RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Of all the weird things…last week when we attended the Jeff Lynne’s ELO concert at the Forum in L.A., we were checking out at the food stand. We noticed the logo of the company who made the check-out register. What are the odds?!
After hearing this Grammy-winning classic in the grocery store last week, I couldn’t help but post it here. Escape Club with “Wild Wild West!”
Monday the 6th – COMATOAST! – Boy was I beat! The busy week had me really tired, so I ended up sleeping all day. I woke up at 4, fed the pets, and then laid down on the couch and slept until 8pm. I was drained! I got up and ordered a Domino’s pizza and wrote out Wally’s Week. Tuesday real life kicks in again so I’m enjoying today’s downtime. I worked on my photo albums until the sun came up and I’m very close to being completely finished! Just before I hit the hay I called my parents’ travel agent in Sioux Falls to get their flight dates in September changed to an earlier date. They were going to fly in on the 18th, but since I recently received information that the Batman exhibit at the Hollywood Museum was closing on September 16th (instead of the 30th, which I had originally heard) I wanted to get them out here a week earlier to see the exhibit before it closes.
Tuesday the 7th – ORION’S RETURN! – At 1 I sprang from bed, got cleaned up and was at Voice Trax West by 2 so we could record some materials for American Airlines. Then I hit the post office to mail off some stuff, CVS to get a prescription, and then my mailbox to pick up a package. I spoke to my folks and told them their flight had been rearranged. I got home to do some work and then grabbed a short nap. I had a dinner meeting with my pal Boz about a few projects we’re working on, and then I sped home to continue working on my South Dakota photo albums. It’s hard to believe I first started this project back on Christmas Eve! Many of the original photo albums I’ve had from my old days in South Dakota had begun to decay. Though the photos inside were still in good shape, the photos albums which contained them were not. So I migrated them over to brand new photo pages and albums. I had so many that, in order to present them in an organized fashion, I categorized them into two categories; South Dakota Performance, and South Dakota Personal. I finished up with my performance books a while back, and now I was finishing up the personal albums. When I finish with those, I have to get started on my L.A. photo albums. And while the majority of my L.A. pics are in good albums, there are a goodly number of “orphaned” L.A. pictures which have no home. Again, I’ll divide them into two categories and start attaching them to pages for the new albums. It won’t be as extensive and intensive as the South Dakota project, because there are far fewer photos in this grouping. I fed Roxy and then we took a walk on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. As we headed back in, not only did we observe a gorgeous crescent moon, but the Orion constellation rising in the eastern sky! That always means to me that fall and winter are on their way, as I hardly ever get to see that constellation during the summer nights. I’ve been saying for months that we’re in for an early fall. I made some spaghetti and watched a few more Johnny Carson episodes. My buddy Dave flies in from South Dakota tomorrow!
Wednesday the 8th – DAVE DAY! – When I got up at 3 I checked my phone, but hadn’t received any information from my pal Dave. His plane was supposed to land at 3 and I was expecting some sort of text or message from him saying he was on his way. By 4 I still hadn’t heard from him so I left him a message. Figuring his plane was delayed I checked the airline’s website, but nothing. Finally he called to say he was stuck in traffic on the L.A. freeway and was on his way. He forgot to take his phone out of “airplane mode” and didn’t hear it ring when I called. He got to my house around 5:30 so we rushed out and got a good Mexican meal at Ernie’s Taco House. During the 31 years I’ve lived here Dave has been out to visit me many times and loves L.A. He even knows the layout of the town pretty well so he can get around very easily. We went back to my house to catch up. Since he would be leaving early Saturday morning there was a lot to do in a short amount of time!
Thursday the 9th – BAT PACK, BATMAN, BOND! – Thought it was 11am Dave’s time when my alarm rang, it was 9am my time. I was still groggy when I woke up, but Dave was already up bouncing around the neighborhood enjoying the day. I had a session scheduled at Voice Trax West at 10am so he went with me to check it out. But when I got to the studio they told me they hadn’t received any booking information. So we had a good time talking to veteran character actor Richard Herd while the studio called the ad agency to straighten it out. Mr. Herd had some great stories about his many years in the industry. He was there for a voice-over audition. Once they worked out the issue (the ad agency made an error and had it down that I would be recording from another studio) 20 minutes of our booked recording time had already passed. I had a “hard out” (which means it’s pre-arranged through your agent that you have to leave by a certain time) at 11 so I could make a meeting at the Hollywood Museum at 11:30. So now we only had 35 minutes left to get everything recorded. Luckily the process went quickly and smoothly and Dave and I were on our way. Back in the old days of South Dakota, Dave and I had a small group we called “The Bat Pack” (an tongue-in-cheek homage to Sinatra’s Rat Pack) because we were interested in all things Batman; particularly the TV series. In the early 80’s we would get fuzzy VHS tapes of Batman TV series episodes from our friend The Phantom Juggler in Kansas City. The show was running every morning there on a UHF station. We would gather in my one bedroom apartment, huddle around a tiny TV and a VHS player and watch the episodes that came in the mail. So we phoned up our pal Chris (who’s been living in L.A. and working as an actor for about 20 years) to ride with us to the Hollywood Museum to check out the ’66 Batman series I worked on. We got to Mel’s Diner by 11:45 for the meeting. Chris and Dave ate at another table while I met with the museum staff regarding upcoming events. Then we went upstairs and I got to show the guys the exhibit. It sure was a long way from the old “fuzzy VHS” days, and we had a good laugh about how far we’ve all come. Then we headed back to my house and I took a brief nap. It was going to be an exciting evening. Each Thursday in August a local theater was running a different James Bond movie, starring a different James Bond. I had already seen “Goldfinger” the previous week, and tonight they were screening “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” on the big screen. I knew that the star George Lazenby was going to appear in person, but I didn’t tell Dave. I wanted him to be surprised. He had never met a James Bond before so it would be a special treat. “OHMSS” was the very first 007 film Dave ever saw on the big screen; he went to see it with his dad when it was released. I’ve always loved the film, though when it first came out on VHS it was very frustrating. VHS tapes had 3 recording speeds, SP, LP and EP (short play, long play, extra-long play). SP was the two hour speed. Long play would allow for two hours of play, and EP was six hours. As the amount of available recording time expanded, the quality would diminish. Most 007 films were under 2 hours, so they were on the videotapes on SP speed. But because “OHMSS” is almost two and a half hours, it had to be recorded by the studio at LP. This made the movie always look muddy and fuzzy. Add to it that much of the movie is shot in snowy conditions, and some of it in snowy NIGHT time conditions, and it made it very hard to watch. But I have always loved the movie and felt it was very underrated. I also felt Lazenby was pretty darn good as Bond! But when I first saw the film on Blu Ray several years ago I realized that it’s a beautifully shot film. I couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen. I remember back in the early 70’s my pal Matt Gore had a cassette of the soundtrack. At the time I was CRAZY about John Barry’s James Bond soundtracks. Matt was originally from the U.K. and traded the cassette to me for something. In fact I still have the cassette in my storage SIGNED by George Lazenby! The soundtrack was unusual in that the main theme was all instrumental. It was also unusual that it was heavily electronic; something that was fairly new in 1969. I listened to that thing over and over and over again. The movie always brings back such great memories. I love the vocal additions to the soundtrack too – Louie Armstrong’s “We Have All the Time In the World,” and Nina’s “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown.” When we walked in we strolled right past George Lazenby. I said to Dave, “Oh. Look who’s here.” He saw it was George Lazenby and he flipped. Mr. L was hanging around in the lobby before the movie (which had sold out on the news he was going to speak before the film) so he was available. I told Dave to get a picture now while he was standing around, as he might be around later. I took his picture and Dave looks like he’s about 7 years old again; beaming ear to ear! He told Mr. L that “OHMSS” was the first Bond film he ever saw on the big screen and he loved it. Mr. L simply said, “You have good taste.” The talk George Lazenby gave before the film was hilarious. He told anecdotes about the film’s shooting, why his career had fizzled afterwards (due to his own self-destructive behavior) and he answered questions from the audience. It was so amazing seeing that film on the big screen; something I had never seen before. Next week is “The Spy Who Loved Me” with my favorite 007 Roger Moore. After viewing “OHMSS” I’m convinced that it’s very possible that I like George Lazenby as Bond right after Moore, with Connery as a close third. After the film I came home and napped for a few hours and then did auditions. I spent all night working around the house. Dave will be spending all Friday doing personal errands around Los Angeles.
Friday the 10th – BABY REAGAN! – The maids were expected around noon, so when I got up just before 12 I noticed that Dave was long gone. He wanted to get to Simi Valley to the Reagan Presidential Library to show them some photos. His great-great grandmother had babysat President Reagan when he was a child living in Nebraska, and he had some great black and white photos from those days. The aged photo pages came complete with his ancestor’s scrawled annotations. It was like looking into a time capsule. The best photo shows a young President Reagan (maybe 3 or 4 years old) holding an American flag and saluting. Dave had shown those photos to my friend Michael Reagan (whom I knew from our days working in syndicated radio programs) several years ago and Michael suggested taking those to the library. As expected, the library staff flipped out and welcomed them as an addition to their collection. Dave then headed downtown to a jeweler to get some work done on a ring he bought for his fiancée. I headed to my mailbox to get my mail, and by the time I got back Dave was waiting at my house. He was beat from his busy day and didn’t want to go to dinner. He rested while I picked up my “adopted grandma” Shirley and headed to Jerry’s Famous Deli to eat. When I got back Dave was awake, but then I was tired. I took a nap expecting Dave to still be awake when I got up, but he had retired for the night. We had wanted to smoke some cigars and hang around outside for a bit before he had to leave, but it didn’t quite work out that way. So being wide awake, I headed out to get some groceries before the store closed at 1am. As I shopped I heard a familiar tune on the overhead system. It was Escape Club’s “Wild Wild West,” a song I had done a parody of back in 1989 called “Adam West.” I couldn’t help but sing along to the song but with MY lyrics, as they’re forever ingrained into my head. Every once in a while I’ll hear from people who say they saw Escape Club in concert, or they heard the song in passing, and always sing my lyrics to themselves. Funny! On the way home I picked up some donuts at an all-night donut store and headed home. Dave emerged from the Puppet Room at 4:30 am so he could make his early flight leaving from LAX. We said our goodbyes and toasted his trip with two ice-cold Cokes in a glass bottle (our tradition) and he was on his way. I hit the hay for a few hours before I had to be up for a very important meeting.
Saturday the 11th – SPOTTY SLEEP! – After a mere 3 hours of sleep, I was up and rarin’ to go at 9:30. I had a meeting at my house at 10 with an attorney and 2 of my creative partners so we could talk about a new project we’re launching. Since the project is toy related, I thought it would be best to meet at Planet Wallywood and be surrounded by toys as inspiration. When the potential attorney said she used to work at the Mego corporation in New York, I knew we had found the perfect candidate for our project! She was amazed at all the Mego figures around my house. The meeting ended at 12:30 (a GREAT 2 and a half hour meeting) and when everyone left I did a few things around the house and hit the hay again to get some sleep before movie night commenced. We watched “Kung Fu Hustle” (always funny!) and when everyone left I did some video editing, some writing, and fed and walked Roxy. Then I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched another episode of “SNL” from the second season boxed set.
Sunday the 12th – THE HEAT IS…OFF?! – Late in the afternoon I got up for evening church. The speaker for the service was the Reverend Dr. Marilyn Fiddmont, whom I ALWAYS love to hear her speak. Her lesson really hit home, as it directly related to things I had been encountering over the past few days. When the service ended Shirley and I went to Barone’s to get some spaghetti. I put the top down in the Mustang on the way home and we enjoyed a cool, breezy evening; quite a bit different than the triple digit days we had been enduring the past few weeks. As I said before…my money’s on an early fall. I got home and napped a bit, and then up for my nightly auditions, some more video editing work, and then I hit the hay.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK