Saturday, September 22, 2007


Marjoe Gortner (the name is a combination of Mary and Joseph) became an ordained minister at the age of four. He was a huge hit on the revival circuit; who can resist a little preacher boy?

His folks trained him hard, and then his father absconded with the millions he'd made. This can get a fellow jaded, and Marjoe eventually left the circuit. But before he did, he was the subject of a documentary, Marjoe, that wound up winning an Academy Award. In it, he discussed how he'd manipulate the crowds; the film wasn't shown in the American South, for fear of riots in the Bible Belt.

Marjoe tried breaking into show biz as an actor-singer, and was briefly married to Candy Clark (American Graffiti), but things didn't pan out there. The documentary was thought lost for years (an Oscar-winner, post-1970, lost - can you believe it?), but the negative was found in a vault and the film restored and now available on DVD. Here's how it begins. (Pardon the bad synch.)

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