RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Does this look yummy or what?! It’s my famous Summer Sausage Sauce spaghetti, and my cleverly conceived last-minute garlic bread. On my tray and ready to go up to my room with an ice cold Dr. Pepper and Hansen’s Diet Grape to watch “Barnaby Jones!”
After the passing of Gene Wilder, “Pure Imagination” has been constantly running through my head. Enjoy Gene Wilder at his finest. Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to 3…
Monday the 29th – TO LIFE! L’CHAIM! – It’s odd that on the day I celebrated 2 years of a “new attitude,” after beating life-threatening pneumonia in 2014, I find out that the legendary Gene Wilder passed away. Back on August 29th in 2014 I walked into my doctor’s office feeling like I was at death’s door. I had been sick all that week with a horrible cough that wasn’t improving. I couldn’t sleep, and though I was on an anti-biotic it wasn’t working. Come to find out I was on the wrong anti-biotic for what I had. My doctor said, “You look awful!” He was overbooked, but after hearing my desperate plea on the phone, he opened the office 15 minutes early after his lunch break so he could squeeze me in. His assistant put me on Levaquin, an anti-biotic specific to lung problems and sent me on my way. But just before I left he said, “I’m going to send you to the X-ray lab just to see what’s going on in there.” Sweating profusely, my assistant Sara and I trudged over to the X-ray lab and got X-ray’d. I had my prescriptions filled, went home, started the anti-biotic, guzzled some cough medicine so I could sleep, and hit the hay until 11pm that night. It was a Friday night. When I woke up I was feeling a bit better, but I checked my voicemail and heard my Dr. say, “Hi Mr. Wingert, it’s Dr. Line. Calling about that chest X-ray. You do have pneumonia, the left lower lobe. If things are not a lot better by tomorrow you’ve gotta give me a call.” I knew he was going to put me in the hospital if I didn’t improve. I haven’t been in the hospital for an overnight stay since I was a baby, so I was on a streak I wasn’t interested in breaking. My friend Terry was in the hospital every month and he would contract all of the illnesses of the people around him in the hospital. EEK! Luckily I improved and didn’t have to be admitted. I realized that I had literally worried myself sick, fretting over certain personal issues in my life. After I got well again, I decided to adopt a new attitude of peace, calmness, serenity and tranquility. Since then I’ve been 100% A-OK! After checking e-mails and doing a little work on the computer, I laid back down on the couch for a bit. I was still a bit tired. I ended up sleeping until 8:30. I must’ve needed it for some reason. Later I got up for a ton of work around the house, I took a dip in the Jacuzzi, and met my assistant Sara for dinner at DuPar’s. She was celebrating 3 years of good health, as she went into the hospital with a life-threatening issue a year before I had my bout with pneumonia. So we raised a glass to good health and toasted L’Chaim! I got back home and did auditions, typed out Wally’s Week, worked around the house and tried to stay cool. This was summer’s last gasp and it was still quite hot out. I delved into the DVD set of Kojak TV movies as the next program on my nightly viewing list. This seemed to me to be the pilot episode in 1973, as a lot of the regular cast from the TV series wasn’t set yet.
Tuesday the 30th – WHAT THE HELL IS IT ABOUT AUGUST?! – I stayed in bed all day with a horrible stomach ache. Not sure if it was something I ate, or if it was something else. Maybe it was the tuna sandwich I had at DuPar’s the night before, or maybe it was the salad I made before bed while watching “Kojak.” Anyway, I felt like crapola. I fed the pets in the late afternoon, but then I went right back to sleep. By evening I was feeling better. I found out that my brother-in-law Jeff was electrocuted at his job in Sioux Falls, South Dakota! Luckily, the guy who was helping him on the job was a trained firefighter and literally brought him back to life with CPR. His heart had stopped! Good Lord! I’m starting to dread the month of August! Thank God he’s OK! I spent the rest of the night filing and categorizing my business receipts, doing some bookkeeping, paying bills, getting some deposits ready, and doing my nightly auditions. I fed Roxy and took her out on our nightly walk. I flashed back to two years ago when I was sick, and remembered walking Roxy through the neighborhood in the middle of the night, coughing my lungs out uncontrollably. Ugh. Thank GOD for anti-biotics. I made some soup and watched the next “Kojak” movie.
Wednesday the 31st – MEET GEORGE JETSON! – At noon I sprang from bed and found out I had a few last-minute auditions to do. But the workman outside my house was working on the pool gate lock, and was grinding something. It was loud and annoying. But I got the auditions done and sent. Then I got ready and headed over to Voice-Over L.A. to do the voices of George Jetson and Astro for a new project. It was fun to revisit those voices, since I had done them years ago on the “Harvey Birdman” show on Cartoon Network. I also did a few more character voices for the project and then headed out to do some errands. What fun! When the project is posted for public viewing I’ll post the link. As I usually do when I’m doing a voice-match character, I brought along a few little visual aids to keep me in character. I have a small George and Astro figure that I got years ago, and keep on display in one of the showcases in my house. It really helps to keep visualized on the character I’m doing, and they serve as inspiration. I went over to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get some new sheets and a new comforter, stopped by the bank to make a few deposits, grabbed lunch at McDonald’s, and went to my mailbox to pick up my mail. In my mail, was the replica .38 special Police revolver I ordered for my new Jack Lord mannequin. It looks great, but it’s pretty heavy. I’m not sure the mannequin’s arm will be able to support the weight over time. The last thing I want to have to do is climb the ladder every so often, lift up the sleeve on the suit jacket, and re-tighten the Allen screw on the elbow joint. I came home to walk Roxy, do a few auditions, work on-line on a few things, and then grab a short nap. My friend Edi came over in the evening with her dog Bunny, and brought her baggage in. She’d be crashing with me for a few days while she was in town doing a job. Then we went over to Jerry’s Famous Deli to grab some dinner with our friend Emily. After dinner we went to Amoeba in Hollywood to pick up a Blu Ray of “The Producers” that my friend Officer Mark had on reserve for me. Since Gene Wilder had passed away, and Edi was in town (both Edi and I are huge Gene Wilder fans) we decided it would be nice to play “The Producers” at movie night this Saturday night. But it was very difficult to find a copy! Luckily, Mark located one. While we were at Amoeba, I picked up a DVD of Julie Newmar’s TV series “My Living Doll.” I also saw that they had a commemorative “Wizard of Oz” boxed set, which included the 3-D Blu Ray version of the movie! I had seen the 3-D remastered film in the theatre a few years back and was BLOWN AWAY! It was only 25 bucks so I couldn’t resist. Now I just need to get a 3-D TV. I already have a 3-D portable Blu Ray player, but I need something to watch it on. Since “The Wizard of Oz” is my all-time favorite movie, it’s worth getting a cheap 3-D TV to watch it on. That way every couple of months I can dig it out, hook it up, and enjoy it. After seeing the 3-D version of the film I said, “I’ve seen Oz hundreds of times. But this is the first time I’ve ever BEEN in Oz!” If you haven’t seen it, it’s truly amazing. I hope it has the same visual impact in my home theatre setting as it did at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I got home to settle in, got Edi situated in my guest room, did my auditions, and then worked around the house.
Thursday the 1st – I’M. SO. RESTLESS! – Based on the morning I had, I kept thinking of the old song by Sweet called “Restless.” Edi’s dog Bunny was in my room as I was sleeping, and the bell around her neck on her collar would jingle every time she moved. That kept waking me up. Then I couldn’t get the AC to the right temperature, so I kept waking up to adjust it. It was either too cold or too hot. It was a very uncomfortable sleep. I got up later to take the animals out for a potty break, and then my pal Brittney Powell brought her parents and niece over to take a tour of Planet Wallywood. They were in town from Texas for a wedding, so after the tour we all went out to grab dinner. But as soon as my tummy was full of yummy food, I started to get tired. My restless morning was catching up to me. I got back home and napped all evening. I got up around 10 to check e-mails and do my nightly auditions. Edi and I chatted for a few hours and caught up on all the news in our lives just before she turned in. Meanwhile, I had the rest of the night to get work done and enjoy the nice quiet, cool evening. I went to Denny’s to get some food to go, and settled in to watch another “Kojak” TV movie and enjoy my food. It was another beautiful “blue” morning; quite a stunning visual before turning in for the night. A “blue” morning occurs when L.A. is totally overcast, and as the sun rises behind the cloud cover it casts several different hues of blue over the awakening city. It’s peaceful and gorgeous!
Friday the 2nd – FOR GENE! – By the time I got to bed it was around 11am. I had been up all night, as I like to do. But for some reason my alarm didn’t go off and I overslept. When I got up at 4 I realized I had missed a 3:30 session for American Airlines at Voice Trax West. This never happens to me. I called apologetically to Voice Trax West and they said I could come in at 4:30 for the session. It’s one of the benefits to working on these voice tracks with just a studio engineer and me. After the session I went to Vons to get some groceries, and then I got home to relax before dinner. Edi and I went to Barone’s with my “adopted grandma” Shirley to see my friend Yulia Argo sing. She had a lot of new songs that she had added to the repertoire, and it was a lot of fun seeing her show. My friend Secunda Wood, up and coming Voice Actress, joined us for dinner as well. We asked the band if they knew “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in honor of Gene Wilder’s passing. Yulia originates from Russia so she didn’t know the song, or the movie. But her piano player started playing it. I couldn’t help but stand at the piano and hum along. He handed me the microphone but I told him I didn’t remember all the words. Not missing a beat, Secunda had brought the lyrics up on her phone. So I performed an impromptu version of “Pure Imagination” before we left for the evening. It was kind of touching, and several patrons called me to their table to thank me for it. What a fun day! I got back home to do some work, relax a bit, and hit the hay.
Saturday the 3rd – AUCTION ACTION! – Edi and I went to lunch at Paty’s with our dogs, since the weather had cooled down considerably. I had intended to get the mail from my mailbox, but I forgot the UPS store was closing early on Saturday for the Labor Day weekend. I got back home in time to compete in an on-line auction for a tour of the Jim Henson Creature Shop. It was a benefit for cancer research, and I really wanted to go take the tour. Plus it was for a good cause! I won the auction just a few minutes before my effects guy Jim Ojala came over with his pal Ed for a tour of Planet Wallywood. I told Jim I have more of his work in my house, than he probably has in his own! Sara came over to clean up the house and prepare for our weekly movie night. The guests arrived and we watched Gene Wilder sing “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka, then we watched “The Producers” on Blu Ray. I don’t think I had ever seen the entire film in its entirety, and it was great! Literally a laugh a minute! After movie night I took a brief nap, and then got up to do some work. It was another gorgeous “blue” morning. I just sat quietly on the window seat in my bedroom, and marveled at the beautiful, unfolding morning. I made my usual Saturday night Super Salad and watched another episode of the old BBC show “The New Avengers” from 1976.
Sunday the 4th – LABOR DAY DOGS! – When I got up late in the afternoon, I cleaned up and got ready for evening church. Edi and her dog Bunny joined Roxy and I for the service. After the service Edi packed up her bags and headed back to Palm Springs. Sara, “grandma” Shirley and I went to Lancers to get some dinner. After our meal, I took Shirley by the grocery store so she could get some food for the week. When I got back home Sara came over to do some work, and then I grabbed a quick nap on the couch. I got up later to do some writing, work on the computer, and get ready for my nightly TV viewing. It was the final “Kojak” TV movie, and it was pretty good. As is my tradition on Labor Day, I made some hot dogs on the grill. I always like to start the summer on Memorial Day with hot dogs off the grill, and I always like to end the summer on Labor Day with dogs off the grill. They were yummy! But a noisy pool motor that had been grinding for the past few days had gotten worse! I could tell it was about to die, but it sounded like somebody had turned on a blender and was holding it next to your head! The pool guy showed up to check it out earlier in the day, but didn’t do anything. He said he needed authorization to either replace or repair it. So he left it to keep grinding away for the rest of the day. STUPID! And since it was in the middle of a 3 day weekend, nobody was around to give him the authorization he needed. At the very least he should have unplugged it and taken it off-line so it was no longer a noise polluting nuisance. But that would have taken logic and critical thinking skills. My neighbors were out of their minds with the continual grinding noise of a dying pool motor. Boy, if I only owned a shotgun…
Monday the 5th – HAPPY LABOR DAY! – After a 3 hour nap, from 10am to 1, I got up for a lunch meeting with my new friend Natalie. It was a very fun lunch and we had a lot to discuss, but we had to keep it short. She had to be back in West L.A. by 4. Just as we were wrapping up, my buddy (and fellow Voice Actor) Danny Mann walked by the table. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, so I invited him to sit for a bit. It’s always a laugh-a-minute with Danny. I got back home and did some work to do some work and then grabbed an evening nap. Even though the night was nice, cool and breezy, I had to keep my windows shut because of that damn pool motor! I slept a lot. I must’ve been exhausted. When I got up I did my auditions and worked on my computer. When I went outside to walk Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, I noticed that the grinding pool motor had finally died. Ahhhh, sweet sweet silence! I went back inside to make some spaghetti, and got a great idea about how to make garlic bread. I had just bought some sandwich buns at the store a few days ago, and I had one small pad of butter in my refrigerator. I found a small container of garlic sauce that we had gotten from Papa John’s during a recent movie night delivery, and I got busy. I put the pad of butter on a small plate and microwaved it for about 10 seconds to get it soft. Then I mixed in some garlic sauce and parmesan cheese. I put it on a half of the sandwich bun and put it in the oven at about 200 degrees for 10 minutes. It turned out perfectly! I was rather impressed with my culinary ingenuity! I started in on season 3 of “Barnaby Jones” on DVD before bed. I really LOVE this show!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Here’s a look at my new Animal replica Muppet. He’s the greatest! I’ll be releasing a cool little video very soon with Animal and a very special guest!