Carlton Hoyles isn't talking about his days as a hurdler at Merrillville when he describes how excited he is to be touring with the Marvel Entertainment Live!
"The kid in me has me jumping for joy," Hoyles said. "This career has been a dream come true for me, and I am enjoying every minute of it."
He is currently portraying the characters of Falcon (aka. Sam Wilson) and Nick Fury in the production. The Falcon character was the comic's first African-American superhero.
"It kind of brings out the kid in me," Hoyles said. "All those cartoons and TV shows (reruns) from the 1960s, 'Batman' and 'Superman' always fascinated me. Now I am having the opportunity to play a superhero."
Hoyles has to fly, and has two harnesses on him for those scenes.
"I guess it ties in my hurdling and gymnastics into it," Hoyles said. "Falcon assists Captain American and Black Widow in a scene where we take down the Red Skull and Madame Hydra."
He said he became interested in performing when, as a kid, his parents, Carlton and Tracey, took him to see Disney on Ice in Chicago.
Hoyles talents are not limited to the stage. In 2006, he was the Valparaiso Regional champion in the 110-meter high hurdles and was second in the 300 intermediates. At state, he was eighth in the 110. He ran one year at Indiana State, but decided to concentrate on school. He majored in Fine Arts 2D design and minored in art history.
After graduation, it was hard to find work in his field, so he worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Shoe Carnival as well as maintenance work for Ross Township and a substitute teacher for the Merrillville Community School Corporation.
"Probably the most difficult life lesson I had to learn during that time was to swallow my pride," Hoyles said,. "I learned I had to do things I have to do vs. The things I wanted to do."
He did a running program through the Merrillville parks and also coached tumbling and gymnastics at summit Athletics in Crown Point.
He also got a break from a church member who wrote children's books.
"Mr. Henry L. Jones asked me to help illustrate a book, and it was something that I always wanted to do," Hoyles said. "I had fun doing it, and we have one more on the way."
The book was "Frog in the Pulpit" and the soon-to-be released "The White House Dog." He said that may set his future.
"I am still planning to pursue a career in cartoon animation, so I can hopefully entertain and inspire the world with my work and ideas," Hoyles said. "Right now, I am a little busy, and enjoying every minute of it."
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