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"P" is for PTL Club

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for PTL Club. Based first in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then in Fort Mill, South Carolina, the PTL Club was one of the most successful ventures in televangelism for much of the 1970s and 1980s. PTL stood for both “Praise the Lord” and “People That Love.” Jim Baaker and his wife Tammy Faye Baaker used the popular program as a springboard to develop a Pentecostally oriented resort, theme park, shopping mall, cable network, and entertainment center called Heritage USA in Fort Mill. The complex drew more than five million visitors annually by the mid-1980s.  The Baaker empire endured several run-ins with tax authorities, but when a sex scandal involving Jim Baaker erupted in 1986 and 1987, he resigned in disgrace. He turned over the PTL Club and Heritage USA to Jerry Falwell.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.