“Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. testified Monday [in Charlotte] that the PTL board of directors, on which he once served, was little more than a rubber stamp for television evangelist Jim Bakker.
” ‘It was called a board of directors, but at no time did it operate like one,’ said Zimbalist, star of ‘The FBI’ television series, who served on the board from 1981 to 1986.
” ‘It was a board of approval or affirmation only.’ ”
Asked if he recalled approving a $390,000 bonus for Bakker, Zimbalist said: ‘Oh no, oh no.’ ”
— From the Associated Press (Sept. 19, 1989)
Like Mickey Rooney and Pat Boone, Zimbalist was a familiar face to viewers of Bakker’s “PTL Club.” He died Friday at age 95.
“Mickey Rooney has made a TV spot urging support of the Bakkers, the former PTL evangelists and proprietors of the collapsing Heritage USA….
” ‘Won’t you call Jim and Tammy now?’ Rooney says. ‘They need your friendship’….
“What you get for the price of your long-distance call is a two-minute recorded message from the Bakkers talking about their hopes and dreams — and troubles.
” ‘Do you really want PTL back?’ asks Tammy…. ‘I really don’t want to go back,’ he replies. ‘The Charlotte Observer has attacked us for 15 years straight. To go back there is going to be hell. We know that.’ ”
— From the Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1987
The entreaties by Rooney and the Bakkers would prove futile. Less than a month earlier, a federal grand jury had convened in Charlotte to begin considering a wide range of fraud charges against Jim Bakker that would send him to prison for four years.
Rooney, Ava Gardner’s last surviving ex-husband, died Sunday at age 93.
More phrase-frequency charts from Google Books Ngram Reader:
— Chapel Hill vs. Raleigh and Durham
— Variety Vacationland. Tourism promotion not a priority during World War II?
— Billy Graham vs. Jim Bakker. No contest, even during the glory run of PTL.
— North Carolina vs. South Carolina. South Carolina’s spike in the early 1700s roughly coincides with its becoming a royal colony.
— muscadine wine. After 150 years out of favor — longer even than big band music! — still waiting for a comeback.