The Obsession of Greatness:


An exclusive interview with Paramount's A.C. Lyles

A.C. LYLES: I think it’s the desire of being obsessed, obsessed, obsessed obsessed. And nothing else mattered except going to get here and be with Paramount, and be with Mr. Zukor, and learn how to make movies. I’ve never had a desire or wanted to be in front of the camera, I’ve always wanted to be in back of it. Writing scripts, and producing things, producing movies, and doing that, that was my whole ambition. I think there’s a lot of boys and girls, the first thing they want to do in Hollywood is be an actor, or an actress, which you know, I think is wonderful, it’s very honorable. I just never had that desire, and its probably just as well, because I’ve been a very successful producer here, but I don’t know how I would have done had I tried to be an actor. I never thought about it.

BRUCE EDWIN: Well I think you would have certainly done well, you have the charisma to carry any thing.

A.C. LYLES: Thank you. I just wanted to make it as a producer. But I have great admiration for those who have that ability to be in the front of the camera. I have as much admiration for a good writer, director, producer, executive, camera man, art director, costumer, as I do for the biggest names in the business, because they all have great talent, and they all go together to make the product, and each is extremely important in making the movie.

BRUCE EDWIN: As a producer, in what way do you think the industry has changed the greatest?

A.C. LYLES: See, when I came to Paramount, the pictures were silent. Ladies were typists. They had I think two or three minorities on the lot. Now, ladies are heads of studios, producers, directors, writers, the acting field, my gosh, as I say, they had two or three minorities, now we have producers, directors, writers. Look at the situation a few years ago where this actor and actress, two wonderful, great great talents, Halle Barry and Denzel Washington won awards, and that’s really good. And everything changes. You go back and look at automobiles 60 years ago, and you’ll see the changes, and you look at how people dressed, and you’ll see every man wearing a hat, now its very seldom you see a man wear a hat, so everything changes drastically, and the studio, Mr. Zukor came here in 1926. I joined Paramount in 1928, so I’ve been here to see things develop greatly, and changes in everything, and a lot of things that are being developed today, I don’t know what they are, but they will radically change the business (in the future) the same way sound did. I saw sound come in. I saw color come in. I saw the wide screen come in, and the same thing will happen in the future.

BRUCE EDWIN: Do you kind of embrace the technological aspects of change, or do you think there are better aspects of the earlier days of film?

A.C. LYLES: I have always been very positive about this business. I don’t know of anything that’s happened in this business that I’ve thought was to a disadvantage of the motion picture and television. Because the motion picture and television I feel are the two most absorbing media’s ever invented that we’ve ever known. And of course there are a lot of changes now, but I’ve always felt that the changes that I’ve seen have been a great advantage, not only to Hollywood, but to the audience that sees it.

To be continued…

Don’t miss our next great issue, where we discuss further with A.C. Lyles fascinating topics including Marilyn Monroe, talent, what it takes to be a star, ghosts at Paramount, life after death, and much more. Only at the Hollywood Sentinel ®.

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