RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
While organizing some photo folders in my computer this week, I ran across this shot of my assistant Sara with her old pal Richard Hatch of “Battlestar Galactica” at Wizard World back in 2010. Sadly, Richard passed away a few months ago, so I figured I’d post this shot of a happier time.
When I was a kid my parents had a Various Artists country album that they listened to quite frequently. Most of the songs were usual country fare from the day, but there was one song on there that haunted my young imagination. Red Sovine was known for great story songs (he only spoke them and never sang to my knowledge) and “Phantom 309” was his absolute best.
Monday the 10th – BAT BUCKET LIST! – A rare early-morning audition was the first order of the day, and I was up at 8:45 to get ready. I got to Nickelodeon in the Gran Torino around 9:45 for my audition. It was for a brand new animated short pilot. After the audition I stopped by my mailbox to get my packages and got an incredible surprise. I finally got to be the voice of Batman! A year and a half ago I did a session for the voice of a new Batman toy done by the Jakks company. To produce something of this quality it understandably takes a long time. I opened up a box and saw two 20” Batman figures. When you squeeze his legs together his cape flares up, he raises his right hand to brandish a futuristic weapon, and says one of 6 phrases. And his voice is ME! I was over the moon! I drove home and put the Torino back in the auxiliary garage and swapped it out for my Mustang. I did some work at home for a bit, then drove over to Wizard Printing to drop off a new printing job for some t-shirts I’m having made up. I drove over to Studiopolis to record several characters for an animated pilot under the supreme direction of Jamie Simone. I believe that Jamie cast me in one of my first ever Voice Over jobs in the late 90s. It’s always a great time working with him and he’s a terrific director. I got back home and took a short nap. These early mornings just aren’t my style. My pal Brittney Powell came over a little later to do some work, and then we went out to Jerry’s Famous Deli to grab some dinner. I got home and did some auditions, typed out Wally’s Week, fed Roxy and then took her out for our nightly late night stroll through the neighborhood. I came back inside and made a Tombstone pizza and watched another episode of “The Outer Limits.”
Tuesday the 11th – TOOTH-DAY TUESDAY! – My semi-annual dental cleaning and check-up had to be postponed last April because of all the sinus hoo-ha I was going through, so today I made up the appointment. My dentist said everything looked good and after the cleaning and X-rays I was on my way back home to walk Roxy. Then I headed to the theater to see the new Spider-Man movie. I actually enjoy going to movies alone. I get my hot dog, popcorn, Milk Duds and soda and totally enjoy myself! But then again I’ve always been comfortable in my “alone time.” My seamstress Karyn had texted me to let me know the lace trim that I got for my Gonzo 1:1 Muppet replica puppet wasn’t going to work on his tuxedo shirt. So when the movie was over I headed over to JoAnn fabric and picked up some alternate lace options as well as a few other fabrics I found. As I was next door at the Rite Aid buying some delicious cheese balls, I saw an older gentleman with WWII vet on his cap. We struck up a conversation as we waited in line to be checked out. He said he wasn’t sure if he was 97 or 98 since he has two birth certificates. He was born in Italy. He said he still does his own house cleaning and goes swing dancing almost every night. We had an amazing conversation. He said he still drives and his driver license expires in 3 years…WHEN HE’S 101!! He and I were the first two in the line, and as we spoke I looked back at the line behind us and every person in line was listening to us converse with a huge smile on their faces. It was magical! We got outside and talked some more and I asked if I could get a picture with him. It’s not often you get to meet a WWII vet, let alone one who fought with General Patton! His name was Joe, but his Army buddies called him “Bazooka Joe!” Perfect! He gave me his card and I’m serious about calling him and asking him to lunch! I got back home and fed the pets, did a last-minute audition, and worked on the black fiberglass torso mannequin that supports my Sebastian Bach “Skid Row” chain mail tank top. There was a gap between the bottom of the torso bust and the stand; about 4 inches or so. I took a strip of black felt and made a little “skirt” that blocked the gap, and now it’s black all the way down to the stand. It looks MUCH better, especially considering that the chain mail top is metallic silver. I grabbed a short nap, and then got up to do more work around the house. I fed and walked Roxy, and then cleaned out and totally rearranged my VO toy cabinet. It’s a big display case in my room that houses toys of characters I’ve voiced in the past. It was in desperate need of a cleaning, and I weeded out some of the unneeded toys to make room for my new Jakks Pacific 20” Batman figure that I did the voice for. I made some hot dogs and watched another “Outer Limits” episode before bed.
Wednesday the 12th – WORK OUT WEDNESDAY! – When I got up at 2 I had a text from my friend Edi that she and her dog Bunny were coming to L.A. a follow-up appointment at Bunny’s vet. She and Buns would be taking over the Puppet Room for the evening so they didn’t have to make the long drive in traffic back to Palm Springs. I did a last-minute audition, did some work around the house, and about mid-afternoon Edi and Bunny arrived. Edi was elated that Bunny had made so much progress since the last time she was here. Edi and I had dinner at DuPar’s and we were joined by my Personal Trainer Natalie Duran of “American Ninja Warriors.” Then we headed to my house to do a little working out. I’m glad I’m doing this because I’m a lot more confident now when I wear my sleeveless shirts for the summer. I’m starting to see some definite improvement! I showered up and grabbed a nap. I got up later to do my auditions, fed and walked Roxy, and then made some of my Summer Sausage Spaghetti. I’m VERY disappointed that I can’t find the type of Summer Sausage I usually use. Normally I buy Old Wisconsin’s Original Summer Sausage for my pizzas and spaghetti recipes, but they’ve not only changed the label, but the recipe as well. And it’s NOT as good as it used to be. In fact, it’s really quite bland! I even sent a message to their Facebook page and their answer was that they indeed changed the recipe to “improve” it. I told them it wasn’t an improvement and begged them to go back to their old recipe. Besides, if they’ve changed the recipe, they technically can’t call it “original” any more, right? As I was eating my spaghetti (I still have a little bit of the “good” Original left, but not much) Edi came out of the Puppet Room. She said she was awakened by the smell of something good. I gave her some spaghetti while her dog Bunny, Roxy and I sat on the bed watching the rest of “The Outer Limits.” It was fun having Buns back with the gang begging for food on the bed as we watched TV before we went to sleep. If you find any of the ORIGINAL “Original” Old Wisconsin Summer Sausage, please let me know. I’ll buy as much as you can get!
This is the good stuff…
This is the new “improved” stuff that’s not as good…YUK!
Thursday the 13th – THROWBACK THURSDAY AT JERRY’S WITH JOE! – Though I had met another Joe earlier in the week whom I had never met before, I met with my old pal Joe Garner for lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli. Joe and I used to work in the Affiliate Relations department at the Westwood One Radio Network back in the 80’s. He’s working on a new book that he wanted my input on, and we had a great time catching up and talking about all the things that make life great. It was a fun meeting and the next stop is getting him over to Planet Wallywood for a tour real soon. After lunch I got some gas, picked up a prescription at CVS, and then headed home. My assistant Sara was swimming in the pool when I got back. I fed the pets and then got ready for yet another meeting at Jerry’s Famous Deli later in the evening. I got home and napped a bit, and then spent a few hours in the middle of the night doing a narration for a new documentary. It sure is a nice life to be able to work the hours you want, and work on your pajamas! I did a little extra work around the house, and then made some stew to eat while I watched another episode of “The Outer Limits” before bed. It was the much-loved episode called “The Zanti Misfits.” GREAT STUFF!!
Friday the 14th – BARGE IS MY BEST BUD! – My maids arrived just shortly after noon, so while they worked I got busy replacing the background fabric on the display for my Gonzo 1:1 Muppet replica puppet. I have a great metallic blue fabric that I used as a background behind my latest Muppet acquisition, but the adhesive foam core I bought wasn’t sticky enough and the fabric started rippling and bubbling. I removed it and used some spray glue to attach it. But after a few days it started bubbling again. Time to bust out the good stuff…BARGE! It’s an amazing all-purpose glue that’s mostly used for making shoes. I re-attached the fabric the night before and let it dry overnight. I replaced the board behind Gonzo’s display case and it looked smooth and amazing! But next to the Gonzo case is a power strip that I attached to the wall to power all of the surrounding lighting effects. I wanted to make a cover for it because it looks unsightly. So I took some pieces of white styrene that my pal Kyle at Plastic Depot gave to me a while back, and made a little cover. But I needed some metal corner joints to make it more durable. So when the maids finished I headed off to the hardware store to pick some up. I headed to my mailbox to get a package, dropped off a comforter at the cleaners, and then went to get some groceries. While I was there I ordered a birthday cake for my pal Ben who would be in town from the U.K. this weekend and attending movie night. As I shopped for snacks for movie night I said to myself, “Oh! I’d better be sure to pick up some crisps!” Crisps are what the Brits call potato chips. Then I got a funny idea while shopping. What if I labeled items throughout my house with their British names to make Ben feel more at home? I texted my assistant Sara and she came up with a ton of good ones (thanks Google!). When I got home I put away the groceries and sat down at the computer to start working on the little signs. I’d print them out and mount them on foam core for display. Flat, Loo, Telly, Biscuits, Crisps, Flannel, Bog Roll, Torch, Sweets…it all was working out great! But my laser printer started wrinkling every page I’d print. Little bits of orange plastic started coming out with the prints. Uh oh. Looks like it’s going to need service. I tried to troubleshoot the problem on-line, but nothing seemed to work. My friend Cierra came over for a bit to visit and help out. When she left I grabbed a nap, and then got up later to do some more work in the “British-isms” signs. My ink jet printer was out of ink, and my laser printer was wrinkling my pages. So I had to make do. When I got upstairs to get ready for my dinner and TV Time my rolling table (upon which I put my nightly dinner) lost its wheel! Good grief! Is everything breaking today? So I grabbed my buddy Barge again and attached the wheel back into the housing. Hopefully it’ll work. While I stared into my VO Toy case I saw a Tallest Red figure that had been made for me by a fan many years ago. It was probably the first thing a fan ever made for me, and I treasure it. She sculpted it out of some sort of molding compound, but since it’s aged quite a bit it needed a good cleaning. Plus, one of Tallest Red’s shoulder guards fell off; as did the bag of chips (or crisps) he was holding. So I got out the Barge again and added a few drops to Tallest Red with a Q Tip. PERFECT! I made a Chef Boy Ardee pizza with what’s left of the GOOD Old Wisconsin Original summer sausage. I also added pepperoni, sauerkraut and extra parmesan cheese. DELICIOUS! It was great to relax with while watching another “Outer Limits” episode! The pizza was about the only thing I DIDN’T need to add Barge glue to that day!
Saturday the 15th – HAPPY BIRTHDAY…BEA??!! – I got up at 2 and sprang from bed, cleaned up and hit the road with my assistant Sara. Our first stop was JoAnn to get some more fabric to take to my seamstress Karyn’s. I was having her make me a pair of pajama pants from some cool vintage-looking “movie night” fabric I had found; but I hadn’t bought enough initially and needed more. I also got some fabric for one of Gonzo’s new bowling shirts we were making for him. Since Kermit hardly wears clothes, and Animal wears the same stuff normally, Gonzo’s the “clothes horse.” So Karyn and I were coming up with all sorts of cool wardrobe items for him. We stopped by my mailbox and picked up some fabric that I had bought on eBay. It’s a cool print with cartoon chickens on it; perfect for a Gonzo bowling shirt! Then we drove to Karyn’s and dropped off the fabric. I picked up Gonzo’s finished tux, which she had taken from the pattern of the Photo Replica Puppet. The only difference between the two is that the pants for my puppet have a huge hole in the back for my arm. Karyn does such stellar work! She also lined a curtain I use in The Tranquility Zone with some star field fabric I really like. That type of fabric is prevalent in my room already, so I figured I’d make the curtain match it all. Sara and I went over to Paty’s to grab lunch and I had a terrific Chicken Cesar wrap. YUM! We picked up Ben’s birthday cake at the grocery store and then headed home to start cleaning for movie night. The guests started arriving and loved the British-isms all over the house. I secretly showed the Batman cake I got for Ben to my pal Scott Sebring and his wife Vickie. And when I opened the cake I got the shock of my life! Just a few minutes before we cut the cake for Ben’s birthday I noticed a HUGE error. The decorator wrote on the cake “HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEA!” BEA?! His name is BEN! UGH. Luckily Scott is as handy with frosting as he is with Photoshop, so he “frostingshopped” the cake and changed the “a” to an “n” and nobody noticed! Whew! We had a great time watching an episode of the old Beatles cartoon (I’d LOVE to find better versions of these, as I’ve got muddy bootleg copies) and we watched the amazing Peter Sellers in “Being There.” After most of my guests left I chatted with a friend until the wee hours. I fed and walked Roxy and then organized some photo files on my computer until it was time to make my traditional Saturday night Super Salad and watch “Hee Haw” before bed.
Sunday the 16th – SAD, SAD SUNDAY! – It sure felt good sleeping until 4 in the afternoon, as I normally do on a Sunday, but when I got up and heard the news I wanted to crawl back in bed. George Romero passed away at the age of 77 from lung cancer. The original “Dawn of the Dead” is one of my favorite films and is rife with brilliant social commentary of the day. I have good memories of obsessing over that movie with my old pal Scott Maguire when I used to live in Sioux Falls. Then, just before church, Sara texted me to tell me that Martin Landau had passed away at the age of 89. What is it with my favorite TV icons passing away at 89. Mike Connors made it to 90 before he passed away, but Adam West and Martin Landau both died at 89 after a short hospitalization. I’ve been friends with his daughter Juliet for years, and Sara and I had met Mr. Landau several years ago at an autograph show. He was kind and gracious, and I’ve always heard great stories from those who have met and worked with him. It was hot so I drove over to church (without Roxy) and enjoyed the service. After church I came home to relax, but I was pretty tired and down so I just went to bed to nap a while. When I got up I did some auditions, and then spent the rest of the night balancing my corporate and personal checking accounts, and reconciling them with my bank statements and receipts. It’s not my favorite thing to do in the world, but it’s gotta be done. I fed and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, and then ordered some food to go from Denny’s. I did some on-line shopping for some music I was looking for, and I locked into the great CD set called “Hard To Find 45s On CD” and spent hours looking at the track lists. It’s a terrific set and I’d like to buy all 17 volumes! I went to bed and watched “The Outer Limits” and ate my Denny’s.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK