LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, November 19, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Pike’s first award for his Contribution to the Entertainment Industry and the Performing Arts was inspired by the VHS release of his 1997 World Premiere Benefit Performance of Grumpuss for the Save the Children Fund. The Southern California Motion Picture Council presented a Jeanie Emerald Star Angel Award, to Travis Edward Pike, Film Producer – Director – Writer – Music Composer – Singer for your Contribution to the Entertainment Industry and / or the Performing Arts, December 3, 1999.
Earlier that year, he’d won a 1999 INTERCOM (International Communications Competition) Silver Plaque Award for Special Achievement – Writing, making this, to the best of our knowledge, the first time in the history of the Chicago Film Festival, perhaps in the entire history of motion picture and video productions, that an epic narrative rhyme was so honored.
The Southern California Motion Picture Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1936 to promote the best in motion pictures. To this end, the Council encourages production of family-oriented films and television programs; promotes civic-minded, educational, and cultural programs of exceptional merit and presents awards for the best in movies, television, stage plays and the performing arts. Only the “Best of the Best” in movies and television, and stars whose performances deserve special recognition for outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry, are selected.
Assuming the Council stayed abreast of motion picture awards, and considering their mission is encouraging production of family oriented films and television programs, and perhaps aware that Grumpuss had to have been vetted by Buckingham Palace before it could be associated with Save the Children, or be endorsed by HRH Princess Anne, suggests that Grumpuss might deservedly be so honored, and they did so. (Or maybe one or more of them had seen it and decided it was qualified as one of the “Best of the Best.”)
Grumpuss evolved from a much shorter rhyme Travis wrote for his four-year-old daughter in 1968. He originally recorded what evolved into Grumpuss: The 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition, when it was still a work in progress. He let a visiting English Professor play it for her classes at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, and it was so successful that she wrote to ask for permission to use it again the following year. That letter inspired the investors who eventually funded the World Premiere Benefit Performance of Grumpuss at Blenheim Palace, and it is that live performance by the author, recorded on digital videotape, that is now Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss 20th Anniversary Platinum Edition, released by Otherworld Cottage Industries on DVD in 2018.
Its home page, www.grumpuss.com, features Pike’s theatrical storytelling performance before the live audience at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England, but also provides a choice of theater, or theater of the mind, offering video clips for theater buffs, and audio clips from the studio recording, complete with music and sound effects now remastered and released on a two-CD Grumpuss 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition, for fans of mid-20th century radio.
The website also includes photo-illustrated sections dealing with the 1997 World Premiere performance (complete with a welcome note from Save the Children President HRH Princess Anne), a colorful photo essay introducing the celebrity venue and performers, a section taking you inside the World Premiere Banquet, where you’ll meet the celebrity guests at Blenheim Palace’s Long Library, and even a photo-illustrated section about how the production came to be, all in aid of an incredible “one night stand!”
In the School Library Journal, October, 1999, Grumpuss: The Original Otherworld Audio Theater Production, 2 cassettes. 84 min. was reviewed by Nancy L. Chu, Western Illinois University, Macomb. “Gr4Up — A dutiful and courageous knight, Sir Ellery (rhymes with celery) is charged by his king with subduing the Grumpuss, a supposedly mythical beast which turns out to be real. No one knows what the rare Grumpuss looks like except that it is cat-like, huge, and ferocious. Sir Ellery embarks on the dangerous quest and encounters a dwarf wizard who suggests that the knight befriend the Grumpuss rather than kill it. Sir Ellery does tame the lonely beast, but his dreams of a triumphant parade through the kingdom prevail. Unfortunately, when removed from his remote habitat, the Grumpuss becomes frightened by the crowds of people and is miserable with allergies to grain and celery. It turns on the knight, and Sir Ellery fears that killing the Grumpuss is the only answer. His affection for the beast and his sense of justice win, however, and Sir Ellery’s solution benefits the Grumpuss and all wild animals of the kingdom. This original narrative poem written and told by American storyteller Travis Edward Pike is a wonderful story laced with thought-provoking themes. Pike’s superb skill as a storyteller elevates the tale to a rare level. The rich language and Pike’s voice variations paint vivid pictures in the listener’s mind. The pace of the telling is varied according to the tale’s action and characters . . . An outstanding choice for school and public library collections.”
In The Boston Sunday Globe, August 18, 2000 , Rochelle O’Gorman’s review of Grumpuss, The Original Otherworld Audio Theater Production asserted, “Creative and different from most of the audiobooks aimed at young listeners is the epic narrative poem “Grumpuss” by Travis Edward Pike, read by the author. An award-winning audiobook by a California-based storyteller, this clever fairy tale is told completely in narrative rhyme. The language is rich and the presentation is exhilarating, though too sophisticated for younger children. However, children in grades 5 and up should relish the adventure of a knight sent to tame a huge, prehistoric cat. Underlying themes of courage and harmony are employed with a subtle hand. Owls hoot in a forest and the giant cat growls in the background as the story unfolds. These sound effects are used lightly, but dispersed often enough to enliven the telling. Pike has a well-trained theatrical voice that is deep and evenly modulated. He speaks slowly enough for us to follow along without missing his finely crafted poetry, but maintains our interest with his dramatic presentation.”
In Swag of Yarns, Australia’s National Storytelling magazine, Spring 1999, Lai Ha summarized her reviews of the Grumpuss VHS and Original Otherworld Audio Theater Production on 2 audio cassettes, released by Otherworld Entertainment Corporation reporting “Both the video and the audio were fantastic experiences. The presentations are a storyteller’s dream and are suitable for all except the very young.”
In April, 2018, Otherworld Cottage Industries released its Grumpuss 20th Anniversary Platinum Edition on DVD, reviewed below in the MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW / WISCONSIN BOOKWATCH / THE DVD SHELF.
“Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss 20th Anniversary Platinum Edition (1 hour, 38 min.) is the award-winning DVD of Pike’s beloved narrative poem Grumpuss tranformed into an epic film performance. What exactly is a Grumpuss? It’s a mythical beast that resembles an ill-tempered cat, “With tremendous paws and gigantic claws, and jaws that can crush armor flat!” A treasure sure to delight connoisseurs of classic British fantasy by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carrol, and C.S. Lewis, Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss 20th Anniversary Platinum Edition is a choice pick for family movie night and public library collections, and makes a memorable gift. Bonus features include Travis Edward Pike’s World Premiere Documentary, and three slideshows about the making of Grumpuss. Also highly recommended is the 2-CD set Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss: The 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition (79 min. 9 sec), which allows one to listen to the marvelous adventure as a radio play.
As followers of Pike’s works might suspect, last year’s Changeling’s Return book and music CD are two more reasons he received the award for his Contribution to the Entertainment Industry and Performing Arts. His magical, mystical, musical, Sci-Fi Fantasy is about Morgen, an adopted foundling reared in Boston, Massachusetts, now in his mid-twenties, charismatic lead singer and songwriter for Beantown Home Cookin,’ a showband that features the Trashbabies, a troupe of sexy singer-dancers who contribute mightily to the band’s growing popularity.
After a night flight from Boston to London, a noontime radio show, and the live BBC broadcast of his May Eve concert performance, Morgen is too exhausted to face the international press corps at the party being hosted by the record company, and instead elects to take a spin in the sports car rented for him by the label to “help him wake up,” before he goes to face them, but a sudden squall lands the car in a ditch and daybreak finds him seeking help in the isolated village of Morningstone, where it seems the storm wiped out all communication with the outside world.
Morgen hopes to find a working phone in a local pub, but he’s crossed a liminal zone and entered a supernatural realm where songs are spells, and song and since chant once meant the same thing, Morgen, is an enchanter by definition. Many more mysteries are revealed, before Morgen finds himself within the Tomb of Every Hope, on trial for all humanity’s crimes against Nature, confronted by Furies, supported by Muses, and spared, at least for the present, by the Fates.
A sip from the Cauldron of Inspiration, gives Morgen a new understanding of his place in the scheme of things. He accepts his role as the Fool, and eagerly embraces his fate, a renewal of vows broken twixt Man and Nature, but driven asunder by a charging unicorn, barely deflected by a huge brindled mastiff.
Morgen awakens in an ambulance. The sports car was totaled when he hit a tree. Thanks to its airbag, although his ankle is broken, the rest of his injuries are minor. Nevertheless, Beantown Home Cookin’s European tour is cancelled.
Recovering in Massachusetts, Morgen is unable to dismiss the music and lyrics he remembers from his out-of-body experience, and completely revises the song list agreed by the record company, creating discord between talent and management. It seems settled when the label records the new album, and Beantown Home Cookin’ agrees to a Fall-Winter European Tour to introduce the new album with a live, televised Halloween concert from the same ruined monastery they played before.
In Western folklore, changelings were believed to be troll or fairy children left in place of stolen human babies. But is Morgen a foundling who has recognized humanity’s dependence and obligation to nature, or a changeling, reared by humans, reawakened to his supernatural origins. If the latter, what impact will “Changeling’s Return” have on the human race?
Perhaps Pike’s most outstanding, recent contribution to the Entertainment Industry and Performing Arts is this year’s Otherworld Cottage Industries publication of Harvey Kubernik’s Docs That Rock, Music That Matters. More than 500 pages detail a huge collection of rock, pop, reggae, soul and blues documentary film and TV show award winners, and performances from a plethora of stars and super stars, featuring groups, individual singers, studio and on the road musicians, making this THE music history book for the 21st century.
In its BOOKS, FANZINES AND OTHER GOOD READS section, FearandLoathingFanzine.com’s Andy Pearson reviewed Kubernik’s Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, (Otherworld Cottage Industries, 2020).
Presenting a history and exploration of the music-documentary genre is an intriguing idea for a book. Of course, the difficulty involved in such an undertaking is the sheer amount of films that could be included … the list is already huge and continues to grow!
At over 500 pages, this is a hefty volume but it concentrates on Harvey Kubernik’s personal choice rather than attempting to cover everything. That being said, he includes an interesting and varied selection of films that cover many different styles and artists and doesn’t limit it strictly to documentaries, which certainly helps to maintain your interest.
Early chapters include interviews with the legendary Dick Clark, producer of “American Bandstand,” before moving on to DA Pennebaker, the man behind the Bob Dylan film, “Dont Look Back” and the classic “Ziggy Stardust” concert movie. Further chapters include insider stories from Elvis Presley’s ‘68 Comeback” show as well as lesser known documentaries such as “Rumble,” a film that told the story of Native Americans who made their mark on the rock’n’roll scene.
There are some great insights into the Jimi Hendrix films, “All Is By My Side” and “Live at Monterey,” while the Rolling Stones are represented by chapters on “Rock’n’Roll Circus,” “Charlie is My Darling” and “Gimme Shelter.” Elsewhere, the likes of The Doors, Motown, Bob Marley and The Johnny Cash Show are covered in depth, whilst a chapter is also devoted to Alan Arkush, the Ramones and “Rock’n’Roll High School.” More recent times are also covered with pieces on the eclectic soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (evidently a lot more interesting than the film itself…) and David Leaf’s acclaimed documentaries on John Lennon, Brian Wilson and James Brown.
The final chapter is taken-up by an interview between Kubernik and publisher Travis Pike, whose career across five decades has also involved several music-related movies including “Feelin’ Good” and his ongoing “Morningstone” project. A lot will probably depend on your own personal tastes, but there really is a lot here for any music fan who really wants to know more about the way things have developed over the years. This is certainly a book that will give you plenty to think about.
Andy Pearson, Fear and Loathing Fanzine
“Rock is the gift of sound and vision, and Harvey Kubernik’s Docs That Rock is the essential guide to the history of rock on film. Kubernik’s been doing his homework on this subject for fifty years; he knew everyone, spoke to everyone, and got them to tell stories they never told anyone else. We learn how Steve Binder made The T.A.M.I. Show happen in 1964 and helped save Elvis’ career in 1968; we hear Murray Lerner giving the details of filming Hendrix at the Isle of Wight in 1970, and we even dig into the backstory of Shindig! Perfect for film and cultural studies classes, Docs That Rock gives a rich context to movies you thought you knew all about.”
Dr. James Cushing Cal Poly San Luis Obispo English and Literature professor (ret.)
“Harvey Kubernik is a cornucopia of American culture…His book is a totally original scan across this history, uncovering major and minor players, aficionados and accomplices of every stripe.”
David E. James, professor School of Cinema Television University of Southern California
Travis Edward Pike
Otherworld Cottage Industries
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Like a Nightmare Come True, it reeled into view . . .