RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
It’s been a lot of fun to see some of these old photos from the early days, and this one really stuck out to me. It’s a shot of me and Melissa Muchow in our old Community Playhouse version of “Fiddler on the Roof.” I played Motel the Tailor and she played Tzeitel. And if I do say so myself, we were DARN good!
Of all of the great songs on the Jeff Lynne’s ELO CD “Alone in the Universe,” this has become my favorite. I can’t stop listening to it! It’s called “One Step at a Time” and it’s one of those songs that gives me “that feeling” when I hear it. If you’re at all a Jeff Lynne fan, you NEED to get this CD!
Monday the 3rd – FLYING BLIND! – As I came downstairs from my room to start my day at 1:30pm, my assistant Sara was already at work in the kitchen at our impromptu “scanning station.” She was tasked with scanning thousands of old photos in my archives from the 70’s and 80’s that were in dilapidated photo albums. Since the old photo albums were literally falling apart in my hands, I knew I’d need to mount them in brand new albums. And since they were going to be out of the sticky, 70’s era photo pages anyway, I figured I’d have Sara scan each of them before they were placed in the new books. Even though I could have just picked up the photo albums and looked at the pictures at any time, there’s a certain magic about seeing them on a computer screen where you can enlarge certain aspects of the picture. When my computer guy Brian was here over the weekend setting up my new computer, he put in a tiny transmitter so I could access her scanning computer on my computer. So I like to look in on the folder every so often and see what gems I can discover. It’s hilarious seeing some of these old pictures and sharing them on my “Wacky Wally’s Vintage Toys” social media pages. While she worked I headed off to my pal Mike Moore’s to pick up my Animal replica Muppet. Mike is a top notch prop maker, and when you’re having puppet trouble there’s no one better to see. He had to cut a small incision into the back of Animal’s head to access the small lever inside that manipulates his eyebrow mechanism. The tab is a bit too short for my index finger to manipulate when I have the puppet on, so he’s going to extend the tab and stitch Animal back up. The incision is underneath all of Animal’s crazy red feathers on his head, so nobody will ever see it. Mike was leaving town for a week for a convention, so I wanted to have Animal back home while Mike was absent. I’ll take Animal back after Mike returns to L.A. and can turn his attentions toward finishing the project. I got back home and worked on completing a Bat Pack logo for some t-shirts I was having made. Back in 1986, myself and two other friends (Christian Malmin and Dave Baumeister) had a little group where we would watch “Batman” TV show episodes on crappy old VHS videotapes in my apartment. One of us took a play on the term “Rat Pack,” and named us the “Bat Pack.” Now that the new animated feature film “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader” was going to be in theatres this coming Monday, and Chris, Dave and I would be together again to enjoy the monumental occasion, I wanted to have cool Bat Pack t-shirts for us to wear. I also had some made up for a few of the other people in our group who would be attending. I basically took the old 1966 Batman TV series logo, erased the word “man,” and replaced it with the word “Pack.” It was no easy task, considering the difference in the number of letters. So I shrank the overall size of the letters, and created some new letters in the same style. Then I needed to paint over all of the old letters. My friends Scott and Vickie Sebring called to meet for dinner, so Sara and I took off to the Coral Café. Next to our table were four police officers eating, so I surreptitiously contacted their server and hijacked their check. I like to pay for police officers’ restaurant checks in secret from time to time, just so they know they’re appreciated. I ask the server to not reveal my identity, because that’s not why I do it. I got back home after dinner to work on the Bat Pack logo some more, and then I headed over to Michaels Crafts to pick up my framed “Jungle Book” cel. They had been having a hard time getting it to my liking. Granted it’s a hard cel to do because of all the extra love and care I wanted in it. I asked them to “float” the cel over the background to give it a 3-D effect; but the cel looked too “ripply.” Plus they had floated it too deeply. I asked that the float be minimized and the ripples be removed. Well, they minimized the float (by removing a half thickness of the spacers inside) but the rippling effect seemed even worse. So instead of giving it back to them a fourth time, I just took it home to work on myself. I cracked open the back and gently peeled apart the matte and cel. I took out all of the floating spacers, figuring that may be the reason the cel wasn’t flattening. I re-attached it to the matte, smoothed out the ripples as best as I could with a 50 year old cel, and reattached everything. It looked really great now. I hung it on my wall with pride. It’s gorgeous! I took a nap and then got up for my nightly auditions. But something wasn’t right with my Sound Forge program; the application I use to record my Voice-Over auditions. I could see my voice going into the program and creating a wave form, but when I went to play it back I wasn’t getting any audio! I thought maybe I had done something with the new computer to screw it up. But now it was way too late in the evening to call my computer guy to fix it. I was literally flying blind. I had to make sure each of my auditions were right the first time, and required no editing. I couldn’t hear to edit the files! So I would record the audition, save it, and then play it back in my Windows Media Player to check for quality. It’s frightening considering that this is my bread and butter! But I had to improvise. I got them finished and sent, but before I hit the hay I sent an emergency text to my computer guy to call me first thing in the morning. Whew! I finished up Wally’s Week and hit the hay.
Tuesday the 4th – LASSIE 2.5?! – Since it was a nice day I had fully intended to ride my bike to my dentist’s office for my semi-annual check-up. But while I was out with Roxy she saw a neighbor dog and she was having so much fun playing with her I couldn’t bear to stop her. Plus I called my mailbox and found out I had packages to pick up. So between the waning amount of time I had to get ready, and the cumbersome packages I’d need to carry, I decided to take my car. I got my cleaning and all was well, and then headed over to Paty’s to have lunch on the patio. One of the packages I received was my 50th anniversary DVD set of selected “Lassie” episodes. Over the years there have been so many Lassie shows it would be nearly impossible to release them all on DVD, so for the 50th anniversary of Lassie’s television career they released 24 of the best episodes from her TV shows. As I sat there waiting for my lunch I read the DVD booklet that came with the DVD set. It was fascinating! I knew the first Lassie in 1940 was a collie named Pal. Pal did all of the Lassie feature films, and when Lassie went to TV in the mid 50’s, Pal was able to do the first episode. But then Pal was retired to make way for Pal Jr., who became Lassie 2. But into the second season of episodes, Pal Jr. became ill and couldn’t continue with the show. For the remaining episodes of the second season, Pal Jr’s look-alike brother filled in. But he wasn’t at all interested in show business and would rather be at home with the Rudd Wetherwax family as a companion. But apparently Lassie 3 wasn’t ready for prime-time yet, so this dog had some work to do. And I was blown away when I read the name of this “Lassie 2.5”! The dog’s name was…SPOOK! Just like my cat! I laughed out loud! What are the chances? Spook the dog got his name because he was timid and spooked by certain things; making him a not-very-reliable Lassie for the purposes of filming. But he managed to make it through the remainder of the season. Spook was retired and lived out the remainder of his days as a Wetherwax family pet. And in the debut of Lassie’s third season, Lassie 3 (named “Baby”) took over the duties as the most famous dog in the world. Fascinating history! I never knew there was a Lassie 2.5, but Roxy and I are going to have a lot of fun watching these episodes. And I’ll have a great time getting a good look at all of Roxy’s great grandfathers (and great Uncle!). After lunch I went to CVS to get some supplies, and then went home to check my e-mails. The word had just come down from Warner Brothers marketing that I could at last start promoting my involvement with the “Batman: ROTCC” animated feature! Though it had somehow been leaked to IMDB that I was the Riddler, this was the first time I could talk about it personally and openly. I had been dying to mention it for a long time, but was under strict NDA (non-disclosure agreement) restrictions. To make things even better, a new trailer had been released featuring the voices of all the villains. I found out from a friend that a pair of my 3-D glasses arrived at my mailbox, so I grabbed the Margaret Kerry “Tinkerbell Talks” book for my friend Sunni, and headed to the post office. I could mail her book and pick up my 3-D glasses, since my mailbox and the post office were next door. As you know from past Wally’s Week entries, I had just bought a used 3-D TV for the purpose of watching my favorite movie of all-time “The Wizard of Oz” in 3-D. I had seen it in the theatres during its limited release and was blown away. I got the glasses and opened them up. But they didn’t come with a battery. So back out into the world I went to get the appropriate battery. There was no manual with the glasses so I was flying blind. But the guy at the store guessed which one I would need just by looking at the battery compartment. Amazing! I got the glasses home, hooked up the player to the TV, paired the glasses with the TV and started “Wizard of Oz.” It looked amazing. But on the right lens of the glasses there was a manufacturer’s defect. It was a small section of foggy lens that clouded the vision in the right side. It wasn’t a scratch (the glasses were brand new and had never been opened; and still had the protective coating on them when I opened them up) and it wasn’t dirt. It was simply a bad glitch in the manufacturing process. So I cracked open the second pair that came in the set. Voila! Lovely! I wanted to watch the entire movie but I didn’t have time. There was LOTS to do! I napped while Sara continued her scanning project. I was trying to hit a certain goal of scans before my folks came to town this weekend, and I would have to tear down our impromptu scanning station. When I got up I had about 2.5 hours’ worth of auditions to do. Whew! I worked on the computer for a bit and then hit the hay.
Wednesday the 5th – CAST ANNOUNCED! – Just before noon I awoke and found an e-mail from my friend Officer Mark. He gave me the link to the Warner Brothers release that revealed the voice cast of “Batman: ROTCC.” Too cool! Since the movie would be debuting at the New York Comic Con in a few days anyway, they figured it was time to make the big reveal. So I did a few quick social media posts, and then sped off to a Voice-Over session where I did the voice of a glam rocker. (Gee, what a stretch!) I came back home to walk Roxy and had fully intended to get on my bike to ride to my next session at Voice Trax West, but the first session had gone so long I simply didn’t have the time. I guess I just won’t be getting out on my bike this week! Rats! I did a session for American Airlines at Voice Trax West, and then stopped to do some grocery shopping. I came back home to a salvo of social media posts and e-mails congratulating me on the new Batman movie. Sara was at work scanning and I needed a short nap. Since I can’t ever sleep in full 8 hour increments, I need to grab a few hours here, and a few hours there in my sleep patterns. I get 8 hours in total, but the sleep time is broken up into parts. When I got up later to do my auditions Sara had passed out on my couch. I guess the scanning work had gotten to her. She was exhausted. I did my auditions, made some of my famous Buffalo Mac, and watched another episode of “Barnaby Jones.” Before bed.
Thursday the 6th – ANT MAN MEETS ANT MAN! – I ran Roxy over the groomer’s just after 1pm to get a bath. My folks were coming to town this weekend and I wanted her all fresh and clean, since I knew they were going to be petting her constantly. I drove to McDonald’s and got some lunch, and then hit the car wash. While my car was being washed I ate my lunch. Then I sped off to my box to get my mail, and then headed home to work on some of my scanned photos. I had a blast chatting with my old pal Scott Maguire on the phone and e-mailing him some of these great old photos. I walked over to Rusty’s to pick up a fresh, clean Roxy. On my way over, I passed the parking lot of a dry cleaners. A guy getting into his car looked very familiar. Once I focused my eyes in on him, he caught my glance and realized I recognized him. He smiled that familiar, dimpled smile. It was the legendary Garrett Morris of SNL fame. As I walked by I pointed at him and all I could say was, “LOVE YOU! LOVE! YOU! LOVE-YOU!!” He smiled and waved. It wasn’t until I reached Rusty’s that I made two realizations. First, I was wearing an Ant Man shirt. Maybe he saw it and thought it was a funny connection. Secondly, that I too played Ant Man, but in a different genre. You see, in the early days of SNL, Garrett played what I believe is the very first live-action portrayal of Ant Man. It was in a sketch about a super-hero party, and when Ant Man walks in all the other super-heroes in the room dis’ his power. Hilarious! I got Roxy and came back home to feed her. I went to Jerry’s Famous Deli with Sara and my friend Natalie. When I got home I grabbed a short nap, and then got up for my nightly auditions. I had a lot of work to do to prepare for my parents’ arrival. I tore down the impromptu 3-D theatre in the Puppet Room and stashed the player and TV in my closet. I changed the sheets on the Puppet Room bed, cleaned the Puppet Room bathroom, scanned some checks, prepared a deposit for the bank, reconciled all my receipts, and walked Roxy. I made some sloppy joes and watched “Barnaby Jones.”
Friday the 7th – FOLKS ARRIVE! – When I got up at noon I had five last-minute auditions. Plus I was in a rush to go pick up my folks from the airport at 1pm. My maids were due at one, and since I couldn’t be in two places at once, Sara was going to come over and scan while the maids cleaned, but she wasn’t there yet. I was getting nervous that, if I left to get my folks, the maids would show up and Sara wouldn’t be here to let them in. And I really needed the house cleaned badly! Figuring that I wasn’t going to be on time to pick up my folks, I left a message on their cell phone instructing them to take a cab to my house when they landed. But Sara arrived at 12:55, and my folks called to tell me that they would just wait for me to come get them. So I hopped in the car and picked them up around 1:30. We had lunch at Denny’s and chatted for a while. The maids didn’t end up coming until 3, but Sara got a lot of great scanning done while she waited. After my folks and I finished lunch we went to the bank so I could make a deposit, hit my mailbox to pick up my packages, and then went to my house to drop off their luggage. I did a little work on the computer and got my folks settled. Then I drove to the far east part of Pasadena to Gorilla Printing to pick up my finished Bat Pack shirts. They turned out great! By the time I got back home we were all hungry again so we ordered pizza and relaxed around the house. My neighbor texted me to let me know she was stuck at a shoot, and she asked if I could walk her greyhound Abby. Abby and Roxy get along very well, so I took Roxy and the folks over to meet Abby the greyhound. I took a short nap and then got up later to do some work. I went through the latest Jeff Lynne’s ELO CD called “Alone in the Universe” and ripped some songs to MP3 for my iPod and iPad. It’s a great CD and I’ve been listening to it in my car all week. There are some really outstanding songs on there. It sounds more like a Traveling Wilburys album than an Electric Light Orchestra album, but it’s still really good. In fact, the song “I’m Leaving You” sounds like a song he might have written for Roy Orbison. In some of the songs I was envisioning in my mind how much better it would sound with a string section and some more electronic keyboards. But they’re still very enjoyable songs, and every one of them is a “hummer.” I worked on the computer creating a new design for some Batman bowling shirts for the upcoming L.A. Comic Con. I made some soup and watched “Barnaby Jones” before bed.
Saturday the 8th – DAAAAAVE! – My old pal, and fellow charter Bat Pack member Dave Baumeister arrived in L.A. with his daughter Molly. They came by the house around 1 and we all went to DuPar’s for lunch. But my dad’s appetite was quickly halted when he spotted a little green worm on the lettuce of his sandwich. YIKES! In addition to Dave, Molly, my folks and I, Sara and my “adopted grandma” Shirley joined in as well. When lunch was finished we went to the store to get some grocery items. I came home to unload the groceries and then grab a quick nap before movie night. Since my mom and I are huge Elvis fans, we watched the new Blu Ray release of the 1979 “Elvis” TV movie starring Kurt Russell. Since almost 40 years has passed since Elvis died, we know certain things about his life story that wasn’t well-known at the time of filming. So it was fun to see all of the expositional differences in the story. I took Shirley back home and then came back home to put the chairs away and clean up. I did some laundry, fed and walked Roxy, and then made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and went to bed to watch another episode of the old BBC show from the 70’s “The New Avengers.”
Sunday the 9th – SUNDAY FUN DAY! – My folks are well aware of my strange sleep schedule so they just roll with it. They busy themselves with things while I sleep. When I got up at 2 my mom wasn’t feeling very well. I figured with their crazy travel schedule, and all of the craziness that has occurred since they landed, they needed to relax. Which is exactly what they did. I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics to pick out some fabrics for my Batman bowling shirts. I made it home just barely in time to watch the Presidential Debate. Dave and Molly had been out all day running around L.A.; even enjoying a dip in the Pacific Ocean. After the debate I grabbed a short nap and then got up to do my auditions. I did a little more work with my Batman bowling shirts, creating fabric swatches to show my seamstress, and other additional design work. Only about 5 of these shirts will end up being made, so it’ll be a very exclusive line. I got ready and hit the hay for a VERY busy BATastic Monday ahead! “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” was playing in movie theatres all over the world for one day only, and we had tickets. LOTS and lots of tickets! We had a big pre-show dinner planned and were looking forward to seeing the movie with great anticipation. But more on that NEXT week!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK