Journal Entries from Mrs. Ruth Geiger, Part III
In 1944 [Mr. Geiger] was approached by a radio station in Cookeville to start a bible program for children. He was offered free time. Later in the early 1950s, WSM in Nashville asked him to try the program on TV life. We were on at noon Saturday. The program was well received and rated above a Western (Roy Rogers) opposite us on another station. A month after we started on WSM – WDEF, Chattanooga opened and invited us to be the opening program- Sunday at noon which we did. It was quite a job with a green crew, etc., but somehow the Lord got us through. We continued on these two stations for 18 months but it was a killing job- getting groups of children lined up and traveling between 3 places- home, Nashville, and Chattanooga. To make it a little easier we moved to Chattanooga. After 18 months, however, it was decided we should make films, and so they could be on more stations with the same amount of work and preparation and reach many more children. We knew this would involve the expenditure of a lot of money- thousands of dollars which we did not have. One of our best advisors told us $25,000 which we knew we could borrow- without interest, but dad and I recoiled from that idea. We had never gone in debt and had been seeing our little ministry slowly spread. Another friend gave us $500 toward making a pilot film. We were in Pennsylvania at the time and had been doing some research with a small film company that was eager for business. We felt led to go ahead with the $500 as a down payment on the pilot film. That was all we needed until the shooting began.
By that time, enough money in for the second payment, and when the film was finished, we had all we needed to get the film from the laboratory in NYC. We took this pilot film to 30 TV stations beginning in Baltimore, MD and going south in a big circle ending in Dallas, TX. Television was young then and there was no problem getting station managers to view the film. Each manager agreed to telecast a series of episodes if we would go ahead with our plans. On this trip, dad took every opportunity to speak to churches and individuals who might be interested. One couple invited us to go to lunch in order to learn more about our plans. When we told them, our goal was to make a series of 13 films they said they would pay the cost of the 13th film (around $3000). They later changed their minds gave their gift toward the cost of the first 6. It was wonderful the way the Lord supplied the money. On that same trip, we were guests in a home in Florida and one evening our hostess invited friends on to hear dad tell of our work and our plans to reach children with the gospel. She insisted on putting a small basket near the door to give people the opportunity to give toward the work. The next evening at a Bible conference one of the ladies who had met us the night before come to dad and told him how impressed she was with His message and said that she had put $10 in the offering- she continued- “If you will return it to me, I would like to give you a check for $50.00.” He returned it gladly. The next morning, we were leaving for home and as our hosts were seeing us off this same lady came hurrying up. She said, “Last night I was praying for your work and going over my accounts- and I would like to give you a check for $200- if you will return the one, I gave you last night.” She also said, “I have a dear friend whom I would like you to meet when your travels take you to Minnesota.” As a result of that introduction to Mr. Fred Weierhauser, another complete film was paid for.
Film making is very tedious work. It entails many hours of scriptwriting research- rehearsals and travel to say nothing of the expense. It amazes me as I look back and realize what a big undertaking it was to complete the 71 episodes which we did make, and the Lord provided money to cover. It added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The films (and later videotapes) were telecast over hundreds of stations nationwide.
When videotaping came in, we changed to that method which was less expensive but harder to do. We worked in a Nashville station and our producer; Bob Hafner was good at his job. One day, after we had made several tapes with him, he called dad and told him that as a result of working our program he had become a believer in Christ. He said his whole life was changed- his home was a happy one now and he was active in church. We also felt the difference as we continued to work with him.
When the Lord took [Mr. Geiger], he was working on the script for his 72nd program. A few days later after he was gone Bob Hafner called and asked to speak to him. When I tried to tell him, what had happened Bob began to cry.