by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Tuesday Oct. 3 was the 40th anniversary of the founding of Children’s Television Ministries (CTM), Inc in Detroit.
David and Carolynn Walters started the Gospel television program for children with a group of friends in 1977.
The couple now owns and operates Mr. Mustache and Company, the North Third Street toy store in Rogers City.
The couple had plans of recording new shows from the back of the store that replicates the set used in the program. Their last recording studio was in Florida.
However, their future studio will be along M-68 east of Onaway thanks to the generosity of the people of Onaway Baptist Chapel.
The pastor and its small congregation decided to close their doors and hand over the building and land to the Walters, so they can continue reaching out to young people through the television ministry.
The paperwork to transfer the property was signed on the anniversary date of CTM.
The last church service was Sunday. Calls to contact the Rev. Jim Warner were not returned.
Walters, who attended a church meeting recently, could not believe they made the offer. “I was blown away,” said Walters, who many know as Mr. Mustache. “It is 30 acres…it’s probably five or six times larger than the studio we had in Florida.”
The store will expand into the back of the store in Rogers City, while the sanctuary in the lower level of the church building in Onaway will be transformed into a television studio.
“We are going to rebuild the set, but much larger. It will take us some time to get it going, but from there, we will be able to leave it set up,” said Walters.
Had the Walters moved ahead with plans to record in Rogers City, they would have had to tear down and set up every time.
“Another problem I did not realize when I came here is the noise factor,” said David. “The traffic noise is loud during the day, and at night too. That would hinder us.”
Walters likens the situation to the passing of a baton in a relay race. “And the baton is passing, and this building these people have built since 1980, they are now passing it on for us to take it into the future.”
Walters continued, “It does not pay for itself. I worked as a schoolteacher to feed my family and did the show on the side. The idea of coming here (Rogers City) was, we put the store together, and it can fund what we are doing. So, the toy store can keep us going, and at the same time, it can be complimentary.”
Walters has plans of recording 26, 30-minute episodes during the first season in Onaway.
The goal would be to start recording during the winter. Each program requires about 20 hours of preparation, he said.