammy’s identity. Yes, she was legendary for her love of shopping. But she was happy to search for a bargain box, much like buying from a luxury store.
By this time, Tammy had dramatically changed her image and added the thick make-up that made her famous.
“To the best of my imagination, she doesn’t look like a preacher’s wife,” a Charlotte reporter wrote. She was more like a “country music singer or nightclub entertainer”.
PTL staff I interviewed As soon as she entered the door, they said they could find out how she felt. It would be a good day if her make-up was relatively light and she wore only natural hair. They had a problem if her makeup was thick and she had a parton style wig.
She hid behind her makeup, just as she hid behind her doll.
When Jim got hooked on the building Heritage USA, PTL’s 2,300-acre theme park, their marriage has collapsed. Tammy was already having an affair when he had a month-long show in Hawaii in the late 1980s. So Tammy said he wanted to move to Jim and get divorced.
“It was a miserable and miserable time.” Don Hardister, PTL’s longtime security officer told me in an interview with my book.
Jim and Tammy settled, but enduring the whirlwind that was a PTL continued to be sacrificed. By 1987, Tammy was addicted to various prescription drugs, including barium.
2 years later Jim Sentenced to 45 years in federal prison In the case of transfer fraud or postal fraud. They divorced in 1992.
Tammy will do her best
After the PTL, Tammy diverged in a way that brought in her new fans. She was one of the first public figures to reach out to a gay man who died of AIDS in the 1980s., An era when fear of illness was great.
In 1996 she openly co-starred with gay actor Jim J. Brock.Jim J. and Tammy Faye Mess, “A nationally syndicated daytime talk show.
Tammy was “acceptance is everything” Brock told me.. She left the show in 1996 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. By that time, as Entertainment Weekly said, she said,Evangelist Judy Garland.. “
The backers represent both sides of the evangelical coin.Jim better understood what would sell in a cultural moment and seized the gospel of prosperity Go Go 1980s And take advantage of end-time survivalism Triggered by 9/11..
But Tammy had a better sense of what could be tolerated. And he had a stronger sense of how to connect and stay connected with people over the long term. Her fragility and compassion give her timelessness that is not bound by current politics. Her faith was more holistic and not a means of power.
When asked what she wanted to remember just before she died Tammy replied, “My eyelashes”, and “Walk with my Lord”.
She was right about both.
[Over 100,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]
Author: John Wiger-Professor of History, University of Missouri, Columbia
Underneath all the makeup, who was the real Tammy Faye? Source link Underneath all the makeup, who was the real Tammy Faye?