RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
I just saw this picture this past week about a dog owner who built a doggie backpack so the parents could carry their puppy around wherever they went. TOO CUTE!
I can’t let our study of great story songs end without a nod to Jimmy Dean’s classic “Big Bad John” from the year I was born. The song’s imagery and melody have always haunted me, and I found a terrific animation on YouTube I think you’ll enjoy along with the song!
Monday the 14th – WORKOUT WALLY! – My day started at noon. I jumped on my bike and headed over to Voice Trax West for a quick session. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and quite uncharacteristically mild for August. When I was finished I met my assistant Sara for lunch at Chipotle, and then I biked to the post office to mail off a few items. I stopped by Big 5 to buy a jump rope so I could add that to my workout regimen. While I was there I saw my old friend Traci who used to go to my church many years ago. It was fun catching up with her. I biked back home, did some work around the house, and then grabbed a short nap. My trainer Natalie Duran of “American Ninja Warriors” came over to do a little training, and then we headed over to Jerry’s Famous Deli to grab a post-workout bite. I got home and did some auditions, made some soup and watched an episode of “Barnaby Jones” in the Tranquility Zone before bed. Whew! What a day, and what a way to start the week!
Tuesday the 15th – TORINO TUESDAY! – When I got up mid-afternoon I had a few last-minute auditions waiting for me in my inbox. After I finished those I stashed the Mustang and got the Torino out for a spin. I drove over to Jo-Ann fabrics but they were out of the fabric I was looking for. Looks like I got the last of it for my most recent project! I had a bit of lunch at El Pollo Loco and then drove home to do a little work. I took a quick nap and then enjoyed dinner with Vinnie and Sumeet; two of my agents at Café Bizou in Sherman Oaks. It’s always good to see them and shoot the breeze. I got back home and finished Wally’s Week, did a few auditions, had some cereal and then hit the hay.
Wednesday the 16th – ELVIS PRESLEY: 40 YEARS LATER! – Where did the time go? It seemed like only yesterday when it was June 22, 1977 and I was fighting my way to the front of the stage to try and get one of the silk scarves Elvis was throwing out to the Sioux Falls, South Dakota crowd. The King of Rock and Roll made his way along the front of the stage, negotiating his way along the sea of blue-haired ladies reaching out for a sweaty scarf. But he paused for a second when he spotted a pimply-faced 16 year old kid with an afro reaching for a scarf. He paused for a brief second, looked at me with a puzzled look, and continued throwing out scarves to the blue-haired ladies; completely passing me by! That was my favorite memory from seeing him in concert a two short months before his death. Today marked 40 years since his passing and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was busy puttering around our house at 1516 S. 6th Street in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and my distant cousin Mark Langston called around 3 in the afternoon to give me the horrible news; Elvis had died. I turned on the TV and saw Geraldo Rivera live from Memphis interviewing the mourners who were holding vigil at Graceland. This meant that the Elvis act my pals and I were working on for next year’s high school talent show in February would have to be scrapped. Or would it? (We later decided to upgrade it from a mere Elvis parody to a serious tribute) This also meant that I would scrap the normal rock music on my radio show that night in favor of dedicating the evening’s programming completely to Elvis and his music. I sped down to the station, pulled some news stories off the wire, and composed an evening-long tribute to Elvis. I already knew his story and already had a hefty collection of Elvis records, so my show that night scooped the other radio station in town by almost a full 24 hours! This also meant that I would be among a small percentage of the population who got to see him in concert during his final months of life. I had begged my mom (a life-long Elvis fan) to go to the concert with me. I was working at the local radio station full-time and had lots of spendable cash, but only being 16 I wasn’t comfortable yet with driving the 200 miles to Sioux Falls where Elvis would be performing. My proposition to her was if she would make the drive, I would pay for the tickets and motel room as an early birthday gift. But she said (and I’ll never EVER let her live this down), “Naw, I’ll see him next year.” She’s regretted those words ever since, sadly. Undeterred, I bought the tickets anyway and my pal Greg Cutler and I took the Greyhound the 200 mile distance to Sioux Falls. The bus depot in Sioux Falls is right by the downtown Holiday Inn; at the time the nicest hotel in Sioux Falls. Which meant that it was where Elvis was staying. We walked across the street and met one of his bandmembers, saw his Aztec sundial jumpsuit hanging on a rack in the lobby unattended (back in those days nobody even DREAMED of stealing it! But nowadays…) and rode in the elevator with Ed Parker, one of Elvis’ bodyguards. Ironically enough, I’m sure I must’ve seen Elvis’ road manager Joe Esposito in his red Elvis in Concert jacket on stage ushering Elvis to the exit. Little did I know then that I would someday own that very jacket, which is even SIGNED by Joe on the inside! It’s funny how life works. While Greg and I hung out in the lobby we spotted the clothes rack once again, but this time the freshly laundered jumpsuit was missing. On the bottom of the rack lay a crumpled wad of dry-cleaner’s plastic; obviously it had just been taken off the jumpsuit and discarded there. I grabbed it as a souvenir, figuring it was going to be tossed in the trash anyway. I kept it for years, though I no longer have it. I remember it specifically because it was two pieces of plastic Scotch taped together, because the cleaner didn’t have plastic long enough to cover the entire jumpsuit. It’s funny how you remember those little things. I still have the souvenirs I got from the concert, and the poster I bought there (as wrinkled and folded as it is) is framed on my wall above my Elvis robot and the framed concert ticket from that amazing day. As Elvis would sing, “Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind.” I’ve always let that day be a lesson to me; don’t be deterred because there are always alternatives. When I got up at 11 I checked e-mails, walked Roxy, got cleaned up and drove over in the Mustang to West Hollywood to have lunch with a few old friends; Wes and Tom from the Vox agency. I used to be with them about 15 years ago before I moved over to my current agency. They were Adam West’s agents up until passing, so we had a lot of fun telling Adam stories and catching up. When lunch was finished I drove over to Regenix for a follow-up appointment and to get some more supplies. During the drive home I phone my folks and talked with them. It was fun re-living the stories about our activities on “The Day That Elvis Died.” Whenever I remind my mom about her fateful decision not to see Elvis in concert when she had the chance, she plugs her ears and says, “LA LA LA LA LA LA.” Funny. I got home and put on some comfy clothes and did some work around the house. I fed the pets and then napped for a bit on the couch. When I got up later I did a ton of auditions, fed the pets again and took Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood. It was a gorgeous night, and a perfect night to enjoy a cigar during our walk. I came back inside and made a Tombstone pizza and watched another “Barnaby Jones” episode. At the top of every episode the narrator mentions the names of the Special Guest Stars who will appear in the episode. It’s assumed that these actors were popular during the day and worthy of note. However, once I got into the episode, two of the actors NOT mentioned “pre-show” would become two of the biggest stars of all; WAY bigger than anyone who was mentioned in the opening! Ray Wise played a talent agent injured in a freak accident at a theater, and Jonathan Frakes played a young stage actor who gets murdered in a swimming pool. I love seeing actors in these old shows before they became famous.
Thursday the 17th – A/V AND ENT, OMG! – At 1 I met with Eddie the A/V guy who did a quick survey of my home theater to see what type of new TV I should get. The TV I have now is starting to exhibit signs of age and desperately needs replacing. But I have very finite space limitations, and the TV manufacturers can’t make up their mind about what sizes they want to make their units. The ones currently being offered are either way too small or way too big for the available aperture in my TV cabinet. Eddie said he’s going to do some research and see what he can come up with. Fingers crossed. I did a last-minute audition for Mattel, and then I sped off to my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor’s office for another post-surgery follow-up. The good news is, is that my sinuses are 100% perfect. However because of my allergies my “turbinates” are still getting inflamed and causing some pain in my jaw area as well as ringing in my ears. My doctor prescribed me a new nose spray that’s half anti-histamine and half steroid. She said it’s better than taking a daily Zyrtec because the spray will go directly to the problem and won’t have as many side effects. On the way home I stopped at my box to get my mail, and then went to the local CVS to get my nose spray. I got back home and started doing the monumental task of sorting and categorizing all of the photos that my assistant Sara just spent a half year scanning. As I prepare to put every “paper” photograph in my collection in new photo albums, I’ve decided not to split them up by South Dakota and Los Angeles eras, but rather to sort them by category. For example, one book would be all my characters, one would be from plays and shows, one would be friends and family, etc. etc. etc. So first I wanted to sort the South Dakota photos and put them into the appropriate categories. Once I’ve done that, I can delve into the Los Angeles pictures and sort those. Then I can start the “fun” project of putting them into the proper albums. It’ll be a huge job, but one well worth it in the long run. The old photo albums I had my South Dakota pictures in were literally dissolving and decaying. So they’ve all been thrown out in favor of brand new, acid-free albums and sheets from my local Hobby Lobby. I have 13 binders full of photos from my first 20 years in Los Angeles, but those books are OK and won’t need to be replaced. But it sure is fun to go through all these scans and look at the old pictures from days gone by. I took a short nap and then got up to do auditions and head to Denny’s to get some food to go. It was a great night-time drive with my top down. A gorgeous crescent moon popped up in the eastern sky. I got home and ate my dinner and watched another “Barnaby Jones.”
Friday the 18th – BACK ON THE BIKE! After sleeping well into the afternoon, I hopped on my bike and rode to the post office to mail a few things. This is one of those dreadfully “slow” times in the industry, so this is the time to get errands and other things taken care of. I rode over to CVS to get some photos of Starsky & Hutch printed off, and then went to the craft store to buy some light-blocking vinyl for a project I’m working on around Planet Wallywood. I got back home and did about 90 jumps with my new jump rope. I’m not used to it, so I’d do 30, rest a bit, do 30 more, rest a bit, and then do another 30. And that was about all I could take for now. But I’ll get better at it. When I first got the jump rope I couldn’t do more than a few jumps before getting tangled up in the rope! Baby steps! My pal Brittney Powell came over later to hang out for a bit, and then I grabbed a short nap. I got up to do some work later to prepare for my Saturday trip to Ontario, California to see my old pal Paul Michael Glaser.
Saturday the 19th – MY PAL PAUL! – It had been a few years since I had seen my pal Paul Michael Glaser (Starksy from “Starsky & Hutch”) and I knew he’d be appearing at a police collector show in Ontario, California on this date. I thought it might be fun to make the hour-long drive (it’s halfway to Palm Springs) and hang out with him for a bit. As a bonus, my buddy Joey would be debuting his recently restored 1976 Gran Torino. I couldn’t wait to see it! I woke up at 10 in the morning (WHAT?!), got ready and then Sara stopped over. We hit the road around 11:15 and got there shortly after noon. My pal and webmaster Scott Sebring met us at the Ontario Convention Center. We went inside and saw Paul and the Torino. Both were in really great shape! Paul has been busy doing his artwork and illustrating his second book. He’s also busy writing this third book. His new website pmglaserart.com has some of his latest works displayed. Speaking of work of art, my pal Joey’s Torino looked amazing. And he had just finished it the night before! It was great fun visiting with Paul and posing for pictures next to Joey’s car. On the way home Sara, Scott and I ate at the local Spires restaurant; a vintage-y diner that used to populate L.A. quite heavily in the 80’s. But they’re not that common these days. The drive home was fairly nice and we made it home just in time to meet up with my friend Emily who was at my house feeding the pets. After a short nap I walked Roxy over to the Studio City business district for a Saturday night street fair. I got to see some old friends and neighbors, and lots of people were enjoying meeting Roxy. And Roxy was enjoying all the attention! It was a wonderful evening and it had cooled down quite a bit after the sun set. But it was a long day, and the middle of my back was hurting quite badly. I think I sprained something back there while jumping rope. Sara said it was because I didn’t stretch properly before jumping. So I put a little Ben-Gay on my back and hit the hay for a while. I got up later and felt a lot better. I fed and walked Roxy, and then I headed out to get some groceries around 3:30 in the morning (it’s the best time to do your shopping!). I came home and unloaded the groceries, made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched the last episode of “Hee Haw” on my 14 disc set. It’s sad. I really love this show, but there are only a finite number of episodes contained on the boxed set. Next week I’ll pick back up with “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse; Season 2” for my Saturday night viewing.
Sunday the 20th – TMJ…TMI! – When I woke up mid-afternoon my “jaw hinges” or TMJ muscles were hurting badly. My ENT said I may be clenching my jaws in my sleep, but I’ve always been a “slack-jawed” sleeper so that doesn’t make much sense. But it seems like the main problem starts in my nasal turbinates and radiates out to my TMJ muscles. As a safety precaution I think I should see a TMJ doctor just in case; if nothing else to rule out any TMJ sleep issues. It would be great to not have any more jaw pain, nasal inflammation and ear ringing! I e-mailed my doctor about getting another CT scan to see what’s causing all the pressure in my head. I took some Advil and Roxy and I headed to evening church. We walked back to my house afterwards with my “adopted grandma” Shirley, dropped off Roxy, and then we drove over to Jerry’s Famous Deli for dinner with my old pal Joe Garner and his daughter Jillian. After dinner I gave a tour of Planet Wallywood to Jillian and her friend Delaney. The girls took off and Joe agreed to follow me to the local Ford dealer so I could drop off my Mustang to have my air conditioner looked at. Occasionally, especially when I would idle, the A/C would blow warm air. Then when I started driving again it would go back to blowing cold. But when we got there to drop off the car for their “Early Bird” service it wasn’t exactly clear where I was to leave the car. The road was blocked by a black truck parked sideways, and there were not instructions for the “Early Bird” people. My appointment was for 7am Monday morning, but it’s more convenient to my schedule to drop it off the night before and put the keys in the Early Bird drop box. But because the dealer is undergoing construction on a big new facility, their layout is a little chaotic. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my car out on the street all night, so I told Joe I was going to drive home and forget about it. It sure would have been nice if they would have had some sort of instructions posted. Stupid. I tried to leave a voicemail for them explaining why my car wouldn’t be there in the morning for my appointment, but their system put me in a continuous “on-hold” loop and it was pointless to remain on the line. I got home and left a scathing Yelp review about the situation. I mean, it’s FORD for cryin’ out loud…they should know better! When I got back home I did some auditions and then did some work around the house. I was tired so I hit the hay around 7am. Just before I turned in I noticed that the sky was completely overcast so there probably wasn’t much of a reason to get up around 9am and try to catch the eclipse. Personally, I like lunar eclipses much more anyway. Much easier on the eyes.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Here are some photos right out of my personal photo album of the day I saw Elvis in concert! Enjoy!