Archive for May, 2010

May 31 – June 6 (2010)

While spinning around the dial late one night I came across a country music video that was fantastic. It was “Do You Believe Me Now” by Jimmy Wayne. I immediately went to i-tunes and bought the song. I caught myself singing the chorus of this song loudly in the shower the other night. It’s very catchy, and a darn good song!

Monday the 31st – MEMORIAL DAY! – Hopefully you had a wonderful memorial day and took some time to think about those brave men and women who bought us the freedom we love so dearly with their lives. I went to have lunch with my old pal Lou Scheimer. Lou and his partner Norm Prescott started one of my favorite cartoon studios of all time…FILMATION! They produced Groovie Goolies, The Archies, Sabrina, He-Man, Star Trek and other great shows. I got to know Lou when I was producing the Groovie Goolies DVD boxed set. Lou’s wife passed away last year and I’ve been trying to get to see him, but his life was so full of other well-wishers that his calendar was fairly well jammed. But it was nice to grab lunch with Lou and his friend Mary-Ann, and catch up on what’s going on. My friend Georgette loved seeing his wonderful house in Encino, and Lou (who’s always had an eye for the cute girls) loved meeting Georgette. Lou and Mary-Ann were planning to be out of town until mid-July, but he made me promise to contact them then for another lunch. What a great guy! Funny as always. This week “The Tonight Show” was running re-runs and we were on hiatus. I figured I’d have a nice, relaxed week, but boy was I wrong!

Tuesday the 1st – WHAT HIATUS?! – I was up early in the morning and headed towards Santa Monica and the studios of Big Joe Sound. It was for another Domino’s Pizza commercial. Last year I had cut a few commercials as a big voiced rock n roll guy talking about their 5.99 pizza deal. Apparently the commercials were so popular they’re updating them. So Chris Cox and myself re-teamed for about an hour’s worth of recording. Then I went to see my doctor, who has his office in Santa Monica, to have him look at my vocal cords. The prognosis was wonderful! The cyst on my vocal cords that I developed last December was indeed history! Though I had been checked by an ENT a month ago, I wanted my own personal physician to be in on the loop as well. As I was on the way home, one of my out-of-town agents called my cell phone with a job for Go Daddy. She said they would call me at my house and record there. I got home just in time for the phone call, and we did a quickie session. Just in time too, because I had to get my stuff, walk Sassie, and head over to Studiopolis to record another episode of “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” We finished that up, and I went back home to get some more stuff and walk Sassie again. I also fed the cat. Then my friend Sara and I went to my buddy Stu Shostak’s house to record a radio interview. I had been promising Stu I would do an interview on his show for a long time, but because of the time he does his show I could never make it because of “The Tonight Show.” But since it was hiatus week, I had time to do it. Unfortunately I had to reschedule for the night before because of a commitment I had made for a funeral on Wednesday. But it was a blast! Check out the link to the interview here Just poke around the website and I’m sure you’ll find it in the archives somewhere. It was a blast. But by the time I got back home I was wiped! I had been on my feet 15 hours! But it wasn’t beddy-bye time quite yet…I had SEVEN auditions to record in my home studio and send to my agent!

Wednesday the 2nd – WIPED ON WEDNESDAY! – I got up early in the morning to meet with my air-conditioning guy who was coming by to see why my AC wasn’t working properly. It was also my folks’ anniversary (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM & DAD!) I got over to Studiopolis just in time to start our session for “Kekkaishi.” Luckily the session went fairly quickly, as I needed to get home and get ready for a funeral. My friend Bruce Kulick’s 91 year old father Harry had passed away the previous Friday, and I was honored by Bruce’s request to be pallbearer. I had contacted my pastor at church and asked all about Jewish funerals. So I wore a black suit with white shirt. My friends Scott Sebring and Sara came over too, and we drove to Mt. Sinai cemetery in Simi Valley together. When we got there we parked and went in to the chapel. It was Sara’s first funeral ever, it was my first Jewish funeral ever, and Scott had just returned from his mom’s funeral in Florida. So it was a surreal experience for each of us, but on different levels. I grabbed a yarmulke from the basket before we entered the chapel. Harry had worked on NASA projects, including a few Apollo missions, and had successfully raised two wonderfully talented and prolific sons who excelled in the music industry. So he had a really great, long life. It was hard to be too sad knowing how much he had accomplished in his life, and what a wonderful life had had achieved for he and his family, but it was still emotional nonetheless. Bob and Bruce both gave great eulogies that were both touching, and yet funny. Harry’s widow Alice looked wonderful and peaceful during the service. The rabbi spent a lot of time explaining all of the Jewish traditions that were consistent with a Jewish funeral, which I found very enlightening. I also grabbed the pamphlets that were available in the pews and read up on it quickly. The readings in Hebrew were beautiful. The time came for the pallbearers to escort the casket to the hearse. Then we drove our cars after the hearse to the burial plot, or as one rabbi called it, the “Beth L’Chaim,” home of the living. Another rabbi spent some time at the burial site (I’m sorry I forgot the Hebrew name for it) further explaining about the Jewish burial customs. After the casket was lowered into the ground, we got in a line and each of us walked by and put a few shovels full of dirt on to the casket encasement. The rabbi explained that this was customary in Jewish tradition, and when you were done with the shovel, you did not hand it to the person next to you, but instead placed it back in the dirt. It was all a new, fascinating experience for me. Then on the way out of the cemetery, we stopped at the washing pool. It was a fountain of running water for the cleansing ritual. It is traditional to wash your hands 6 times under the water, and not dry them, so the memory lingered on your hands as the water air dried. Then we got a bite to eat and hit the road. That night there was a meal at Jerry’s Famous Deli, but I wanted to grab a quick rest before we went. I was still wiped out from the previous day’s activities. Scott picked up his wife Vickie and they came to my house. Then we went to Jerry’s for the meal. I called my pal Chuck McCann and his wife Betty to join us. It ended up being a nice time. Bruce’s mom remembered Chuck from TV in New York. She said that she and her boys would watch Chuck on TV all the time. It was a nice time, and I asked Bruce if it was consistent with Jewish tradition to raise a glass to the departed. His mom welcomed the gesture, so we drank a toast to Harry Kulick and a great 91 years of life. Then we all headed home, and I had a bunch of auditions to do.

Thursday the 3rd – STILL NO HIATUS! – One of my voice-over agents called and said that the Disney XD show “I’m In the Band” wanted to know if I also did on-camera work. She said I did, but because of my Tonight Show schedule my time was fairly limited. But they still wanted to see me for an audition on Friday. I hadn’t done an on-camera audition in years, so I was worried that I was rusty. I asked my agent which of my headshots I should take it, and she picked one. But my printer chose that particular time to run out of ink! So I made a note to go get ink later. I got the sides (the piece of the script that I would be auditioning from) and looked it over. I also started thinking about what kind of costume I would wear. It was the part of a metal rocker, so I looked through all of my black leather things. My pal Sergio came over that afternoon to style the wig on a new mannequin I’m working on. But I’ll give you more info on that once the display is complete. Then I met up with my pal Kara Edwards, another voice-over artist, and her friend Stephanie at Outback Steakhouse for dinner. But before dinner I stopped at Staples and got some more ink. That night I printed my pics and resume (I even enclosed a picture of myself as Butch Maguire from my short film ‘Livin’ On a Prayer”) and got my costume ready. Oh yeah, I also had more auditions to record.

Friday the 4th – WHERE DID THE WEEK GO??!! – I got up and got showered, and did my hair in true metal rock and roll style. I also donned my black leather pants, black steel-toed boots and black t-shirt with black leather vest. I drove to the Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood and checked in. It was great to see Casting Director Carol Wasserman again, and she explained a little bit about the character I’d be reading for. I felt out of place, as it’s been awhile since I did an on-camera audition. But Carol’s so great, she put me right at ease. I don’t think I’ll get the role, but that’s alright I guess. With my schedule it would be tough to make it happen anyway, I’m suspecting. But it certainly was a good exercise to do that again. On my way home I grabbed some food at the Hollywood Arby’s, and then found my way to Elm Silverlake to record another commercial for The Underwear Affair. I got home and showered up and put on comfortable clothes. Then I checked my mailbox and found that my second cousin had sent me a little wooden puppet that she had found in her boxes of stuff. This puppet was most likely about 100 years old, as it was made by the hands of my great-grandfather. When I was a little boy, I was fascinated by a puppet that he had that would dance. He placed a wood plank under his thigh, held a jointed, wooden puppet just above the plank, and knocked on the wooden plank to make his legs move. The puppet’s torso was held steady by a rod that great-grandpa held on to with his other hand. My mom told me I would always say, “Make he dance, ga-pa.”

Here’s a shot of me watching great-grandpa work his puppet magic.

The puppet that was sent to me by my cousin Carla wasn’t this same puppet, but worked on the same principals. There was no plank included, and you could see the hole in his back where great-grandpa would put the rod. I’m not sure if this little guy was made before or after the one in the picture of great-grandpa and I, but it was still really cool to see! This one looked to be about half the size of the one in the original photos, but I was determined to give this little guy a place of honor in the Planet Wallywood Puppet Room. After I changed out of my leather rock and roll clothes, I put on some comfortable shorts and a tank top and went on errands. I stopped at a craft store and bought a white shadow box to put the puppet in. I also picked up my framed, signed Jay Leno animation cel from the “Dilbert” TV series.

I had one similar to it framed for Jay last week, and then I had him sign one for me. As you can see it turned out great! I also picked up some curtain rods for my new display. I swung by the repair store and picked up my camcorder, which needed a new lower drum. And then I went to my chiropractor’s to get an adjustment. That night my friend Georgette came over as I was busy working on my shadowbox for the puppet. The background was black, and since the puppet was black I needed to change the background to something lighter. I found some great gray fabric in my collection and I covered the background with that. Then I drilled a hole through the backing at the exact height of the hole in the puppet’s back. Then I put a screw threw that hole and fastened it into the puppet’s back. This would ensure that he wouldn’t fall off the mounting once the frame was completed. It all ended up working really well and then we went to the Puppet Room to find the perfect place for it.

 I’ve told you before about the ducks that visit our pool in the early spring, but now that the pool’s water has been warmed up for human swimmers, the ducks aren’t around as much. But that night they were swimming round in the pool. I quacked at them a few times, and then took Sassie to the grassy area to go potty. I heard a huge splash of water and as I stood in the middle of the grassy area, I saw both ducks (a male and a female) fly right over my head. In fact, they were so close I could have probably reached up and touched them in flight. It was amazing! Almost as if to say, “Goodbye. We’ll see you next year.”

Saturday the 5th – HOT AND SLEEPY! – It was starting to really heat up in L.A., so I enjoyed the comfort of my air conditioning and I slept nearly all day. I did find a box on my porch, which were the blue velvet curtains I had ordered for my new display. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the box to find, not blue velvet curtains, but BLACK velvet curtains. Apparently somebody in the warehouse was colorblind. So now I have to return them and wait another two weeks for replacements. I think this is the last time I’ll ever order something from this company. That night a bunch of friends came over for Blu Ray Trek, and then we watched a few bonus features from the “Toy Story” Blu Ray DVD. We tried to make it through one of the 1970’s ‘Incredible Hulk’ TV movies, but by 2am we were too exhausted to continue. So we called it a night. I got ready for bed, and by the time I hit the hay the morning was dawning. I sat in my Puppet Room with the curtains open watching the day become brighter and brighter. Though it was an overcast morning (we call it June Gloom in L.A.) the morning had an eerie peacefulness to it. My i-pod was playing Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” which seemed appropriate for the wonderfully, still yet gray morning. What a moment!

Sunday the 6th – THAT’S ALL FOLKS! – Well, the “hiatus” week was over, but I ended up being busier than I had been during NON-hiatus weeks! That’s alright though. I slept in, but got up in time for evening church. After church I met with my second cousin Cory at Jerry’s Famous Deli. He had just graduated from film school and our relatives got us together. I immediately called my friend Chris who did similar things to Cory, and figured they’d enjoy meeting each other. I also met up with my friend Edi, her daughter Emily and son Josh, their friend who was visiting from New Zealand Brooke, and my pal Sara. Soon Bruce Kulick and his girlfriend Lisa and mom came by as well. I had a flower for him from the church. Whenever anyone in the extended church family passes on, they give the family a white rose. Then a bunch of them came by to view Planet Wallywood, but it was getting late and they had to get rolling. Later that night I did auditions and prepared for another BUSY week…and a new week at “The Tonight Show!” Starting Monday our new bandleader Ricky Minor would be in place!

And how was YOUR week??!!!