Actress Colleen Townsend had a busy day when she paid a visit to Scranton to promote her latest film ”When Willie Comes Marching Home” on Feb. 10, 1950.
Her day started with a visit to Scranton City Hall where she was presented with a key to the city by City Treasurer Edward Coleman.
Following the key ceremony she was the guest of honor at luncheon held at YMCA sponsored by the United Churches of Lackawanna County. During the luncheon, she spoke briefly about her faith and her recent decision to leave Hollywood in favor of spreading the word of God.
After the luncheon, she made appearances at the Comerford Theater before the matinee and evening showings of her latest film “When Willie Comes Marching Home.”
Between her appearance she had a moment to speak with a reporter from the Times about her decision to give up her career in Hollywood. She said “it wasn’t a difficult decision after I had once made up my mind. You see, you can’t very well make commercial films and do full-time Christian work. The Lord asked me to do Christian work and I don’t feel I can do both.”
She said that her contract expires soon with 20th Century and after that she is already signed to make a film for the Protestant Film Commission on the topic of intolerance. After that film, she said she intends to enroll in theological school in the fall.
Later in 1950, Townsend would marry Louis H. Evans Jr., a seminarian at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The couple would have four children. Evans would later go onto organize the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in the couple’s home and later be named senior pastor of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C..
Townsend-Evans would work on humanitarian efforts and later served on the board of World Vision, Christian College Coalition and International Justice Misson. In 1986, she served as the chair of the Billy Graham Crusade of Greater Washington D.C..
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast