(This article originally appeared in the September 21, 1984, issue of Christianity Today.)
Whether most Christians like to admit it or not, movies produced by the secular film industry have an impact on the church as well as society. A recent Christianity Today survey of readers' film interests and attendance shows that this former taboo is disappearing, particularly among younger Christians and members of the clergy who feel films help them stay in tune with contemporary life.
While many Christians lament what they discern to be ever-declining standards in films shown in the local theater, few know what, if anything, can be done to change the situation or affect positively the industry that is generally referred to simply as "Hollywood." Producer Ken Wales, an elder at Bel Air Presbyterian Church and a minister's son who has climbed the film industry ladder, recently spent some time with CT editors discussing motion pictures and the many questions that trouble Christians.
Wales studied film at the University of Southern California as recipient of the first Walt Disney scholarship. He began his professional career as an actor, and for many years was associated with writer-director Blake Edwards. He has produced numerous feature films, including The Tamarind Seed (Julie Andrews and Omar Sharifo and Wild Rovers (MGM; William Holden and Ryan O'Neal). He was also involved in producing the Ernest Hemingway story Islands in the Stream and Darling Lili, The Party, and Revenge of the Pink Panther.
In 1981 Wales received an Emmy nomination and the Golden Globe Award as coproducer of the television miniseries John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Most recently he was producer of the feature film The Prodigal for World Wide Pictures, film arm ...1