Archive for September, 2011
September 26 – October 5 (2011)
Sunday while I was getting ready to head to O’Hare for my flight back to L.A., I had “Higher Ground” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers running through my head. Not sure why, but it sure provided a good humming beat for my frantic activities. I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t on my i-Pod. Well, it is now!
Monday the 26th – ROD BUYS RODS! – I headed to Buzzy’s in the morning but the traffic was very bad. Apparently the President was going to be appearing in town later that day and the authorities had already blocked off portions of various streets in Hollywood. What I don’t understand is, why Hollywood? President Obama wasn’t going anywhere near Hollywood. He was appearing at the House of Blues on Sunset way down the street. Odd. Anyway, I got to the Garfield session, which ended up being the last episode of the third season. We’re hoping (praying, actually) for a fourth season pick-up, which could come in early 2012. There will be one more session scheduled for pick-ups late in October, but it was a day to bid everyone farewell (until season 4!). After the session I went to Wendy’s to grab lunch to go, and then got gas. No, I didn’t get gas because I ate at Wendy’s, I got gas in my CAR. I headed over to Kit Kraft in Studio City to pick up some items, and in walks Rod Stewart! He and his pal were buying long wooden rods of some sort. As Rod perused the paints, I just strolled by and said, “Big fan, by the way.” He said in his typical Rod Stewart British rasp, “Oh! Thank you sir!” SIR? Rod Stewart called me sir! TOO COOL! What a swell guy. And his music does take up a fair amount of space on my i-Pod. I took my matte boards back home, cut them to size and Fed Ex my Rocky Horror poster to Chicago to have Patricia “Magenta” Quinn sign it. I handed it off to my assistant Sara just as I was pulling into NBC, and I went inside to tape “The Tonight Show.” After the taping I headed over to Mai Tai studios to record some Old Navy commercials. Then I stopped at my box to get my mail and then I headed home. I got to grab a quick nap. My cat Spooky was set to get a dental cleaning the next morning, so I couldn’t feed him after midnight. And he LOVES to eat! I spent some time QCing Paul Michael Glaser’s audio book and made some notes. He and I were going to meet on Tuesday to go over the audio files to make whatever changes were needed. I spent the rest of the night doing my auditions, doing some desk work and then I got to bed. But as I was watching another episode of “The Saint” and eating my dinner, Spook came up on the bed for a snack. But since it was after midnight I couldn’t feed him. It broke my heart! The look on his face was like, “What did I do, daddy? Why don’t you give me any?” It was awful!
Tuesday the 27th – TWO BOSSES! – I was up early to hand Spooky off to my assistant Sara so they could go to the vet for his dental cleaning. He was hungry, poor little guy. I went back to bed to sleep for a bit. I got a hotline call that “TTS” needed me to record a bit at home. I did the bit, e-mailed it in, and then got a message from Paul that he had to postpone the audio book session later that day. I headed over to Voice Trax West to record some more bits for US Airways’ interactive phone line. When I was done I sped by McDonald’s for some quick food, then over to NBC for another “TTS” bit. I hung around until it was time for the taping. Seth MacFarlane was on the show, so I stopped into his dressing room to say hi. It’s always fun watching two of my bosses on the same show…Jay and Seth…chatting it up. After the show Seth came by the audio bay where I hang out to say goodbye. What a cool guy! I headed out the door and got to the vet’s office to pick up Spook just before they closed at 6! Spook was NOT happy about being there all day. He was hungry, mad and anxious. I got him home and fed him a nice dinner. Boy was he glad to be home! And I was glad to have him. The procedure went well and the vet said he’s in good shape. I was concerned about Spook’s weight but the vet said he’s alright. “He’s just a big boy,” is what Dr. Steve told me. I grabbed another evening nap, then got up later to have dinner with my friend Loren at Little Toni’s. Then I did some auditions, e-mailed them to my agents and watched another episode of “The Saint.” And this time Spooky DID get fed!
Wednesday the 28th – WILD WEDNESDAY! – Late in the morning I got a hotline call to record another bit at home for “TTS.” Shortly thereafter, I got a call to be at NBC early for another bit. After I finished it, I drove to Best Buy to pick up “Stripes” and “Naked Gun” on Blu Ray. They were special exclusive to Best Buy discs, that couldn’t be ordered on-line. Then I went to Radio Shack to see about getting a new lavalier microphone that would record in stereo. But they didn’t have one. The digital recorder I bought records in stereo, but the other lavalier microphone I bought only records in mono. So when I plugged my mic in it would be left channel only. Luckily I found one on eBay that was stereo. I stopped by CVS to get some supplies for my weekend trip to Chicago. Then I hit a costume shop to see what they had available for Halloween. I got a text from NBC saying I needed to come back for another bit, so I turned around and headed over to the studio. We taped the show, then I went to the bank to deposit some money (and take some out for my trip!) and then I headed home. I did some stuff around the house, then my masseuse came over to give me a massage. Though I was very relaxed, I managed to do my auditions and watch another episode of “The Saint.”
Thursday the 29th – PACK PACK PACK! – I got to sleep late, but then I got a hotline call to do a bit for “TTS” from home. They were really keeping me busy this week! I love to be utilized and challenged! I drove over to the vitamin shop and got stocked up on my supplements, and then I grabbed lunch and headed to It’s a Wrap to see what they got in. I managed to find one piece for my Halloween costume (good find!) and then I went to NBC to tape the show. When we wrapped, I hit my mailbox and picked up my mail, went home and grabbed a nap, then got up and had dinner with my assistant Sara at Jerry’s Famous Deli. But I was starting to think about my weekend trip, so I headed home, did my auditions and e-mailed them to my agent. Then I spent a good portion of the night packing.
Friday the 30th – OFF TO CHI TOWN! – I got up early for a comedy bit for “TTS.” I was driving the Gran Torino today, and it’s always fun tooling around town waving at people who give me the thumbs up. I did the bit at NBC and then went to get some lunch. It was sprinkling a bit outside. Apparently in West LA it was raining pretty good. I went to the bank to get a copy of a check. As I was driving back to NBC the theme from Starsky and Hutch came on my i-Pod system in my Torino. It was cool. It made me hit the pedal just a little harder. I felt like I was 15 years old again! Then it hit me that later that night I’d be heading to Chicago to hang out with my childhood idol, Paul Michael Glaser…Starsky himself! WILD! On the show later that day was Presidential Candidate Herman Cain. I actually like Herman quite a bit. Of course I always loved Godfather’s pizza, so that could have something to do with it. But I really like Mr. Cain’s plan, considering he’s really the only candidate that HAS a plan! So it was cool seeing him in the hallway thinking that he could be the next President of the United States! After the show I went home to finish packing some things. Sara came over to start her housesitting duties, and I went on-line to check in, buy the speed-through-the-security-line pass, and pay for my luggage. I also was able to buy an exit row seat. I drove to LAX and got there around 9:30. Parked my car at Park One, then got a ride to the United terminal to check my luggage. I breezed through security (passing up about 50 people in line!) and got to the gate. As I sat there waiting for the plane I remember a story from 1976. I was 15 years old and had come to California to visit L.A. with my family on a vacation. I vividly remember standing on my cousin’s deck thinking “Wow! I can’t believe I’m in the same state as Henry Winkler and Paul Michael Glaser!” And it struck me that in just a few hours I would be with them both, hanging out at the Hollywood Collector Show in Chicago! Dreams DO come true! But sometimes they take 30+ years! I slept a few hours on the flight, and we got into Chicago early. It was about 5am and pretty chilly out! I took a shuttle to the Rosemont Hilton and checked into my room, unpacked, ordered some breakfast and then went to bed to sleep for about 3 hours. WHAT A DAY!
Saturday the 1st – I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M IN THE SAME STATE AS HENRY WINKLER AND PAUL MICHAEL GLASER! – That statement I made as a 15 year old was being repeated some years later, but the state wasn’t California, it was Illinois! Henry and Paul were both appearing at the Hollywood Collector’s Show in Chicago. Add to that it would be Ray Courts’ last show, as he and his wife Sharon would be retiring from the business. So it all added up to me making a quick 36 hour trip to Chicago to enjoy the fun! Even putting up with a redeye flight from LA to Chicago, and putting up with a noisy hotel room (with whirring, clicking, bumping rattling, noisy kids running down the hallway, thin walls, etc. – I can’t BELIEVE I forgot my ear plugs!) and an air conditioning unit in my room that had been shut off for the winter. ???!!!! But I was determined to not let any of that deter my fun! I got up around 11am, came downstairs to the show and saw Ray and Sharon. Paul was running around getting more photos for his table. I met up with my old pal James Hampton and his wife Mary and we got caught up. I saw my pal Seka (yes, THAT Seka!) and her husband Carl and we talked for a bit. She was looking fabulous as always. I got the Fed Ex’d poster that I had sent on ahead to the hotel, took it to my room and opened it, took out my Rocky Horror poster and went downstairs to have Patricia “Magenta” Quinn sign it for me. She was a very nice lady and seemed a little loopy from the jet lag from the U.K. She explained that her husband is a “Sir” and she’s a “Lady”…so she’s known as Lady Stevens in Britain. We were talking about Henry Winkler’s new honorary British title bestowed upon him by the Queen a few weeks ago. I wanted to meet her because she never is announced as a guest at the L.A. shows. I know she had done New York, and now it seemed like Chicago was as far west as she was going to come. So I came to her! She signed all my Rocky Horror stuff, we got a great picture with Barry Bostwick (Brad from Rocky Horror) and we all had a great conversation. I took the heavy stuff back to my room and dropped it off. When I came back down Ray invited me into the lounge for pizza. It was really the first time I had gotten a chance to talk with Ray length and it was nice. Normally he’s buzzing around the collector shows, and so am I so we barely have enough time for a quick hello. I went to Paul’s table and found out that he had sold out of books within only a few hours! Terrific! I told him about my “same state” comment from 1976 and he said that back then, the TV star ratings always had Henry, David Soul and himself in the top 3. I told him it would be a dream come true for me to get a shot with he and Henry. So we walked over to Henry’s table and got situated to take the picture. Henry said, ‘Let’s put Wally in the middle.” But Paul danced around to Henry’s other side. Henry said again, “Paul don’t you think we should put Wally in the middle?” But Paul didn’t answer, so we just took the picture. Once the shot was taken I figured out why Paul wanted Henry in the middle. When the photographer counted down 3, 2, 1, Paul blew in Henry’s ear at the click of the shutter. At first Maxine the photographer thought that Paul looked away, so we took another. Again Paul blew in Henry’s ear and everyone around us was laughing. It turned out to be a VERY funny shot and one that will have great memories attached to it always. Later Paul and I took a shot together and he pulled my hair in front of his face as if it were his mustache. What fun! I hope you’ll someday know what it’s like to get to spend some quality time with a person who had such a tremendous influence in your formative years. It’s really awesome! Not only was I now in the same state as Henry and Paul, but I was in the same PHOTO! I went to my room and changed clothes, and met up with Paul and Michael J. Pollard downstairs to get a ride to a theater where Paul and Michael would be doing a signing. In the car on the way over Paul told great stories about his college years, old friends, even how he decided on the gun he would use in “Starsky & Hutch.” We got to the theater early and were ushered upstairs in the office to relax. Paul stretched out on a couch to relax, and Michael sat down for a few minutes as well. We ordered some food. While we waited it gave me the chance to ask Paul questions that I had in my skull for years. About when he first saw the Gran Torino on the set of Starsky & Hutch, about his famous sweater, even how he settled on the famous Adidas sneakers, which became almost as iconic as the show itself! The movie theater was called Hollywood, and was a tribute to all things Hollywood. It had cases of collectibles from different movies. It’s a “draught house,” which means it’s a theater that sells dinner and drinks at the features. Some of the theaters have themes, like the Casablanca theater, made up to look like the sets from “Casablanca” and the Wizard of Oz theater. I was amazed! Who knew that you’d have to travel to the Midwest to see people with a passion for Hollywood and its history. I guess living in Hollywood a lot of people take its history for granted, but this theater had a real love and respect for the genre. In fact, the chair I was sitting in up in the office was from the set of “Ben Hur!” And the food was really good! It reminded me of the theater I used to work at in Sioux Falls called Stars N Steins. Even more so when the kids started showing up in their Rocky Horror costumes. Later that night Barry Bostwick and Patricia Quinn would be appearing before the screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to sign autographs. While Paul and Michael were signing, I went over to take some photos of the theater and talk to some of the locals. I got into a conversation about screenwriting with a gentleman at the bar. After we were finished I introduced myself. “Nice talking to you James. My name is Wally Wingert.” Just then the bartender (named Snag Wagly) stepped back, his jaw hit the bar and he said, “The voice actor?” I shot him a curious glance and said, “Yeah, how did you know?’ He disappeared and quickly returned with his Invader Zim hoodie. I thought that was really funny! He got on his walkie talkie and told one of his co-workers I was there and she came over to meet me as well. What fun! A lady standing there said her daughter Alyssa had grown up on Rugrats and I asked her if she remembered Goober the Gopher. She said yes and called Alyssa over. Alyssa was dressed as Magenta and had driven in from Cincinnati with her mom for the screening and to meet Patricia and Barry. I did the voice of Goober for her and she said she was going to faint. Wow! Then I asked if she watched Family Guy and Invader Zim and she said she was a huge fan. So I did some voices from those shows as well. It was a fun time and she asked for an autograph and a picture. It’s weird. I had flown in to get autographs of MY favorite people, and now I was signing an autograph for a gal who like the shows I was on. Ain’t life rich? We talked more and she said she wants to be an actress and is going to attend college for theater and acting in Cincinnati. But the smell of popcorn was getting to me and I asked Steve our liaison where I could get some. He brought me a HUGE bucket of hot, buttery popcorn. I was in HEAVEN! In the limo on the way back to he hotel Paul was telling Michael and I about his new book. It sounds fascinating. How does he come up with this stuff? Paul had to be up at 5am the next morning to do an interview about his book on a local Chicago TV station. I got back to my room, started packing up my stuff and went to bed. I was pretty exhausted! But what a great day!
Sunday the 2nd – CHI TOWN TO MY TOWN! – When I got up I called Fed Ex and arranged pick-up for my Rocky Horror poster. I still needed one more Barry Bostwick signed pic, and the legendary Ginger Lynn would be at the show that day as well. I have a great shot she and I took together a few years ago at the collector show in Burbank. I called and ordered breakfast and continued packing while breakfast was cooking. When I finished my meal I headed downstairs. My old pal Dr. Nick was there, so we got a chance to chat for awhile. I met up with Ginger and had her sign my pic. After I got home I realized I had missed a great opportunity! Sitting across from Ginger was Dawn Wells who played Mary-Ann on “Gilligan’s Island.” Had I had my wits about me, I would have gotten a picture with Ginger Lynn and Dawn and it would have been a picture with…you guessed it…GINGER AND MARY-ANN! Rats! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?! I saw a guy pull up in a sparkling 1959 red Cadillac convertible. WOW! What a car! I started talking to him about it and found out that he was the guy who bought the Chicago collector show franchise from Ray and Sharon Courts! He has a company that deals in toys and novelties. Even better! In fact, the bubble guns that I like to buy at Sea World are imported by his company! He said he and some friends were coming to L.A. in a week or so and I am going to arrange Tonight Show tickets for them. He said in exchange he’d give me a ride to the airport in the Caddy! I couldn’t say no! Paul said the interview went well, and it was getting to be close to the time I needed to head to the airport if I was going to make my 2:05pm flight. I said goodbye to Jim and Mary Hampton, Seka and Carl, and thanked Ray and Sharon Courts. I checked in on-line and once again got a pass to speed through security, an Economy Plus seat and I paid for my baggage. I was all set! I went upstairs, got my bags, checked out of my room and Mike was waiting right outside the door in the Caddy! It looked awesome! I was so busy though I didn’t remember to snap a photo of it. RATS! The ride to the airport was MUCH too short, but I told Mike I would see he and his friends in a week in L.A. The plane left Chicago a little late but it was still going to get into L.A. on time. The movie on the flight was Captain America. I thought, “OH NO!” I have it on pre-order on Blu Ray and I didn’t want to ruin it. So I tried to avert my eyes from the screens as much as possible. But I can’t WAIT to see it! My i-Pod battery died halfway through the flight, but I kept my headphones on. There was the typical screaming baby on the flight who didn’t just screamed, but would emit such a high pitched squeal that I was glad there were no dogs on the plane. It was annoying. Plus the guy next to me sneezed over and over again as we landed and I was worried about getting whatever it was that he had. We touched down at 4 and it was good to be home! I got to my car, popped the top and had a great cruise up the 405 freeway heading home. I dropped my bags at my house, and even got to evening church on time! After church I came home and crashed! When I got up I did my auditions and e-mailed them to my agent, unpacked my luggage, did some work around the house, and returned back to bed to watch an episode of “The Saint.” The trip was a quickie, but WELL worth it. I got stories and experiences that I’ll remember the rest of my life!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PICS FROM THE WEEK
The new owner of the Hollywood Collector Show franchise Mike Schrimmer with the ’59 red Caddy convertible that proved to be the most popular way to travel to the airport that day. Here he is with the legend himself…SIR Henry Winkler!