RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
During a recent layover at the Denver airport I bought a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey for my friend Amanda’s dog Ziggy. As you can see it fit perfectly, and he looks so darn cute in it!
One of my pal Edi’s favorite songs is “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass. One of my favorite songs is “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne” by Looking Glass. Together we’ve gone on a quest to rediscover their music. So I went on eBay and bought a CD of the two albums they released as a group in the early 70’s…”Looking Glass” and “Subway Serenade.” And the result was very pleasant. On the CD there are at least 9 songs that I really like! The super smooth vocals of Elliot Lurie give the group a smokey, jazzy sound on certain songs. Others have a bit of a country flair. A VERY versatile group! I had no idea! We’ve been looking up their videos on Youtube, as well as researching the groups history on-line. I’ve even been e-mailing back and forth with Mr. Lurie, as well as Jeff Lehman who I believe is a current member of the group. Hopefully soon I’ll get to sit down with Elliot and Jeff and sate my curiosity about this super cool group. I have so many questions! As I’ve stated here before, I absolutely LOVE story songs…songs that tell a cohesive story melodically in three to four minutes. “Brandy” is one of those, and “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne” is definitely another on the list. All this week I’ve been motoring around town trying to learn the words to “JLM-A,” and doing it in the sultry style of Elliot Lurie. Not sure how much luck I’m having, but I’m sure having a good time doing it! In case all you recall is the 1984 remake by Josie Cotton (which didn’t perform on the charts nearly as well as the version by Looking Glass) let me refresh your memory. These lyrics are smooth and well constructed and just drip off your tongue. Today’s “artists” could certainly use a lesson or two from Mr. Lurie and company in that regard!
Monday the 9th – AND THE RESULTS ARE IN…! – There were no hotline calls from “The Tonight Show” to wake me up, so I slept soundly until noon. I got a call from Dr. V’s office (the doctor who did my colonoscopy a few weeks ago). Though the two polyps they extracted from my colon were NON-cancerous, the bigger one of the two DID have pre-cancer cells in it. So I’m glad it’s gone. I got a call at 1:15 from “TTS” wanting me in at 2, but that was a little too close for comfort. So they just sent a bit to me at home and I recorded it in my studio and sent it in. As I was getting ready to head into work my assistant Sara came over to take Spooky to the groomer to get his nails clipped. He hates that! We would be taping early today for some reason, so I had to get on the ball and head in to NBC. It was a MUCH cooler day than the past few weeks (is fall FINALLY arriving?) and the drive to Taco Bell to get some lunch was very pleasant. We taped the show and it was a blast. Martin Short was VERY funny, and Meghan McCain was looking VERY cute! After we wrapped I called the folks, stopped at my box to check mail, and then got in a left turn lane on Alameda to head towards Office Depot. But the traffic lights were cycling through their usual routine, and the left turn arrow didn’t light up once! The cars in the left turn lane started piling up behind me. I realized what the problem probably was, as it had happened at that intersection many times before. The numbskulls who installed the sensors in the street to trigger the left turn arrow put them too far up. So half of the sensor is actually in the crosswalk. Well, a cautious driver would keep a few feet back from the crosswalk for safety reasons, thus failing to trigger the sensor beneath the car. And if an unwary driver isn’t conscious of the fact that there are sensors triggering the lighting system, they just sit there for hours. At the risk of great personal peril, I got out of my car and ran up to the first car. It was a teenage boy, who looked nervous enough behind the wheel as it was. Now he has this tall longhaired guy standing at his window asking him to roll it down. He finally did and I explained that he had to move up in order to trigger the left turn arrow. He did, and it did. I’m going to make a point of calling one of my local politicians’ offices to make them aware of this issue. I got to Office Depot and found the exact printer I wanted, as well as a box of paper and some printer cartridges. I got home and started doing some audio work with a new CD I had just gotten in the mail. It’s “The Complete Recordings of Looking Glass,” a great band from the early 70’s that I’ve recently rediscovered. I put some of the songs from the CD on my i-Pod, and then hit the pool for a nice, relaxing swim. It was a VERY nice evening! I went inside to grab a nap on the couch, until I woke up to a disturbance in my living room. Spook and Roxy were at it again! A few weeks ago I mentioned that, since the nights were getting cooler again, I was leaving my screen door closed, but opening the big door so some fresh air could get into the house. Spooky would take the opportunity to sit dutifully by the screendoor and look outside to keep an eye out for intruders (ie-other cats in his “hood”). When he sees something (or THINKS he sees something) his tail gets fuzzed and he loses all cognizance of who is friend and who is foe. When he’s in this state he’s turned on me in the past, but since Roxy was the closest to him at the time, he turned on her and they started fighting. Well, Spook was fighting, but Roxy just thought he was playing. Until she got the idea that he was deadly serious, then she went upstairs to hide with Spook hot on her tail. And tonight it happened again, but this time rousing me from a very sound sleep on the most comfortable couch in the universe. I got my spray bottle out to cool Spook off, while Roxy cowered in the kitchen. Even though she’s four times as large as Spook, she’s got such a sweet soul it would never occur to her to defend herself. I chased the frizzed and frazzled Spook upstairs with the squirt bottle and locked him in my room. But instead of going back to my delicious nap I just decided to stay up and do about 10 auditions. I watched the debut of Arsenio Hall’s new show at 11:00, and then watched Jay’s monologue at 11:30. I turned off the TV to work on the computer for awhile, and try and figure out how my new camcorder works. I think I’m going to like this! I made a pizza and headed to bed to watch an episode of “Kojak” from the season 4 DVD set. A very young Richard Gere was in that episode!
Tuesday the 10th – LEFT TURN LUNACY! – The hotline rang at 11 with orders to report into “TTS” at 1:30 to record a “Duck Dynasty” type of voice for a comedy bit. I walked Roxy and then got on the phone with writer John Melendez about the “DD” voice. Then I swapped cars, hopped in the Gran Torino and headed over to NBC. I recorded that bit, and then a second one. I went over to the neighborhood Weinerschnitzel and got a couple of chili dogs. There’s a certain poetic justice about eating chili dogs and driving the Starsky Torino. It always makes me chuckle. I drove over to the skin doctor to have a small something looked at on my face. I couldn’t get an appointment with the actual doctor as quickly as I needed it, so I agreed to see a Physician’s Assistant. On my way to the doctor’s office, I got stuck at the same left turn signal. Again, the person at the front of the line wasn’t up far enough to trigger the sensor. I got out of line in my Torino and pulled up next to the front car. It was an old lady in a Lexus. I tried to get her attention but she was very adept at ignoring me. Either on purpose, or she just couldn’t hear me. Maybe the Lawrence Welk CD she was cranking was a bit too loud. I thought about getting on my PA system and telling her to move up, but I just decided to forget about it. I’m sure after the people behind her started honking incessantly she probably got the hint. The Physician’s Assistant couldn’t really identify my problem, but he gave me a sample of anti-inflammatory cream to use. Meh…we’ll see. I got back to NBC and we taped the show. It was difficult checking e-mails all day because stupid Yahoo was having a major mail outage. Two of my other accounts were fine, but my main one was unaccessible. Since Yahoo switched over to their new “improved” interface in July it’s all gone downhill. I really miss the old Classic Yahoo Mail…easy, simple, trouble-free. I sped home in the Torino and fed Spook. I got on-line and arranged a flight for my pal Deb from Monterey who was in desperate need of a break. She would be staying at my house for a few days to unwind and decompress. I booked the ticket, then walked Roxy. I went for a dip in the Jacuzzi and took a nice, relaxing swim. Then I went inside to nap for a little bit. I got up a few hours later and switched cars again, took the Mustang to get gassed up, and hit the Jack In The Box drive-thru to get some food. When I got back home I did some auditions, then went over the script for a cartoon demo I would be voicing the next morning. Once I was all prepped, I ate my Jack In The Box food and watched another “Kojak” episode.
Wednesday the 11th – IS THAT POO? – The alarm rang at 9 and I was up and out the door, heading to an animation spec session. It was an animated short some producers were doing to pitch their show idea. My pal Donna Grillo (Casting Director on “Invader Zim”) asked if I would like to be involved and I didn’t hesitate for a second before saying yes. Donna’s awesome and it’s always fun to work with her. We don’t get to work together enough, actually! A lot of other Voice-Actor friends were there doing the session as well so it ended up being a VERY fun morning. When we finished up at 1 I had to hurry off for home to do an audition. When I finished up I went over to Paty’s to enjoy a salad on the patio. Apparently it was going to be the last nice day before another mini heatwave hit. Then I headed off to NBC to tape the show. After we wrapped I went home to feed Spooky and walk Roxy. There’s a little boy that walks around the neighborhood with his nanny and he absolutely LOVES Roxy! When he sees her his face lights up and he runs toward her for a hug. She adores him as well. The other day he looked at the poop scoop and said innocently, “What’s that?” I said, It’s poopy.” He said “Poopy?’ I thought it was kind of funny. Well today when we saw him again, his eye immediately went to the poop scoop and he pointed and said, “Is that poo?” I laughed and said, “Not yet, but hopefully soon.” I’m very excited because in a few weeks I’ll be seeing my all-time favorite movie,”Wizard of Oz” in 3-D and Imax! Back in 1987, my sister Peggy bought me a collector Scarecrow figure and sent it to me. It’s a great figure and the likeness is amazing. Just recently, when I was cleaning out the Puppet Room, I came across the Scarecrow figure in one of my cases and decided to find the rest of the “Wizard Of Oz” figures from the set. A little research on eBay and I found myself a really great set of the figures. Unfortunately the Lion figure wasn’t manufactured very well. The fake fur they had for his mane was going the wrong way. In fake fur, there’s usually a “grain”: ie-the direction the hair is laying. Well, the makers of this figure had the grain going forward instead of back. So the Lion looked like a ratty hippie. I delicately removed all of the fake fur mane, recut it an restyled it and reversed it on the figure. NOW the grain of the fur was going the right way! I also did a lot of delicate gluing techniques to make it look even better! I was having a blast! In the Puppet Room I’ll display the main 4 figures, along with the Wicked Witch and The Wizard. Only a few of the figures will need major customization, but all of them will need a little something extra. Heck, that’s half the fun! The Lion was the most intensive of the figures to customize, so the rest should be easier. My pals Edi and Sara met me at Little Toni’s for some dinner, then I went back home to grab a quick nap. When I got up I did some auditions, fed Roxy and finished up the Lion figure. It turned out darn good, if I do say so myself! After I took Roxy on our nightly late-night stroll through the neighborhood, I came back inside to work on some of the other figures. I fixed the Scarecrow’s burlap collar to tighten it up around his neck, I glued on his hat so it would always look consistent, and I put some armature wire in his right arm so his elbow could bend. It looked better with him holding the scroll he got from The Wizard. Unfortunately the Tin Man figure was ruined a bit by the clamps that wrapped around his chest piece to secure him to the stand. After so many years, the clamp had dug into the paint and left marks on his chest piece. I’m on the lookout for a mint Tin Man that’s never been displayed with the clamps. I took some armature wire and made a much more effective attachment that would keep him secured to the stand without ruining the look of the figure. Tomorrow, Dorothy and the Witch are next!
Thursday the 12th – WALLY’S WONDERFUL WIZARD WACKINESS! – At 9am the hotline rang and woke me up. I thought that was a little early for NBC to be calling, and sure enough the Caller ID showed that it was a wrong number. So I just picked up the receiver and immediately hung it up. They’ll get the message. But it sucked getting awakened unnecessarily. I slept until noon, then got up to walk Roxy. It was a little hotter than the past few days, so any thought of biking to work was put out of my head right away. When I got back inside I worked on my database inputting some new movies and CDs I bought. I paid some bills, mailed them and got ready for work. When I got to NBC I did a comedy bit for Derek, one of the writers. I rehearsed the opening, then opened the show, and stole off to the world famous NBC Commissary to get a salad. On the way home I stopped to get my mail at my box, and stopped by Radio Shack to pick up another SD card for my new camcorder. I got home and fed Spook, walked Roxy and worked on a few auditions. Then I started in on my Dorothy figure. The way her hand was constructed didn’t allow for her to carry the basket with Toto inside. So I had to thread some very fine fishline through her fingers so I could basically tie the basket into her hands. Of course the knot would be under the basket’s handle, so nobody would ever see it. But it was time to go get Deb at the airport. She was hungry and wanted to stop for Italian food, and the only place I could think of that was close was Little Toni’s. So even though I had been there the night before, we went over there for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat at Little Toni’s every night of the week and it would be just fine! I got home and made up the bed in the Puppet Room for Deb, then I went outside to take a dip in the Jacuzzi and get in a quick swim. Deb was beat, she had a really long day, so she turned in. I went back downstairs to do more work on Dorothy. I cleaned off her vinyl skin with some alcohol, as she was looking just a tad grimy in spots. Then came the tough part. Her ruby slippers were just fabricated out of red plastic. Luckily, I happened to have some red glitter in my craft drawer, so I painted the shoes with Barge glue, let the glue get tacky, and then sprinkled the shoes with the red glitter. Then I got a small needle and some thread and took her dress in a bit in the back. The dress was a bit baggy looking, so it needed a bit of tailoring. I put the shoes on her and tied the basket in her hand. I thought, “Hey, I did pretty good for a straight guy!” The Wicked Witch and The Wizard are next! It’s going to be a great set when they’re all displayed! I fed Roxy and walked her, then I made some soup and watched another “Kojak” episode.
Friday the 13th – OOOOO! FRIDAY THE 13th! – Roxy woke me up at 10 to go potty, so after a quick outing in the hot morning, we came back inside and went back to bed to sleep until 1. When I woke up my maids were already in the house working downstairs. They arrived earlier than their 1pm appointment time, and since Deb was outside by the pool she just told them to go in. I got ready for work and left the maids in the hands of my assistant Sara who came over to make sure everything went well. I stopped at McDonald’s for a quick trip through the drive-thru to get some lunch-to-go, and then headed off to “TTS.” I got a text from my friends Keith and Val just as I was starting the opening of the show. They said they were on the lot but they weren’t being allowed in for the taping. OH NO! When I sent them the instructions for coming to the taping, I sent them the wrong set of instructions! On Fridays we tape at 3 instead of 4. I made them an hour late! Determined to fix it, I went out to find them and brought them into the audio booth to watch the show there. They said they enjoyed that more as they’re more “behind-the-scenes” type of people anyway. But I still felt horrible. They got to see Jay in the hallway and meet some of the other people on the staff. When the show wrapped I headed over to Voicecasters to do an audition for American Express. Then I took a blanket into the cleaners that Spook had…um…moistened. I got back home and fed Spook, and Deb and I walked Roxy. Deb hadn’t been feeling too well so it was good that she took the opportunity to get some rest and just relax. In fact resting and relaxing sounded like a good idea, so I grabbed a quick hour nap in my room. When I got up I went to pick up my pal Brittney Powell for dinner at Jerry’s Famous Deli. Sara joined us too. Deb still wasn’t feeling up to it so she stayed at my house and rested up. When I got home I spent a few hours in the Chaney Room digging out my old costume for the Man In the Beaver hat character, who was made famous by Lon Chaney in a 1927 silent film for MGM called “London After Midnight.” My pal Ron Chaney (grandson of Lon Chaney Jr., and great-grandson of Lon Chaney Sr.) was coming over Saturday to get made up as the character his great-grandfather made famous. While I was working in the Chaney room I also took the opportunity of reorganizing some of the costumes in my closet. But it was getting late, so I fed and walked Roxy, then made dinner and retired to bed to watch an episode of “The Saint” from the season 1 DVD set.
Saturday the 14th – IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY! – On September 14th, 2009 “The Jay Leno Show” debuted on NBC at 10:00. It was my first day working with the Leno crew as the show announcer. The first two days I pre-recorded the opening of the show on tape, but every day after that for the next four years I’ve done the opening live. It’s been quite an experience working with those amazing people, and though it all comes to an end February 6th, 2014, I have a nagging feeling that that won’t be it. Just a hunch. I dunno. Anyway, I got up at 1 and got prepared for my pals Ron Chaney and effects wizard Jim Ojala to arrive at Planet Wallywood. We gathered around my kitchen table and looked at some of Ron’s materials and photos that he brought from “London After Midnight,” many of which had been passed down through the Chaney family for decades. I had never seen some of the stills he showed me. Amazing! For quite some time we’ve been thinking about doing a “LAM” remake with Ron reprising the role his ancestor made famous. Since the original silent film is forever lost, this would be the only opportunity many of us would have to see an actual Chaney in that role! Since I had done the character many years back I had the full costume at the ready. After we chatted, we put Ron in the make-up chair and Jim started working on him. An actual Chaney in the Chaney Room! Too cool! Not only did the back of the chair read “LON CHANEY,” but the Chaney Sr. effigy sat toward the back wall keeping a close eye on the progress. When the make-up was finished, and the costume was adorned the results were stunning! The resemblance was astonishing! There’s lots to be said for genetics and DNA! Ron’s facial structure is very close to that of Chaney Sr.’s so it really worked for that character. Jim shot some photos of Ron in certain poses that matched famous “LAM” stills. What a great afternoon. My pal and webmaster Scott Sebring was in the area so he stopped by for a bit of the fun. When Ron and Jim left, Scott helped set up my new printer, then I went outside to enjoy a dip in the pool and Jacuzzi. But for some reason the jets in the Jacuzzi weren’t working. WHAT?! Movie night was a blast, as we watched “E.T.” on Blu Ray. Sara has hated E.T. (been afraid of him, actually) since she was little. Quickly we realized that the film has not held up well over the years, so we mostly just poked fun at it. The print looked great though, but it was hard to believe that we all sat in theatres in 1982 enraptured with the adventures of Elliot and E.T., and now we’re just laughing it off. I hadn’t remembered so many implausibilities in the plot. When everyone left I grabbed a short nap on the couch, then got up to walk and feed Roxy. I did some work around the house and then made one of my Wally Super Salads and hit the hay to watch another episode of “The Saint.” I LOVE that show!
Sunday the 15th – THE CORAL CREEPER! – Roxy got up at 1 and wanted walked, so I dutifully obliged her. Then I went back to bed until 4. I had to do some last-minute VO work in my home studio in order to help a friend meet a deadline. When I finished Edi, Sara and I went to The Coral Cafe for dinner. We were sitting there in the booth, and a man walked by to be seated in the booth behind us. He slowed down as he walked past to stare at Edi and Sara. Plus, he was fairly dirty and wearing a tank top. I could smell his body odor and it was bad. Really bad! I’m not sure if tank tops are allowed in restaurants as they aren’t really code. No shirt, no shoes, etc. – that type of thing. The tank top wasn’t really a shirt, and certainly didn’t hide his dirty armpits from my view while eating dinner. I tried to ignore him. But he was clearly interested in Edi and Sara. He tried to engage us in conversation but we only answered in polite responses. As we got up to leave, he got up too. After we paid we went outside to find him lurking by Sara and Edi’s cars, smoking a cigarette. Again he tried to engage them in conversation. Funny timing he has, choosing to go out to smoke just as we were leaving. The girls were getting creeped out, hoping that he wasn’t keeping track of their license plate numbers. While I was trying to be polite earlier, I had now adopted an attitude of “non-politeness.” But that was it. Sara made it to her car alright (we kept a very careful eye on her) and Edi and I left with no incident. I got home and did a ton of auditions, then walked and fed Roxy. I had to get to bed early for my follow-up appointment with my Colorectal doctor early Monday morning.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
A CHANEY IN THE CHANEY ROOM! Effects master Jim Ojala helps make Ron Chaney into the spitting image of his great-grandfather Lon Chaney Sr.! In a quick test session, Jim turns Ron into The Man in the Beaver Hat from the forever-lost silent film “London After Midnight!”