Television: Beggar with a Tin Cup

The first religious leader to preach to audiences of millions at a time was Manhattan's Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who, after 25 years of radio-rating, moved into TV in 1952, attracted as many as 16 million listeners over 144 stations. With pontific gesture but light-hearted approach, he used blackboard drawings to discuss philosophy, referred to the Virgin Mary as "Our Lady of Television," earned high ratings even opposite Lucy and You Bet Your Life.

Last week Emmy-winning Bishop Sheen announced that he would leave TV "temporarily" in order to devote more time to his "first duty, which...

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