Again — again — Perry Mason ‘s Sister Alice was not a real person. The preacher disappeared in 1926, prompting mass reports of her death.

And I don't think we had seen the sort of revival spirit you read so much about,” he said.

“It felt like that was a little untapped. 6 Easy 3-Ingredient Sweet Treats You Have To Try, Election results update: Biden on the verge of winning presidency, will give primetime speech as he leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia.

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McPherson, who was born in 1890, was a Protestant Evangelist who was nationally famous around the same post-World War I time period shown in Perry Mason. You’ve run out of free articles.

Episode Two of Perry Mason, which debuted Sunday night on HBO, introduced another hour’s worth of references to the Fedora Times—along with a major new character, Tatiana Malsany’s Sister Alice, who is inspired by a real life figure of the era. Both "Perry Mason" and "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" are set in 1930s Los Angeles and feature characters who are based off Foursquare Church founder Aimee Semple McPherson: Sister Molly Finnister (Kerry Bishé) in the Showtime series and Sister Alice McKeegan (Tatiana Maslany) in the HBO miniseries. McPherson returned to the United States and remarried with accountant Harold Steward McPherson. McPherson’s radio ministry made her nationally famous, but it was her mysterious disappearance and reappearance in 1926 that made her nationally infamous. Aside from Perry Mason’s Sister Alice, McPherson has been riffed on endlessly in pop culture, too, including when Faye Dunaway played her in a TV movie called, The Disappearance of Aimee.

It’s a different kind of efficiency that attracted Jones and Fitzgerald: narrative. In 1915, she abandoned McPherson and set out on the road with her children to preach the gospel, fulfilling a promise she’d made to God while suffering from appendicitis. Angelenos will know what it is, but someone in Philadelphia might have to look it up.”.

Just like Perry Mason’s Sister Alice finds herself reckoning with a kidnapping, so did McPherson—only she may have been the kidnapee. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. In its second episode, airing Sunday night, “Perry Mason” introduces one of the season’s most compelling characters: Sister Alice McKeegan (Tatiana Maslany), a charismatic evangelical whose distinctive brand of preaching draws hundreds of congregants, and countless radio listeners, to her Radiant Assembly of God. “There would be multiple points of view.

Aside from Perry Mason’s Sister Alice, McPherson has been riffed on endlessly in pop culture, too, including when Faye Dunaway played her in a TV movie called, The Disappearance of Aimee.

Of course, there were other, more labor-intensive modifications required to capture L.A.'s then-bustling urban core.

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You can get a sense of that from this newsreel outtakes from 1929, in which McPherson observes, “Aimee Semple McPherson and the name Angelus Temple have sometimes … seemed synonymous with trouble and with tests” before telling an earlier version of what would eventually become Christopher Walken’s “Two Little Mice” speech from Catch Me if You Can: Although McPherson died in 1944 of an apparently accidental overdose of sedatives—her body laid in state for three days while 45,000 mourners paid their respects—she’s attained a long afterlife in the nation’s cultural imagination. Tatiana Maslany (center) played a character based on Aimee Semple McPherson in HBO's "Perry Mason" reboot. The animating event of “Perry Mason” is the discovery of a dead infant on Angels Flight, the Bunker Hill funicular first opened on Dec. 31, 1901 — and, coincidentally, featured in a 1966 episode of the Raymond Burr original. If there’s a focal point of downtown San Pedro, it’s the building most pristinely maintained in its Depression-era form: the Warner Grand movie palace, opened in 1931. You’re speeding to hell!” It was a rock and roll approach that William Deverell, a USC professor who worked as a historical consultant on Perry Mason, says had a specific message. Mark Sanford disappeared on “the Appalachian Trail” then returned only to admit he’d actually been having an extramarital affair in Argentina, Slate’s Timothy Noah compared the episode to the alleged kidnapping of Sister Aimee: The trouble was, her story was deeply suspicious from the start. “It felt like it was undiscovered.”. He didn’t need one, Matthew Rhys takes up the mantle of the iconic defender of the innocent, made famous by Raymond Burr, in HBO’s new, Depression-era ‘Perry Mason.’. “‘The world is unsteady; here’s the rock.’”. The real-life Sister Alice: Glamorous thrice-married Aimee Semple McPherson was a 1920s sensation who founded America’s first megachurch and faked her own kidnapping – now she’s the inspiration for evangelical preachers in Perry Mason and Penny Dreadful ‘Sister’ Aimee Semple McPherson was a popular and controversial Pentecostal evangelical preacher in the 1920s; who …

Like Alice’s spectacular services, Aimee’s combined old-time religion with new-time Hollywood special effects. Her shoes were unscuffed, the Mexican shack where she claimed she’d been held could not be located, and although she’d disappeared from sight wearing a bathing suit, she reappeared fully clothed. If they even take another facet or two from McPherson’s life, we’re in for a hell of a ride the rest of the season. Even McPherson’s death in 1944 sounded, to an extent, right out of a detective mystery. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

And the theatrics that were involved in the productions of the temple, we thought was an interesting substitute for Hollywood.”. Take a tour of the iconic spots (and stand-ins) in HBO's reboot, from Aimee Semple McPherson's Angelus Temple to Ptomaine Tommy's and Angels Flight.

They shot, treated and projected the faux period movie “Seize the Hay” for an early scene.

After McPherson made Los Angeles her home base, she founded a modern megachurch—the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which is still active today. "I'm 99% confident that she had an affair," Sutton told BBC. As for finding the location for this dislocation? Although, McPherson may have had one up on Sister Alice. “Perry Mason,” which most famously ran from 1957 to 1966 on CBS, ... Tatiana Maslany pays Sister Alice, an evangelist modeled on Aimee Semple McPherson, in HBO’s “Perry Mason. “Because you’re like, what the hell is this thing? “It felt like that was a little untapped. She rode expertly.

And don't miss our own podcast, Martinis & Murder! (Please, take me to the time where I can joke about two-dollar haircuts, call something a bucket of eels as an insult, and scream, “Take it down a peg, boy-o!”at coworkers.). “We wanted to dirty it up.”. Originally from Ontario, she moved to Chicago in 1908 with her first husband, Robert Semple, who converted her to Pentecostalism, took her with him on a missionary trip to China, and promptly died of dysentery. Photos by HBO and Bettmann via Getty Images. To understand Sister Alice, it helps to understand the strange story of the preacher she’s based on, which involves a still-mysterious kidnapping and even wilder theatrics. “When [Perry] was out there playing as a boy, there’s 45,000 people there, and by the time [“Perry Mason”] begins there’s 1.3 million,” he says. “It’s a mystery to me how my name was on that bottle,” the doctor said. By the time she reached the West Coast, McPherson already had a reputation as a faith healer, and she continued her work in Los Angeles, preaching at a rented location while raising money—more than $250,000, ultimately—to build a permanent church in Echo Park. “It felt like that was a little untapped. Episode Two of Perry Mason, which debuted Sunday night on HBO, introduced another hour’s worth of references to the Fedora Times—along with a major new character, Tatiana Malsany’s Sister Alice, who is inspired by a real life figure of the era. Penny Dreadful and Perry Mason take elements from Aimee Semple McPherson's life story — of which there is still much to unpack — in a bid to elevate the conflict at the heart of each narrative. After her son found her unconscious in bed, sleeping capsules were discovered nearby. In Perry Mason’s second episode, Sister Alice delivers a sermon apparently based on 1 Corinthians 10:21 and “illustrates” it by having seven women onstage with her wearing robes labeled with the names of the seven deadly sins.

After returning to the United States, she married again, this time to Harold McPherson, an accountant.

“It’s a mystery to me how my name was on that bottle,” the doctor said. For a sermon entitled “Eighteen Day Diet or the Skeleton Army,” McPherson covered the stage with bones, which then “became clothed with sinews and flesh” through special effects. At a key point in the sermon, another seven women dressed as angels, representing the seven heavenly virtues, take to the stage and give their halos to the seven deadly sins. It reopened in 1996 just south of its initial location, only to be closed for nine years after a fatal accident in 2001; it closed again, this time for four years, after a 2013 derailment that resulted in no injuries. Though now viewed by many primarily as a tourist attraction, Deverell says it places “Perry Mason” within a history that’s been largely decoupled from modern L.A. “Railroads are woven deep into L.A.’s velocity of takeoff, and Angels Flight is an eccentric little node of that,” he says. … She drove recklessly to the front of the auditorium, slammed on the brakes, blew a screech on a police whistle, raised a white-gloved hand to the congregation, and shouted: “Stop! According to those who worked on Perry Mason, Sister Alice has a real-life counterpart from Perry Mason’s era: Aimee Semple McPherson.

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