Interviewed by Stephanie Sapienza
Oral History Recorded: January 9, 2009
Angeline Pike was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1932. She married Bob Pike, founder of CFS (Created Film Society) in 1961. CFS focused on independent film artists, renting prints to colleges, libraries, museums, and film societies, and was an important early distributor of West Coast experimental film and abstract animation. The Pikes hosted monthly film nights in their home throughout the 1960s and early 70s, where filmmakers such as Bruce Conner and James Whitney would gather to screen and view work.
Angie Pike took over CFS after Bob passed away in 1974. In the 1980s, she became involved with the Visual Music Alliance, a group of film, video and sound artists that promoted visual and audio media as an art form. Pike ran CFS until 1999, when the collection was donated to the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the iotaCenter.
00:00:53 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So it is January 9, 2010, and could you say and then spell your name?
00:01:00 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. My name is Angeline Pike. A-N-G-E-L-I-N-E, and I go by Angie, that's my nickname.
00:01:08 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And your last name is spelled...
00:01:10 ANGELINE PIKE
00:01:11 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. All right. So tell me a little bit about where you were born and your upbringing and your family.
00:01:17 ANGELINE PIKE
Mm hmm. I was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 18, 1932, and I shared my mother's womb with a twin. I have a twin brother and when we were four years old, our mother passed away. And she also left our little sister who was two years old at that time. My father remarried when we were six years old, and so we inherited an older brother and sister. And the family was of Greek origin. We had a very strong Greek culture and we were steeped in the Greek Orthodox religion and ended up having six children because as a result of my parents' union, another child was born.
00:02:12 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
It was a very active family. My father worked a great deal and mother was very supportive. She was very much into the arts, and so insisted that we have piano lessons and ballet lessons and was very socially minded. And that's where we came from.
00:02:36 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Where did you go to, excuse me, high school and then college?
00:02:41 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. I attended Central High School in Detroit, Michigan, and, my major was college prep. I never made it to college. While I was there, I was very active in the journalism program. I was news feature editor of the Central Student. I served as secretary on the student council. I was a member of the Quill And Scroll, the Latin Club, the ensemble and choir and was very active in school, in general. Bob Pike was also attending high school at that time, except he was a half a year behind me. And so, part of what I did while I was there was participate in a variety show that he created, and also a play that I starred in, "The Murders Of Miriam." And that was my great big debut on the stage.
00:03:53 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
I graduated summa cum laude, but my father decided that girls should not go to college. They should get married and have families. So after I graduated from high school, I went to work at Sears Roebuck in the unit control department. And while I was there, I attended a wedding of one of my co-workers and met my future husband, my first husband. Keith B. Trace Jr. was a young attorney, and so in 1952, he and I were married and we had two children, Keith B. Trace III and Julia Karen. And the marriage ended in divorce in 1958. So, that takes care of high school and no college. [laugh]
00:04:48 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So you said your mother was into the arts when you were growing up?
00:04:51 ANGELINE PIKE
00:04:51 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
...just tell me more about that environment, really.
00:04:52 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. My mother was born in Athens and she was exposed to a great deal of culture. This is my stepmother, although we always referred to her as mother. Her first husband was quite affluent and totally different from my dad. My dad was a very down-to-earth, hardworking person, and I really felt for her because she had knowledge of at least four languages that she spoke fluently. She was a master at the piano. And we had this humongous grand piano in our living room, and I think I only heard her play once. So basically, what she did was dedicate her life to raising her girls, the four girls and the two boys, and put her life on hold.
00:05:47 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
But she had a flair for antiques and the arts and culture, which she passed on to us, especially to my younger sisters [laugh] because they really, really went in that direction. And I give her credit for bringing us up as she did. And I must admit, I regret not having gone to university. But whatever I learned, I learned on my own because I had this thirst for knowledge and I was teachable. So it comes in handy in life, beyond being a parent and a mother. So that's the situation with her.
00:06:36 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So when you say that you learned things on your own, what were your methods of gathering information and learning?
00:06:42 ANGELINE PIKE
I always was very curious about everything. I always asked a lot of questions and did research. And whether it was reading or, and most of it had to do with reading, but asking people that knew. And I always felt that people were smarter than I was, and so I always looked to the experts and, especially if I had a serious question. And many times, I was a little disappointed because they didn't have the answer. So I had to go looking elsewhere. You think somebody has all the answers for you, but the answers lie within. Unless you're doing some technical research or you just need to know how to spell something.
00:07:26 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What would you say your interests are? And did you take an interest in the arts yourself? And if you had gone to college, would you have studied art?
00:07:33 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, when I was in high school, I was very interested in journalism. So I loved to write, I loved to paint and loved to sing. Part of my awareness in terms of what was established as far as knowledge of the language was because I had four years of Latin. And as an aside, when we were in the fourth year of Latin, there were only five of us in the class, and when the teacher wasn't there, we took turns teaching the class. So with the foundation of Latin and my background in the Greek language, English was very easy to decipher when it came to words, and I've always been interested in language.
00:08:24 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And I guess having an ability to draw and paint, even though I've, you know, I never did anything that exciting, at least I didn't think it was exciting. I painted watercolors and gave them away and I've always done sketches. But when we finally got into the film business, that really helped, that great appreciation.
00:08:50 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So tell me just a little bit about your brief marriage to your first husband and how did, did you impart any of that, of your love of language and the arts, to your children and did your husband encourage that? And what did you do also?
00:09:03 ANGELINE PIKE
Stephanie, that part of my life was a bit of a nightmare. [laugh] My husband was an alcoholic, which I didn’t know. I was 20 when I married. And it was just a matter of keeping things together, period, and not letting the children know that there was this problem. And so, we separated early on and his parents actually got me my divorce. So I can honestly say that there wasn’t that much nurturing there or expression.
00:09:42 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So when you then reconnected with Bob, you've already known him from high school, but how did that come about?
00:09:47 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, well, this was fun. Back in 1960, he was on his way to Williamsburg, Virginia because he was seeking out a potential teaching position. Now, he already had CFS in place, living in Burbank, you know, with his folks, that’s where his business was housed, and he just stopped by to visit. He really liked the children. And we were friends. And so, he made, I think, two subsequent trips, and he would be writing me airmail letters every day and then calling every day. So, in March of 1961, I packed up Keith and Julie and our dachshund, who was little Mitzy.
00:10:39 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Left the house behind, gave some appliances away [laugh] to our neighbors, and this was my entry into the promised land, you know, came to California, and we were married on March the 8th. And as a result of that union, we have three beautiful children. Nancy Joanna was born December 26th, nine months and so many days later. [laugh] And then, Daniel Jacob Leonard came along, in 1964, and Leah [AP: Leah Marie was her full name] was born in 1965.
00:11:23 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Where in Burbank was CFS located before...
00:11:26 ANGELINE PIKE
He was living at 1700 North Lima in Burbank. And we were, we stayed with his folks for a couple of months until we found the house in Van Nuys on Valerio Street, and moved there and we were there for 10 years. And during that period of time, CFS was housed on Valerio Street until Bob had secured office space in Van Nuys. Then we bought this house and he moved the office back to the Valerio Street [laugh] address. And from there, to the Canby address in Reseda, which is when I took over.
00:12:16 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So let me just get that straight. The CFS location was in Valerio Street address from 1961 to 1971, right?
00:12:25 ANGELINE PIKE
00:12:26 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
00:12:26 ANGELINE PIKE
00:12:27 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And then it was still at Valerio Street when you moved here?
00:12:30 ANGELINE PIKE
No. Yes, it was for, say, 19, it was 1972 that the office moved to Reseda.
00:12:48 ADAM HYMAN
Can you please tell us what CFS stands for?
00:12:52 ANGELINE PIKE
Creative Film Society.
00:12:56 ANGELINE PIKE
Creative Film Society. [laugh] CFS stands for Creative Film Society. And the logo read dedicated to the promotion of film as an art form.
00:13:14 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So just in the interest of kind of approaching this chronologically, I'm going to ask a little bit about Bob and the start of Creative Film Society, kind of, how it was born, how you were involved. What do you know about how he spent his time at UCLA when he was studying, and how CFS got formed?
00:13:31 ANGELINE PIKE
00:13:38 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
At Wayne State University, he had secured a degree in radio and TV. At UCLA, he was pursuing a degree in film and animation, and I think as well as acting. And I think after he had performed in a short, which I have a copy of, by the way, he played the part of Marty, just a segment from that film. And he was really bitten by the bug when he saw his first experimental films. And so, he was totally turned on and decided that that was the direction that he was going to go.
00:14:30 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
The early works of Méliès and Cohl and D.W. Griffith and, just the experimental techniques just fascinated him. And so while he was at UCLA, he did A THIN DIME. And I believe he also, while he was still there, did DESIRE IN A PUBLIC DUMP, and THE TRAGI-COMEDY OF MARRIAGE. And as part of his graduate contribution, he did A LITTLE FABLE, which is a little animated short, which I like very much.
00:15:07 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Do you know specifically which films were most influential to him? You mentioned Méliès and Cohl.
00:15:13 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, my. Yes, all of the films that came out of Europe. There was Duchamp and René Clair and Salvador Dalí and, I did mention Méliès and Cohl. D.W. Griffith and the experimental, the early works that he did here. Vorkapich. He was just fascinated with that medium. And I think that is what influenced him to make A THIN DIME, using those techniques as far as dissolves and going from black and white to color, just things disappearing.
00:15:58 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Do you know who his contemporaries were at UCLA, who he worked with?
00:16:02 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. Dan McLaughlin, Ahmed Lateef, in fact, Ahmed was one of the first filmmakers whose films he represented. Phil Berk, who happens to be the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press right now, was also in his class and he's the one that shot the footage of Marty, of him. And Phil went on to become a teacher at Cleveland High School in this area, and he consistently borrowed our prints of CITIZEN KANE for his film class, because that's what he taught there. I'm just trying to think of who else was, I think Abe Gurvin was one of his classmates. And I don’t recall offhand...
00:16:52 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Ahmed's last name was...
00:16:54 ANGELINE PIKE
Lateef, L-A-T-E-E-F, and he was from India. And he was studying film at UCLA.
00:17:02 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And then was Lateef the first person that he represented in CFS.
00:17:06 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. He was one of the first. Mm hmm.
00:17:09 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What do you know about how CFS was formed and how he went about contacting artists, gathering films, setting it all up?
00:17:21 ANGELINE PIKE
I think the first thing that he did was to identify the filmmakers that had made these films, like John and James Whitney. They had made the FILM EXERCISES back in the '40s, and this was pretty much what he was seeking to explore. So, he invited them to be a part of a group that would share equipment as well as finished product. And I'm just trying to think of who else was part of that group. I don't know if Belson was down here at that time but I know Jane Belson was, and there were others.
00:18:07 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. So when he first started, he probably had a pretty small catalogue, and when you met him, were you immediately involved with helping with the organization?
00:18:15 ANGELINE PIKE
No, not really. When we were married, he was also working for a publisher in addition to doing CFS. He always had something else going. His creativity was never satisfied in one area. And so he had to be writing or photographing, in addition to the distribution.
00:18:51 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. So when he started collecting the films for his catalogue, which he distributed, you mentioned the Whitneys, you mentioned Ahmed, I guess Dan McLaughlin was probably represented, who else were the focus, the main people?
00:19:08 ANGELINE PIKE
00:19:10 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Did you know them? Did they have a personal relationship at all?
00:19:13 ANGELINE PIKE
I had met a few of them. I had met Ahmed. I've met Bruce Conner. In fact, we haven't gone to the part about the film evenings, but that's where a lot of these people materialized, you know? And...
00:19:34 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Tell me about those.
00:19:36 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. All right. The only social event that Bob really participated in was film evenings, period. He didn't really do hardly anything else, but... [technical]
00:20:00 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Film evenings were the social highlight of Bob's life. And the film evenings consisted of inviting filmmakers to share their latest works. And one of the people that was often in attendance was Arthur Knight and he would bring his wife. And Arthur Knight was a reviewer for the, I believe it was THE SATURDAY REVIEW. And he was a great supporter of experimental avant-garde films. Bruce Conner, I remember very clearly standing in the living room with his little cigarette... [technical]
00:20:45 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
That's the first time I've ever seen pot, okay? And believe me, I got an education, period. I mean, this whole scene was totally foreign to somebody from the Midwest and, anyway. It continues to be an education. [laugh] So basically, Bob would set up the projector [AP: it was a projector screen] in front of the fireplace. Line up all the chairs in the living room and people would come. And I wasn't allowed to take the children's toys out of the way and that was difficult for me. So many times, I just kind of went in to the other room.
00:21:31 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. And the Whitneys came to the evenings as well?
00:21:36 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. John and, well, I didn't have as much to do with John as we did with Jim. Jim became a close personal friend to both of us. And after Bob passed away, he was a mentor. His spiritual consciousness is something that he shared with us in addition to his beautiful works of art, his pottery, painting that we have in our living room that I cherish. That's a work from YANTRA. And he introduced us to Krishnamurti over in Ojai, so we shared on many different levels. I always felt protective toward Jim because he was skittish and he never liked public acclaim. He didn't really like being around people.
00:22:26 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
So when we finally got him out to do a retrospective for Filmforum that was an accomplishment. He was a very dear and close friend and caring toward the children and sensitive, and he put up with me, okay, because, as I said, I was like a mother hen. I wanted to protect him from audiences and people that were going to bug him. So, that's what we did.
00:22:59 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
I'm going to ask you more about the Filmforum retrospective in a little bit. But when were the film evenings occurring? In what years were those occurring? And how long did they last?
00:23:10 ANGELINE PIKE
Are you talking about Filmforum or CFS?
00:23:13 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
I'm talking about the informal gatherings.
00:23:15 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, the informal. They lasted, oh, my gosh, clearly up through the '70s.
00:23:25 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So how often were they occurring?
00:23:28 ANGELINE PIKE
Once a month. It wasn't anything that was set in stone. It just depended on what he felt like doing and what was new. And then there were other avenues that were opening up, television was, he was involved with showing things on, I think it was Andy Williams we showed LAPIS, that was one of the openings. And so, he would go off in different directions.
00:23:56 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Did Arthur Knight ever write about any of this, besides that interview?
00:23:58 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. We have articles that Arthur Knight has written.
00:24:04 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. Did Bob always focus solely on avant-garde in the beginning? When did he incorporate non avant-garde works in the catalogue?
00:24:15 ANGELINE PIKE
Initially, it was all about the independent film artists. And then he also was fascinated with the works of Busby Berkeley and the early comedies because he had a really strong business acumen. He realized that nationally, or even internationally, this wasn't going to make any money, period. So he acquired shorts from Warner Brothers, from UPA, all over the world. In addition to rights to compilations like Abbott and Costello and famous movie monsters, mosaics that were put together. And so this was part of the library and that's basically what paid the bill sometimes.
00:25:11 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And how was he contacting people who would rent the films where, like film societies, were they libraries? What was the main…
00:25:18 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, well he had, my goodness. Initially, there was the flyers and then the catalogue. But there was mass mailings that were done like almost every month. And that was sent out to universities, film societies, all over the country. And we did service museums overseas and the British Film Institute. And a lot of it was referral too. And then our films were featured in things like the Booklist, which was the American Library Association.
00:26:03 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
We attended and exhibited whenever they would have their national meetings. There was another organization that I remember attending and that was the AECT, which was the Association For Educational Communications and Technology. And so, you'd bring your films that were popular like, CAPTAIN MOM, you know, the great big, old billboard, and VICIOUS CYCLES and nothing avant-garde, you understand, and KRASNER, NORMAN which was very popular. But that was part of the library that you were selling, prints, to organizations that needed to be featured.
00:26:52 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And can you tell me a little bit more about what organizations were renting prints?
00:26:58 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, well, I initially said it was all the colleges, libraries, museums, film societies, even other film distributors like the Co-op, New York, Canyon. We also had sub-distribution. Viewfinders in Evanston, Illinois, had prints that they distributed and International Tele-Film Enterprises in Canada, Picture Start, Ron Epple. Did I mention Boos, Charles Boos with Viewfinders? He was the one that was in charge there.
00:27:50 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And then you had the reviews from people, what was her name, pictures in New York. I'm trying to remember her name. There were periodicals that reviewed films on a regular basis and that was another way of getting the message out. What Bob did was arranged for discounts, previews. And so, he'd send these mailers out, thousands of them, every month, and guess who put them together. But that was a good way of getting the message out as to what was available.
00:28:37 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What about in L.A.? What organizations would rent films from CFS in L.A.?
00:28:41 ANGELINE PIKE
In L.A., Otis School of Design. UCLA, USC on a regular basis they rented our films. In fact, we would purchase films from USC to have in the library. And CalArts. CSUN, I'm trying to remember who else? And then I was doing a lot of business with private corporations and they were not renting avant-garde films. But they were renting others that would serve as openers for their programs that would get their clients' attention and warm them up.
00:29:33 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Tell me a little bit about the structure of the staff and who did what? You said that you'd helped with mailings. And who else was working with Bob at the time?
00:29:40 ANGELINE PIKE
When I first took over, Bob had a person that was in charge of rental previews and sales and film inspector and secretary. And we had a sales rep that rep us on the West Coast. His name was Jim Steenson. And I probably should have mentioned him in conjunction with the others. Oh, also in Paris, we had Pink Splash Productions that were handling our films, and we handled theirs as well. There was Cinedoc in Paris as well. And then in the UK, we had Lux, L-U-X, and that's still current.
00:30:39 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So the two staff members that you mentioned, the inspector and what are their names? Do you remember who they work?
00:30:45 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. Terry Johnson was in charged of sales. John Gruenberger was in charged of rentals and previews. And I'm trying to remember who the, Bill Moritz was a film inspector at one time. [laugh] Mary Yaples was the secretary.
00:31:13 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
How do you spell her last name?
00:31:14 ANGELINE PIKE
Y-A-P-L-E-S. That was a long time ago. And we, they went through a whole stream of different people that did film inspecting. And when I took over, we had a change in personnel because people left and other people were asked to leave because of what they were doing with the films.
00:31:39 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Are you able to talk about that one?
00:31:40 ANGELINE PIKE
It's water under the bridge. There was one individual that was just totally dishonest and so he had to go. And then I just ended up with an assistant and someone to do the film inspecting.
00:32:02 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
When was that?
00:32:04 ANGELINE PIKE
That was in '75.
00:32:08 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Who was it?
00:32:10 ANGELINE PIKE
00:32:10 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What was the name of your assistant?
00:32:13 ANGELINE PIKE
Karen Semler. And I hired Julie Clarke to do the film inspection. And Karen had a boyfriend that decided he was going to be president, but we won't talk about that. And so, we had, shall we say quite a learning experience in terms of staff. And you have to understand that when I took over I had no knowledge whatsoever of how he ran the business. And so, I had to take the structure that he had put in place, and he had a brilliant mind. And thank God, he was the person that always had to repeat himself 10 times so people would understand what he was saying.
00:33:10 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
So the policies were all in place. All I had to do was look at distribution agreements. And if I was acquiring more films, I could at least use that as my matrix. And so, I'm very grateful that he was so well organized because there's no way. You had bookkeeping to do as far as royalties. You had payrolls to take care of. And I had to learn all those things. So, I told you I was teachable, self-taught.
00:33:42 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So, can you talk a little bit about the structure of the royalty agreements that you had with various artists? And how did you determine who would buy the rights from outright and who did you have other agreements with?
00:33:55 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, well, in the first place I never attempted to buy anything outright. When Bob first started acquiring titles, he purchased things outright because that's what the filmmakers wanted. I chose to offer the filmmakers non-exclusive representation. And the representation was for rentals and sales. Also, the authorization to be able to represent them, for television and theatrical, and it was always tailored to the individual--people that didn't want to have their films represented for sale, fine.
00:34:38 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
If they wanted to handle distribution elsewhere, that was all right as well. And also we were authorized to have additional sub distribution through them. The royalties were 50-50. If a filmmaker deposited his films and there's going to be a great deal of activity on it, I would need authorization from the lab. We would order prints, pay the lab cost. And when royalties were rendered, those lab costs were deducted from the profits.
00:35:15 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And royalties were always rendered at least semi-annually. With Elfriede it was quarterly. She would remind me, Elfriede Fischinger, because we had all of Oskar’s films and the activity there was always very good.
00:35:34 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you talk a little bit more about how Bob came to meet Elfriede and Oskar, and what their relationship was like?
00:35:42 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
As clearly as I can recall, he approached Elfriede because she had the Fischinger collection. And I think he had actually met Oskar before he passed away. And he was just enthralled with his titles. And so...
00:36:09 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And what year was this roughly, when he met him?
00:36:14 ANGELINE PIKE
Sometime in the '60s. And so, he made arrangements little by little to have the films duplicated and she worked very, very closely. She was a good watchdog over the collection. And she and I became very good friends. She was a dear, dear soul, spent a lot of time here. I spent a lot time at her place on Woodland Park [Ed note: Wonderland Park]. And throughout all of this, Bill Moritz was a big, big factor. He was very helpful just in terms of basic information historically. I give him a great deal of credit and I'm grateful for his friendship.
end of tape 1
TAPE 2: ANGELINE PIKE
00:01:14 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. So you were talking about Bill Moritz being an integral part of getting the Fischingers represented in the CFS collection. Can you talk a little bit more about his connection with them?
00:01:26 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. Bob Pike actually introduced Bill Moritz to Elfriede Fischinger. And Bill was a filmmaker and a historian at that time. And he opted to assist Elfriede, and so they became very close, and he ended up representing her interest and also worked very closely with seeing that Oskar’s films were reproduced carefully through CFS.
00:02:04 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So what else do you know about Bill Moritz’ involvement with, not only your organization but with the LA community as a whole?
00:02:11 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, Bill to me was the epitome of knowledge as it dealt with anything in the film world and particularly with the avant-garde movement here in this country, as well as in Europe. And so if I ever had a question about anything, I could go directly to him, I could call him, or when we saw one another, address these questions. When I became involved with the Visual Music Alliance in the '80s, he became an integral part of that organization and we considered him to be the film visual and music historian. So, that's another story.
00:03:07 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Well, tell the story now.
00:03:10 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, my. Well, I just remembered Bill being involved in everything that had to do with film. It could, he could be at a screening. When we would meet at the Masquers Club, which was one of the venues that the Visual Music Alliance used for their meetings, there would be artists, there would be filmmakers, there would be musicians, writers that were interested in this melding form of visual music. And so, he was always there to add the information that was needed, the technology many times.
00:04:01 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
He's just a very, very valuable part of film and visual music and visual art as we know it. And his passing was a great loss. I was in Florida when he passed away, and so I was unable to attend his memorial service. But I did fax over something that I had hoped was read at his service to Cindy Keefer. I don't know, but at any rate, his contribution to the world of his historical documentation and what he's done is second to none.
00:04:51 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you talk a little bit more about the Visual Music Alliance? What was it is and who was charge of it, how did you get involved?
00:04:56 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. The Visual Music Alliance originally started sometime back in the '80s by Tom Seufert, Danny Sofer, a number of people that were musicians. And they got together after a Billboard conference and decided that in the process of sharing disciplines, it would be fun to see what else they could bring in. And so they contacted me. And I became the repository for the VMA. They worked out of this office. I did their monthly newsletter and even chaired their meetings and had their membership and helped arrange programs.
00:05:54 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And that's where we got a lot of the filmmakers involved. We had people like John Lasseter who was with Pixar. You know, he'd do a presentation. Bill Moritz, Elfriede, would show films, David Lebrun. So we had an opportunity to showcase a lot of filmmakers there. And people volunteered their time and their talents, and it was great sharing, until it got to the point where if this wasn't generating money, then people would kind of drop off, where there was this genuine desire to share disciplines and talent. It was very successful. So that lasted about 10 years.
00:06:41 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. Backing up just a little bit, I'm going to go back to how and when you took over the organization, what were the circumstances?
00:06:50 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. I shall begin in 1973. We had gone to Colorado Springs, we, being the entire family, including Bob, because he was teaching at a university there. He had a workshop that he taught for a weekend. After we returned from there, we discovered that he had come down with a very rare form of leukemia, reticular lymphocytic leukemia. And so that began a series of quests to see about finding a cure for this disease. And so we used just about every resource that was available. Gerson, I even made trips to San Francisco, to healers and it ended up that he, there was no cure.
00:07:50 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
So during this period of time, he had just finished publishing THE GENIUS OF BUSBY BERKELEY. So we had 10,000 copies of that to deal with. He was writing THE MAGIC THAT WAS HOLLYWOOD and didn't quite finish it. And this is while he was in bed and ill. To make a long story short, he made his transition, May 19th, 1974. And so, at that point, it was time to take over. And when I stepped into the office, as I had mentioned earlier, having no knowledge of exactly the way the business was run, I just had to use what was there and really follow very closely what he had set up because of his organizational skills.
00:08:54 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And so we continued with the exhibition because I think he had one in Las Vegas for AECT and published another catalogue and continued to see new filmmakers’ films, their works of art and acquired quite a few during that period of time. And my emphasis was on the higher consciousness films that would be used as a catalyst to lift and inspire people, to get them out of themselves, as opposed to just entertain. And so it was a good learning experience.
00:09:42 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Where did you see these films? How did you go find them?
00:09:46 ANGELINE PIKE
Actually, they found me. I never solicited any films. I mean, I would have films submitted just for viewing, and some were fine and others, we would just return. But I remember when Rowena Pattee had called me--she was responsible for a number of beautiful esoteric films. She had opened up the telephone directory and Creative Film Society was highlighted. There was light on there. So that's how she called me.
00:10:23 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And I was privileged to represent her films, THE TREE OF LIFE, and PASSAGES, and, as well as to be in touch with a very evolved consciousness.
00:10:43 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Did you make any changes in the policies at CSF, to the distribution policies?
00:10:48 ANGELINE PIKE
Not really. I did attempt to lower the percentage to 40-60 because the money wasn't there. And...
00:11:02 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you clarify what that means?
00:11:03 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. The royalties were always 50-50 between CFS and the producer. And when I thought it was necessary to change the percentage to 60-40, really nobody objected, but there wasn't that much revenue. So that was the only policy change.
00:11:31 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And so I'm going to go a little bit back again...
00:11:33 ANGELINE PIKE
00:11:33 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
...to ask a few more questions about the Whitneys. I'm hoping that you would give me a little bit more about their personalities, describing their personalities and then also the, we'll start with that.
00:11:52 ANGELINE PIKE
I can describe John Whitney as a very serious and technical person. I didn't know John personally, that well, because I didn't have access to him, but I respected and admired his genius when it came to the technical proficiency that he brought about in the filmmaking. I think I had mentioned Jim earlier in our conversation as far as the type of person that he was. And we always enjoyed going to his home to look at the footage, to be a part of the garden, and to be privileged to see him doing his pottery and some of the Raku work that he did. He did a whole period of time that he devoted to that. He shared those things with us, and not only his process, but the finished product.
00:13:05 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Because there was part of me that was really hungry to have more of his spiritual awareness--I'd seen his films and I could understand them on one level at a particular point in time. But as time went on and as we evolved and grew, there was greater understanding and appreciation. And even to this day, I'm still blown away by his films. He is a consciousness that will be here forever through his films. He was a sweet, sensitive, tender, loving being and just very shy. And as I said, he put up with me. But I think he understood my intentions. So...
00:13:58 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Tell me about the retrospective and when that was and how it came about.
00:14:03 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, let's see. The retrospective included, I have to jog my memory, it included everything. The FILM EXERCISES, did it include the FILM EXERCISES? I'd have to actually take a look at it. LAPIS, YANTRA, DWIJA, WU MING and KANG JING XIANG. [AP: remove KANG JING XIANG] I'm thinking of the beautiful [laugh] there was a poster, which I still have copies of.
00:14:49 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And tell me about how you set that up, who you contacted to [unintelligible]
00:14:52 ANGELINE PIKE
Yeah, well, first of all, it was Jim's idea to have this. And so after KANG JING XIANG [AP: it was WU MING and not KANG JING XIANG] had been completed the brochure was put together and Filmforum was the place where it was showcased. And then the brochures were sent out all over the country. And I'm trying to remember, they were rented by different organizations.
00:15:35 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Which film, pardon the interruption. What year was it and what was the actual location of the screening?
00:15:41 ANGELINE PIKE
Mm. Oh, the Pasadena Filmforum, sorry. [laugh] It was in Pasadena. And I would have to look up the year, I'm sorry. [AP: The year was 1978.]
00:15:51 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So you worked with Terry Cannon with that.
00:15:53 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. It was Terry. Mm hmm. And I brought lilacs to have as part of it from our lilac bush. Yes. So it must have been in the spring. Like April. But I don't remember the year.
00:16:11 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Yeah, that's [unintelligible] I just wanted to hear more about how it was received, how many people came and [unintelligible]
00:16:19 ANGELINE PIKE
It was very well received. And he even made an appearance, which was a big deal, which was important for him.
00:16:29 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Why was it important for him?
00:16:31 ANGELINE PIKE
Because he shied away from people. He did not like any exposure. I mean, he just wasn't comfortable.
00:16:39 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Mm, so at Filmforum, he talked openly about his films and he...
00:16:42 ANGELINE PIKE
I think he answered questions, yes, mm hmm.
00:16:48 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Just a few more questions that are further back and then we'll move forward. Can you talk a little bit about how LAPIS ended up on "The Andy Williams Show"? Did you do that or did Bob?
00:16:59 ANGELINE PIKE
Bob. That was Bob's doing, mm hmm.
00:17:04 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So what did he do? He contacted them and said, I have this great abstract film and they just went with it?
00:17:10 ANGELINE PIKE
Yeah, and it was, what's his name, Mason Williams, that, that guitar [AP: he was playing Classical Gas], I think that was the music that they used instead of the background to that.
00:17:26 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So he showed it with a different soundtrack.
00:17:28 ANGELINE PIKE
Yeah, mm hmm.
00:17:29 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
00:17:29 ANGELINE PIKE
But the visuals were there. And so Bob, in his mind, knew there was another area for exposure with this type of imagery. I don't know. Besides that, besides that title, what else, what other film was ever...
00:17:54 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you please tell us what "The Andy Williams Show" was?
00:17:56 ANGELINE PIKE
"The Andy Williams Show" was a variety show featuring the singer and performer, Andy Williams.
00:18:06 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Was it Whitney's idea to change the music in the background and why was it changed?
00:18:12 ANGELINE PIKE
They just wanted to use the visuals, period. And besides, Mason Williams was one of the performers on that show. And it worked really well.
00:18:24 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So Andy Williams wanted to use only the visuals of LAPIS?
00:18:28 ANGELINE PIKE
That was for the opening, yeah, mm hmm.
00:18:33 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Oh, was this ongoing or was it just one time?
00:18:35 ANGELINE PIKE
No, it was just one time. It was just one time. [AP: Also in 1967 “God is Dog” opened at the Smothers Bros. Summer Special with Mason Williams doing Classical Gas on guitar.]
00:18:39 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
And Whitney did not have a problem with the different music [unintelligible]?
00:18:43 ANGELINE PIKE
00:18:44 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Oh, was this in the '70s?
00:18:45 ANGELINE PIKE
Mm hmm [AP: The year was 1967.]
00:18:49 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Yes, it was in the '70s.
00:18:56 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So, what films would you say, if you can remember, did the corporate clients that you were finding were showing the more mainstream pictures? What were they renting?
00:19:06 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. Corporate clients were renting black and white shorts, seven minutes long, called KRASNER, NORMAN: BELOVED HUSBAND OF IRMA. That was one of the most popular films that dealt with an executive that goes into a pay toilet [AP: without a dime] that doesn't have any toilet paper and his dilemma. Very, very funny. Everybody related to that. VICIOUS CYCLES, CAPTAIN MOM and SERGEANT SWELL, these were all films that were made by Chuck Menville and Len Janson. Comedies and great films to have at meetings to entertain and as warm-ups.'
00:19:56 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Also the producer of KRASNER had produced another film called TREASURE FROM THE SEA. So you’d think it was a Cousteau film because you've got all these divers on board. And when they come up what do they come up with? Coffee. [laugh] That was the treasure. This is for a coffee break film. And others were interested in some of the shorts that we had. But the ones that I mentioned were primarily the most popular for business.
00:20:38 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
All right. Can you tell me a little bit more about Arthur Knight? Did you know him...
00:20:44 ANGELINE PIKE
Not really. Just that he's changed his name. [laugh] His last name wasn't Knight. It was something else. Rosenkrantz or something like that, I don't remember. But he's a nice fellow.
00:20:59 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Is there anything specific that you wanted to hear about Arthur Knight [unintelligible]... [technical]
00:21:31 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Oh, I'm wondering about the, I found a few things in the archives that show that Bob was doing a little bit of curating for the Ann Arbor Film Festival...
00:21:49 ANGELINE PIKE
00:21:48 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
...and a few other, this article mentions another organization, that he selected things from his collection.
00:21:55 ANGELINE PIKE
00:21:56 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
So how did that come about and who contacted him? Who would contact him to set that up?
00:22:00 ANGELINE PIKE
He worked with the Ann Arbor Film Festival every year. In fact, a lot of the filmmakers came from Ann Arbor. Their films were sent, you know, for consideration and distribution. George Manupelli, I believe, was in charge at that time. And as far as curating, no bells go off.
00:22:31 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
No bells go off?
00:22:32 ANGELINE PIKE
00:22:34 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. And what else do you remember outside of the typical distribution activities that Bob would do as far as special evenings or curating or anything else that he did outside of the distribution realm with these films?
00:22:53 ANGELINE PIKE
I mentioned earlier that he was attempting to get into the television marketplace as far as some of the shorts. THE TOWERS was one of the films that we represented. And it was popular from the day it hit the library and it's still in use. We had television representation in the United Kingdom and I think PBS out here. Huell Hauser did a segment on the, THE TOWERS, but did not wish to pay anything for it, but he got a hold of Bill Hale and they walked through. So that worked out fine. And there were other organizations that wanted to use "The Towers."
00:24:00 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Mm hmm. Can you talk a little bit logistically about how the prints were maintained, stored and just the use of them...
00:24:08 ANGELINE PIKE
00:24:09 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
00:24:12 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, anything that was on Kodak, Eastman Kodak, faded. And so the negatives were always stored at the labs. And the films that were stored in Reseda were in an air-conditioned unit. When I moved the library here in 1983 because the rent had jumped up so high and it was difficult to afford, I put an air-conditioner in the garage and had the whole thing insulated, put the insulation in the ceiling. And so the library was, might not have been what they store in the vaults, as far as temperature is concerned, but that is how the films were stored.
00:25:10 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And anything that was printed on Technicolor lasted. I mean, it looked great. When films began to deteriorate in color, we just had to scrap them.
00:25:25 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Did you ever run into a print that just, I mean, did you end up making copies of things to help yourself have longevity of these?
00:25:36 ANGELINE PIKE
In the first place, there were multiple copies of most prints. Now when a print was purchased, like, from UPA and you only had one or two copies, that was it, because that's what the rights were for the life of the print, period. And so there was no way to duplicate those. But where you had the right, and there were printing materials available, you could order them, pay for them and make sure that they were there. That's why I'm so grateful to the Academy and to iota, and Filmforum and the Film Preservation people, that are restoring these, and putting them on DVD.
00:26:24 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Do you have any remembrance of any particular filmmakers with whom Bob had a sort of the tumultuous relationship or on and off relationship or there's anything interesting about their relationship [unintelligible]?
00:26:36 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, first of all, you have to understand Bob was a perfectionist. And filmmakers have their own individual temperament and so he had, you might say, disagreements, but I don't think it was anything that was particularly traumatic. I think it was just part of personality differences. And he respected, you know, if somebody wanted to withdraw their films. And I think at one point, Bruce Conner had withdrawn them and I think I wrote it down somewhere. I know that while I was handing the distribution, Kenneth Anger had his entire collection withdrawn and deposited with the Film-Makers' Coop, which was fine.
00:27:29 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Filmmakers always had the option. If they weren't happy after a period of time or whatever the situation was and they wanted their films returned, that was honored. And before I decided, I'm jumping the gun again, before I decided to terminate my affiliation with or my responsibility with Creative Film Society, I contacted each of the filmmakers and let them know and asked them what they wanted done with their films. And those that wanted them returned, I returned. Most people were very happy with the service that had been rendered over the years and they were very pleased that they were going to the archive and to iota.
00:28:23 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you talk about how you make decisions to disburse the collection between UCLA and iota? Can you just tell that story with [unintelligible].
00:28:31 ANGELINE PIKE
Okay. Why don’t I start with why, after 25 years, okay, first of all, back in 1989, business was really at an all-time low as far as the film distribution business. So I decided to get a job as a temporary. And so I began my career in the temporary business. I was still maintaining Creative Film Society because most of the requests for rentals or sales were done through the mail so I was able to handle that. UPS shipped and delivered, here. And so I was, you might say, having CFS as an avocation while getting a full-time job, so I could pay the bills.
00:29:21 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
After 10 years of that and just seeing that this really wasn't going anywhere and I was working to support the producers that it was time to turn that responsibility over to an organization that I know would not only take care of it, but have it accessible to scholars, to filmmakers, to people that were doing archiving or researching. And I chose UCLA because that's where Bob matriculated and where he did his master's thesis on the experimental film movement on the West Coast.
00:30:06 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And I don't think UCLA was too happy with me when I told them they could not rent or sell the films, and so they said, we will only take two or three prints. And I said, okay. So I had all the balance of these titles and I thought of Bill Moritz and iota and Larry Cuba and Sara Petty, and the people that were involved with that organization, which was nonprofit. And so I had them take the balance knowing that they had the same mindset in terms of being a facility where individuals could come and see these films, do research and just to have that exposure. So that's how it was split up.
00:30:54 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Did you just say that UCLA only took two or three prints?
00:30:58 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes, of each one.
00:31:00 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Oh, I see. Okay.
00:31:00 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes. Of each title, sorry. Thank you for clarifying that.
00:31:08 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
How many prints total did you end up having to disburse after you had returned the films to the filmmakers?
00:31:15 ANGELINE PIKE
I don't know. I think there were over a thousand. And then I had to junk a lot of them. Art Clokey's prints of "Gumby," the "Gumby" series had turned pink. And I said, what do you want me to do with them? He said, destroy them. So I'm taking them off of the reels and putting them in the trash.
00:31:40 ADAM HYMAN
Tell us about Art Clokey. He died yesterday.
00:31:42 ANGELINE PIKE
Ah, no. Did he really?
00:31:45 ADAM HYMAN
They announced his death yesterday…
00:31:50 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. Art Clokey was a dear, dear, dear soul. You know, he was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was also a very good friend. And he had his films with Pyramid. We had "Gumbasia" initially, that was the first film that he made, and went into Bob's early catalogue and that's where they met. And he was very much involved with Sai Baba and that whole spiritual community. And I remember going to his home to pick up films to bring back. And he had tons of them, all these "Gumby" episodes. And that was another dear soul. I just love that man.
00:32:43 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And he had a very, very dear wife and she passed away. Was he still in Sausalito? Because I had lost touch with him. Well, may he rest in peace. He was a good man. Oh.
00:32:59 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What other filmmakers were you and Bob close with?
00:33:04 ANGELINE PIKE
Besides Elfriede? [laugh] Oh, dear, I was Elfriede's shrink, okay?
00:33:11 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Talk more about that.
00:33:15 ANGELINE PIKE
[laugh] Well, whenever Elfriede was having problems with Bill, she just needed a sounding board that was all.
00:33:28 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Are you able to talk about what those problems were?
00:33:31 ANGELINE PIKE
No. I don't think it's a good idea. They were kind of personal.
00:33:39 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
00:33:41 ANGELINE PIKE
I lost my train of thought now.
00:33:46 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
What other filmmakers did you and Bob, were you and Bob friendly with besides Elfriede, Art Clokey, the others that you mentioned?
00:33:59 ANGELINE PIKE
Gosh, there were so many. David Lebrun. I have to think back. People that you actually saw and had anything to do with besides in business. Offhand, that's about it.
00:34:47 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you talk a little bit about Bruce Conner, of his personality, what you knew about him?
00:34:54 ANGELINE PIKE
I had met Bruce a number of times and I think he had a great sense of humor. He was rather erratic in his behavior. I remember that's the first time I ever saw anybody smoking pot in our living room and I didn't know what it was, smelled funny. And his films COSMIC RAY and A MOVIE I thought were fascinating, I thought he was a brilliant, brilliant person. I think a lot of filmmakers had unusual personalities and he was unusual.
00:35:40 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Can you tell me a little bit about Kenneth Anger, his personality?
00:35:43 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, Kenneth was someone that I was totally mesmerized by. When I first met him, I was afraid of him, [laugh] because I had seen a couple of his films. I think FIREWORKS was the first one I had seen and it frightened me. And after meeting him, realizing he's a very gentle caring person and very talented. And his films were a reflection of himself, his life from the time he was a child. I feel he was one of the most brilliant filmmakers around. I had great respect for him.
00:36:27 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA
Okay. Can you talk a little bit about what you know about the thesis that Bob wrote during his time at UCLA about the West Coast Experimental Film Movement?
00:36:39 ANGELINE PIKE
I believed that that thesis contains a pretty comprehensive rendering of what was going on prior to, what is referred to as the West Coast Experimental Film Movement. Tracing it back to the early days of Méliès and Cohl when experimental films were being made. And then the participation of artists like the Whitneys and Ahmed Lateef that we had mentioned earlier, and John Schmitz who I don't know that we had any of his films in the collection, but he was one of the early artists.
00:37:22 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And I think Schmitz was one of the filmmakers that really didn't have any background in filmmaking. And he just shot what was there, but he had many statements to make. And early on, I know that Bob represented his films.
end of tape 2
TAPE: ANGELINE PIKE TAPE 3
So Schmitz and VOICES. Tell us more about that.
00:00:19 ANGELINE PIKE
I remember meeting John Schmitz. I don't know where the prints of VOICES are or even the titles that Schmitz had deposited with us at one time. I just know that in discovering that early catalogue, all of his films were listed in there. And from his master's thesis, it clearly indicated that Schmitz had no training whatsoever in filmmaking. And so he had a difficult time expressing himself, but he had a lot of angst to express. And so that was part of what most filmmakers did at that time was their inner conflicts anxieties, hang-ups, et cetera.
Okay. Can you tell us about the film VOICES? What was it like?
00:01:13 ANGELINE PIKE
I don't remember it.
I wanted to know how you think that Bob's interest in West Coast experimental filmmaking specifically translated into CFS' practices. Did he try and push those West Coast artists that he felt were doing more interesting work out there?
00:01:35 ANGELINE PIKE
I think the West Coast film artists were just one segment of the talent that was here, which is one reason he invited those on the East Coast to be a part of the CFS collection. And it started out small. And then as time went on, the things that interested him were added to the library. And rather than just representing the independent film artists solely, he integrated other things into the library, which would make it popular, accessible and profitable. And so he put in compilations and purchased films from other distributors that would have the interest and popularity.
Okay. So the West Coast artists and others that he would showcase everywhere used to have inserts in the catalogues. Did he have specific filmmakers that he preferred to showcase or curate or try to get more sales for?
00:02:50 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, in the first place, whenever he would acquire anything new, he would send it out on a preview basis to all the potential buyers. And at that time, it was film societies and libraries. The library association was a great big wonderful source. And so we always chose to exhibit at the American Library Association. The problem with so many of these previews was the way things came back. Trashed.
So do you remember any of the artists that he used to showcase in his inserts that he used to put into the catalogue?
00:03:45 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, initially, it was the Whitneys, John and James, with their FILM EXERCISES. And then the early works of Ahmed Lateef, which was CALICLOTH was one of his early works. "Gumbasia," Art Clokey's work. And may he rest in peace. We discovered today that he's made his transition. And I digress.
So there were student films being rented, was the rental of student films prolific? Did they get rented a lot?
00:04:42 ANGELINE PIKE
Yes, depending on what they were.
Who would usually rent student films?
00:04:50 ANGELINE PIKE
Film societies. Other universities.
00:05:01 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Student films were rented by other film societies that were either based in a university or just individually. Student films were also rented by business and industry, depending on what their content was. And they were promoted through fliers and that came after the catalogues were published.
Oh, yes, about the term filmartist as one word. Can you talk about how that got started and how it was received? Did he invent the term filmartist? Did Bob invent it?
00:06:02 ANGELINE PIKE
I didn't realize Bob had coined the term filmartist but that's entirely possible. I would describe a filmartist as an individual that utilizes film as an art form and expresses themselves through this medium as an art form.
And so do you differentiate the avant-garde films from, say, a narrative film in that sense?
00:06:38 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, yes. [laugh] The avant-garde films were, I like to say, off the wall, not your normal Hollywood-type films or shorts. And we had a representation of many different types of art films within the collection, as you probably know. So there was that balance for whoever was renting films. But the emphasis initially was to represent the independent film artists and promote this art form. And I think Creative Film Society did that clear up till the end.
My last two questions have to do with your statement about films that raise consciousness or create a higher level of consciousness. Can you talk about when a film does that and how that happens, first of all, the concept?
00:07:51 ANGELINE PIKE
Well, consciousness is something that we all respond to and my perception of a higher consciousness is something that transcends this physical level that takes the viewer into another realm of being and allows them to have an inner experience that is cosmic in nature.
Can you give us some examples of films that you think create a higher level of consciousness?
00:08:35 ANGELINE PIKE
Maybe start with James Whitney's films.
00:08:41 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
Films that are an indication of higher consciousness to me are the film works of James Alfred Whitney, beginning with YANTRA, LAPIS, DWIJA, WU MING, and even the FILM EXERCISES that he did with his brother John. And RADIANCE: THE EXPERIENCE OF LIGHT that was done by Dorothy Fadiman. There's so many. REVELATION by Tony Venezia. Just a visual. I'm thinking.
Why don't you tell us about REVELATION because I'm not familiar with that one?
00:09:46 ANGELINE PIKE
REVELATION is an abstract film with beautiful imagery. And that's why it's called REVELATION. [laugh]
00:10:03 ANGELINE PIKE
It's a short film.
Okay. What about RADIANCE?
00:10:12 ANGELINE PIKE
RADIANCE. RADIANCE: THE EXPERIENCE OF LIGHT by Dorothy Fadiman, also in conjunction with Michael Wiese. This is a film that was made, I believe, in the late '70s and initially distributed by Pyramid and turned over to us 10 years later. And it deals with the experience of light and how everything has its source in that light. And I would say it's a spiritual film as opposed to a metaphysical film because it shows the influence of light in all things, how people radiate light and inspiration. All of those things are a result of light and we come from the light. So, it's a beautiful film.
Do you remember Lynn Fayman very well?
00:11:26 ANGELINE PIKE
00:11:27 ANGELINE PIKE
Just the name. Just the name. That was one of the first contributors to Creative Film Society. What do you know about Lynn Fayman?
Not much and a researcher is trying to find more information on...
00:11:43 ANGELINE PIKE
trying to see if you remembered anything about...
00:11:46 ANGELINE PIKE
Right. I think the title of the film was...
00:11:52 ANGELINE PIKE
Yeah, SOPHISTICATED VAMP. That was one of the early, early films that Bob acquired.
What about Ovady Julber? It's another one that's a little bit more obscure...
00:12:30 STEPHANIE SAPIENZA(CONTINUED)
00:12:33 ANGELINE PIKE
Oh, I know the film but I don't know, I think it was something, it was probably purchased outright.
00:12:49 ADAM HYMAN
When you say purchased outright, does that mean you wouldn't pay royalties on it?
00:12:56 ANGELINE PIKE
00:12:58 ADAM HYMAN
What do you mean by that?
Can you explain the difference between when you purchased the rights completely to a film versus when you split the royalties with the artist and when you [unintelligible]?
00:13:20 ANGELINE PIKE
The policy for Creative Film Society, when a film was purchased outright, it was purchased for the life of the print, if it was like one or two prints. Or it would be purchased with negatives, and whatever was involved with that film, Creative Film Society was able to do and retained all profits. That's an outright purchase. And the filmmaker would not have any rights to what was in our possession. On the other hand when a film was purchased, it was always with the royalties going to the filmmaker after lab costs were deducted if Creative Film Society had to purchase prints.
00:14:18 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
And X number of prints were always put into the library for preview, rental and circulation. And the filmmakers always owned the rights to the print and could withdraw them at any time.
Did you have that relationship with Hy Hirsh? [unintelligible] outright?
00:14:41 ANGELINE PIKE
Bob did, I didn't. And so we own the rights, total rights to the Hy Hirsh collection.
00:14:52 ADAM HYMAN
When you purchased outright, does that mean you had exclusive?
00:14:54 ANGELINE PIKE
Can you talk a little bit about Bob's relationship with Hy Hirsh?
00:15:02 ANGELINE PIKE
I didn't know Hy Hirsh, and he did and he also was able to secure the films through his daughter, Diane Kleinfeld. That is how the films were acquired. And they're still very popular.
00:15:21 ADAM HYMAN
So what did you change about the nature of your acquisitions of the Hy Hirsh films or [unintelligible] do you just mean you weren't involved in acquisition?
00:15:28 ANGELINE PIKE
No, I wasn't. I mean, I still have the original distribution agreements between Bob and the filmmakers, where they were purchased outright or for the life of the print or whatever. And when things began to dwindle as far as distribution filmmakers requested some of their films back even though they had been paid for by us. And I personally didn't do anything with them so I did return them.
00:15:59 ADAM HYMAN
When films are purchased outright, what generally was the range of the amount that was paid?
00:16:06 ANGELINE PIKE
Depending on the film...
00:16:09 ADAM HYMAN
So what was the range?
00:16:11 ANGELINE PIKE
I would actually have to look that up. It could have been anywhere from 500 to $2,000, depending on the film. Needless to say, I did not do any outright purchases while I was handling the library for those 25 years.
00:16:33 ADAM HYMAN
Do you know why Bob wanted to do outright purchases at all 'cause it's not like anybody else really...
00:16:38 ANGELINE PIKE
You didn't know Bob. He wasn't like anybody else.
00:16:42 ADAM HYMAN
00:16:45 ANGELINE PIKE
I always felt that Bob was someone that was born at the wrong time [laugh] because he actually liked the way things were way back when. The case in point, I think he owned, like, 10 Hermes typewriters, okay? None of them, automatic, okay? The things that were of value were always in the past. And he had a definite sense of justice. He was terribly honest. I think he offended a lot of people because he wasn't mainstream. And he just said things the way they were, period. And he had this tremendous desire to be creative all the time. And when his creative juices weren't running, somebody got the brunt of it. And I don't think I have to mention who. [laugh]
00:17:53 ANGELINE PIKE (CONTINUED)
So, he was a good person. He was very talented. He was brilliant. He was always right, which made it kind of hard sometimes. But I think he had a great talent and I think his heart was in the right place. And I'm very glad that he started Creative Film Society. And I certainly was not in a position to ever think that I was ever, going to be able to take it over, but I did. And I did the best I could with it for 25 years. And the fact that it's in the state of preservation right now thrills me because that which is of value should continue to be seen and explored throughout the world, not just here.
end of tape 3