Archive for March, 2011

March 28 – April 3 (2011)


As I was coming out of church Sunday night the sound mixer was playing a song that sounded a lot like Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song,” which got me humming it the rest of the night. It’s awesome!

Monday the 28th – GREAT START/LOUSY END! – My mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and nieces hit the airport early in the morning and made their flight home alright. It was a fun trip. I was up early and headed to Buzzy’s in Hollywood to record another few “Garfield” episodes. At the stoplight at Melrose and LaBrea I looked to my right. Boy did that guy driving the car next to me look like David Lynch! He had his window slightly rolled down. I took a shot. “David!” I yelled. He looked over. I gave him the thumbs up. “You’re the best. I love you!” He smiled and waved and mouthed “Thank you!” Too cool! You just never know who you’re going to share a stoplight with in Los Angeles. The light turned green, he turned and waved goodbye as he sped off, and I turned left to get to Buzzy’s. “Garfield” was fun, but Frank Welker was under the weather. So they had Hank Garrett do temp lines so the other actors would have somebody to read off of. Laraine Newman came in and did an episode, as did the legendary Stan Freberg! My agent texted me and said there was a bit that I needed to voice for “The Tonight Show.” So when the “Garfield” session was over I recorded the bit at Buzzy’s and we e-mailed it over to Dave at “TTS.” But the day went downhill from there. You know when Garfield says, “I hate Mondays?” Well, I was starting to share his point of view. I was going left on to Highland from Melrose on a left turn arrow. The guy ahead of me was taking his sweet time, and the arrow turned yellow. I just barely made it through before the light turned red. But as I did, another car heading straight came barreling right at me! He had anticipated his green light, as he was probably already going pretty fast and didn’t want to slow down to wait for it, and just BARELY missing creaming my car! I’m talking mere inches here! Whew! I uttered a quick thanks to God and headed home. I took Sassie outside for a bathroom break, and she dutifully did a #1. But the minute she got back inside the house she started in on a #2. Couldn’t she have done that while she was outside? Luckily I pulled her to the entry way and the marble floor just in time. The marble’s a lot easier to clean than the carpet! This was just perfect! I met up with my friend Georgette and her mom at “TTS,” as they were there to attend the taping. Afterwards I took them back to the audio booth as I had some more comedy bits to record. I got home and grabbed a nap. I needed it after the busy and sometimes stressful day. That night my pal Brittney Powell came by for a visit. It was nice to end the day with some pleasant company.

Tuesday the 29th – THE SHAT IN ‘DA HOUSE!!! – I started the day at Voice Trax West for another session for the IVR gig I’m doing. (Interactive Voice Response). It’s for a new phone system and I have to record virtually tens of thousands of lines for this system. We’ll still be recording into May before we’re done with the initial voice tracks. After the session I went to the craft store and bought a sealer for the Phantom mask I’d been painting. Then I went to the fabric store to buy some stretch velvet to line the mask. That way the scratchy undersurface of the mask wouldn’t mar the beautiful paint job on the bust if I decided to attach the mask to the bust. I grabbed lunch and then headed to “TTS.” When I got the script for the opening it said “And William Shatner joins Jay…” WILLIAM SHATNER??!?! WOW! Too cool. I kept running around the halls saying “The Shat is in ‘da house!” I think only a few people figured out who “The Shat” was. He and Jay were very funny in a bit together called “Does This Thrill Bill?” When William Shatner asked one of the contestants if he was REALLY going to do something thrilling the guy raised his hand in a gesture of a pledge and said, “I promise.” I laughed hysterically in the audio booth, but nobody else in the audience laughed. I recognized it as a reference to Shatner’s old margarine camp from the 70’s for Promise margarine. I told the guy in the hallway later that I totally got the reference and I thought it was brilliant. After the taping wrapped they shot a Q&A session with Jay and Howie Mandel for the website. When that was done I headed home to grab a quick nap. My friend Emily came over later in the evening and we met my assistant and pal Sara at Jerry’s Famous Deli for lunch. Then Emily gave me a much-needed massage at home. I had intended to drive my second Gran Torino to work the next day, so I drove my Mustang over to my parking space where the Torino is parked to switch cars. But the Torino was deader than a doornail. It would not start. It wouldn’t even groan. Just…click…nothing. So there was clearly something that was draining my battery. I hadn’t had the car started in over a week (because it was raining almost solidly) so I was hoping that I hadn’t left something on. I drove my Mustang back home and parked it. No Torino tomorrow.

Wednesday the 30th – BYE BYE MARCH! – I got a call to be at NBC by 11:30 for a few quick comedy bits. When we finished those, I headed to Cup ‘O Tea Productions to do the new Soul Calibur game. For the past few games I’ve voiced The Pirate Cervantes. I was looking forward to the session but was hoping it wasn’t too hard on my voice. We finished in about 2.5 hours and I hit McDonald’s to get some quick lunch before other work. I stopped by Studiopolis Burbank to do the final voice tracks for Hakubi in “Kekkaishi” on Cartoon Network. The series is wrapping up soon. We finished that quickly, since Hakubi didn’t have many lines in the final episode. On my way to NBC I picked up a booster to start my car. One of those you can plug into an outlet for several hours and then hook up to your car. I did “TTS,” then went home to grab a quick nap. When I got up I went to the Coral Cafe in Burbank with Sara and Chuck McCann. We were celebrating Sara’s new used car!

Thursday the 31st – GOOD RIDDANCE MARCH! – I was awakened at 7:45 (about 2 hours earlier than I was scheduled to wake up) to the nauseating smell of poo. I looked down at Sassie sleeping in her bed and she was totally calm. And I knew it certainly wasn’t me. Then I got out of bed to investigate and found that Sassie had poo’d her bed, and she didn’t even know it. Without making any panic sounds, I gently picked her up IN THE BED and moved her to the bathroom, where I ran a tub full of hot water. I put her in the tub, as I started to clean her bed. When it was done I took the bed outside to give it a nice hose down. I wasn’t mad. I was sad. I had always heard that when your pet starts losing control of their bathroom faculties, the time was near to have them put down. I was dreading this for a long time. I put a call into my vet. I cleaned Sassie off and dried her, and put her downstairs in her special pen, along with several pee pee pads. Now I wasn’t starting to feel very well. And I had another session booked for the IVR project at 11. But I was nauseous, tired, sad and just not feeling it. I e-mailed my agent and told her I was staying home. I’m glad I did, because when I got up later I felt MUCH better! I slept until it was time to get ready for “TTS.” I managed to hit the bank and deposit some checks before the show. My friend Katie was at the taping with her friends, but I was looking to get home after the show wrapped. I wanted to see how Sassie was doing. I was happy to see that she was doing better, but the wave of dread still hadn’t left me completely. The only thing I could think to do, was to take the fully charged battery booster to my Gran Torino, and start her up. The booster worked great, and I took the Torino out for a spin and to get some gas. It helped clear my head and made me feel better. I thought that I had driven it enough to charge up the batter, but after stopping for some frozen yogurt I couldn’t start it up again. Luckily my pal Karl from the church was able to give me a jump so I could get home.

Friday the 1st – APRIL FOOL’S!! – Given the way the week had gone, I was feeling like the first April Fool of the year! I had a full day of activities planned, so my assistant Sara came over to housesit while my maids came to clean the house. I started at Voice Trax West with the IVR project. Then I met Sara for lunch at Panera after I had gotten some more Claritin at the pharmacy next door. Then I blazed over to “TTS” for the taping. Afterwards I went to Nickelodeon to do a callback audition for a new show called “Robot & Monster.” When I walked in I saw my old pal and fellow VO artist Daran Norris. It’s always fun to catch up with Daran. I did the audition and then stated to head home. My friend Amanda was driving in from Moreno Valley, but was stuck in traffic. I stopped by It’s A Wrap in Burbank to check out the clothes. As I walked through the store I was pondering an idea for my upcoming 50th birthday party. Since I’m a fan of the original Hawaii Five-O I thought that it might be cool to do a theme party…Hawaii FIVE-O…fifty…FIVE-O! I thought it might be fun to rent the bowling alley next to Jerry’s Famous Deli. There are lots of lanes, videogames, foosball, etc., as well as food. It might be a good time! But I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea. I looked through some of the boots for sale at It’s A Wrap, and one of the salesgirls there came around the corner to show me something. “Look!” she said. “Bowling Shoes!” HOW WEIRD WAS THAT!? I was just pondering the bowling party and she showed me some bowling shoes. How random! It was a sign! I explained to her my plan for a 50th birthday party at the bowling alley. And then her eyes got wide. She showed me the price for the shoes. $50! FIVE-O! Wild! It was a sign, so I’m going to investigate throwing a party there! I headed home and met up with my friend Amanda who was having trouble with her Jeep all the way to L.A. Soon after, my friend Georgette arrived and we got ready to go out to dinner. We were joined by Sara at Jerry’s Famous Deli so I could start my investigation for the party plan.

Saturday the 2nd – AUTOGRAPH SHOW DAY 1! – I had been wanting to meet Martin Landau for years. His daughter Juliet is a pal of mine, as is her husband Deverill. I’ve been a fan of “Mission Impossible” for years and I’ve seen every episode on DVD. I’ve been trying to get Martin Landau to sign my “Mission Impossible Dossier” book but he’s very elusive and very busy working still! But today I would be meeting him at the autograph show that’s held in Burbank about every three months. Sara, Amanda and I got there early in the day, but not early enough. The line for Martin was long, and not moving very quickly. So Sara, Amanda and I took turns waiting in line. The day was escaping us and I still had several other autographs to get! I was worried that by the time I finished with Martin the day would be over and I would miss my chance. I’m not sure why the promoters of this show don’t issue placeholders for the line. Simply issuing people in line a number and calling them up in groups of 25 at a time, would give the other fans a chance to spend money elsewhere with the other celebrities instead of wasting time in line. It would benefit the fans, as well as the celebrities who aren’t able to sell anything because people are waiting in line for hours. We had been in line for and hour and a half, and sure enough, just as we gotten toward the front of the line it was announced that Martin was taking 15 minutes for lunch. Well, I knew it would be more like an hour instead of of 15 minutes, so I had the gals hold my place in line and I went to do my other autograph hunting. First stop was Bowzer and Johnny from Sha Na Na. I had seen them in concert with my pal Bob Japs in Jamestown, North Dakota in August of 1978. We met Bowzer after the show and spoke with him. I got about 20 great snapshots of the group in concert. Luckily I still had the negatives, so I scanned some of the shots of Bowzer and Johnny and took them to be signed. The guys were blown away by the memories. I told them I would scan the entire set and send the photos their way via e-mail. It was fun reminiscing with Bowzer who had a clear recollection of doing that tour. I put him on the phone with my old pal Bob. I said, “Bob, I want you to talk to somebody.” Bowzer took the phone and said, “Hello Bob, do you know who this is?” A pause. “Yeah!” he said. “You’re right!” He looked at me and said, “He knows who I am!” I said, “Of course! Bob remembers that concert as well as I do!” It was a hoot sitting around with two of the Sha Na Na guys and reliving old memories and making new ones. I also heard a few choice new stories about their adventures on tour. What a great time! Chuck McCann showed up and was taking me around introducing me to some of his friends. I met the lovely Karen Valentine, who used to look a lot like a girl I dated in high school. I had purchased a photo op with Martin Landau and the time was set for 2pm. Martin was going to do that, then start singing autographs again. Sara and I reported to the room for the photo op and waited for Martin to arrive. Once he entered the room it didn’t take long to take the photo and be back on our way in line. Thank GOD I had Sara AND Amanda at the show, because dividing it up between us make it go a little faster. I got back in line and continued to wait. 15 minutes after the photo op, I went back into the room and got a print of the beautiful photo with Martin Landau. I decided to have him sign that too! After waiting in line 3 and a half hours (a personal record of waiting on line for an autograph) we finally were ushered up to Mr. Landau’s table. Chuck McCann, who’s known Martin for years, was there to make the introductions. Chuck started raving to Martin about how great of an actress Sara is, and that he should let her study with him. I had an “Ed Wood’ movie poster signed, all my “Mission Impossible” stuff, and the photo we had just taken. It was amazing meeting true Hollywood royalty! We were all starving, so I told the girls to go to the Daily Grill and order something and that I’d be right over. I had the lovely Lisa Marie sign the “Ed Wood” poster as well. When I walked up to her table she said, “Wally!” She remembered me from a film I was in directed by Deverill Weekes. We had a good conversation and caught up on things. I was ready to sit down and relax with some food and drink. At lunch Amanda discovered by looking on-line on her i-phone that Sid Haig and Leslie Easterbrook were at the show. She had spent so much time waiting in line that she wasn’t able to go looking around the show. Amanda’s a huge “House of a Thousand Corpses” fan, and when she realized they were there she flipped. So for being a good line-waiting soldier, we hurried back to the autograph show to catch them before the show closed. She got to meet Sid and get a photo, then we met Leslie and she could not have been nicer! It was a very pleasant meeting and Amanda was on cloud nine! As the show was wrapping up and the celebs were packing up their wares, in the distance I caught a glimpse of Martin Landau, who was STILL SIGNING! It was 15 minutes past closing time, but he stayed until the very last signature was signed. What a trooper! Flying high with our treasures, we headed to the house to get ready for movie night. We showed “Soylent Green” on Blu Ray, and “All That Jazz,” one of my favorites. But we had to hit the hay early since we were planning on going back to the autograph show on Sunday to enjoy more madness!

Sunday the 3rd – AUTOGRAPH SHOW DAY 2! – I didn’t get up too early, but early enough to be back at the autograph show shortly after noon. The crowd was a lot more laid back and less plentiful. I wanted to speak more with the Sha Na Na guys, as well as see Barbara Bain who would be singing on Sunday only. I had some “Mission Impossible” DVD covers for her to sign, as well as a very unique collectible. When the company who used to make Halloween costumes for kids did the Dr. Russell mask for the “Space 1999” costume, they started with a pencil sketch on acetate Maybe so the sculptors of the mask could get the proper look and dimensions for the finished mask. A few years back I bought the original hand-drawn guide for Barbara Bain’s character mask. I thought having that signed would be a very cool thing. I hadn’t seen Barbara since a few Christmases back when I met Barbara, her daughter Juliet Landau and my pal (and now Juliet’s husband) Deverill Weekes for lunch. I also reminded Barbara of the time she visited my house and sang a lullaby to me in my Puppet Room. I have a baby blanket on the wall in a frame that my grandma made for me when I was born. She said the quote embroidered on the blanket was from a lullaby, which she began singing to me! It’s a moment I’ll never forget! I spoke with the great Meadowlark Lemon from the legendary Harlem Globetrotters and have some things signed by him. I also had an LP cover of Ray Parker Jr.’s Greatest Hits signed by Ray himself! I told him I played his songs many times on the radio back in South Dakota. He asked what I did and I told him I was the announcer for “The Tonight Show.” He said, “From South Dakota to The Tonight Show?! Wow! That’s a book!” One of the things I had to do, was to buy an original watercolor sketch from Carroll Spinney, best known as the puppeteer and voice behind Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird. I knew that on Sunday he wouldn’t be quite as swamped as he was on Saturday, so I put my order in for a simple Big Bird sketch and waited. I noticed that Carroll was over talking to my pal Stan Freberg. As I saw them talking I got an idea for a once-in-a-lifetime photo op! I got a great shot of two wonderful inspirations! Stan Freberg and Carroll Spinney together in one photo! It was amazing! And my Big Bird sketch turned out great!! Amanda and I headed out to meet my pal Bob for lunch. Like us, Bob had braved the crowds both days to have stuff signed by Martin and Barbara. We relaxed over lunch at the Coral Cafe in Burbank. After that Amanda and I hit evening church, and then got her packed up to head back home. But her Jeep was having troubles. There was noise under the hood when she accelerated, as well a stalling problem. She decided to brave the freeway and took off. A little later, she returned saying that her car was really acting strangely. Now, I’m not mechanic, but I’ve learned a lot about cars within the past 8 months through dealing with my Gran Torinos. She got on the phone with a mechanic friend and he said it sounded like a vacuum leak, which was the exact problem I was having with Torino 1. This would account for the noise, as well as the stalling problem. I told her how I handled it with the Torino and she went on her way. I’m happy to report that I just heard from Amanda and she made it home safely! The rest of the evening I did auditions and e-mailed them to my agents, and finished up some stuff. I wish I could sleep in one day this week, but every day to come looks really busy! I’m so tired! But it was a darn good weekend!

And how was YOUR week??!!!!

Pics from the Week

This is one of the shots I took of Sha Na Na back on August 8, 1978.

Hollywood Royalty! Sara and I with the legendary Martin Landau!

The oh-so-cute Karen Valentine poses with me. Notice Martin Landau in the background!

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman and I relive the old Sha Na Na days.

This guy has made millions of people happy. The great Meadowlark Lemon from The Harlem Globetrotters!

Between these two guys…they’ve made billions (possibly TRILLIONS) of children happy! Carroll “Big Bird” Spinney and Stan Freberg!