This is a complete and accurate transcript of the first part of the oral history interview of Mr. Harvey Marks (Collection 308, #T1) in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded were omitted. In a very few cases, the transcribers could not understand what was said, in which case "[unclear]' was inserted. Also, grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers of this transcript should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and even rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Word in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcription was made April-May 1986 by Fran Brocker and Robert Shuster.
Collection 308, Tape #T1; Interview of Harvey Marks by Robert Shuster, July 26, 1985.
[Throughout the interview on both tapes T1 and T2, music can be heard in the background. This is because the tape recorder used for the interview was had a fault in its grounding and picked up a local radio station as well as the interview.]
SHUSTER: This is an interview of Mr. Harvey Marks for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. This interview took place at Mr. Marks' hotel room at the Marriott [Hotel] in Chicago on July 26,  at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Marks, I wonder if we could start by your describing how you became involved in films?
MARKS: Well that, I guess, would have to go clear back to my boyhood days. My father was a minister and I remember when I was about a junior... no, about a sophomore in high school, another minister left a stereopticon projector with some missionary slides, and Dad would lecture from it and I would operate the projector. That got me started because I'd been interested in photography too. Then when we moved to another town with a larger high school in Loveland, Colorado, I became interested in the films there and began helping out in the showing of films in the high school. They would be teaching films mostly, some entertainment [films]. Of course those were back in the silent days. There were no sound films. They were silent black and white films. Then for... there was a spell before going to college. But the first thing in college that happened was that I got involved in motion picture work there....
SHUSTER: Which college?
MARKS: North Central College in Naperville, a neighbor of Wheaton. And there at that time we made the changeover from silent to sound film, and we developed a motion picture program. Naperville did not have a regular theater, so we got some of the finest films we could find to show on the Friday or Saturday night for the townspeople.
SHUSTER: Was this in a theater?
MARKS: No, it was the College itself, at Piper[?] Hall in the auditorium, and it developed so that it attracted a good audience. Also during those four years each year I produced a 400 ft. film publicity film, for the College to take out during the summer. Just an ordinary 16mm camera, and at the end of the year I'd spend almost the night before leaving to put it all together, title it and everything, get it ready so the people that went out could take it with them to promote the College.
SHUSTER: Do you recall any of the machines[?] in your first experience in filmmaking?
MARKS: Well, it was very amateurish... I'd never done anything like it before, and about all I did was to record the activities of the College throughout the year to show what happened, and took a lot of still pictures also and, uh... using powder flash guns.
SHUSTER: Oh. How did... how did they work?
MARKS: Well, they did alright except that you had to open the lens of the camera and then the thing... until it lit the powder and then it went off with a big puff and explosion. And you didn't know how it was going to work or when, and you might get movement before the flash went off. But it was interesting and I got some good pictures, [unclear] and carried around pictures with me all the time, and students would ask me, 'What's the latest picture you got?' And then [I'd] take orders and have them made up.
SHUSTER: Was this...? Did you write a script beforehand?
MARKS: No, no I didn't. That was something that I didn't know about at that time. After I'd get all the pictures I'd usually have quite a bit extra film, but then I'd start to put it together into a kind of a story form to make it as interesting as possible. After I left, they turned to more professional, and got color film with sound for their promotion films. Of course then they had to get a more professional [unclear] to write it. Well, after graduation from college went back home and....
SHUSTER: Which was where?
MARKS: In the a... in Colorado. And I went back to Denver and kind of forgot about photography for a while. Worked with uh Christian Endeavor, was the Vice President and Executive Secretary of the Colorado Christian Endeavor Union for a while until I felt a call for the ministry. And after beginning to work in churches began to feel the need for use of films and audio visuals in the church more than before.
SHUSTER: Why was that?
MARKS: Because that's the way that you can put across a message more effectively than in any way it is possible to do it. And, uh....
SHUSTER: Why do you think that is?
MARKS: Because of the visualizing. They see it, they become a part of it. And I found that in later time as I used more and more, that, for instance with young people in talking about a youth problem. They could talk about the problem up on the screen where they couldn't talk about the problem that they had. But that was their problem up there, and so they could be objective and we could talk about it and we could discuss it without implicating them in the problem itself. So that audio-visuals became a very effective tool. I went on to seminary then, Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville, taking a church, a full-time church in Villa Park, Illinois, for the 3 years of seminary. And there I began really using films. I could get them out of Chicago very easily. And I developed a, a series using secular films, educational films, called The Power of God. I would take a short 15 minute film on plant life, on animal life, on insect life and so forth, and [with] each one bring a message on the power of God.
SHUSTER: Approximately when would this be, about?
MARKS: That was in 1914, no, 1937. About that time. And of course there wasn't very much religious film on the market yet. They were just clear[?] beginning.
SHUSTER: Were you aware of religious companies?
MARKS: Yeah. And I used some. Fact is, this series on the power of God I concluded with a feature-length film done by the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. It was called The Power of God.
SHUSTER: How appropriate.
MARKS: Yeah. And it worked right up to that.
SHUSTER: Did you find any other companies at that time working in Christian films?
MARKS: Yes, I knew about Cathedral Films. And I knew about Baptista. I visited him in his office down here in Chicago. At that time when he was just beginning some of his [unclear] and had a nice chat with him, got to know a little bit of his business. Then after I finished seminary we went back to Colorado and I took a church in Denver, north side [?], small church. And one of the first things I did was to to repeat the Power of God series there. Oh, by the way, while we were here in Naperville, Irwin Moon of the Moody Institute of Science was at the Moody Church with, with his big....
SHUSTER: That's a....
MARKS: Yeah, his whole thing that he did. After that I brought the youth in from the church. And after that I went up and I said, `Dr. Moon, why don't you put this on film?' And he said, `Well, I just don't have enough time.' I knew he could do it because he used some film from slow motion, to stop action in motion, the formation of crystals, the growth of a flower that he used in his demonstrations and his lecture. So I knew he could do it on film, but he says, `I just don't have the time.' About 2 years later, and that was 40 years ago now, they're celebrating their 40th anniversary of film distribution. Two years later he started distributing films for his groups.
SHUSTER: And it was your suggestion...?
MARKS: Well, I kind of pat myself on the back for it, but I don't think I had too much influence on him. I think he knew the value of film, and he realized that he couldn't reach everybody with his personal lectures. The only way to do it was in this way.
SHUSTER: Do you know if he knew Baptista?
MARKS: I don't know if he did or not. He never mentioned about that. Well, then I went back to Denver, and took a little church in the north Denver area. And one of the first things I did was to start using films. But it was difficult to get them. There was no Christian film library in the area. It came out of Chicago. I went to Ideal Pictures and talked to the manager, and he says, `Oh, we can get you anything you want out of Chicago.' I says, `But that's not good enough. We need something here. Why don't you bring them in here?' `No, we don't have a market for it.' I went to another place that had some films that they used for rent, and asked them if they'd be interested. And he says, `Well, we've got all the good Christian films there are.' And I said, `That's interesting. Do you have Cathedral Films.' 'No, we don't [unclear]." Then I said, `What do you have?' `Well, we've got a 6-reel feature film on the Passion story made in France. And we've got some Palestine travelogues.' And I said, `Are they sound films?' `No, there's no future in the sound films.'
SHUSTER: He said this in 1939?
MARKS: Yes,[laughs] so then I said there's no hope for him. So then we wrote to Bill Rogers of the Religious Film Corporation who had a series of libraries over the east. And I asked him if he would be interested in establishing a film library in the Denver or Colorado area. And I offered to help him as much as I could, along with my church group of course. He wrote back and said there aren't enough sound projectors in the entire Rocky Mountain region to make it worthwhile. And that kind of made me mad. [Chuckles] And I contacted Jim Friedrich at Cathedral Films. He had just recently started. And he said, `Sure, I'll send you the first three films I have.'
SHUSTER: He was out in California?
MARKS: He was out in California. Hollywood area there.... And so he sent me the first three films he had. That was the beginning of the Christian film library. I thought, 'Well, perhaps in 5 years or so, I may have to give full-time to something like this.' I got some film strips and films from Concordia and from Church Craft Pictures, and they became the nucleus.... I still have the box that I kept my films in. And I kept my film re-wind on the top, and the splicers that I used--very simple splicers, nothing like what we have today. That was the complete film library. And I marvel every time I look at it. Well, within about 6 months the demand became so heavy, churches began asking about films, and would I come and show them and would I help them out in getting films. So within about 6 months I had to decide, do I want to stay my entire parish here or do I want to enlarge my parish. The Lord led me to, to the larger parish.
SHUSTER: About how many questions were you getting at that time?
MARKS: Oh, it seemed like a lot--one or two a week would be it, if we got that many.
SHUSTER: Now, were these all from Colorado?
MARKS: Yes. Uh-huh. Yeah. They were all pretty much in the Denver area at the time. And I used the name Religion Visualized [chuckles] because I wanted to think of it as visualizing our faith. You can't go out on your own with just that small amount of business, so I talked to the Colorado Council of Churches and asked them if they would be interested in establishing this as their library. They said, yes, they would be interested. So I moved in with them, and we started expanding. The Methodist Church had a large library of stereopticon slides they didn't know what to do with. So they turned that over to us to organize and index and so forth. Eventually that was turned back to them. Other groups then began thinking about it. I began putting on workshops all over the area, how to use films, effective use in the church.
SHUSTER: What kind of questions did people ask you at these workshops, what did they want to know?
MARKS: They wanted to know the very basics, and I began doing the same thing we're doing today. It hasn't changed. We're still talking about how to use [them]. "You don't just squirt it on the screen," is the term we developed back there. You have to prepare the audience, you have to show them... or tell them what they're going to see, then you show them, and then afterwards you tell them what they've seen. There are three steps to be made and followed through.
SHUSTER: As they say in speech class, first you tell what you are going to say, then you say it, then you say what you said.
SHUSTER: why is that necessary?
MARKS: Otherwise they miss the point. I can give you one good example of a film, an older film now, called Bible on the Table. It's produced by Family Films. Andin one church where I saw them presenting it, at the conclusion of the film the pastor said, `Wasn't that a great film. Let's stand for the benediction.' Boom, it was done. There was nothing... no use made of it at all. This is what we call `squirting it on the screen' and hoping something will bounce off on the people. Another church used it and at the conclusion of the film the pastor said, `I wonder if there are any young couples here who would like to establish a family altar like we saw in this film. And if you would come down and we would dedicate a family altar right here before you leave. And quitea few couples came down, but he reported to me next day the important part. He said, `After I got home and was preparing to go to bed one of the young couples called and said, `We didn't come down to dedicate our family altar tonight because we just didn't think we could do it. We tried it a little bit before and we just couldn't keep it up. But when we tucked our little boy in bed tonight, he looked up and said, `Daddy, why couldn't we have a family altar like in the film?' And so his mother and I knelt right down beside his bed and dedicated our family altar.' So he said, `I wanted you to know that.'
Now you see here's the difference between squirting film on the screen or utilizing it, getting the most effective part out of it. And that's what you try and get churches to do. Even today they'll come say, `I've got to fill 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Have you got a a film to do it?' And I have a tendency to say, `No, we don't have a single film for this.' Because we don't feel that it's being used properly just to fill time, that it needs to have a purpose for it. Well, with that start I was with the Colorado Council of Churches for a brief time and found out that they were more interested in using me for other things than the film ministry.
SHUSTER: How's that?
MARKS: Well, they had a summer camp, Geneva Glen, and they wanted me to promote that--to go out and to help operate that camp. And when I got so many calls [from] the churches to come out and didn't have time to do that, they said, `Well, maybe you'd better try something else.'
SHUSTER: So, how long were you with them?
MARKS: About 6 months. Around that. And my brother was with another audio-visual company.
SHUSTER: What is his name?
MARKS: Sy Marks. And he said 'We'd like to have a religious department here and we'd like to have you come and operate that. We'll give you space for the films and we'll give you freedom to do it.' And that sounded good. Went over there and hardly got in the building when I found out that they were going bankrupt. I left my films in the car so that if the sheriff came around and locked it up, he wouldn't lock up my films because they didn't belong to this other company, they belonged to me.
SHUSTER: How many films did you have at that time?
MARKS: I would imagine we had about 25 or 30.
SHUSTER: Do you recall some of the most important titles?
MARKS: Well, they were the Cathedral films and the Concordia films. There were a few from the Broadcasting and Film Commission which was a part of the National Council of Churches. We had some excellent films [unclear]. Had a film on China which had a vivid picture of the Russian, no, or the Japanese coming in, into China.
SHUSTER: Do you recall the title?
MARKS: It was...hmm, slips my mind right at the moment. Great Gospel film. [Chuckles] Well, anyway, I it, so then I began wondering what to do. Which way was the Lord leading us? Why this step-by-step that we were going through, and this kind of thing? And I couldn't understand the Lord's leading exactly. And I looked around and there was a friend that had a camera store right down in downtown Denver. And he needed a little extra business and someone to help pay his rent, so he invited me to come in, at very low rent price, and we were there. His ulterior motive was that bringing these Christian people in, they would see the cameras and so forth and give him some extra business. He did the photo-finishing and all, so he was expecting to have a big business from that. After a while it didn't work out and he said, `Well, maybe you'd better try some place else.' Once more...
SHUSTER: Why didn't it work out?
MARKS: Because they weren't getting enough extra business. That was their purpose. I didn't know it when they invited me in. But show you how the Lord leads. Then we found an apartment house that was for sale, a 2-story apartment house, with a little house right next to it. And this was in the time when you couldn't kick people out of an apartment house (they were protected from that).
MARKS: So we moved into the little house with our library. And it had a front room and a bedroom and a kitchen and a back, second bedroom with kitchen-dining room facility. We put the film library in the front bedroom, the living room was the office, and the 4 of us slept in the other bedroom [laughs]. It was really it was something. And then when we were able to get into the apartment house (fix it up) it made a pretty nice facility for us. By that time we had developed to a much larger library, and were beginning to expand out into other states as well, neighboring states to reach out. And it was growing considerably.
SHUSTER: How many rentals were you making about that time?
MARKS: I would guess our rentals averaged about 30 perhaps.
SHUSTER: This would have been...?
MARKS: That would have been about 19, 46. Yeah, it was after the war but it was still the effects.... Yeah, and then we grew and we grew and finally decided.... Oh, listen, let me tell you about this experience because this shows you how the Lord works. After we moved in here, shortly after, a month or so, the FBI came to call on us. And they quizzed us about all kinds of things. And I said, `What's this all about? What have we done?' And they said, `You haven't done anything, but the miniature movie lab where you were was doing pornographic films andshipping them interstate, back in the back room. Well, I didn't go in the back room, worry what was back there. I thought they just had an ordinary laboratory back there. But, you see, if we hadn't been kicked out, [unclear] from that place, we would have been involved with the FBI. And what a stigma that would have put on us. So the Lord knew what we was doing and He came in. So we were in this new place for, oh, 2 or 3 years. And it was began feeling crowded in. There was no parking available at that time, and the hippies were beginning to move into 17th street, and take that over. And raising children we didn't like that idea.
SHUSTER: So this was in the early 50s?
MARKS: Well, the late 40s, yeah, and early 50s. So then we found another place out in south Denver where we could rent a nice store and we moved out there and were there for 21 years before building our own building 5 years ago, moving in January 1, 1950. That's the way it has developed. In this period of time we've been involved with Green Lake workshop... we were there in the fourth workshop.
SHUSTER: Why don't you describe those workshops a little bit.
MARKS: The workshops were a very interesting things. The Broadcasting and Film Commission was the basic sponsor, National Council of Churches, and they would bring in.... You know where Green Lake workshop is--that's the Baptist...
MARKS: No, no, Green Lake, Wisconsin....
MARKS: Wisconsin, yeah. Baptist campgrounds--beautiful place. And they would bring in producers, writers, film libraries like ourselves, and church people, all together. And for a week there would be lectures on films, there would be previews on films, of films. They had several rooms set up with projectors all operating at the same time with earphones of course for each one, beams crossing each other, so that people could go in and preview the films. And they had a large listing of films that were available to preview. This was the [unclear].
SHUSTER: You mentioned lectures. What were some of the lectures about?
MARKS: About the...how to use films, or how films were produced and why films were produced. Very interesting...Sam Hersh was a Jew who founded Family Films....
MARKS: ....because he thought there was an opportunity there to make some money, and in the process he became a Christian. But Sam was the kind of a person that listened. He thought.... He didn't just do it the way he thought it should be done, but he'd listen. I'll never forget the first year he came to Green Lake bringing one of his films. I don't remember what the film was any more. He brought one of his films and showed it to us. And they all criticized it and said what was wrong with it and how it could be improved. He went back. The next year he came, `Now I've got the film for you, just what you've asked for'... [unclear]. And each year he came....
[Break in tape, end of side 1]
SHUSTER: [Do you remember what] those criticisms were?
MARKS: Well, they were somewhat theological or the lack of proper theology. His background, his, his, his experience didn't help him on that, so his theology wasn't the best at the beginning. But as he grew and developed, it improved, and he had made some of the finest films of the time [unclear], and they were for preview at Green Lake.
SHUSTER: What were some of them?
MARKS: Well, like Bible on the Table was one of them. [pause] I'd have to look at a few listings to bring some of the memories of those. Dr. Friedrich was there, and I have here the original tape [of] an interview. That's on, uh....
SHUSTER: Was that Green Lake?
MARKS: Yes, that was at that Fourth International Workshop, and in that he talks about his filmmaking experience. And there's a very interesting comment in there that he made. He says, `People complain about the high cost of renting a film.' He says, `They can't afford $6.00 for a 30-minute film.' And now we look at it and today a 30-minute film would be $45.00 maybe.
SHUSTER: Even more.
MARKS: Maybe a little more. But back there that was a high price. And I recall that back there a children's film that would cost $3.00 for a 15-minute children's film. It didn't get used much because they couldn't afford to spend that much on children. Now we've got some children's films that are up to $100.00. They're not used in Sunday School, those long ones of course, but other films are in the $30-40-$50.00 range, and they're used heavily. There's a lot of call for children's films. The change that has taken place in the industry because of that.
SHUSTER: Because of...?
MARKS: Because they learned how to use it, and they could see how effective they are with the children, with to...to teach. Now Baptista never came of course to the workshop because that was not his group of people. But there were a lot of very strong evangelicals there, and they were the ones they kind of kept things in order. Now the Broadcasting and Film Commission had a review committee. They had about 100 review committees scattered around the country. And these people would review films, I mean they'd send the interviews into a central place where they would be coordinated together. And then they published an audio-visual research guide each year for many years. It a... it's been several years now since the last one was done. But that was a very useful guide to look up film. And we would look up the review of the film, and if it says, not recommended, we'd say, `That's the film to use!' Because we knew it was an evangelistic type of film that these reviewers weren't sympathetic with.
SHUSTER: So there was a general prejudice against evangelistic films?
MARKS: Yeah. And that's where the BFC began to go down. Because at first they were strong. But during the years they lessened until today they don't produce films hardly at all.
SHUSTER: Why do you think that...?
MARKS: Because the liberalism crept in to the Council of Churches.
SHUSTER: Can you think of some examples of how this affected the Film Commission?
MARKS: Well, because the films they produced didn't have a strong message. They were all social Gospel. And the churches weren't interested in that unless it had a gospel message with, with it. But as you know, we don't need to go into that. Now, they are doing that even today [unclear].
SHUSTER: You mentioned how at the Green Lake workshops evangelicals helped keep things in order. What do you mean by that?
MARKS: I mean thatwhen somebody would try to say that a certain film was too evangelical, they would stand up and say that's what we need. Or they would promote that type of a film. Jim Friedrich, for instance, was criticized sometimes because he used Hollywood actors in his films, contrary to what Baptista did. There was a contrast between these two pioneers. Where Baptista said that the only born-again actors and actresses and cameramen and technicians could produce the films. Jim Friedrich went to the best. He was a friend of Walt Disney, and had many of his films produced in the Walt Disney studio. And when he was criticized for that he said, `Yes, but I'm wanting to reach the unsaved, the non-church person. And if he sees a film that I produced that is not the highest technical quality possible, he's going to compare it to what he's used to seeing in the theaters, and saying, `If that's all that the Christian churches.... I don't want anything to do with it.' He says, `I want to reach them with the best product possible.' But the outcome of it was that he was called `the evangelist of Hollywood.' He began every session with prayer.
SHUSTER: Every session of what?
MARKS: Every session of shooting with prayer. And he made them all bow their heads - Jews, Gentiles, atheists, or whoever might be there. They had to stop and pray with him before he did. Then he would use it and have a chance to talk. And many of those actors and technicians became Christians.
SHUSTER: Who were those actors?
MARKS: He enlisted (I don't know if you want to go into some of this other history), but he enlisted a man who was a very knowledgeable knowledgeable man on history, and had an accurate photographic memory.
SHUSTER: Who was that?
MARKS: I can't recall his name, it's been long ago. I'm sure it's on the titles of some of these [Life of Christ?] series of films. He enlisted him to research the life of Christ. Now he was not a Christian, but he was such a good man for that sort of work. As he researched the life of Christ for this series that Jim Friedrich, wanted to produce, he became a Christian. He says, `I must believe in Christ.' And he became an official in Friedrich's church. I don't know whether he's living today. Jim Friedrich is not and this man may not be either because that's been quite a while ago. But that was the attitude that he had, that he wanted to reach the non-church people with the best technical.... And he did. I think that Living Christ series is still the best production on the life of Christ. It's technically perfect, but it's told in today's language. And it isn't just people walking around in bathrobes and saying things, but....
SHUSTER: Is it still rented often?
MARKS: Yes, it still is. Twelve 30-minute episodes in that series. And I've had people tell me, said `Boy, that is just like it is today,' in the way they present it, so it relates. It's not something that happened 2000 years ago. It's something that's happened today from 2000 years ago.
SHUSTER: Besides Cathedral Films [unclear] and Mr. Friedrich were there other connections between the secular film industry and the Christian film industry?
MARKS: you mean like production?
SHUSTER Production or distribution.
MARKS: Distribution. Yes, there were some. Although I guess you wouldn't say that Family Films was secular completely. But Sam Hersh established a studio and he, he had it all filled up just like the major studios to produce films. He produced films for his own distribution, he produced films for Concordia, the This is the Life series, a film that you're familiar with, for many years was a popular television series. He produced those for Concordia. He produced films for Southern Baptists and other denominations, and he produced films for their needs. Cathedral did some of it, but not as much as Sam Hersh did in Family Films. There were some other smaller companies that started up and used some of the facilities, but they, they didn't last long, just up and down.
SHUSTER: What were some of those, do you recall?
MARKS: Uh...one of them was...[long pause] my memory.
SHUSTER: They weren't around long enough.
MARKS: That's right, they didn't do that. Then of course Broadcasting and Film Commission produced films back in those days. The Methodists had a film production organization they used. The Baptists, the American Baptists, did some production, the United Church of Christ did some production. But they were primarily the denominational type of production, although a few of them did cross-denominational. And most of the denominations back in this era had their own film libraries. The Disciples of Christ had a large film library in St. Louis, as did the, the, the United Church of Christ. They had a large one in St. Louis. Methodists in Nashville, and then they had the branches. The Southern Baptists were, had a central one in Nashville. The Baptist book stores became outlets for, for...they were developing.
SHUSTER: Who, what group rented mostly from you?
MARKS: All denominations. Yeah, we served them all.
SHUSTER: Well, why were they renting from you if there were films available from their...?
MARKS: Because we were closer, and we could give them better service. Now the denominational libraries are practically defunct, and the independent librar- ies are the ones that are going ahead.
SHUSTER: Why did they go defunct?
MARKS: I guess they didn't get enough response. And the mainline churches have not used film like the evangelical churches have. And there has been some discussion here at the convention about that. But the one reason is that they are primarily a Sunday morning service, and they don't have other functions too much. Oh, they'll have some family nights and things like that where they'll can put in some, but it's not a consistent like the evangelical churches have. Not only Sunday morning, but Sunday evening and Wednesday services where... and a strong program to evangelize. And that's where the films come in as an evangelistic tool, as you know with World Wide Pictures would have. During the early years when I went here, I also went to the National Audio-Visual Association and joined them. That was an Association, not too large, nice comfortable Association, of producers, manufacturers, and of course libraries, both secular and Christian. And while there I became an officer and ended up as president of the Association. During that time I started the Religious Film Council of the Association to set it apart.
SHUSTER: And the purpose of the Council?
MARKS: To unify our Christian film libraries, and to provide a place where they could speak and share their problems and their needs and so forth. At about that same time there were two other young fellows with the Christian film libraries, Harry Bristow from the Philadelphia area and Lenman--what's his name? I can't.... Walter, Walter Lenman. They... during a convention in Washington, D.C., that year, sat on a park bench across from the hotel and discussed the possibility of organizing a Christian film association. And
Harry came to me and I turned him down. I says, `Let's build this religious film group within that and not spread it out.'
SHUSTER: Why did he want to go to a separate...?
MARKS: Because of the closer fellowship and because of the emphasis that would be made upon the Christian.... Of course we made an impact on NAVA, there's no question about it. There's one example. NAVA always had a cocktail party for the president. When I became president, they didn't even suggest it. They had a president's reception with no liquor. And I felt good about that because that was a compliment to me and to the Christian film people. And there were a number of them, several of them, who were officers of the Association too.
SHUSTER: Now, besides the Christian film libraries, who belonged to NAVA?
MARKS: Well, all of the audio-visual dealers, most of whom were selling schools, primary equipment, selling film, all of the film producers that were for schools belonged, and the manufacturers of screen projectors and so forth were members.
SHUSTER: But not entertainment film companies?
MARKS: Yes, uh-uh, in the 16mm. area, yes, They were all a part of it. And you see, that's why... that was the large portion, it was primarily geared to the school and industry market, and entertainment market. And our Christian films were very minor. And that's why Harry and Walter would like to have seen something outside. But I wanted to see, see if we couldn't build this up first within it. But after a while that got less and less. We did establish a worship service Sunday morning which was pretty well-attended. And it was an audio-visual worship service. Jim Friedrich I'll never forget, he gave one which was really great.
SHUSTER: What was his sermon on?
MARKS: Well, he used one of his Bible films as the basis, and the message was built around that. And others would [use] other types of audio-visuals to show how they could be used. About 10 years passed before Harry and Walter and Ron Pierce from the Moody Bible Institute here, and Don Lundeen from Minneapolis and Fred Carlson from down,[unclear] had a film library. And they were in Milwaukee for, I think it was the CBA. And of course Don Lundeen lived there and he was uh... they....
SHUSTER: The CBA is the Christian...?
MARKS: Christian Book Sellers' Association and they were there and they sat down together to talk about this whole project. That was 11 years ago.
MARKS: And after much prayer and decision they decided to call a meeting of the Christian Film Library for an organization in Anaheim, California. That was in July, and they invited the rest of us to come. They didn't invite me to this meeting because I had been opposed to it before. But by that time NAVA was pretty much out of it. In fact they don't have a religious council any more.
SHUSTER: Why is that?
MARKS: It just faded out. I guess not enough interest, and possibly because the [unclear] holds all the [unclear] from it. And even the producers, very few of them go. Some of the mainline denominations still went, and they ran it.
SHUSTER: Why do you think most of the evangelical Christian film producers and film libraries preferred the CFTA to the Religious Council?
MARKS: Because the emphasis was upon evangelism, on presenting Christ. It was not.... The emphasis was not on selling equipment. It was not entertaining people. It was strictly doing something, use a lot of things [in] this medium to the glory of God. That was, ah.... And then the fellowship and sharing together. So that first one was in Anaheim. From that there were, if I remember correctly, there were 25 libraries. Well, maybe more [unclear] But it was a very small beginning, no overseas. Today there are members all around the world.
SHUSTER: How many are there, roughly?
MARKS: It's roughly, the libraries would be about 150. And that's practically all of the [unclear]. It's not like NAVA had 2 or 3 members in one town. Denver had 4 members in the one town. But they're the ones that are dealing with schools and industry. But the Christian market, it isn't a strong enough market to support some. [In] Philadelphia there are 4, but they've got more people in that small area than we have in our whole Rocky Mountain area as far as people in churches are concerned. California has in the Los Angeles area, has 1,[counting] 2,3, and can support it. But in most areas it's one...so, it's...been all [cough] from that...
SHUSTER: What about the Green Lake workshop, what happened to them?
MARKS: I don't know. They just faded out of the picture. It was the same thing that happened with the, with the National Council and their work and broadcasting company, they just gradually faded out.
SHUSTER: When was the last one you attended?
MARKS: I didn't attend those last ones. I would guess that it would be possibly 12-15 years ago.
SHUSTER: Do you recall the names of some of those people or persons who originally got this started within the Council?
MARKS: Yeah, one of the outstanding ones was Pearl Rosser. She was the sparkplug behind it all. Then there were, I think there are names here that will help me out [consults program from a Green Lake workshop]. But she was the chairman, chairlady as they call it nowadays [unclear] and she had gathered around her some of the best that were available. One of them was George Ammon [?], who was chairman...ah...hmm.
SHUSTER: Do you know what Pearl Rosser's background was?
MARKS: No, I don't. Let's see what they give her as her title. Well, I see on the...ah.... She was in Christian Education. She was the Executive Secretary or something like that.
SHUSTER: You mention the kind of split that was at the meeting between those interested in evangelistic films and those who weren't. Where would she fall?
MARKS: Oh well, she would be the more liberal side. There's no question about it. Emil [?], Floyd Watt had the Evangelical Church film library in Dayton, which is no longer in operation, Ed Shaw who was with the Baptists, Brunson Motley who was with Cathedral Films for a while and with Family Films until he established his own business making these filmstrip cans with the fliptop.
MARKS: Gus Motley was the one that developed that. And Don Lantz who was a classmate of mine in seminary, was with Family Films for many years. He was directing it. And that's why Family Films had such a strong evangelical approach because of Don Lantz. He was a part of.... B. F. Jackson was with the Methodist Church [unclear]; Alex Ferguson, United Church of Christ; Oscar [?], with the United Church of Christ [unclear]; Paul Keel who was with, who founded.... He was a Missouri Synod Lutheran and [founded] Churchcraft Pictures, that he founded; Harry [?], professor at the seminary where I attended.
SHUSTER: What are some of the attitudes of Christians toward use of films? Is that something that you saw change over the years?
MARKS: Yes, very definitely. I remember some of the early days when I'd go to see some of the pastors, and I did a lot of calling on pastors in those early days. And I miss that now. But I had to in those days to get it started. And I remember sitting down with one pastor (Assemblies of God) and he says, `Our church has it in their by-laws that we cannot show a picture in the church, not even on the wall. We can't do it.'
SHUSTER: Was that an independent church?
MARKS: Well, of course, most of them are somewhat independent. But then he says, `But you've shown me the value of using some of these. I'm going to invite my young people to my house. There's nothing that says I can't show them films in the house.' And he did. And he began a film ministry with his youth. Well, today, we can sell them to the church. They're big users. At the beginning some of them questioned. I mentioned about Jim Friedrich, the kind of actors that were being used and how they were used. And when I tell them some of the stories about Jim, like the story of how he got the actor to play the part of Christ (and that was another sore point--how can any man play the part of Christ?) And when he told the story of how Cathedral got Bob Wilson to play the part. It's a very exciting story.
SHUSTER: What is that story?
MARKS: Well, they were developing this Living Christ series, and they had done some single films before, and had Nelson Lee....
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