RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
You had ONE job! Really? So trespassing is OK? As long as you don’t “traspase?” Good grief I wonder how this happens. First off, somebody has to order the sign. Then somebody has to make the sign. Then somebody has to pick up the sign. And then somebody has to POST the sign. NOT ONE OF THEM realized the mistake? We’re so doomed.
One of the songs that came on 1270AM KVGH while I was in Palm Springs was a song that the rest of the people in my SUV had never heard before. I thought EVERYBODY had heard Andy Kim’s “Rock Me Gently” before. It still sounds great!
Monday the 30th – LUSCIOUS LAST-MINUTE LUNACY! – Well it’s certainly good that I rested up on Sunday, because this Monday was manic! The long day started when I got up at 9 to do a session at 11 at Voice Trax West. When I sat down and checked my e-mail I saw that I had been sent the script for the session. UH OH! The content of the script seemed to be in conflict with another job I had going that paid me a great deal to be exclusive to their product. So I called the agent who booked the gig (Agent A) and told him the problem. He called the producers to tell them. Meanwhile, I called the agent who had booked me on the “exclusivity” project (Agent B) and told him the issue. He said he’d talk it over with the staff and get back to me. When they did, he suggested avoiding doing the session. But Agent A called back and said that the role I’d be doing would be, in fact, a character role, thereby rendering it “compliant” within the bounds of my exclusivity agreement with the other product. I called Agent B and told him. They said that it was a gray area, but to go ahead and do it but “keep it character-y” and far away from the voice I used for the exclusivity project. I told him the two voices sounded nothing alike, and did both voices for him over the phone. Agent B said that would be fine. Whew! So I headed over to Voice Trax West to get ready for the 11am session. Just as I was walking in I saw that I had a voicemail from a Casting Director who casts for animation and ADR (additional dialogue recording) projects. However, since I had my phone on silent (since I was going into a session) I missed her call. Her voicemail told me about a “rush job” that was happening that day at 2pm and would I be able to do it? I had the afternoon free, so the first chance I had I called her back and left a message. I also texted her to let her know I was available. I was planning on going to see “Avengers – Infinity War” but I could see that any time. Work always comes first. The session at Voice Trax West was over in about a half hour, so I headed over to CVS to get some photos printed. I hadn’t heard back from the Casting Director yet, so I went about my day as planned. But then she texted me and said she was waiting to hear from the producers if I had been approved. It all seemed very mysterious. At first they needed me for an hour or so that day, but would need me for a four hour session on Tuesday. Then it became the case of needing me for four hours today AND Tuesday. Then it became the case of them needing me for FIVE hours today and Tuesday doing the voice of a narrator and a character. I told her I was more than willing and able and was available. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. If, by chance, this session would be across town, it was looking doubtful that I would make it by 2pm. I was hoping it was close by. Just as I was finishing up with my photos at CVS she texted me to tell me I had gotten the job and she was phoning my agent. (Not Agent A or B) I rushed home to check my e-mail to see if my agent had sent me the map to the gig. Come to find out it was at Disneytoon studios in Burbank which is a short driving distance from my house (whew!). Secondly she said it was for “scratch,” which means it will be a temporary voice track that will be used for test screenings. It was very likely that a celebrity would come in later and ruin it…ahem…I mean redo the narration. Oh well, work is work! She said sometimes it does work out to where they keep the scratch as the final though. So I called my assistant Sara to make sure she could feed and walk Roxy at 5:30 while I was doing the session. I wouldn’t be home until about 7:30. I grabbed lunch on the way to the session and headed over to Disney. It’s rare that I do a five hour session any more these days. When you reach a certain point in your career your agent negotiates shorter session times as a convenience to the actor. I’ve done four hour sessions before in animation (the standard session length) but I was wondering how I would do at a five hour session. It ended up being exhausting, but very rewarding. We were getting some GREAT stuff and I think the producer and writer were VERY happy! I can’t say more about what the project is, but I was very proud of the work we did. Of the 209 lines we had in the script, we only got up to line 86 the first day. They had a very specific way they wanted it read, so we hammered out each line to perfection. But since the job HAD to be wrapped up by Tuesday night at 7, we’d have to move through the remaining lines lightning fast on Tuesday. I got home and relaxed and napped on the couch for a bit. When I got up later I did a few auditions and typed out Wally’s Week. I made a Tombstone pizza and fed the pets. Roxy and I had our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, and when I came back in I started throwing a few things in a bag for my upcoming Palm Springs trip. I put the new photos I just had printed in my photo albums and hit the hay for a busy Tuesday!
Tuesday May 1st – DISNEY DAY DEUX! – I sprang awake at 9:30, did some work around the house, and then stopped by my mailbox to get my mail. I hit Little Cesar’s for lunch, and headed over to Disneytoons again for the second day on the “scratch” narration project. We tore through the remaining lines and had a blast. I know which celebrities the producers were thinking about hiring for the final narration, and I knew that neither of them would be capable of doing what we had accomplished over the past two days. The simply didn’t have the range to do it. Like I said, I can’t say much about it, but the gist of the project was a storytelling narrator who went into a character voice to be the “inside-the-head” voice of the main character on screen. They seemed to love my narration, but they seemed to really like what I did for the character’s voice. I asked them if I would be able to see the finished product with my voice before a celebrity came in and “ruined it.” They laughed and said that they would be happy to set up a screening sometime in one of their screening rooms so I could see how it turned out. I get that way about the projects I do; I become very involved and attached to them. I did suggest in passing that, if they hire a celebrity to narrate, that they should leave my voice in as the character. They thought that was an interesting idea. That way they could have the marketability of having a celebrity do the narration, but still have a trained Voice Actor performing the main character. I got home and relaxed, did some auditions, packed for Palm Springs, paid some bills, made some sloppy joes and hit the hay! What a week!
Wednesday May 2nd – PALM SPRINGS BIRTHDAY BLITZ ! – With my mind buzzing I woke up an hour before I was supposed to. I packed some last-minute things and took Roxy to the groomer so she’d be nice and clean for our trip to Palm Springs. My pal Pat Evans and I met at the Hollywood Museum for a meeting with the museum staff. We discussed ideas for a possible upgrade to the Batman 1966 exhibit we have going there. On the way home I stopped at Ralph’s market and picked up a few supplies for the trip. Then I got Roxy at the groomer’s and headed home. A master puppet builder named Christine came over for a meeting at 4 so we could talk about my Rowlf the Dog project I’m working on. She is going to help me make it as amazing as it can possibly be. Then my pal Edi came over to drop off her dog Bunny. She and her husband Elliot would be going to New York for the weekend and she wanted my assistant Sara to watch Bunny over the weekend while they were gone. I’d be in Palm Springs so Sara had double duty; watch the house and Spooky, as well as Bunny the dog. Edi dropped me off at Enterprise so I could get my SUV and I drove it home and parked it outside my house. I did one audition and napped from 6:30 to 8:30. Sara came over around 8:30, I packed up the SUV and hit the road around 9. Right out of the gate there was a problem on the freeway. Some knucklehead had hit the center divider and caused a back-up on the 134 freeway just a few miles from my house. My trip wasn’t starting out very well. But once we got through that (about 20 minutes later) I hit the road and it was top speeds all the way into Palm Springs. I got there at the usual time (around 11pm) and of course my first stop was Denny’s for some food (my Palm Springs tradition). I got to my usual room at the Hyatt around 11:30 and enjoyed my dinner. I put my things away and got ready to star gaze all night. It was a chilly night, but it would be warming up by the weekend. I watched stars and got into a creative fit, so I grabbed a hotel notepad and started scribbling ideas. I had time to process all the info we talked about at the museum earlier in the day, and the ideas were just pouring out of me! I stayed out there enjoying the night and my Palm Springs playlist on my iPad until 5am. I walked Roxy one last time and hit the hay around 6am, just as the sun was coming up.
Thursday May 3rd – P.S. – I LOVE YOU! – It was great being back in Palm Springs. I hadn’t been there since September and the weather was finally warming up enough to suit my taste. After all, I sleep through the hot afternoons and only stay up for the nights. As long as it’s about 66-70 degrees at night, I’m a happy boy! I slept until 3 and then put Roxy in the SUV and headed to KFC. It was neat because when Roxy and I first started “dating” (when I was first picking her up for afternoon outings to get acquainted) I would take her to the local KFC and get some chicken strips. I would share them with her and walk around a local park to work her through some of her behaviors. Then after a few hours, I would take her back to her previous owner’s. Once she got used to me, I would pick her up for weekend trips to my house. But then I would have to take her back on Sunday nights. After a few months of that, she got to stay permanently. It was a great way to do it, and really “eased” her into the new situation. We drove to the dog park and stopped under the shade of a huge palm tree. While listening to 1270AM KVGH (all 70’s music with a few 60’s thrown in here and there) we enjoyed our KFC lunch. Then we spent a few hours at the park. It was a great day because all 3 of my favorite dog breeds were there; a gorgeous Husky, a couple of Golden Retrievers, and of course my Collie. We went back to the hotel and I laid down with a cold pack on my face for a bit. I need to have a tooth extracted next week, and it’s none too soon. It’s starting to get painful. But the cold packs really seem to help. Around 6 I went downstairs and enjoyed the Palm Canyon Drive street fair that’s held every Thursday night. I saw my pal “The Palm Springs Pillow Lady” and picked up few pillows she made for me. Then I went back inside once it had cooled down enough and got Roxy. It’s fun to walk her through the street fair as she always gets lots of attention. There was a 20 piece high school band playing big band standards and they were great! Just as I was about to move on I heard their bass player rehearse a riff that sounded very familiar. Could it be? So I stayed around a while longer. Sure enough, they played what I thought they would; “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” by Count Basie! It brought back fond memories of “The Gong Show” and Gene Gene the Dancin’ Machine. When they finished I put $10 in their coffers and told their teacher/conductor, “Where’s Gene Gene Dancin’ Machine when you need him?” He laughed and totally got my reference. I told the kids in the band that they should YouTube Gene Gene to see how that song was used much to the delight of an entire nation back in the 70’s. They seemed very smart, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did! I had a shuffle in my step as we returned to the room and I grabbed a short nap. I got up at 1am, ordered a pizza from NYPD pizza across the street, and got ready to watch stars all night. There was a night bird in the trees across the street who sang virtually all night. It was very pleasant. But sadly watching stars in Palm Springs isn’t what it used to be. That area (and the entire town) has become much too light polluted. In particular, the area around the Hyatt is being built up too much, and the future plans include yet another hotel (really!?), a park and a mini-mall. So much for star watching in the future. As I was standing on the balcony around 4am looking at the sky, I turned to see a HUGE bird flying right at me. His wing span must’ve been around 4 feet wide! He landed on the roof of the hotel right above my head. I shined a light on him, but only saw his backside. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but I was guessing it was a huge owl. They’ve perched up there in the past when I’ve been visiting. The song “Paradise” by Coldplay came up on my iPad… and that it was! But it started getting light around 5am, so I walked Roxy a final time and then we hit the hay. My friends would be arriving later on Friday to help celebrate my birthday. FUN FUN FUN!
Friday May 4th – CONCERT CLATTER! Several years ago when I visited Palm Springs, they had a Disco Divas concert on the golf course below my room. They worked all night building the stage and setting up the food tents, and it completely ruined my stay. However, watching the concert from my balcony with friends was fun, but it wasn’t worth the trade-off of missing out on my quiet nights on the balcony watching stars. This year they were doing another concert gala with Gladys Knight, and on this very weekend! Luckily, the weather was cool enough during the days that the technicians could build the stage during the daylight hours and not have to work at night. Since my friends wouldn’t be arriving until later, I had the afternoon free to go see “Avengers – Infinity War” at the local theater. Then I came home and grabbed a quick nap. Later my pal Brittney Powell arrived and we walked Roxy down to Ruby’s to get a bite. We were joined by James and Cynthia, and we had a great time sitting on Ruby’s patio watching people pass by. I got a Dole Whip at Lappert’s Ice Cream (one of my favorite Palm Springs traditions) and headed back to the room to watch stars all night. Even though the workers had finished setting up the stage and dinner tables for the gala, they had generators running all night (probably to keep the food refrigerated) and the sound ruined my evening. On the mountain directly outside my balcony there were a BUNCH of climbers; probably 50-60 of them throughout the course of the night. You can see their headlamps as they head up the mountain. It must’ve been some sort of event, because there aren’t usually that many in any given night. But I believe they climb the mountain all night so they can watch the sunrise from atop the peak. I took Roxy downstairs for one last potty break at 5am and noticed that all the power across the street from the Hyatt was OUT! Completely black! I’m glad it didn’t reach across to the hotel. That would have REALLY sucked big time!
Saturday the 5th – THE BIRTHDAY BUNCH! – Though my official birthday wasn’t until Sunday the 6th, a bunch of my friends gathered in Palm Springs to help me celebrate a day early. The added attraction of a free Gladys Knight concert and fireworks display across the street from my hotel didn’t hurt either! I slept all day and got up around 4. Brittney and I picked up Mark and Connie at their hotel and headed to The Old Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Mirage. There we met up with Scott & Vickie Sebring, James and Cynthia, and my friend Aliza. She had just bought a new car and wanted to break it in with a road trip to Palm Springs. Great timing! After a fun dinner we all headed back to the hotel to watch the concert from my balcony. Mark and Connie had gifted me with a custom action figure of my Dell computer Glam Rocker; complete with custom packaging! I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how it was made. As luck would have it Ro, the head of the company who made it, was in town! So Mark called him up and invited him over to the room. The concert was fabulous and Gladys sounded great! The fireworks were awesome, as always. When the show was over I asked Ro to explain how everything on my Dell action figure was created. He told me he’s in business with a genius fabricator who can take pieces of other action figures and customize them. Nothing is sculpted or 3D printed. He just does it with pieces of other figures and is very skilled with a Dremel tool! Amazing! After everyone left I got ready to watch stars. But the crew spent all night tearing down the stage and tents from the event at the golf course. The crew who handled the Disco Divas concert had everything torn down in just a few hours. But they must’ve been short-handed this year, as they worked all night. It wasn’t necessarily the noise (I could have used my headphones) but it was the two bright work lights that blared into my room that really ruined the vibe. So I laid down at 2 hoping they’d be done soon. Like clockwork, I woke up right at 3. Nope, still working. So I laid down again. I woke up at 4. Nope, still working. Rats! So I laid down again. I got up at 5. Nope, still working. Same thing for 6am. By then the night all that was left were two generators, which were being hooked up to a truck to be towed away. The night was a loss. Any thoughts I had of coming back to L.A. a day early were dashed, as I needed one more night of quality star watching before I left Palm Springs.
Sunday the 6th – 57?!? – On the day of my official birthday, I happened to wake up early. After all, instead of being up all night watching stars (like I usually do in Palm Springs) I had gotten quite a bit of sleep. So by 10am I was up and ready to rock. The weather was about 107, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable because of the dry, humidity-less conditions in the desert. So Brittney and I walked over to Las Casuelas to have lunch at 11:30 with Mark and Connie. We were lucky enough to get “The Elvis Table” (the table Elvis always sat at when he lived in Palm Springs for a short time), and as the birthday boy I got to sit in Elvis’ spot. Neat! I invited James and Cynthia, but they got up early and beat the traffic back to L.A. already. After lunch we walked around downtown Palm Springs and shopped. Of course we stopped at Lappert’s for Dole Whip! The new hotel that just opened next to the Hyatt is a Kimpton hotel called The Rowan. It looks very pretentious on the outside, and after touring the indoor facilities, it wasn’t any less pretentious. It’s nice; if you like that sort of thing, but it was missing an “organic” quality that I like about the Hyatt. It seemed very stuffy, self-aware, and cold. Much too “hoity toity” for me. It seemed to lack the “sense of fun” the Hyatt has. But while we were there we ran into Brian Ray, guitarist for Paul McCartney. I told him I had seen him with Paul in South Dakota back in 2016, and also with Yacht Rock Revue in L.A. recently. Nice guy! We walked around to see some more of the new downtown area development and I began to worry that my pleasant, quiet nights at the Hyatt would soon be a thing of the past. With all of the new developments planned in the future, I don’t see how the quality of my relaxing nights there could not be affected adversely. But the old rule is; if Wally likes something – it has to go away. That’s happened so often I lost count. From foods that I like, to products that I like, it never fails. It even happened with the soap I used to get from a booth at the Palm Springs street fair. They hadn’t been at the last few street fairs and I feared they went out of business. (After checking exhaustively when I returned to L.A., I found out they no longer exist!) It started with Marathon candy bars, the Taco Bell Bellbeefer, Old Wisconsin Original Summer Sausage, and now continues on with this. I’m still glad the Chef Boyardee pizzas-in-a-box haven’t changed! Mark and Connie headed back to L.A., as did Brittney. Since my tooth was hurting again I headed back to the room to put a cold pack on it. My folks called to wish me a happy birthday, so I talked to them for a while. Later, I headed out to dinner with Edi and Elliot. They had returned from his concert in New York, and were back home in Palm Springs. When I got in the SUV and turned on 1270AM they were playing Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line.” It sounded SO good hearing it on AM radio again! Just like it sounded back in the 70’s when it came out. Edi, Elliot and I enjoyed some great steaks at Fleming’s, and then I headed back to my room for a nap. I woke up later and enjoyed a birthday cigar on the pool deck of the Hyatt. The night was warm and pleasant and I was in nirvana! Roxy loves to keep an eye out for the feral cats that roam the area. I picked up a pizza at NYPD and went upstairs and got ready for a quiet night of watching stars. Unfortunately it was cloudy, so I didn’t see much. But eating my pizza in peace and quiet was quite an enjoyable way to spend the waning hours of my birthday. Our friend the bird was back singing all night. I was having such a great time, I considered staying one more night and going back Tuesday instead of Monday. I cleared it with Esther, the lady at the front desk, as well as my assistant Sara, and it was settled. I’d be leaving on Tuesday. After one final potty break with Roxy, we hit the hay around 6am. What a great week it was!!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Though it’s much too dark to see them, these kids really rocked Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside!” I wanted to dance like Gene Gene the Dancin’ Machine, but I didn’t want to get arrested!
It’s always easy to get fun video at a dog park!
Some video of the concert and fireworks.
No matter how old I get, I’ll always love opening birthday gifts. Especially cool ones like these!