Religion: The Microphone of God

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, 1895-1979

Early in 1952 the Du Mont Television Network needed a low-budget show to throw into the graveyard slot opposite "Mr. Television," Milton Berle. Their unlikely idea: talks by a Roman Catholic prelate. An overnight sensation, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen's Life Is Worth Living eventually pulled nearly 20 million viewers in the weekly ratings war. A 1953 poll of journalists proclaimed Sheen TV's Man of the Year.

Sheen, who died of heart disease last week at age 84, was American religion's first TV prima donna, complete with studio audience and...

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