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In The Beginning

1 9 7 8 (USA)
9 x 30 minute episodes

Father Daniel Cleary (McLean Stevenson) was a pompous, conservative Irish Catholic priest who was paired up with outspoken, street savvy, feminist nun, Sister Agnes – aka “Aggie” – (Priscilla Lopez), to run an inner-city storefront street mission in a ghetto area of Baltimore, Maryland.

Their disparate backgrounds and philosophies led to a number of misunderstandings and arguments, to the extent that Father Cleary (who called Aggie “Attila the Nun”) kept trying to get transferred to a more stable environment.

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“That nun stands for everything I’m against,” said Father Cleary.

“If she had her way, the laws of God would be called the Ten Suggestions.”

Somehow, though, they managed to work together for the sake of their penitents, often with their superiors – Sister Lillian (Priscilla Morrill) and Monsignor Barlow (Jack Dodson) – forced to settle their disagreements.

The constant stream of visitors to the mission ranged from bombed-out tipplers to Mrs Schultz, a kleptomaniac who slept outside the nearby mortuary.

Some of the youngsters who frequented the mission were Bad Lincoln (Michael Anthony), Jerome Rockefeller (Bobby Ellerbee), and Willie (Olivia Barash).

The series was created by Norman Lear (whose greatest success was All In The Family) as an update of sorts of the classic 1944 film Going My Way – that starred Bing Crosby – but did not perform well and was cancelled after only six episodes after debuting on 20 September 1978, although nine episodes were filmed.

Father Daniel M. Cleary
McLean Stevenson
Sister Agnes (“Aggie”)
Priscilla Lopez
Willie
Olivia Barash
Monsignor Francis X. Barlow
Jack Dodson
Sister Lillian
Priscilla Morrill
Jerome Rockefeller
Bobby F. Ellerbee
Bad Lincoln
Michael Anthony