|Mainse poses with a statue of Jesus washing one of|
the disciples' feet in the foyer of his Crossroads HQ
Such a man is David Mainse, the founder of 100 Huntley Street and Crossroads Television System (CTS). This month he marks 50 years since he first took to the airways.
I went out to Mainse's sprawling broadcast/ministry centre off the QEW in Burlington, Ont., last week to interview the 76-year-old televangelist, still spry and passionate about his life's work despite his on-going battle with leukemia.
I was impressed with Mainse's knowledge of history, especially--and this wasn't surprising--Bible history. CTS has a full scale replica of an Old Testament Tabernacle set up in a giant sand pit at the Crossroads Centre, open to the public through Sept. 3. It is all very Indiana Jones, what with its golden arc of the covenant. If it doesn't draw, the attraction could easily be made over into a cool beach volleyball court, I'm thinkin'.
Mainse recalled that Sheen's sin was becoming more popular that his earthly boss--the Pope. It was no accident, says Mainse, that Sheen was transferred to Rochester, far from his New York studio, derailing his TV career.
Mainse told me something I never knew--that religious warfare in Ontario played a role in the formation of the CBC. “They were created because the Roman Catholics, Jarvis Street Baptists and Jehovah Witnesses all had radio programs in the ‘20s, and they were always saying nasty things about each other,” insists Mainse. The name calling gave the federal government the political will to shut them down and create the CBC, which Mainse maintains was “created to take care of the religious needs of Canadians. Unquote.”
|Early TV artifacts near the entrance at Crossroads|
Another surprising thing Mainse told me is how his CTS network--which programs a mix of spiritual and ministerial programming and family sitcoms--landed the cushy channel 9 slot in the GTA. Seems Ted Rogers mother's favourite show was 100 Huntley Street. Rogers himself called up Mainse to tell him he was getting the must carry slot across his cable empire--and that Mainse could thank Rogers' mom.
Today, Rogers corporate headquarters sits on lands surrounding Mainse's old Huntley Street broadcast address. Coincidence? The Lord only knows.
Read more with Mainse in this story I wrote for The Toronto Star.