February 12 – February 19



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

Here’s a screenshot I took from a bootleg DVD of Elvis Presley’s final concert on CBS TV in 1977. The guy standing next to Elvis is his long-time road manager Joe Esposito. The jacket he’s wearing is currently in my collection, and I love having it! I remember seeing this show as a kid, and even seeing Joe wearing it on stage when I saw Elvis in concert on June 22nd, 1977. I never imagined that someday I’d actually own it!

 When the guys in Yacht Rock Revue played Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby,” my friend Val went crazy. She loves that song, and it ended up being her favorite song of the night! Obviously it’s been running through my head ever since. So…here it is!

Monday the 12th – TORINO TUNED! – Right around 1 I woke up, got cleaned up and walked over to my auxiliary garage to get my Gran Torino out. I drove to Del Taco to get a burger and fries, (yup, the best fast-food burger and fries in town is at a taco place! Go figure!) and then I drove to my mechanic at the Burbank Auto Doctor. I needed to get it tuned and have a few small repairs made. Then my assistant Sara met me there after I dropped it off so she could give me a ride to Bang Zoom studios for my super-secret gig. This is the one I’ve been working on for several years, and they just recently decided to do another 40 hours’ worth of work on this project. So for the next few months I’ll be darting in and out of Bang Zoom to finish up the voice tracks. We did a 3 hour session and it was pretty fun. It was great to see the old gang again. I really wish I could tell you what it’s for, but I’m contractually forbidden from mentioning details. Sorry. After the session my pal Bob Mitsch came and picked me up. We stopped by my mailbox to get my mail, went to Jersey Mike’s to get subs, and then went to my house to eat and record some Voice-Over tracks for his sketch show at the upcoming Dr. Who convention. Though I’ve never gone, my voice is heard there almost every year. After he left I grabbed a short nap on the couch. I got up later for my nightly auditions, I typed out Wally’s Week, and I Googled all the foods that are OK to eat before going to bed. I have been having some voice issues that I believe are caused by acid reflux, which in turn is caused by eating before I sleep. Now please understand, there aren’t many things I love more than making a nice meal and sitting in bed with the pets around me, watching some great old TV shows before bed. But all that has to change, in the interest of fending off voice issues. OK, life. Just go ahead and take away EVERYTHING I love doing. Tell me I can no longer pet my dog or cat, why doncha?! But there’s a medical reason for this and all the “classic” VO actors I know follow a strict protocol to avoid these problems. I’m afraid that the time has come for me to adhere to a more stringent schedule as well. It looks like bananas, apples, cottage cheese, cereal, milk & yogurt are on the good list. None of these were on my usual list of foods. But they are now, and I simply can’t go to bed on an empty stomach. Instead of eating dinner before I sleep, I need to eat 3 hours before. So basically, when I feed Roxy her dinner, I need to eat mine as well. I’m giving it a week to try it out to see what the results are. (But I may have a few “cheat” nights here and there.)

Tuesday the 13th – ANDY DOWN! – I could tell that after only a few nights on my new regimen my vocal range had improved! I got up at 2 and did an audition, then drove to Del Taco to get a few tacos before my next session at Bang Zoom. It was another 3 hour session, and then I went home to meet up with my effects guy Jim Ojala. He showed me a new pair of “eyes” he had made up for my Andy Kaufman mannequin. When we first put Andy up in his display case the selection of blue artificial eyes were limited. We ended up settling on a pair of eyes that are more “ice” blue than the grey blue Andy had. Now the technology exists to take a photo of a real eye, print it and integrate it into the artificial eye for special effects. So Jim took a photo of my eyes and made Andy’s from those photos. Cool! We looked at them in the light and made the determination that they would work perfectly. I grabbed the tall ladder from downstairs and climbed up to remove Andy from his cabinet. I had to undress him, stash the valuable original Andy costume in a safe place, and let Jim leave with the mannequin to do the work. I’m completely re-designing the display too, so it will look extra cool when he’s all finished. New lighting, new signage, new background, new eyes, everything! Andy is going to look superb as the centerpiece of my collection in Planet Wallywood! My pal Brittney Powell came over to help me with some work around the office and an audition or two. After she left I took a short nap on the couch, and then got up later to scale the ladder again up in to the Andy Kaufman cabinet. I needed to remove all the posters and signage, and clean off the adhesive. I also spent some more time making a new puppet I’m experimenting with. I had a lot of fun goofing around all night. I made some spaghetti and watched a few old Johnny Carson “Tonight Shows” before bed. This was going to be one of my “cheat” nights. But tomorrow night I promise I won’t eat before bed. Afterwards I did some more work around the house and got to bed around noon on Wednesday!

Wednesday the 14th – HAPPY V.D.! – Since I worked all night and didn’t hit the hay until noon, I slept until 5pm! When I got up I checked e-mails, fed and walked Roxy, and then laid down on the Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe for a few more hours of sleep. Boy was I tired for some reason! When I got up around 10 I did some auditions, did some more work on my puppet, and then headed to the grocery store to pick up some “approved” pre-bed foods. I got back and put everything away, fed Roxy and ate my own dinner, paid some bills, went through my bank statements, reconciled all of my taxable receipts, walked Roxy on a brief stroll through the neighborhood, and came back inside to do some more work. I watched a few Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” episodes before bed and enjoyed some popcorn, and apple and some iced tea. All good “pre-bed” foods.

Thursday the 15th – GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS! – Just before noon I woke up and headed to an audition for a commercial in North Hollywood. I parked on the street, fed the meter for a half hours’ worth of time, and headed in. My old pal Amy was running the audition, and I hadn’t seen her in years. It was fun catching up. But when I went back to my car I had an overtime parking ticket! My meter expired at 1:10pm, and the ticket was written at 1:11! Those sneaky little bastards! But on the way to my meeting with my new promo/trailer/narration agents I got a call that cheered me back up again! I have a good pal who’s suffering from pretty serious cancer. When he initially went in his psa levels were off the charts and it didn’t look good. But he immediately went into therapy and stuck to the regimen he was prescribed. His wife called me and said that he went in for a follow-up visit a few days earlier, and his psa levels were cut by about 95%! Unbelievable! All the good wishes, prayers, medicinal therapies, etc. were all working! GREAT NEWS! Also, the traffic to my lunch meeting was great so I didn’t end up being very late at all. It was a great meeting with my new agents and under their guidance, I’m going to record a set of brand new demos for the new year. I have a GREAT feeling about this! After lunch I went to International Silks and Woolens and looked around. I didn’t find any fabric I needed, but I did find a little over a yard of orange ostrich feathers. I needed them to augment the hair on my Mahna Mahna puppet. There were a few gaps on his head I wanted to fill in. On the drive back home I talked to my dad and got caught up on all the news. Just as I was feeling elated at all the good news I had heard, my agent called with some bad news. I was supposed to work on a Disney feature next Tuesday, but she called to say the “powers-that-be” decided to go with a “celebrity.” Bummer. But, that’s the reality of the business. Not much you can do about it. I sat down and did a few auditions, fed the pets, and then grabbed a nap on the couch until 10pm. I got up for a few more auditions, worked on my puppet some more, fed and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, and came back inside to start adding hair to Mahna Mahna. You have to be very careful when working with glue and feathers. But luckily, everything went OK (thanks to several hair clips I had lying around!) I made some soup and a sandwich (another “cheat” night) and watched a few more “Tonight Show” episodes before bed.

Friday the 16th – FINANCIAL FRIDAY! – The alarm rang at 1:30 and I got up and headed to McDonald’s to get some quick lunch. Then I went to my accountant’s office to get my taxes handled for another year. I gassed up the Mustang, picked up my mail at my mailbox, headed to Staples to get some mailing labels, Aaron Brothers to get some watercolor paper, stopped by the vet to pick up some food and treats for Spooky, and then went home. Whew! I did a little work around the house and then fed the pets. I napped on the couch for a bit, and got up later to do a bunch of stuff around the house. My contractor Handy Don is coming by Saturday to look at installing new lights in the Andy Kaufman case, so I wanted to make sure I was all prepped for the day.

Saturday the 17th – YACHT ROCK REVUE REVIEW! – Shortly after noon Handy Don came by and he climbed up the ladder into the Andy Kaufman case. When he started following the trail of wires for the current Halogen lights in the Andy Kaufman case, he wasn’t liking what he saw. When the lighting was installed 17 years ago it wasn’t done properly. In fact, it could have been very dangerous. So he put a hole in the wall behind the cabinet to start tracing the wiring. He disconnected it all so there would no longer be power running through the wall. What we thought would be an hour-long job, turned into an all-day mess. But it’s gotta be fixed. He’s going to come back next week to finish up, and I’m SURE the new LED lighting will look amazing in there! But it was very frustrating! While Handy Don worked away, I sat in the kitchen and did some more work on my photo albums. These are old photos from my days in South Dakota that need to be put in new albums. The original photo albums were literally falling apart from decay. Luckily the pictures were still good. When Handy Don left around 5, I took a short nap. I got up to get ready for a concert I had been looking forward to for a long time. Yacht Rock Revue is a great band that plays smooth songs from the 70’s and 80’s, and they have a huge following. So huge, in fact, that they sometimes will bring in special guests to sing with them. The special guests are the original voices of some of the songs they cover! One of those voices is my buddy Elliot Lurie, formerly of Looking Glass. When I found out he’d be playing at the El Rey with YRR I got my tickets right away. I had to, because they normally sell out every show! My pals Mark & Connie, and James & Cynthia also went. I also bought tickets for my friend Valerie Perez and her folks. Her mom had met Elliot at dinner recently and I promised if he was ever playing in town I’d get tickets. At 7:30 James and Cynthia picked me up and we headed over to Valerie’s house to pick up her and her folks. We got them at 8:15 and headed to the theatre! When we got inside I texted my friend Edi (Elliot’s wife) and told her we were there. She came over to say hi to us when we got inside. Val’s folks bought me a Captain’s Hat and sunglasses (it’s a Yacht Rock thing), and I put the cap on and was ready to rock. It was a totally sold out show, and there wasn’t any seating. The audience stood throughout the whole show. But just before the show started I realized that I left my camera in James’ car. The parking lot was two blocks away and I didn’t want to bother getting it. After all, our crew had PLENTY of cameras. The band came out and did “Nights on Broadway” and slayed the audience. The crowd had come to play! The term Yacht Rock was coined a few years ago to describe the type of “adult contemporary” music one would listen to while sailing on a yacht. So that’s why the Captain’s hats are so popular there. People really get into the mood of the thing and come in full costumes sometimes! Elliot warned me that I’d be blown away by the incredible musicianship of this group, and he wasn’t wrong. They were stellar! There were several “OMG” moments for me. First, when they tackled the complex “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty. The band was tight and the saxophone player was out of this world! I loved it when they did “Lowdown” as well! And when they did “Night Fever” Val and I were literally disco dancing! What fun! But about 30 minutes into the show they brought out their first guest. A guy I’ll call the “Elder Statesman” of Yacht Rock Revue; Elliot Lurie of Looking Glass. None of the other guests they feature have enjoyed the longevity that Elliot has. His hit “Brandy” was in 1972, while all their other guests have hits from 1977 and beyond. It was great seeing him enjoying all the love in the room (the crowd went nuts!) and he was smiling through the entire thing! Watching him play in such an electric environment was a pretty emotional thing for me. First, I was finally seeing him perform the song with a full band (and a GREAT band at that!). Second, it was great thinking about the friendship he and I have forged over the past few years, that I introduced him to his wife, and that they’re enjoying each other immensely! Third, hearing the song always takes me back to a VERY specific place and time in my life when I was 11 years old, sitting in my room on a cold winter’s day, listening to my little AM radio, eating red hots and reading “Famous Monster” magazine. As I read the magazine and listened to hits like “Brandy” on the radio, my young head was filled with all the dreams of things I wanted to someday accomplish (the majority of which I ended up realizing!). So the emotional impact of that played into my enjoyment of this moment as well. The enormity of the experience was not lost on me. I actually found myself getting a little misty. Matthew Wilder came out and sang a few of his songs, then Peter Beckett from Player came out to sing, and Robbie Dupree did his hits. What an evening! And it was virtually wall-to-wall music with hardly any excess chatter at all! My pal James made an observation that, even when hearing some of the songs he didn’t ordinarily like, they were totally enjoyable in this venue! I agreed! They played for 2 hours and 15 minutes and at the finale they had the guests come back out and sing “Don’t Stop” with the band. What a show! I’m going to start trying to see these guys whenever possible! After the show was over we waited around for Edi and Elliot, but security was herding us out. We thought we weren’t going to get to see them for a second, but as we were in the lobby about to be expelled, Edi and Elliot came walking out. We even got to meet a few of the other Yacht Rock guys and I got to tell them how amazing I thought the show was. While I walked Edi and Elliot to their car, the rest of the gang went to the parking lot to get the car. But when I got back to the parking structure I discovered that James and Cynthia took off. Mark and Connie agreed to take Val and I to our houses. But James forgot that my satchel and camera were still in his car! So I called them and they agreed to turn around and meet us for dinner at the local Norm’s. We sat at the table eating our food at 1am, marveling at the wonderful evening! I got back home around 2:30 and fed Roxy. It had turned VERY cold out! I took a short nap on the couch, and then got up around 4 to walk Roxy briefly. I came back inside to do some work and make my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watch another episode of “SNL” from the first season. Raquel Welch was the guest host, so that was QUITE easy to watch!

Sunday the 18th – ON HIGH ALERT! – When I got up at 4:30 I was still reeling from the amazing night, the amazing show, and the amazing company of friend I enjoyed being with. I walked Roxy over to the church for the evening service and noticed a guy acting very strangely. I sit in the back with Roxy so I was keeping an eye on him. The head of security at our church was up toward the front and he shot me “the signal” that he was keeping an eye on him too. After the first set of music finished, the guy got up and abruptly walked out. I got up and discreetly followed him out to keep an eye peeled. He jogged down the street as he listened to his iPod. Our youth pastor came out and said he didn’t like the looks of him either. He said the look he gave him was “sinister.” I stayed outside for a while longer, and within 10 minutes the guy returned again. He jogged up the stairs, opened the door a crack and peered in, closed the door and then jogged off. When I lost sight of him I went back inside to inform our security head what I saw. It’s too bad you have to be so paranoid, but in this day and age you just can’t be too careful. For the remainder of the service I stood just inside the door to monitor who was coming and going. What used to seem “alarmist” is now just being responsible. Roxy and I walked home after the service, then I got in my car and went to pick up my “adopted grandma” Shirley from church. She wasn’t feeling up to the walk to my house, so I picked her up and we went to dinner. I dropped her off at her house, and then came back home to do an audition that was due on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday). I grabbed a nap on the couch and bundled up with 3 blankets. I like to leave the window open to get nice, cool, fresh air inside. But it’s so cold out that my cat Spooky will get under the covers with me and sleep next to my stomach! I got up later to feed and walk Roxy and work on my photo albums some more. I was still having some voice issues, so I think it’s best to go a full week with no “cheat” nights and see how it works out. I added some more feathers to Mahna Mahna’s head, and then hit the hay so I could be up on Monday to get my Torino from the Burbank Auto Doctor, and do another session at Bang Zoom.

And how was YOUR week??!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

Val and I are overwhelmed by the energy at the Yacht Rock Revue concert!

After Val’s parents bought me my very own Captain’s hat, the Captain is ready to set sail!

For those about to (yacht) rock, we salute you!

The Elliot Lurie security detail was dressed and ready to report for duty!

The “Elder Statesman” of Yacht Rock, Elliot Lurie, wows the audience!

At the end of the show we got a great photo of Elliot and his fan club.

 

Here’s Elliot’s entire set, as shot by my pal Mr. Awesome!

One of my favorite songs from the show, Night Fever!

And the amazing finale!

Another great moment…Peter Beckett of Player performs “Baby Come Back.”

This was another of my “OMG” moments when they did “Baker Street!”