No Bad Movie Friday this week, as The Tubes yielded up precious few usable clips from Smokey and the Bandit Part 3. Instead, we’re gonna hit you with a special treat—rare archival footage from the heyday of Father Divine, taken during his prosperous Harlem phase. It’s best viewed in tandem with this 1953 Life spread, which neatly sums up Father Divine’s penchant for ostentation:
In the peaceful setting of Pennsylvania’s wealthy Montgomery County, 20 miles into the Schuykill River countryside near Philadelphia, two universes and their undisputed rulers collided quietly last week. The occasion was the dedication by Father Divine of a 73-acre estate and its 32-room Gothic chateau as the newest of some 75 “heavens” and “the country seat of the world.” For the event, Father Divine, whose followers regard him as God, Dean of the Universe and Harnesser of Atomic Energy, had invited Prophet Jones, head of Universal Church of Triumph, Dominion of God, Inc., to be in attendance…When the train pulled in, Father Divine was there, accompanied by 15 limousines.
Apparently the man born George Baker Jr. really knew how to host a banquet, too.