JAMES A. PIKE (Aug 15, 1922-Jan 4, 2012)

PIKE, James A. : b. Boston, MA Aug 15, 1922, e. Boston University, US Army World War II, Film Director, WNAC-TV, Boston, MA. Vice President RKO General. Movie Producer: Feelin’ Good, Demo Derby. Founded Pike Productions in 1958.
Produced TV Commercials for national clients including Ford Motor Co., Silly Putty, Hasbro.
Produced special sales films for companies that included Gillette, Raytheon, AT&T, Perini Corp, Boston Patriots.
Produced political films for major candidates including Pres. John F. Kennedy; Sen. Edward Kennedy; Gov. John Volpe, MA.; Gov. Endicott Peabody, MA.; Sen. Leverett Saltonstall, MA.; Mayor Kevin White, Boston.
Company designed, produced, and distributed special trailers for exhibitors in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
Member Variety Club of New England. Presidential Citation, Variety Club International.
Thomas A. Yawkey Memorial Award, Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
I don't know if the notice above ever found its way into that next edition of Who's Who, but I found it in what looked like a print out of an earlier edition, with the latest entries of countries where theaters were running Pike Productions trailers in my father's unfinished memoirs. Although only peripherally involved in the earliest Pike Productions projects, I remember many. When still in high school, I touched up Hasbro, Parker Brothers, and Milton Bradley game boxes with matching flat colors that photographed better for TV commercials than the glossy originals, and I even animated a portion of Duncan's Shrieking Sonic Satellite Yoyo national TV campaign. I remember the Breaking a Boston Bottleneck industrial film about the Perini Corporation's building of the Callahan Tunnel under Boston Harbor, the exciting piece introducing the "Boston Patriots" football team, The Saltonstall Story about three-term Governor and more than 20 years U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Leverett A. Saltonstall; and of course, footage for JFK's Time for Greatness leading up to his successful Presidential bid.
I am credited with suggesting my father make a film based on the Demo Derby competitions at Norwood Arena, and wrote that film's title song, subsequently polished, arranged and produced by Arthur Korb, and performed by the Rondels, with the result that my song was double billed with Frank Sinatra in Robin and the Seven Hoods; Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas; and ultimately on thousands of screens all across the nation with The Beatles Hard Day's Night!
CLick the image (right), to view James A. Pike's theatrical trailer introducing Demo Derby.
I later starred in his 1966 widescreen, color theatrical release, Feelin' Good, and wrote ten of its original songs -- eight that I performed in the film -- and two, including the title song performed by the Montclairs, winners of that first Jaycees Battle of the Bands. I moved to Los Angeles in 1968, and some yearts later, when he began specializing in theatrical trrailers, my father sometimes asked me to QC the custom, wide-screen theatrical trailers for his Hollywood clients.
Click the image (right), to see newsreel footage from the 1966 Boston world premiere of Feelin' Good.

But I'd be terribly remiss not to call attention to Pike Productions designing, producing and distributing trailers for exhibitors in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, because that provided the sustained cash flow that made Pike Productions so successful, worldwide. The topic never came up in conversations with my father, so the following, albeit supported by the evidence, is conjecture on my part. What is not conjecture, is that from very early on, Pike Productions began making custom policy trailers for Sumner Redstone's theaters. Furthermore, the business relationship continued uninterrupted when Shari Redstone became president of the National Amusements theater chain. I suspect it was that relationship that led my father, Jim Pike, to begin attending NATO conventions in Las Vegas, producing generic theater policy trailers that could be easily "customized" to name a single or small chain of theaters, resulting in trailer sales to other exhibitors, large and small.
I only attended one NATO convention at Caesar's Palace, but it led to one of my favorite memories from 1981. As my father and I walked across the lobby toward the elevators, a loud voice shouted "Travis Pike! Is that you? What are you doing here?" which first attracted attention to the shouter (Frank Capra Jr, interim President of Avco Embassy) and then to the shouted upon (me). There were people in the lobby who might have recognized Jim Pike, and some who'd recognize Frank, but I was a suddenly mysterious stranger. Frank abandoned his entourage and hurried over to me. My father had been introducing me to people, and now, it was my turn. "Hi Frank! I'm here with my father, Jim Pike of Pike Productions. Dad, meet Frank Capra, Jr." Frank was there to screen Avco Embassy movie trailers for the theater owners, and I'm under the impression that one might hav been The Howling, I just don't remember. But remembering that moment in the lobby puts so wide a smile on my face, it hurts! And here we turn the page . . .
Travis Edward Pike, September, 2021