Tammy Faye Messner, she of the heavyweight makeup and previously disgraced life, died on Friday. The death was revealed Saturday by Larry King, on who’s show she had appeared a few days earlier.
The last name Messner came late. Tammy Faye is best remembered by me as Tammy Faye Bakker, wife of Jim Bakker of TV’s PTL Club. Alas, they succumbed to the huge buckets of money sent to them, using their ministry as a piggy bank. Jim Bakker was sent away to prison.
You remember the PTL scandal? They had the air conditioned dog house!
My memories of Jim and Tammy go way back in their career. In fact, when I looked around the web, what I’m about to tell you was nowhere to be found¹.
Before the PTL Club, Jim and Tammy worked for Reverend Pat Robertson. Surprise!
This was back when his, then little, satellite channel was called the Christian Broadcasting Network. In their latter days with Robertson, Jim and Tammy often appeared on and hosted Robertson’s flagship 700 Club.
Long before Jim wore a shirt and tie, I remember the “Jim and Tammy Show,” a Christian children’s show! Yup, Pat Robertson had these two moral weaklings host a show for kids!
I remember sitting home in Charlotte, NC back in the early 70s, watching them and laughing. It was amazing sport for me.
The show seemed very over-the-top and totally insincere. Of course I had no way of knowing where their careers would go.
After her marriage to Jim ended, Tammy somehow managed to position herself as a tragic figure, caught up in a world out-of-control. I was never that charitable or forgiving toward her. All I could think about was all the money, a large percentage obtained from the poor, old and infirmed, that flowed to PTL and was squandered by the Bakkers.
I’ve always felt there should be a special category for crimes that openly betray trust. Stealing that way seems so much more repugnant than conventional forms of theft. Its ‘enhanced punishment’ would apply to crooked politicians and other civil servants on the take, con men of all stripes, and folks like Jim and Tammy.
Her makeup was the least of my concerns.
¹ – After finishing this entry, I did find this site which talked about the Jim and Tammy Show.