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Marjoe, a Documentary from 1972

Marjoe is a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of evangelist Marjoe Gortner.

Marjoe was a precocious child preacher with extraordinary talents, who was immensely popular in the American South. His parents earned large sums of money off him up until the point he outgrew his novelty. Marjoe rejoined the ministry as a young adult solely as a means of earning a living, and not as a believer; he spent the next several years using his fame and status as an evangelist to defraud a small fortune out of individuals both through tent revivals and televangelism.

Eventually, Gortner suffered a crisis of conscience and decided to renounce his ways, offering the documentary film crew unrestricted access to him during his final revival tour, repeatedly admitting on camera that he was a con-artist and revealing the tactics used by himself and other evangelists to swindle money from people.


RIP Joe Bloe
Apr 05 2011 08:05 AM
I love this movie. Over the years I've seen bits and pieces of it on You Tube (and elsewhere) but here's the whole thing in one hit. I'm downloading it right now.I like the bit at the 22 minute mark, where the mugs are still rolling on the floor and gibbering to each other while Marjoe and the preacher head out the back to share the loot. "You count the big stuff," says the preacher, "And I'll count this..."Does anyone remember another documentary (probably from the 1980's) where a preacher is teaching his two sons to be evangelists? There is one scene where they are driving to a new church where the youngest son (about eight years old) is going to be ordained as a fully fledged minister."Are you excited about your ordination, son?" asks the father."Yeah dad," replies the son - and then, after a few seconds of silence, "What's ordination again dad?"
I remember Marjoe! I wonder what became of him?Joe, I never saw that other documentary you mentioned. It's sad that kids like that are robbed from having a carefree childhood.

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