Dr. Gene Scott is a real cable TV treasure. His University Network broadcasts his bible teachings from his main church, the Los Angeles University Cathedral, to various locations around the world. The cathedral and its famous huge neon “Jesus Saves” sign are designated historical monuments. Scott broadcasts via short-wave radio in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French to 180 different countries.
Scott is a televangelist like no other; he is an intelligent, curmudgeonly scholar whose broadcasts are unpredictable to say the least. One evening I watched his broadcast of an empty chair and a toll-free phone number for hours. I called the number and demanded to know what I was watching. The staff member wouldn’t tell me specifics, only that “that chair isn’t going to stay empty forever” and reassuring me that it would be “worth the wait.”
Sometimes Dr. Scott just shows footage of his team of thoroughbred horses running. When he himself does appear, he generally discusses theological issues or reads from the bible, but on occasion has been known to extemporise on the fine art of fishing or on the history of the French Revolution.
Dr. Scott is a sort of oddball renaissance man. A man of the cloth, but also a self-professed great lover. A painter. A collector of art, stamps and bibles. His church houses its own “Sistine Chapel,” with an original Rembrandt and a Monet as well as numerous examples of his own work. A saxophonist, he mocks Bill Clinton’s abilities, calling him a “honker.” His University Network Equestrian Team performs for charity worldwide, and supplied 20% of the horses for the U.S. Equestrian Team in 1991.
Gene Scott was born August 14, 1929, in Buhl, Idaho. At the age of 6, his mother gave birth to premature twins, one of them dying shortly after being born. A month later, as the other twin died, Gene began convulsing in his sleep. His mother recalls “I saw a stairway begin to roll down from heaven and come right down to the side of my bed. Two angels walked down and they stopped in front of Gene. I said, 'Oh no, Lord, you can't take Gene!' and they just went around him and picked the baby up.”
He received a Ph.D. in Philosophies of Education from Stanford University in 1957.
In 1975, Dr. Scott was elected Pastor of the Faith Center in Glendale, California, and it was in this year that he began broadcasting on local television.
In 1980, Werner Herzog shot a documentary short film on Scott entitled “God’s Angry Man” for broadcast on German television. When the film was shown on American television three years later, Scott instructed his followers not to watch it. It’s easy enough to see why Scott was embarrassed by the film; he comes across as something of a paranoid in it. One of the funnier parts was when he talked about a black suitcase that he brings with him everywhere he goes that no-one is to see the contents of until his death. He slyly remarked that it could be full of money, or it could be full of dirty socks.
In 1983 Scott’s ministry suffered a financial disaster, when the Federal Communications Commission closed three of their broadcast stations (worth around $15 million) when they refused to surrender financial documents to an FCC investigation.
In 1987 the church lost an additional $6.5 million in a failed real-estate deal involving the purchase of the downtown-Los-Angeles Church of the Open Door.
Despite these setbacks, Scott's worldwide ministry seems to continue to flourish. There is no telling how much money they take in, but Scott has bragged of a $300,000 weekly budget for his television broadcasting alone.
The curious are encouraged to take a look at a live video stream of Gene Scott, available on the web at:
(requires Real Player)
Any up-to-date information on Gene Scott would be welcome.