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Petula Clark: Blast From the FTP Past (And She’s on Tour Now!)

In 1981, British singer Petula Clark — known for such British Invasion 1960s hits as “Downtown” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” — participated in an Easter special called “The Greatest Mystery,” for Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C, and Family Theater Productions.

We’ve reached into the vaults for two beautiful songs from that show, performed with a boys’ choir.

But you don’t have to see the 84-year-old singer just on video — she’s on tour right now, playing dates at the Fairport’s Copredy Convention in Banbury, U.K. from Thursday, Aug. 10 through Saturday, Aug. 12; at Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday, Nov. 19; and at Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Niagara Falls, New York, on Saturday, Dec. 16.. Click here for details.

In the meantime, enjoy:

Image: Wikimedia Commons; Family Theater Productions

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Patricia Heaton: The Once and Current Catholic, in Her Own Words

On Sunday, July 30, Patricia Heaton, star of ABC’s hit sitcom “The Middle,” had a confession to make on Twitter:

Then, the next day, she read the account of Christian Joni Earekson Tada, speaking 50 years after injuries from a diving accident put her in a wheelchair.

Struck by the woman’s comments, Heaton tweeted the below:

The conversation continued at her Twitter page.

Heaton’s spiritual journey has a few twists and turns, from being a cradle Catholic to drifting away after divorce, to Protestant communities, and eventually back to the Church, annulment and reconciliation.

In June, I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful Catholic conference in the Diocese of Orange, sponsored by the Orange Catholic Foundation, and Heaton gave the hilarious and moving keynote address.

Her story resonates with a Catholic revert like me, and will touch cradles, reverts and converts alike. Enjoy:

BTW, ABC has just announced that the upcoming ninth season of “The Middle” will be its last. Learn more here.

Image: Courtesy ABC

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Miraculously Back on TV, Tracy Morgan Says, ‘Thank God’

Prior to 2014, Tracy Morgan was known for two things: cutting-edge comedy and crazy behavior. Then, on June 7, 2014, he was involved in a brutal car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike involving a tractor-trailer. It left Morgan with broken bones and a head injury, and he was in a coma for two weeks. His friend and comedy collaborator James McNair was killed.

In a Nov. 2015 interview, he said:

But after surviving something like that, I’m probably never going to feel normal. I went to the other side. This is not something I’m making up. Do you know what God said to me? He said, “Your room ain’t ready. I still got something for you to do.” And here I am, doing an interview with you.

On Thursday, July 27, Morgan sat before assembled TV critics at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, promoting a new show called “The Real O.G.,”coming out Oct. 24 on TBS.

Here’s how TBS’ executive v.p. of original programming, Brett Weitz, introduced him:

Tracy Morgan was knocking at death’s door, and possibly because God,
Saint Peter, or whoever just wasn’t quite ready to deal with his
wise-*** remarks, he was given a second chance at life and
another opportunity to bring his bold, raw, and hysterical point
of view back into our homes. For that, we are eternally
grateful.

“The Last O.G.” centers on Tray, an ex-con recently released
from prison after a 15-year stint, only to find his most beloved
Brooklyn isn’t what it once was. In his quest to acclimate,
Tracy will once again be given a second chance. But this time,
it’s to reconnect with the family he left behind, both those he
knew and those he’s just finding out about.

It’s too early to know whether the comedy will be suitable for families to watch. But, Morgan’s remarks indicated he has no axes to grind, that he just wants to tell a story about people of good will in an awkward situation trying to do the best they can.

What was most striking about the panel was Morgan’s open, heartfelt statements about faith.

Here’s a sampling …

On what it means to have a second chance at TV … and life:

Thank God. That’s all I got to say. Self-explanatory. Thank God.

On surrounding himself with such great talents as co-stars Cedric the Entertaining and actress Tiffany Haddish, rather than doing a show centered more just on him:

Maybe I’m just a better man now since the accident. Maybe I’m just a better man. It ain’t about me. It’s bigger than me. I’m just thankful — I’m fortunate to have these folks around me. …

We just lucked up and got what we wanted with the people, the folks that could do it. I’m just a better man now. I know it ain’t about me. It’s bigger
than me. I thank God for that.

On what he’s learned:

You can have a billion dollars and be a piece of s***. You have to be good to others. I know my reward is not — forget about what you all see me wearing. That is not my reward. My reward is when He welcomes me back into
His Kingdom.

And I’m rewarded that way by how I treat you all, how I treat my brothers and my sisters. I got redemption. I’m here.

Listen, I had to get hit by the truck. If I didn’t get hit by the truck, I wouldn’t be able to make the impact that I’m making right now. So, good. Thank you.

Whether “The Real O.G.” is a success or not, Morgan surely knows from whence his help comes.

Image: Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Jeannie Gaffigan Updates Her Life After Surgery to Remove Brain Tumor

On April 18, Jeannie Gaffigan, wife and creative partner of comedian Jim Gaffigan, underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove a tumor wrapped around her brain stem.

Recovery for the 47-year-old Catholic mother of five has been difficult. She suffered aspiration pneumonia in the hospital, that landed her in the ICU for two weeks. Because of the surgery, her throat was paralyzed and she has had a temporary tracheotomy and a feeding tube.

Gaffigan and her husband have said that the ordeal has reaffirmed their faith and taught their children about being compassionate.

Now, through People magazine, Gaffigan has given an update on her condition. She still has the feeding tube, but she’s progressed to taking food by mouth, and has worked her way up to purees. The tracheotomy has been removed, and she can now breathe without an oxygen tank.

Read the whole thing here, but below is an excerpt from her essay.

As my cranial nerves start to come back to life, I have found a new appreciation for everything. Every moment is a gift from God.

My love for my [five children] which seemed boundless before has multiplied a thousand fold as has my love for Jim. The marriage vow “in sickness and in health” became more than just words, and I am inspired every day by the strength and courage of the man who held everything together through this hurricane brought on by the brain tumor.

I dodged a bullet and my life will never be the same. Don’t wait for the hurricane to hang on to your family and friends and to find the blessings and the glory in every detail. Do it now.

Image: Twitter/Wikipedia

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.

Marshall McLuhan on Media and Faith, With FTP Founder Father Patrick Peyton

In his 1970s show “Matter of Faith,” Family Theater Productions founder Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., did an extended interview with media visionary Marshall McLuhan, who originated the phrase, “The medium is the message.”

Here’s how his official Website describes McLuhan (whose birthday is July 21):

McLuhan was still a twenty-year old undergraduate at the University of Manitoba, in western Canada, in the dirty thirties, when he wrote in his diary that he would never become an academic. He was learning in spite of his professors, but he would become a professor of English in spite of himself. After Manitoba, graduate work at Cambridge University planted the seed for McLuhan’s eventual move toward media analysis. Looking back on both his own Cambridge years and the longer history of the institution, he reflected that a principal aim of the faculty could be summarized as the training of perception, a phrase that aptly summarizes his own aim throughout his career.

McLuhan was also an adult convert to Catholicism. Said McLuhan:

I was reading [G.K.] Chesterton, and [Christopher] Dawson and [Jacques] Maritain and those people. That’s how I came in.

I had no instruction even from clergy at any time but there was a friend of mine who said, ‘Well, since you don’t believe in Christianity’ – I was an agnostic – he said ‘you could pray to God the Father. So you pray to God the Father and simply ask to be shown.’ And so I did.

And I didn’t know what I was going to be shown, all I said was, ‘Show me,’ and I didn’t ask to be relieved of any problems. I had no problems. I had no belief and no problems.

Well I was shown in a quite amazing way and quite unexpected: I was arguing about religion with a whole group of grad students one night at Wisconsin and one of them said to me suddenly, ‘Why aren’t you a Catholic?’ and I shut up because I didn’t know. Up to that moment, it had never occurred to me that I would ever become a Catholic. But I was suddenly caught. I became a Catholic at once within a few days.

In the three videos below, McLuhan — who had a prescient view of how man and modern media intersected, even though he’s speaking before the internet — talks to Father Peyton about how the instantaneous and enveloping nature of modern media affects man’s mind, heart and soul.

Here McLuhan discusses the value of the replay, the effects media has on interpersonal relationships, and faith and resonance.

Here McLuhan discusses resonance, joining the Church, and the Church as a source of nourishment.

Here McLuhan discusses women as victims of sexism, the mother’s role, and the nuclear family.

Looks like McLuhan and Father Peyton were well ahead of their time!

Image: Family Theater Productions

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.