Saturday, October 13, 2012

Local Inventor Lands Deal with Major Motion Picture

Buoy Bat, invented by South Berwick resident and bought in bulk by Adam Sandler (courtesy photo)

Sells bundle of his “Buoy Bats” to Adam Sandler

It’s been just over two years since South Berwick resident and inventor Bill Page decided to turn a wayward lobster trap buoy into a novelty baseball bat. Since then, thousands of people have taken notice of this fun and innovative product including Manchester, New Hampshire native and Hollywood actor Adam Sandler, who recently approved the purchase of 640 custom made Buoy Bats for gifts to the cast and crew of his upcoming movie “Grown Ups 2.” The film was shot on location on the North Shore of Boston over the summer.
“My wife answered a call in June and almost didn’t give me the message. The caller wasn’t forthcoming about what he was looking for and she thought that was odd,” said Page. “I called him (Kevin Grady) and after some due diligence on his part, he filled me in on why he was calling.” It turns out Grady works for Sandler, had seen Buoy Bat in a store in Marblehead, and if properly produced, thought it would make an excellent “Cast & Crew Gift” for the New England-themed movie.
Page traveled to Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, where the Columbia Pictures production was shooting a scene for the movie, due out in July of 2013, to show several samples of the bat. The scene they were working on called for four famous actors to quiver at the edge of a quarry’s cliff, being bullied by frat brothers from the local college.
“Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, and Chris Rock were all there with dozens of extras and hundreds of crew,” Page said. “And there I was with my Buoy Bat feeling a lot out of place but very excited to be auditioning for a ‘role’ in a major motion picture.”
At the end of the shoot, Page and Grady waited for Sandler to review the footage before calling a wrap. At that point, Grady handed Sandler the sample Buoy Bat painted in a red, white, and blue, stars and stripes theme and branded with the “Grown Ups 2” logo. Sandler held the bat, looked at it for a second and said, “That’s cool… I don’t get it.”
 “It’s a baseball bat made from a lobster buoy,” Grady said. Sandler walked off toward a waiting all-terrain vehicle, and Grady said to Page, “Come on, he likes it. We’ll wait by his trailer and when he comes out, we’ll let him try it.”
While waiting for Sandler to reappear, Page and Grady played Buoy Bat in a corral of campers and studio work trailers. During the wait, many cast and crew members gave Buoy Bat a try including teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner, whom Page did not recognize. Sandler eventually came out of the trailer and took the Buoy Bat from Grady as if on queue to test the proposed crew gift. Page played outfield, and Sandler stood taking swings as Grady wound up. Sandler hit a squibber off the end of the buoy on the first pitch. Page cringed and said to Grady, “Give him a meater.” Grady obliged and Sandler ripped a line drive over some trailers on the next pitch. Sandler replied with, “Yah, that’s cool” and Page breathed a sigh of relief.
Page said the sales pitch was exciting for business prospects, but also a great time seeing life on a Hollywood movie set. Page told his daughters, Katherine, 11, and Sydney, 9, about the impromptu ballgame, and they certainly knew who Lautner was. Page and his wife, Susan, also have a son named Harrison, 7, and the family enjoys take the Buoy Bat on beach outings. Page has also developed a Buoy Bat Go Fetch to use with your pooch.
He recently landed a contract deal with Orvis, which sells the Buoy Bat on its website for $45. Kittery Trading Post sells it for $25. Business has been great, but Page is not ready to quit his main job, ice rink manager at Churchill Rink in Durham, New Hampshire.
The Buoy Bat is made of a typical wooden baseball bat, with a foam buoy stretched over it for the hitting end. The ball that comes with Buoy Bat is made of foam and covered with a polyurethane skin. It’s “face-friendly,” according to Page, “doesn’t break windows and is waterproof.”