Religious programming has been a staple of television since its infancy. Local stations have always films and tapes of local church services, as well as airing a devotional message from local ministers at various times of the day. By the 1970s, televangelists often fundamentalist preachers with a conservative religious philosophy rose to power with programs such as "The P.T.L. Club." The P.T.L. was founded by Jim Bakker, a minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church; he explained the initials stood for "Praise the Lord" and "People that Love." Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye, had already their own local children's religious show and the original "700 Club" before "The P.T.L. Club" took to the airwaves. The show adopted a talk-show format, not unlike "The Tonight Show" and others of the era. Frequently, between chats with guest stars, religious messages ("God loves you; He really, really does!") and musical numbers, the Bakkers appealed for funds from the television audience... Written by
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Did You Know?
The show's main fund-raising project was for construction of Heritage USA, a 2,300 acre "Christian theme park" near Fort Mill, South Carolina. It opened in 1978, while portions of the park were still under construction. Though it was never finished, Heritage USA reportedly hosted six million visitors a year, making it one of the most popular theme parks in the United States, second only to Walt Disney theme parks. See more
Spoofed in The P.T.X. Club