August 12 ~  Sees His Goal Steadily Cecil B. De Mille and American Culture

"Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That's dedication." ~ Cecil B. DeMille

Cecil B. DeMille

Legendary Hollywood producer-director Cecil Blount DeMille (1881-1959) was born on this day in Ashfield, Massachusetts and called the "P.T. Barnum of the movies--a showman extraordinary."

DeMille began as a respected director of silent films, then seamlessly made the transition to talkies. He celebrated extravagance and narrative filmmaking and believed film was art. His vision proclaimed opulence... and possibilities.

His ego was as grand as his productions. "You are here to please me. Nothing else on earth matters," he once told his crew. He was the first to use a megaphone on the set.

A founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), DeMille created lavish, multi-million dollar productions such as The Greatest Show on Earth (1952, w/Jimmy Stewart) and King of Kings (1961). Steven Spielberg said the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments (1956) was "the best special effects sequence of all time."

With a career that spanned almost 50 years, DeMille was a gifted storyteller with a knack for knowing what an audience would like. He said, "Give me any two pages of the Bible and I'll give you a picture."

In building the framework for today's epic filmmaking, he made a star out of Gloria Swanson, Charlton Heston, and many others. His creative brilliance started the tradition of Hollywood stars creating cement prints in front of Grauman theater.

"The public is always right," he said... And the public loved his films.

Keep your eyes on the goal.