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Michelle Johnson
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7/2/2008
EWTN to Air Classic Episodes from "The Loretta Young Show"

    “The Road to Lourdes” not shown in its entirety for almost 50 years

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – EWTN Global Catholic Network will air four episodes of the classic television series that starred Academy Award-Winning Actress Loretta Young.

These shows include “The Road to Lourdes,” which hasn’t been seen in its entirety since 1959, as well as three shows in which Young, who died in 2000, portrays the lovable Sister Ann.

“The Road to Lourdes” is somewhat darker than most of Young’s weekly shows. In it, she portrays a terminally-ill woman who is going down the wrong path until she experiences a radical religious conversion at Lourdes in France, where Catholics believe the Mother of Christ appeared to a young peasant girl in 1858.

“This is a great addition to our programming,” said EWTN President Michael P. Warsaw. “The uplifting message made it a show EWTN thought was important to air.”

The Sister Ann stories will be very familiar to fans of Young’s show, which won three Emmys during its nine-year run, which included more than 300 episodes.

Young was a huge motion picture star in the 1930s and 40s. At that time, television was a new medium that was looked down upon by the big studios. The actress took a big risk in deciding to star in, and eventually produce, her own television show.

“The movie studios didn’t like her making TV shows,” said Young’s eldest son, Chris Lewis. “They said, ‘If you do this, you will never make a movie again.’”

Fortunately, Young didn’t cave in to the pressure. Like Lucille Ball, she would become one of the first women in television to have her own show – and the first to have a television show that was not a situation comedy. She was also one of the few movie stars to make a successful transition to television.

“Mom had a lot of input into the content of the show,” Lewis continued. “She said, ‘My whole goal is to get one good idea into the mainstream of American life every week.’”

According to a history by The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC), the stories Young selected for her show “carried upbeat messages about family, community, and personal conviction.”

However, fashionistas will also enjoy Young’s famous introduction to each show. “Every episode opened with a swirling entrance that showcased her designer dresses, a move that became her television trademark,” according to the MBC.

As late as 1986, the beloved star won a Golden Globe for her work in a made-for-TV movie, Christmas Eve. Her final performance was in another television movie, Lady in a Corner, which aired in 1989.

“The Road to Lourdes” will air 10 p.m. ET Wednesday July 23 and 5 a.m. ET Saturday July 26. Episodes with the Sister Ann character will run 3 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. July 11 and December 22.

DVDs of these shows and copies of Young’s biography, “Forever Young,” are available from EWTN Religious Catalogue, www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 27th year, is available in nearly 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com and publishing arm, EWTN, is the largest religious media network in the world.

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