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65 years ago, Altoona, Penn., was Billy Graham’s crucible

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ALTOONA, Penn. — In the fall of 1949, the Rev. Billy Graham led an eight-week series of revival meetings in Los Angeles, drawing multitudes and making converts of celebrities and commoners. He rocketed into the headlines and hasn’t left them since, even today at age 95 and in frail health.

But there almost was no Los Angeles, no epochal career preaching to hundreds of millions as the 20th century’s dominant personality in evangelical Christianity.

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