Friday, August 21, 2009

Baum Media Productions: From Light Bulbs to Galaxy Cadet

Baum Media Productions, with its distinctive "When You See the Bee" logo, started as a studio lighting company in the early seventies.

"I sold equipment that filmmakers use: lights, backdrops, filters, cables, booms, the whole thing," Elton Baum explained.

"There were a lot of experimental studios then, in the San Francisco area. Creative people, but without much practical experience. They needed help."

"I saw the sort of stuff they were making - and selling! - and thought, ‘I can do this.' So I talked to some people I'd met, and started making films."

The early films, like "Jerome Doesn't Live Here" and "The Krakow Chronicle," were commercially successful without achieving critical acclaim. "So what? A critic buys one ticket. I'm interested in what everybody else likes."

Baum Media Productions moved its studio to Minnesota in the eighties. "Partly for the climate," Elton grinned. I'll admit I'm biased, though, I like it here."

I discovered that Stan Parks and his brother Xul had worked on a Baum film that never made it to production: "Dino Side Story."

"Two gangs of dinosaurs, the fangs and the claws. A boy from one and a girl from the other fall in love, wish on a new star, everybody ‘sees the light,' makes friends – and then the star falls on the city and they die." Elton Baum shook his head.

"The legal department said there were problems with it: and I'm not sure I liked the ending, myself. Oh, well: there's always the next Galaxy Cadet film."

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