20th Century-Fox presented a film of psychological suspense in 1976. In 'The Omen', the question was asked, "If this is the truth, where does it end?" Based on a Biblical prophecy in the Book of Revelations which foretold the coming of Armageddon, the showdown before the Day of Judgement between the forces of good and evil that witnessed the birth of the Antichrist – the son of Satan – in the form of a human being who from the outset would be mistakenly greeted by mankind as a saviour. 

From 1939 to 1975, the Top 10 all-time box-office hits were: 

1. 'Jaws' 1975 

2. 'The Godfather' 1972 

3. 'The Sound of Music' 1965 

4. 'Gone With the Wind' 1939 

5. 'The Sting' 1973 

6. 'The Exorcist' 1973 

7. 'Towering Inferno' 1975 

8. 'Love Story' 1970 

9. 'The Graduate' 1967 

10. 'Doctor Zhivago' 1965 

As 'United Press International' pointed out at the time, "All but 'Gone With The Wind' were produced in the past 10 years (1965-1975), in an era when movie attendance is a fraction of what it was during the 1930s and 1940s." In 'The Omen', Gregory Peck, who won the Academy Award in 1963 for his performance in the motion picture, 'To Kill A Mockingbird', played an American ambassador to England "destined to be the President of the United States one day." 

Gregory Peck told 'United Press International' in July 1976, "I haven't been up there with the front-runners since the 1960s. 'The Omen' made $4 million in its first 11 days in theaters. It's good to be back in the swim. Every actor likes to see audiences line up to see his pictures and enjoy his work. I'm no exception. My last box-office pictures were 'Arabesque' (1966) and 'Stalking Moon' (1968). Since then I haven't really made a commercial film. I’m not complaining. I've had a long run of 25 years (dating back to 1944) and, I hope, still more to come (last film made 1998)." 

Greg also told Elen Farley of the 'Los Angeles Times', "Being associated with a picture ('The Omen') that brought in more than $100 million at the box office gave the producers and the others who are rolling the dice at the major studios today (back in 1978) a reason to say, 'Yes, Peck is around and he didn't keep people away. He's associated with $100 million grosser, so maybe he'll be again.' Whereas my position before was having made 4 or 5 straight failures and I was getting to be … out of it. I was facing up to that, I hope, with some equanimity. I've had a great run of luck, more than 30 years (1944-1978) of it, and I was prepared to go away gracefully." 

In 'The Omen', Greg played a father who had adopted a devil, in the form of his son, Damien, who held the power of evil. By the time Damien Thorn turned 32, he was described as "attractive, brilliant, charismatic. To the modern world, Damien brings a purpose, a vision, a destiny and he is one step away from the most important position on Earth - becoming the President of the United States of America." Director Richard Doner told drama editor Edward L Blank of the 'Pittsburgh Press' in July 1976, "They wanted a supernatural horror film with a lot of blood and gore. What I made, finally, was a film in which hardly a drop of blood is spilled, actually. It suggests a lot, but apart from a couple of shots of an injured arm, you don't really see much blood at all. 

"The cast was wonderful. I'd already known Lee Remick and Gregory Peck did everything he could to make things easier. It says in his contract that he does not work past 6:00pm and that he gets a 45-minute break every 4 or 4½ hours. It also says he must have a week's notice for anything to be shot at night, and that he gets the next day off. But he overlooked all that and did all he could. Was on the set even when he didn't have to be." 

Gregory Peck produced the 1974 film, 'The Dove'. He recounted, "That was a real production experience. I learned I wasn't cut out for budgets, working out time schedules, paychecks, logistics and all the rest. So I’ve returned to acting with new enthusiasm. I always liked make-believe and story telling. When I was only 6 years old growing up in La Jolla (California), I spent hours in the library, wandering through the stacks. I'd borrow 4 books at a time and read them and dream. 

"Some people think it's ridiculous for a man my age (born in 1916) to earn a living acting. I don’t think so. It's a decent and admirable profession. It's honest and enjoyable work and I like the people involved. Show business people are generous. They're bright, articulate and imaginative. They're givers, not takers. I like getting up early in the morning, going to make-up and wardrobe and acting. I can hardly wait to get started every day." 

Richard Doner's story: "Been 31 years in the business. Started at 16 as an actor in New York. Moved into live TV as an assistant director. Then I started getting breaks as a director. Steve McQueen, an old buddy from my acting days, got me some work on his series, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' (1960). First feature film was 'X-15' (1961) … Went back to TV for 'Wild, Wild West' (1966), then did another film, 'Salt and Pepper' (1968). I never saw it. They fired me from the final cut. 

"We had a different concept of the property. I allowed them their schtick, their indulgences, while we were making it. Later, we couldn't agree, so that was it. Then I did a comedy with Charlie Bronson in Europe called 'Twinkie' (1969). It did very well over there (in Europe). Here (in the U.S.) it was re-cut and re-dubbed and called 'Lola'. I don't know what happened to it after that. Thank goodness for TV. I kept falling back on TV. And it was literally a fall back each time … Then came 'The Omen'. Originally it was to be called 'The Antichrist'. Then 'The Birthmark.'" 

Gregory Peck told Jerry Parker of 'Newsday', "So much of the action is in television now (in 1982). I used to avoid it because of the lack of rehearsal time, the rushed shooting schedules. There was no time to do it with care. But that line between television and features doesn't mean anything anymore. You have Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda in his last years, moving back and forth between the 2 with great ease. I don't think the prejudice exists anymore."

On reflection, Gregory Peck told the 'Los Angeles Times', "What’s wrong with Hollywood today (in 1978) is that these studios are appendages of giant corporations and the men who run them are cold-hearted accountants. They'd rather risk $12 million on a potential blockbuster than $400,000 on a fresh, creative, little, simple idea from a new director or a new director-writer. So those are the ground rules and there’s no use kidding yourself. Those high-powered chaps in New York are not concerned about quality, just profit and loss. And the men they put in charge are disposable, like Kleenex. If the balance sheet doesn't read well, throw the rascals out and get some new rascals in.

"The old studio boys, like Samuel Goldwyn, L.B. Mayer, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, they were crude, they were, some of them, first-generation immigrant boys, a lot of them brought up on the East Side. They jumped on the bandwagon of this new medium and they rose to riches and fame and they were autocrats. But the one thing they did have was a passion for story telling. Their pride and their love were involved, not just their money."

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