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Reading, Radio and Movies Galore
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“Teddy,” was born August 2, 1944 in Boston, Massachusetts. As a child, the Muses adored him, the Fates guided him and the Furies tormented him. Some things never change . . .
Young Travis loved to read, but like many children growing up in the 40's and 50's, his imagination was also fired by radio dramas like "The Shadow," "Captain Midnight" and "The Lone Ranger." Then, in the mid-fifties, his father, James A. Pike, film director at WNAC-TV in Boston, launched "Cinema 7," a Sunday afternoon double feature for television, establishing standards for screening each film, censoring them for TV when necessary, and lovingly inserting commercials so as to avoid jarring interruptions to the story. Best of all, his dad screened many of the movies at home at 65 Waverly Street in Roxbury, which meant that Teddy and Jimmy Riggs, his friend from next door, as long as they sat quietly, were allowed to see hundreds of Hollywood's greatest films. They thrilled to such movie greats as "Gunga Din," "Charge of the Light Brigade," "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," "Twelve O'Clock High," "The African Queen" and "King Kong." And Travis learned story construction, lighting, set design, camera angles, costume design, film scoring, acting and directing from the best in the business.
At the Sarah J. Baker Elementary School in Roxbury, Travis was a straight "A" student, so it seemed only natural that in 1956 he follow his older brother Jim, into Boston Latin School. But there, in 7th grade, Travis took his first steps toward becoming an independent scholar. During study halls, his imagination fired by exposure to Aesop, Homer, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Galileo, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Mendel's famous peas, 11-year-old Travis began writing imaginative narrative poems and short stories instead of doing his homework. In his new and enriched environment, his schoolboy's brain was enflamed by questions extracurricular, which drove him to seek answers to mysteries ancient and modern at local libraries, museums and at the movies instead of in the classroom.
Travis' first literary work was a ballad written in 1956 during a study hall at Boston Latin School. The tale has been lost these many years, along with its title and theme, but the incident was never forgotten. The lad received five misdemeanor marks for his confiscated literary effort. (For those of you who are unsure, this was a bad thing, not a good one.)
By the time his dad left WNAC TV to start his own independent motion picture company, it was determined that Travis was unlikely to benefit from continuing at Boston Latin School, especially since the family had moved out of the City of Boston during the summer and tuition and transportation would be required. Instead, the boy from Roxbury was enrolled in the Newton School System, where its system of “progressive education” had no better luck with the “rebellious” youth.
"I don't blame the schools," says Travis. "Boston Latin School's classical academic program was the best in the nation and Newton's progressive education program was highly touted by social engineers. Nevertheless, institutions rate performance on standard levels of achievement, which require conformity for measurement and are unable to evaluate genuinely independent scholars."
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