Long-Grin Debut - 1

1984

     In 1984, Travis was the Director of Production for Bond Johnson's Cine-Media International. Although they had several productions in development, none were moving. Travis showed Bond his completed screenplay, and the newly completed Long-Grin mockup. With both ready for show-and-tell, Bond said "It takes the same amount of effort to raise $7 million as it does to raise $70 million, so, the question becomes, which property would you most like to see on the screen?" Although the budget would much greater than any Bond had ever attempted to raise as an independent, he set up meetings with studio executives and independent financiers to discuss the possibilities of joint ventures like the one Disney and Paramount had done for DRAGONSLAYER, and explored potential for a split-rights deal. Bond's plan called for a major studio to put up half the budget in return for exclusive distribution rights for the U.S. and English-speaking Canada, and Cine-Media to raise the rest through foreign presales or independent financial partners who would retain the distribution rights for the rest of the world.

     But talk is just talk, and to spur interest in LONG-GRIN, Travis proposed to throw a party, much like the one George Lucas threw when he was trying to get backing for STAR WARS. At that event, when the studio execs saw the illustrations on his walls, they became excited enough to back the production. Travis offered to host the party, if Bond would invite the interested players. Once there, they would be able to see, touch and even have their photos taken with the "star of the show," Long-Grin. It seemed like a good idea at the time and so it came to pass.
     The gentleman Travis is introducing to Long-Grin is a multi-millionaire who had invested in the 1981 production of MGM's TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT.
     Travis hands his guest off to Billy, who was there to provide details about the dragon's operating systems and the puppeteers required to operate it.
     Billy not only the sculpted the model, but knew exactly what it would take to operate the dragon's systems and his explanations inspired confidence in the awestruck investor.
     And cinematographer Harry Mathias became fascinated, too. Harry had worked with Travis on the Betsy Baytos BETSY AND THUMPER TV promo for a recent Disney re-release of BAMBI.