"I'm a novelist, not a proselytiser," Arthur Hailey told Betsy Bliss of 'Chicago Daily News' in 1975. "My general inclination is to be liberal or left of liberal. But my views have changed in the course of writing this book." That book was Arthur Hailey's 7th, 'The Moneychangers', published by Doublebay, which topped the best-sellers list in July 1975. "I learned how vital the money system is. Money is more important than bread. And the money system is in an appalling state of disrepair." As Arthur's own thinking turned conservative so was his second wife, Sheila,  "who was once a socialist."

On reflection, Arthur told Joy Stilley of the Associated Press  "This is the most exciting time in history to be alive and I like to tell a story against the background of the here-and-now, of something that impinges on our lives in various ways. We are shaped to a large extent by our environment and an essential part of our environment is the technology we live with."

The 472-page book, sold at $10 each was then adapted into a TV mini-series, shown in December 1976. "Judge me by the book, not the film," Arthur had said. "My mind has always been a storyteller's mind." However Arthur recognized, "Historically novelists don't have much impact," hence Arthur hoped the mini-series, a ratings success, "will set people thinking."

Dean Riesner of 'Rich Man, Poor Man' wrote the 361-page script. Initially 'The Moneychangers' was only intended to be a 4-hour mini-series but producer Ross Hunter reasoned "a lot of strong dramatic material in the novel would have had to be eliminated if the story had been confined to 4 hours." As a result, 'The Moneychangers', about the secret world of big money, was extended to 6½ hours.

Centered around the fictional First Mercantile American Bank, 'The Moneychangers' told the story of 2 vice presidents who were locked in a power struggle for the presidency of a banking empire and the social responsibility of the banking business. "Whatever else it is, it's timely," Arthur pointed out referring to the 1974 collapse of Franklin National Bank in New York. "I was taking a shower one day (back in 1971) and decided to do a book on money," Arthur explained. He spent a year researching, interviewing people in banking at every level including retired bank officers, people in securites, in law enforcement, in credit card organizations, in the U.S. Treasury, as well as meeting with Scotland Yard.

"In every case, I tell my sources that I'm a fiction writer, not a reporter, and that I will conceal my sources," Arthur revealed. "Most people are very frank and open with me. I try to get many points of view, asking about each individuals philosophy, experiences, and ideas about the future. I'm a very slow writer. I bleed over every word. I never feel like writing either. I love the research. It's fun to see things and meet people. The writing, though, is hard work.

"I set myself a limit of 600 words a day as a goal – it's not easy but it's attainable. I start at 8.30 (in the morning) and work till 4:00 or 5:00, five days a week, producing 600 finished words a day. The first draft is in long-hand and then I type it and change it. I may spend a morning on one paragraph, redoing it from half a dozen to 20 times till I get it as good as I can make it. By the time it's done, it's the best I can do." It was understood the actual writing took Arthur Hailey about one year and 6 months.

Ralph Bellamy played a caretaker of the banking empire. He told Joan Hanauer of 'United Press International in 1976, "'The Moneychangers' (mini-series) took about 3½ months (from mid-July to October 1976) to shoot and the only people who were there throughout were (Kirk) Douglas and (Christopher) Plummer. It's because of the budget – it's the only way a feature film can carry the cost."

In 1984, Frank Yablans of MGM-UA Entertainment Co. told Gene Siskel of 'Chicago Tribune', "This is a terribly important issue. These so-called reporters and gossip columnists are turning our business (the film business) into something like the National Football League. They are incapable of any kind of sensitive analysis of the raw numbers they are reporting, and as a result they are making everyone throw a long ball for a touch down. That's why you're seeing small pictures that should open in just a few theaters open in 500 situations at once, and why you are seeing bigger films that should open in 500 theaters open in 1,500 theaters. Everyone's trying to have the No. 1 film of the week; otherwise you look bad."

Ashley Boone of Columbia Pictures added, "The average moviegoer does not understand the numbers being presented and the people reporting the numnbers often have no idea what they mean, either. The result is that you have a lot of misleading information being presented, suggesting that some films are blockbusters when they are not and that other films are flops when they are not. It's a very bad situation." Critic Jack Matthews conceded, "I agree, the media can create an interest in something relatively unimportant because of its fascination with a subject."

Frank Yablans stressed, "You'd (the average moviegoer) better care because without stability in the executive suite you're never going to see a small picture like 'Julia', 'The Turning Point', 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle' or 'The Gambler' made again. The only executives who make those kinds of pictures are secure executives. Look, we're not dummies. When we make a picture like 'Garbo Talks', we know that it's not going to make as much money as a film with Eddie Murphy. But we still make it. But if 'Garbo Talks' is going to be ranked against 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'The Terminator', then after a while it's simply not going to be made. Instead, you'll see this business being run by computers on Madison Avenue."

Ralph Bellamy continued, "Almost all of us ('The Moneychangers' cast) knew each other, but we never met unless we had scenes together. I've known Helen Hayes for years, but we didn't get to see each other. That's not the way it used to be. In the Hollywood movie (golden) days it was an easy, comfortable thing, compared to the pressure today (in 1976). It seems to me we got as much done, and we had more fun doing it. There was a relationship between cast and crew that photographed some way or another. Today (in 1976), as opposed to this, you see an uptight cast wondering if they are going to get this speech out."

Arthur Hailey maintained, "We need achievers and we need to reward them. It's all very well to say that the little people of the world need help, but they can be helped the most by the achievers. The first Henry Ford is a good example. He created a whole new kind of productivity and millions of jobs. But if entrepreneurs like Ford are taxed to the extent that they lose all incentive, you are robbing the country of its leadership. We need these people to get us out of the mess we're in."

In August 1976, Boris Sagal was directing an emotional scene between Kirk Douglas and Marisa Pavan at a mansion in Hancock Park off Wilshire Boulevard. Arthur Hailey watched the filming later told Ross Hunter and the crew, "I pulled that scene out of my imagination. Watching it played in the flesh leaves you with a sense of wonderment." Charles Witbeck of the 'Herald-Tribune' elaborated, "(Arthur Hailey) admits he becomes totally immersed in the action while writing. If it's a mean scene, he feels depressed for the rest of the day, and vice versa. His emotional reaction could only reassure director Boris Sagal, a clue that he was on the right track."

'The Moneychangers' appeared on the best-seller lists in the United States and Great Britain for 42 weeks and the paperback edition in 1976 sold over 3 million copies within a 4-week period. In reading the book, critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt made the comment, "…I was learning about the technology of credit card, about foreign currency exchange, about Federal Reserve system liquidity requirements, the underworld. In an age of self-improvement books and do-it-yourself kits 'The Moneychangers' is functional entertainment, fiction with a use, adult-education lectures on fiscal responsibility."

At the time, Arthur argued dependency on a credit economy "has weakened the whole political as well as financial system and it hurts the poor and the old the most in the long run. We may want to give a dollar to a beggar, but if we don’t have it we can't. And if we print the dollar – thus pumping up inflation – we are hurting the disadvantaged more than helping them."

"I had a feeling a monetary crisis was coming," Arthur made the prediction in 1976. "At every level of society we are overspending and creating Himalayas of debt. Individuals, corporations, the U.S. government and most of the Western world are overborrowed and overextended. We seem to have forgotten the oldest rule of accounting: what you owe you must one day pay. The debt structure of the world looks like an inverted pyramid and even the strongest of nations, the United States, on whom the whole world depends, has a $52 billion deficit (in 1976) – that will probably go higher. This is one world no one nation can suffer without the others being affected. The problem is international, and, I fear, depression is more likely than recession.

"No one with or without money will escape. Too many people are hypnotized into thinking everything will get better. People want the truth and are willing to face it and make sacrifices, but no one is telling them what's really happening. I would suggest to people if they have savings, put them in more than one bank, more than one country and more than one currency. Spread the risk. Put some of your money in gold and gold stocks. Gold may go up or down, but in the end it will hold its real value." Arthur believed the world economy would sooner or later return to "some kind of gold basis" though at the time "there are many strong forces working against that, particularly in the United States and Britain."

Arthur Hailey sold his first novel at age 36. He was 55 when his 7th 'The Moneychangers' was released.  Arthur acknowledged, "The impact is very hard to grasp. It's intangible really. Only when I see somebody reading a paperback of mine does it click." Arthur Hailey's books had been translated into 27 languages. He suggested, "You couldn't do better than 'Works of Somerset Maugham', his set of stories for beach reading. He'll be around and remembered when a lot of us who are strong in contemporary time will long be forgotten."

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