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Collection 327 Oral History Interview with James K. Friedrich

Identifier: CN 327

Scope and Contents

Oral history with James Kempe Friedrich (1903-1966) by Mr. Kearney (?) in which Friedrich discusses his career as a pastor specializing in production of Christian films to be used in churches, particularly for children. Included is a discussion of his reasons for choice of actors, use of Walt Disney Studios, and effectiveness of a film ministry. The time period covered by the interview is circa 1930 to 1947.

James K. Friedrich was interviewed by a Mr. Kearney (?) during the Fourth International Workshop in Audio-Visual Education, Green Lake, WI, in 1947.


  • Created: 1947

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

James K. Friedrich was born in Red Wing, Minnesota on August 22, 1903. He graduated from Virginia Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia in 1936 and was ordained as an Episcopal priest. During his academic work, a course on the life of Paul struck him as ideal for adaptation to film as a teaching tool for the pastorate. After ordination in 1938, he began to work in Christian film production in Cincinnati in addition to his duties as a pastor. When his attempts at production in Ohio proved unfruitful, he requested a transfer to Hollywood under the Episcopalian diocese of Los Angeles in order to be close to better film production facilities.

Friedrich's first film was The Great Commandment, and gradually his involvement with movies led him to leave the active pastorate to concentrate on production. His contribution to the Christian film industry was to make use of the finest available technical quality and experienced actors, though he was sometimes criticized for not limiting his staff to professed Christians. Friedrich made use of Walt Disney Studios to produce films for what became his own company, Cathedral Films. The films were distributed to many denominations, primarily for the Christian education of children.

Friedrich participated in a number of workshops sponsored by the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches. These were held at Green Lake, WI. His work was important in encouraging other Christian film producers to continue the pattern of excellence in the technical aspect and research which he pioneered during his career.

He died in Los Angeles, California on July 12, 1966 and was survived by his wife Elaine.


1 Audio Tape

26 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Harvey Marks in July 1985.

Accession 85-100

July 30, 1986

Frances L. Brocker

J. Nasgowitz

Collection 327 Oral History Interview with James K. Friedrich
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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