History

What Hollywood media mogul founded Family Theater Productions? Would you believe it was a Catholic priest?

Father Patrick Peyton, CSCFather Patrick Peyton, CSC (video), a poor Irish immigrant of 1928 who was ordained in South Bend, Indiana, in 1941 as a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. A priest without any show biz experience, he became a media pioneer by his vision and by recruiting the best writers and actors in Hollywood to entertain, inspire and inform families in alternative yet mainstream programming.

Father Peyton, through Family Theater, produced more than 900 radio and TV programs that had some 10,000 broadcasts. He died on June 3, 1992, and his cause for sainthood was announced on June 1, 2001.

  • Family Theater Productions, Hollywood, gave 1950s teen idol James Dean his first film acting credit in "Hill Number One."
  • It gave noted film producer/director George Lucas ("Star Wars") his first film credit - as an assistant cameraman - in the mid-1960s for a short, "The Soldier," starring William Shatner.
  • The late Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco made her last three film appearances in Family Theater programs in the early 1980s before her fatal car accident.

Family Theater’s more than 800 radio programs and 83 TV specials have featured hundreds of top stars such as Bing Crosby, Loretta Young, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope, Irene Dunne, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Rosalind Russell, Jack Benny, James Cagney, Raymond Burr, Barbara Stanwyck, Margaret O’Brien, Helen Hayes, Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara, Jane Wyatt, Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple. More Stars» 

The Family Theater radio series, which featured hundreds of famous actors, was broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1947 to 1969, making it one of the longest running weekly dramatic radio programs in history. For the complete and inspiring story of this Catholic Media Pioneer please visit www.FatherPeyton.org.

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