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Travis Edward Pike | Grumpuss: The 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition

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Spoken Word: Poetry Kids/Family: Children's Storytelling Moods: Mood: Fun
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Grumpuss: The 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition

by Travis Edward Pike

The re-mastered, 15th Anniversary,Studio recording, Audio Theater Edition of Travis Pike's award-winning performance of his epic narrative rhyme, "Grumpuss," that has been favorably compared to the works of Lewis Carroll, C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien.
Genre: Spoken Word: Poetry
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Grumpuss, Pt. 1
39:42 album only
2. Grumpuss, Pt. 2
39:25 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Poet, composer, and storyteller Travis Edward Pike originally wrote “Grumpuss” in 1969, to amuse his 5-year-old daughter, Lisa. She must have liked his rhyming tale of a knight sent by his king to vanquish or tame a huge, prehistoric cat, because it was she, all grown up, who urged Travis to adapt it into an illustrated book and feature film project. He took her advice and in the normal course of development, in his brother, Adam’s, recording studio in Pasadena, California, recorded an audio demo.

A motion picture would run to many millions of dollars, more than Pike’s independent production company could hope to attract, but a preliminary budget for a made-for-TV video production of a live performance might be within reach. England was a likely setting for his tale of knighthood and chivalry, but both Scotland and Wales had long-standing bardic traditions and all three have castles, ruined and intact, which might provide stunning locations as well as a bit of history, perfect settings for a performance that harkened back to the bards of old and that form of entertainment once reserved for kings, noble lords and outlaws.
Over the next three years, “Grumpuss” was rejected by every PBS, network and cable outlet Pike contacted. They all loved it and wished Pike the best of luck, but none felt it was commercial. Some even said it was just way over the heads of their viewers.
Pike was dumbfounded. What demographic study made PBS believe they were appealing to such benighted audiences? His little girl had fallen in love with “Grumpuss” when she was starting Kindergarten! He might have given up on it had it not been for a surprising letter from Dr. Judith Stanton, an English professor at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts.
Pike was introduced to Dr. Stanton in 1965, by an old friend from his misspent youth, Dick Moran. During their visit, Pike played the demo recording for them. In March, 1997, Dr. Stanton wrote, “I have been a “Grumpuss” fan ever since you first introduced me to your taped performance two years ago. That was when “Grumpuss” began to haunt my mental landscape and invigorate my thinking about the relationship between myth, creativity and modern poetry. “Grumpuss” is erudite, but never pedantic in the way some modern poetry can be. It skillfully weaves its themes and cultural references into a masterful heroic tale proving that the epic narrative tradition is still valid . . . you have created a character who will enrich the imagination of many. I sincerely hope you can arrange for the general public to meet him soon.”

Unable to recruit an actor willing to memorize and perform the entire epic narrative rhyme, Pike, whose original storytelling rhymes were heard in New England coffeehouses as far back as the mid-sixties, decided to do it himself. His performance won widespread critical acclaim.

The March 1999 Midwest Book Review reported "Travis Pike gives a storytelling performance that is a sheer delight."
The Spring 1999 Swag of Yarns, Australia's National Storytelling Magazine, wrote of Pike's audio performance, "This fantasy tale is of the hunting of the Grumpuss, an animal so dangerous, so gigantic it was more fearsome than a dragon and had not been seen by man for many years. His instructions were to seek and destroy. The tale is told in rhyme with minimal use of sound effects and with an orchestral backing. Travis is responsible for the composition of both the music and verse. For approximately eighty-four minutes his voice carries you into another world. It was hard to listen to the complete tape in one go—children, phone and animals conspired against total relaxation. But Travis is such an excellent and obviously experienced teller that the interruptions did not break the continuity of the tale at all. These tapes should definitely be listened to on a winter’s afternoon with a good glass of red wine and a fire burning in the hearth. This is a storytelling experience from a great teller and a true master of this medium. Fantastic . . . a storyteller's dream suitable for all ages except the very young."
And the October 1999 School Library Journal reported that "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...an outstanding choice for school and public library collections."
All that critical acclaim inspired us to bring Grumpuss back in this 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition Dual CD set. Pike's original 1998 studio recording of his award-winning epic narrative rhyme, rescued from the archives, has been re-mastered with fresh recordings of his original music and the sound effects its audiences love. The Grumpuss 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition is brighter and better than ever. So turn off your phone, get comfortable, and prepare for action, suspense, and wonder, because...
"A Grumpuss is not like a dragon,
Rather more like a large surly cat,
With tremendous paws and gigantic claws
And jaws that can crush armor flat!"

That original release of “Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss Audio Theater Production” (Otherworld Entertainment Corporation, 1978), was issued as a dual cassette release. Travis Pike’s storytelling performance was recorded at Phil Yeend’s NSI studios in Burbank, California, with M&E (music and effects) tracks created and mixed at Adam Pike’s studio in Pasadena. This upgraded, 2013, Otherworld Cottage Industries dual CD release of “Travis Edward Pike’s Grumpuss: The 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition,” features Adam’s restoration of his brother’s original performance with re-recorded passages, fresh music and effects tracks, remixed for CD.



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