Monday, March 3, 2014



When I was young I thought the only important thing in life was to get out of school. To be 16 so I could drive. To be 21 so I could drink and party. I did not have a care in the world.

When I ventured into the business world I wanted to win, accomplish, and reach a goal. I wanted to dream and make things happen. To get there, I was always in a hurry.

I think we all try to do things in a unique way. Win or lose we all make mistakes and miss what is important in life. We forget to slow down and take much for granted.

My neighbor is a young man. On Christmas day, he suffered a massive heart attack. He started to recover and then went into cardiac arrest. His heart failed. His body was strong and young, so he became a candidate for an artificial heart. He was too weak for a heart transplant and it would also take too long to find a donor heart – so the artificial heart replaced the one that died.

It was only a couple of years ago they thought it quite impossible to survive with an artificial heart, but that has changed. One of the first films I directed had Paul Winchell as one of my stars. Paul was a very funny man. Known as one of the world’s best ventriloquists, his constant companion was Jerry Mahoney. They entertained fans all over the world. He was also a fine actor, very funny comedian, humanitarian and little known inventor. He was the host of The Paul Winchell Show and hosted the Winchell-Mahoney Time – a children’s TV series. During the filming of my film “The Man From Clover Grove” Paul shared with me and many cast members, Ron Masak, Cheryl Miller, Rose Marie, Richard Deacon, Buddy Lester, Jed Allen, Stu Gilliam and Joe Higgins, news about some of his inventions. The one he was most proud of because he had some medical training earlier was his artificial heart. He was the first person to build and patent a mechanical artificial heart implantable in the chest cavity. He held the U.S. Patent for the device. He said one-day man would be able to take a worn out heart and replace it with a mechanical one. We laughed and enjoyed the almost eerie idea that a man’s heart could be replace with something mechanical.

The best part of that story is it has happened. Paul must be smiling down at mankind for taking the serious invention of a comedian and turning it into a functioning device that saves lives. My neighbor is healing and will be waiting for a donor heart. The remarkable new device is, miraculously keeping him alive.

That made me curious what people thought were the 10 most important things in the world. I often ask people what they think is important in life. I’m often staggered by some of the answers I get. Some people take their time, think the question over and then say one of the following. The answers, not in any particular order, always include:
 (1) The Grand Canyon
 (2) The Pyramids in Egypt
 (3) The Great Wall of China
 (4) The Taj Mahal in India
 (5) Russian Architecture
 (6) The Panama Canal,
 7) St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
 (8) The Towering Skyscrapers in Dubai the City in the United Arab Emirate
 (9) Man Landing on the Moon
 (10) Television or the Internet

As a man who loves to entertain and has spent his entire life creating works of art people all over the world can enjoy, I have my own views on what is important to my life. My list is quite different from most. It is short and to the point. The 10 most important things to me are:
1.              The SEE and have the vision to appreciate.
2.              To HEAR the rich sounds of life, nature and friends.
3.              To TOUCH and enjoy the ability and sensation which moves the heart.
4.              To TASTE the glorious buds that surround the palate.
5.              To FEEL the sensation that moves the heart, the physical, and the mind.
6.              To Laugh and entertain both inside the body and out.
7.              To LOVE and be able to understand and appreciate the emotions.
8.              To HUG and share within the warmth of giving.
9.              To LISTEN and learn the art of knowing what others are saying.
10.            To LEARN by taking all that has enlightened the mind and mold it into wonderful.

I feel that if everyone took the time to appreciate what was gifted to them and not what others have done, life would be as special as first intended. To accept those who may be different, scarred, limbless or unique and welcome them into your life as anyone else would be. If we all carried a peaceful heart so much more, could be accomplished. Life after all is a gift. It can end on a moments notice without warning. What a shame to waste such a unique opportunity to make a statement others would remember having been said.

I remember my grandfather telling me to slow down and smell the roses. I thought that was a joke. Who went around smelling roses? I adored my grandfather but sadly it took years to understand what his simple statement meant. He also said, “Do with others as you do with family.” Grandpa was the ultimate teacher of what listening, learning and smiling meant to the body and mind. It was a given. If we first learned to listen, our smile would come much easier.

Life. It is what we make it. We have choices. We create and build the bodies and minds. We can travel down any road we chose. Some may be far more difficult than others, but it is our choice and no one ever said life would be easy. It is up to us to make it easy … so we can enjoy every moment. An angry heart will never grow fonder until it change directions.

People laugh when I suggest a smile instead of a frown, but a rich smile has a wonderful habit of making us feel better. When you share a smile, invariably you get one back in return.

Life is good and worth sharing.

William Byron Hillman © 2014
My next film:
Of Light and Darkness
Web announcements coming soon
Quigley’s Christmas Adventure
Book Links:
Veronique and Murray:
Zebra’s Rock and Me
Quigley’s Christmas Adventure
In development Veronique and Murray’s Honeymoon
Rollie Kemp Books
Ghosts and Phantoms Part I:
Ghosts and Phantoms Part II:

In editorial – Prematurely Terminated