Archive for April, 2009

April 27 – May 3 (2009)

Monday the 27th – I GOT CROWNED! – In the morning I went to a place called Audio Circus in Glendale to add some more voice tracks to a ride in Singapore based on the “Madagascar” films. The original voice actors from the films were unavailable, so they used the “stunt” voices…soundalikes who can perform the characters relatively closely. In the case of a ride, with all of the ambient sounds and visuals going on, I believe it’s less imperative to have the original voices because with everything going on visually, people probably won’t even notice a difference. I had done some “stunt” voicing for Ben Stiller’s Alex character in videogames, greeting cards, etc. And now a ride! Too cool! It almost makes me want to go to Singapore to check it out, but that likelihood isn’t very high. I even found out that Ben Stiller had a personal hand in selecting his stunt voice. That’s pretty cool! As I was leaving, I ran into my old pal Phil LaMarr who was just pulling into the parking lot. He is the “stunt” voice for Chris Rock’s character. I’ve been seeing Phil a lot and it’s always a pleasure. Last I saw him, we were in the offices of “Family Guy” waiting to go do our lines. He’s one of the coolest guys in the business and never fails to bust me up with his hilarious antics. It was indeed a career highlight for me to be able to sit with him on a voice actor’s panel at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. When I finished I went to McCoy Productions to audition for a 7-11 commercial. Then I made the long drive to Culver City to see my dentist. Today was the day I would get my crown put on my “#14” tooth. I had a root canal on it a few weeks back and I couldn’t wait for the whole thing to be over. After the appointment, I went to Martin B. Rettig in Culver City to pick up my new .45 automatic model 1911. The waiting period was over and it was time to pick up my new handgun. It’s a beautiful, stainless steel piece made by Smith & Wesson. I couldn’t wait to get it to the range and try her out! I drove back home and picked up some pills for my dog Sassie (for her hips) and I also got a few photo enlargements made off at the local drug store. While I was there, I ran into an Air Force vet. He was wearing a purple cap with an inscription about a Purple Heart club. We started talking and I found out that he was part of the Battle of the Bulge. He said he was co-piloting a plane when a huge mortar tore through their bulkhead. Luckily they were able to get the plane back into safe territory thus avoiding behind held captive. He said he just turned 87, and he would be going to a birthday party in Palm Springs soon for the bombardier who was on that flight. I thanked him for his service to our country and immediately called my dad to tell him the story. He loves historical stuff like that.

Tuesday the 28th – AUCTION ACTION! – In the morning I went to Kalmenson and Kalmenson to audition for a Target TV commercial. I was supposed to drive over to the Profiles in History offices in Calabasas Hills, but I remembered that the new “Mission Impossible” TV series DVD release was coming out today (season 6) and I wanted to go get it. So I drove to Best Buy, picked that up, along with “Star Trek” the original series season 1 on Blu-Ray. I was elated! I couldn’t wait to see how the old “Star Trek” looked on Blu Ray. I got some food at Wendy’s and headed out on the freeway. Scott Sebring, my pal and webmaster was already on the road heading out there. He said the traffic was awful and he was going very slowly. I got there 1pm and caught up with him in the showroom. I also ran into my pal Brian Chanes there who showed me the stuff I wanted to see. I was there to see the Lon Chaney Sr. stuff…the hat and teeth from ‘London After Midnight’…as well as a few other things.

Checking out a diorama of Lon Chaney’s makeup studio at Profiles of History

Scott was breathless when he got to hold the hero gun
used by Harrison Ford in “Bladerunner.”

When we were done, we took my car out to Thousand Oaks (even further west than Calabasas Hills!) to see some additional items. They had a lot of wax figures there I wanted to see, as well as some other items. Especially the Stan Winston-created make-up prototypes for the movie “Heartbeeps”, starring Bernadette Peters and….ANDY KAUFMAN!

    I had seen these prototypes at the Make-Up Artist Trade Show last year and was amazed at how lifelike they looked. Now that Mr. Winston has passed away, his family is clearing out a lot of his items and offering them to his fans. I really wanted this piece because I have Andy’s “Heartbeeps” jacket, pants and bowtie. If I got the prototype head, I could make a really cool mannequin to display the items in Planet Wallywood. But in the warehouse that held the wax figures and the other auction items, Scott and I spied what looked like Captain Kirk’s captain’s chair from the original “Star Trek.” Apparently it was there being stored until it could be auctioned. Scott got tons of photos of the chair, and we felt like giddy little kids. Even though the chair was held in clear disregard…just shoved off into a corner and covered with dust! On the way back to get Scott’s car at the Profiles in History offices, we passed by the Wendy’s parking lot where I originally picked up my dog Sassie back in 2001. It served as the meeting place for the Collie Rescue representative to hand off Sassie to me. She had just had her surgery for spaying, so she was still a little groggy. I still remember having her in my car. She seemed nervous, was panting heavily and drooling. Plus, the anesthesia may have made her a bit nauseous too. But I remember speaking to her softly as we drove along. Passing by that Wendy’s parking lot made me a little misty-eyed with sentimentality, but happy at the same time that Sassie and I have now become fast friends…inseparable at the very least! We’ve had many great years together, and no doubt we’ll have many more to come! As I was driving back home I stopped at the Target Range in Van Nuys. I had packed my new .45 automatic in my trunk earlier in the day, so I was going to go in and shoot a few rounds. Expecting me to have my Walther PPK with me, Sid at Target Range said he didn’t have any reloads for the .380. Apparently the ammo shortage had started to hit them. But I told him I didn’t have my Walther, but instead had a new .45 automatic. Luckily, he had lots of bags of reloads for that caliber. I shot up some targets and marveled at how this gun handled. Amazing piece. No wonder they keep making this model! It was created in 1911, but is still being manufactured today! It’s a fine weapon! On my way home I stopped by the store called Big Kid. I always get a $2 token for the soda machine, and get a cold soda in a bottle. This time…a Dr. Pepper! Then I got a bag of free popcorn and looked around the store. I ended up buying a bunch of retro candy including Space Food Sticks! (remember those?) I couldn’t wait to try it to see if it tasted the same as I remembered. It was pretty darn good! I got a spare one for Scott’s wife who also remembers them with the same fondness. I was curious to see her opinion on them. But to me, it tasted pretty similar!

Wednesday the 29th – TCB! – As Elvis used to say, Take Care of Business! That’s why he designed a TCB necklace for his staff. Well, today was a TCB day for me. I made lots of phone calls, strategized, and secured my hotel room and rental car for my parents’ anniversary in June. The tooth that was crowned the other day was still hurting a little bit, so I went to get a prescription for painkillers at the local drugstore. That night I went to evening church…the meditational service. I hadn’t been able to go for several weeks, so it was good to get back to it. I was afraid that I had lost some of my ability to meditate over the weeks I had to miss the services, but the strangest thing happened. We started the guided meditation by Jefferson, our worship leader. And the last thing I heard him say was about the “big ball of white light”…and that’s the last thing I remember until I came out of it at the end of the service. I was obviously conscious enough to hear him tell us to bring ourselves out of it, because as soon as he did, I was able to come out. It really is amazing! And when I left the service, I felt like I was floating. I whole heartedly recommend meditation for stress reduction and to find peace of mind. You may not master it right away, but once you do you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday the 30th – BURBANK FUN! – I went to Cartoon Network in the morning to audition for a new cartoon, and ran into Phil LaMarr again! What fun! I also ran into my old pals Fred Tatasciore, Steve Blum, and Carlos Alozroqui! Afterwards, I went to Firing Line in Burbank to fire off a few more rounds in my .45 automatic. I got two targets, but this time I wasn’t concentrating so much on the target’s head and chest. I wanted to see how well I could pinpoint this weapon into certain areas…shoulders, arms, stomach, etc. It proved to be very accurate. When I was done I stopped by Staples and picked up some supplies for home, and then I went to It’s a Wrap. They had just gotten hundreds of dresses from “Deal or No Deal” and were selling them at great prices. I phoned most everybody I knew who could benefit from this. I myself bought three dresses for friends of mine who would be accompanying me on future outings. I stopped by the post office to mail off some autographed photos, and then headed home.

Friday the 1st – FREAKY FRIDAY! – Boy, this was a weird one! First, I went to do some lines for “Gormiti”, the cartoon series I’ve been doing. Since I only had three lines in this episode, the director Mary was nice enough to record me first and then let me go. Which is good because today was the day of the Profiles in History auction, and the first item I was interested in would go up for auction around 11am! It was a hand-made diorama of Lon Chaney Sr.’s make-up studio circa 1927, and it was originally made as a gift to Forrest J. Ackerman, the editor of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine. FM, as it’s called by fans, was a regular staple in my childhood. And this diorama was amazing. I had planned on bidding up to $1,000 on it. The phone call came (I was a phone bidder for this auction) and I was ready to bid. It started at 100, and I kept bidding until it climbed to 800. Then all of a sudden it went to 1200. I bowed out, but knew that the amazing piece would find a wonderful home (I heard it eventually went for over $3000!) I didn’t have anything else going on until the next item would come up (the “Heartbeeps” prototype heads) so I did some stuff around the house. It was supposed to rain, but never really did. It was very humid out, which is rare for L.A. I felt really tired so I laid down in the Chaney Room on the futon there with my cell phone and cordless home phone by my head. That way when they called for the next item I would wake up and bid. I eventually woke up on my own around 4:00! According to my calculations, the call for the “Heartbeeps” items should have been around 3:40! But no one called! I got up and looked at my answering machine. With horror…THE MESSAGE LIGHT WAS BLINKING! OH NO! How did I sleep through the phone ringing! Not only did I sleep through the ringing, but I slept through the message that was being left as well! My heart sank! I played the message, but it was my maid service reminding me that they would be coming the next day. WHEW! I immediately called Profiles in History and they said they were running behind. They finally called around 5:00. I knew that I was going to bid up to $3000 for the items, but told myself if it went up to $5,000 I would reluctantly keep bidding. The prototype head was sculpted by the Winston Studios on Andy Kaufman’s head cast, and with the glass eyes, it looked so amazing I just HAD to have it! The bidding began. Apparently it was between only two people, me and one other phone bidder. The estimated price on the pieces were $1000 to $1500. But the bidding went there and beyond! I would not be swayed! Finally the other bidder bowed out at $2500 and I had my pieces! YAAAY! With the buyer’s premium added on, it will come in right around the $3,000 mark I originally set for myself. Finally this Freaky Friday was starting to pay off! I went into the Puppet Room to take a shower, and heard some of the display cabinets creaking. Sassie and Spooky both ran into the room with their eyes wide open! We were having a mild earthquake! Even the guy on the radio station I was listening to mentioned it. But luckily it was mild. Let’s see…humid, rain, wind…and earthquakes? Nobody can say this Freaky Friday didn’t have its variety! That night my friend Sara and I went to Vitello’s for dinner. We were joined by Scott and Vickie later, and then we went to the gelato place across from the restaurant and enjoyed dessert!

Saturday the 2nd – BLU RAY TREK! – My maids showed up in the afternoon and cleaned stuff up. Sara dropped by and when the maids were finished, we went over to It’s a Wrap to look at the “Deal or No Deal” dresses again. I ended up buying another 5 dresses, one for Sara and 4 for my friend Joe and Zandra’s daughter Katie, who loves to dress up in sparkly dresses like this. So all the time I was picking out dresses of the appropriate size, hanging them up, taking photos of them on my phone camera, and sending them over to Joe and Zandra to see if they liked them. It was actually kind of fun! That night I had a gathering of folks to crack open the new “Star Trek; Season 1″ Blu Ray discs. I figured it was best to put the names of all 28 episodes on little slips of paper, and we would draw which episodes to watch. The very first one was ‘The Menagerie”, a two part episode that shows the best of “modern” Trek and “early” Trek. It’s the one where you see the Captain of the Enterprise before Kirk took over. It was a good way to start! But when the two episodes were over, everybody wanted to see one more. So we drew again and watched “Galileo Seven.” We were watching the new “digitally enhanced” versions, with new CGI effects added to the old episodes. It was fun pointing out all of the upgrades we could spot. Plus, Don Marshall was in that episode, and I had been seeing him in all of the “Land of the Giants’ episodes. So it was fun to see him play a different role. Later, when everybody left, I opened an LP I bought on eBay and recorded it on to CD. Then I brought the CD into my computer and started editing it. This is an old album called “Comic Book Heroes” by The Capes and Masks. I remember trading something to my friend Danny Wilson for it back in the early 70’s, but that album is in bad shape. So I found a better version of it and I couldn’t wait to hear it without all the skips and scrapes. It was a good time editing the album and trying to make it sound as good as possible. But then I went to bed and watched another “Land of the Giants” episode.

Sunday the 3rd – SLEEPY SUNDAY! – I slept late in the day, as I do most every Sunday, but then I got up and did some work on the computer. I scanned some checks for deposit, and then headed to evening church. After church, my pastor’s husband came over to pick up a TV that I was getting rid of. It’s a perfectly good TV, it was in the Puppet Room, but I got a new flatscreen to replace it and I wanted to find it a good home. Their TV just broke down, so the timing was right. Then I paid some bills, did my auditions in my home studio to e-mail to my agents, and then went out to get some late dinner.

And how was YOUR week??!!