Archive for October, 2010

October 25 – October 31 (2010)

Not sure why I woke up Sunday morning humming “This Boy” by the Beatles, but something must’ve been on my mind. Here it is for no apparent reason other than the fact that I was humming it Sunday after waking up.

Monday the 25th – WELCOME BACK TO REALITY! – After a terrific trip to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, it was time to get back to the world of reality. I hit the road early in the morning to go back to Mattel to record more lines for a toy I voiced awhile back. In fact, once I got there I realized it was only one line. It literally only took me 2 minutes in the studio to bang out the needed line, but it was important. So that’s how it goes sometimes. You drive an hour and a half to work for 2 minutes, take 10 minutes to sign the contract and drive an hour back home. Strange, but it’s da biz. My assistant Sara finally said my seatbelt ticket was up on-line so she paid it and now I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Gee…what a hassle. It was supposed to be up there weeks ago, but you know how the government works. (Can’t wait to see how they handle healthcare!) But I’m glad it’s over. I got called in early to NBC to voice a comedy bit so I went in at 1. I dashed back home and walked Sassie, then headed to my chiropractor’s for an adjustment. Then it was back to NBC for “The Tonight Show.” I enjoyed the break, but it’s really good to be back. When I got home I had to hustle and make a hardcover book of my Memphis experience on My They had a 50% off special going but only until the end of the day. So any spare time I had during the day (which wasn’t much) was spent on the computer laying out the book. After “TTS” I had Sara come by and help me clean. A camera crew was coming by to shoot Planet Wallywood for a pilot for a new show being pitched about collectors. Which meant I had to remove all the excess stuff from the Chaney Room (a room that had begun to take on the characteristic of an extra storage space) and put it in my room. My room was the only room that wouldn’t be filmed, so it was safe to dump everything there during the course of the shoot. The guys came over and we shot for a few hours and it was fun. But it was getting close to midnight. I got the Gran Torino out and gave some of the guys a ride around the block. But the car was starting to hesitate…it felt like it might be running out of gas. I dropped them off at their cars and bid them farewell, and drove the Torino around to my parking space to park it for the night. But the car died just a few feet from the garage. So I had to push it into the garage with the help of a neighbor. I couldn’t manipulate it into the spot, but left it in the general area. I knew it wouldn’t be good there all night, so I hopped in my Mustang and went to buy a canister of gas. I got a 2 gallon canister at the 76 station (the Mobil station by my house didn’t sell gas canisters) and headed back home. Now the modern spigots on a gas canister are made for later model cars. There is a spring loaded mechanism on the end of it that needs to hook on a part of the mouth of the gas intake in the car. However in a 1974 car the mouth of the gas intake is really large. So not only did I have to hold the spring-loaded door to the gas cap down with my knee, I had to hold back the spring-loaded nozzle on the gas canister to pour the gas in. It was difficult, and the gas was pouring in very slowly! I was getting gas everywhere! On my hands, my jewelry, my clothes. YUCK! Finally I got the majority of the gas in the tank and started her up. It started! It wasn’t that late so I figured I’d drove a few blocks down the road to the Mobil station and fill it up. Well, I got across the street from the gas station and IT DIED AGAIN! I couldn’t believe that two gallons of gas were burned just in a couple of blocks, so I started to think that it was something else. Just then three young men drove by to see me pushing the Starsky car into a parking lot. They yelled, “Hey Starsky and Hutch! Need some help?” I said, “Yes please!” So they got out of their car and helped me push it across the street. We got situated in front of a gas pump JUST IN TIME FOR THEM TO CLOSE! It was 1am! Closing time for Mobil! The lights on the pumps were turned off and they were all locked up. I begged the guy to sell me some gas but he just shook his head. Bummer. So the guys said they’d drive down to the 76 station, get another gas canister and come back and fill it up. I was appreciative. They said they were just hanging around the house with nothing to do and decided to go take a cruise. This was the most fun they had all day! I’m glad their attitude was so positive about it, as I was starting to get a little irked by the whole situation. As I sat there in the car, I thought…”I wonder if it will start.” Sure enough it fired up. I decided to head to the 76 station to head the guys off. I pulled in and saw them walking out the door with an empty gas canister. Now they could get their money back. I filled up the Torino with $67 worth of gas! Wow! Big tank! I kept the car idling for awhile just to make sure it was alright. The guys were loving listening to her purr and getting inside to look at the interior. But just then it died. All on its own. So I told the guys to please follow me to my house to make sure I made it home alright as I was going to park her and let it go for the night. I started her up again. But I got about 4 blocks down and she died for the last time. I called AAA and had them tow me to the Ford dealer so I could have them assess the situation. While we were waiting I found out their names were Rob, R.J. and Teryn. Nice guys, and we started talking about cars, and stuff. Here we were at 2 in the morning, standing on a fairly busy L.A. boulevard with a Starsky & Hutch car broken down alongside the road. It was very surreal. The AAA tow truck driver arrived and said, “Nice car.” I said, “Yeah, all dressed up with no place to go.” The guys followed me over to the Ford dealer, I dropped the keys in the night drop with an explanation of what was wrong, then they drove me home. They joked that they would love to see the faces of the guys coming to work at Ford the next day when that saw that baby in the driveway. I figured I’d get home and could go to bed, but I forgot that all that stuff from the Chaney Room was still in my room. I had to clear that away before I could retire for the night! Rats! Knowing that I wanted to have the Chaney Room photographed for the website, I put the stuff in the Puppet Room temporarily. Needless to say I didn’t get to bed until REALLY late! And considering that I got up around 8am that day, and wasn’t getting to bed until 4am…I had been going strong for 20 hours straight!

Tuesday the 26th – IRON MAN! – I got up around 11 and went to Elaine Craig casting in Hollywood. While I was in Memphis I had missed out on an important audition, but they were so accommodating that they were able to pick me up today. After I finished I went back home to do some more stuff. I got a call from the Ford guys and they said that the car was beautiful, but it was dying for them too. They said they have a specialist who loves working on the older cars, and as soon as he was able he would diagnose the problem and let me know. Great! I cant’ wait to get her healthy again so I can take her around town! While I was home, I grabbed my Iron Man bust from Sideshow and went to NBC. I had gotten a call from the segment producer of “TTS” who told me to go ahead and bring my bust in, as Robert Downey Jr. had agreed to sign it! I had a gold paint pen taped to the bust, along with a short note requesting what I wanted signed. I consider RDJ to be the Olivier of my generation, so getting him to sign my Iron Man bust was awesome! After the show I picked it up, signed exactly the way I had wanted, and I drove home with my new treasure. I couldn’t wait to get it up on the shelf and plug it back in! That night I got to catch up with my old pal Fred Westbrook over spaghetti at Little Toni’s in North Hollywood!

Wednesday the 27th – KING OF QUICKIES! – My first stop was to get some nice flowers for the segment producer and her assistant who made getting my Iron Man bust signed possible. Then I headed in early to NBC for some more comedy bits, and to drop off the flowers. They were orange roses (for Halloween), and the ladies seemed to like them. Then I had to be at Voicecasters for a noon audition. When I finished there I went to It’s a Wrap and the bank to drop some checks off. Then I got a very important conference call that I took in my car in the bank parking lot. My office away from home. When the conference call was finished I headed over to a place called the Radio Ranch in Sherman Oaks to do some more recording for the upcoming “Madagasacar” themed ride in Singapore. Another case of driving 45 minutes to work 5. But it was a lot of fun, and it was a line they needed to add to the ride. I finished up and then went by my accountant’s office to drop off my first box full of receipts for tax season. I have filled one already, and am working on the second one. Since we still have two months left of 2010, I figured it would be a good idea to get my gal working on the first box of receipts, so when 2011 hits we’re that much further ahead of the game. While I was walking out of the building I ran into my old pal Michael Reagan. Always good to see him! Then I headed to “TTS” for the taping. When I got done I stopped by the grocery store to get some groceries, but then got a call that Scott and Vickie Sebring were at my house waiting for me for a photo session. I hustled back home, but told them to go to Jerry’s Famous Deli and meet me there. When I got home I found that Sassie had left me a surprise. So it took awhile to clean that up and get to Jerry’s. After getting some dinner and calming down, Scott came back to the house and shot some photos of the Chaney Room (while it was still clean) and I wrapped it up for the night. Whew! Another loooooong day! By the way, still no call from the Ford guy.

Thursday the 28th – IVR –There’s a thing called IVR, which stands for Interactive Voice Response, or something like that. There’s a company that’s strongly considering me for the voice of their interactive phone system. I say “considering” only because my schedule is so nutty, and this IVR work is a LOT of work. In fact, they said they would have to record 50,000 cues in a couple months. I said the amount of work didn’t scare me. It would be good steady work during the time in the year (the holidays) that’s traditionally rather slow. So I told them that although “TTS” was my priority, I would definitely not disappoint them, and they would make their deadlines. We recorded a few more lines for the system and then we went to lunch. The two guys were huge animation fans so we stopped by my house to give them the tour. I gave them a couple boxes of Quisp cereal, a “Garfield” DVD (one of them had a young son) and drove them to the Burbank airport so they could catch their flight. Sometimes being a VO artist also entails going above and beyond the standard call of duty. So since I was heading to NBC anyway, and the Burbank airport was close, why make them call a cab? Besides, it was fun chatting on the way over. I got to NBC on time, did the taping of “TTS” and then headed home to collapse! I was looking forward to sleeping late the next day. But later that night my agent called and said “TTS” needed me for another VO bit Friday morning at 11. Oh well…part of the job. And I STILL haven’t heard from the Ford guy!

Friday the 29th – CELEBRITY HAIR! – I made it to NBC in the morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that I would be working with my old pal Jim Wise, from the old days at Cutler Comedy Network. Jim and I did voices there back in 1995 and now he’s writing for “TTS!” It’s a lot of fun, and like the other writers there, Jim’s a great guy and a talented writer! We had a blast doing the session. But then I hightailed it out of there to go to Floyd’s Barbershop. In addition to getting a refresher of my color, I also decided to trim about 3-4″ off my hair. The ends were all burned and damaged from the sun, chlorine in the pool, wind, etc. – so I figured we’d start a new crop by cleaning up those ends. I must say it DOES look and feel a lot better! While I was there I was talking to my stylist Andi about Memphis, and just then actor Robert Patrick walked in! Not only has he played Elvis before, but he also played Vernon Presley, as well as Johnny Cash’s dad in ‘Walk the Line.’ Quite a history of great work and characters! He seemed like a really down-to-earth, nice guy! Good to see! I stopped by the Ford dealer and talked to the head of the service department. He knows me from bringing in my Mustang for service, but we talked about the Torino a bit. He said the guy who specializes in old cars has been swamped with stuff, but was going to look at the Torino soon. He said this guy is in his 70’s and is definitely the go-to guy for cars like this. I feel I’m in good hands. He said he’d be looking at it today or tomorrow and would call me. I went to NBC to close out the week and had a lot of fun doing “TTS.” On my way home I stopped by the church to check in on the Halloween costume parade and carnival. It was just starting so I went home to dig out a costume. I put on my Michael Myers (from “Halloween”) jumpsuit and mask and headed over to the church. It was one of the few costumes I had where no one would be able to tell who I was. A few of the kids were a little nervous when I walked in, but the majority of them had no idea who Michael Myers is. The parents, on the other hand, DID! I made my entrance, but quickly removed my mask so not too many people would be nervous. The adults all said it looked pretty creepy when I walked into the room. It was fun watching the kids goof around in their costumes, and my friends Chris and Colleen showed up with their little Malte-Poo named Kona. He was wearing a Super Frog costume…part frog, part Super Dog. The kids adored him and Kona got so much attention and played so hard that it put him right to sleep!

Me dressed as Michael Myers at our church’s costume carnival

Speaking of sleep, I went home to rest and bid a fond farewell to this crazy, busy week! As I was getting ready to watch the monologue from “TTS,” I heard something hit my outside window. I thought a friend was playing a Halloween prank and got my flashlight to investigate. Then I heard howling outside. It almost sounded like an owl. I also heard a high-pitched whistling sound, like somebody trying to hail a cab. I pointed my flashlight around and saw an owl sitting on the chimney of one of the units across from me. At first I head the screech, then I heard the hooting in the distance. It must’ve been TWO owls! But the one screeching didn’t sound like any owl I ever heard, and from the distance it almost looked like a cat! Not stiff like you’d normally see an owl, this owl was looking down and all around. For a second I thought it WAS a cat in trouble, and that an owl was stalking it from a distance to see if it might provide a tasty meal. I got a little frightened, but I got my camera out and zoomed in on the creature, and found out that it was indeed an owl. It was really cool to see! I love seeing any kind of wildlife around the neighborhood, and since I live so close to the hills, many different kinds of creatures stop through every once in awhile!

The screeching owl outside my house Friday night!

Saturday the 30th – HALLOWEEN EVE! – My maids came to clean up, and I went to the vet’s to get Sassie some more food. I did a few more things around the house, and then took another nap. This past week really wiped me out! But it insured that I would be ready for movie night tonight! The guests arrived and we watched 2 episodes of “Twin Peaks,” followed by “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and then the original “Halloween!” Always good to watch a classic like that at this time of year. It was fun listening to everybody’s commentary during the film, as people are really familiar with the whole legend of how this film was made. After everyone left it was time for bed, but not before watching another episode of “Baretta.”

Sunday the 31st – HAPPY HALLOWEEN! – I slept in late, but got up to do a phone-in interview for my friend Matt Beckoff’s internet radio show. Then I went back to bed for awhile, sleeping until it was time to get up for evening church. Being Halloween, attendance was rather light, but it was great service. Many of the people who have kids were off doing the Trick or Treat thing. After the service I came home to do a podcast interview with a couple of guys I met earlier in the week. When it gets posted I’ll provide a link so you can hear the interview. When all was said and done, a bunch of us met over at Jerry’s Famous Deli for a late dinner. Then I came home to plan for a new week. One which, hopefully, will be a little less hectic and dramatic than the previous one! WOW!

And how was YOUR week??!!!