Archive for 2012

December 31 – January 6 (2012 – 13)


I’d love to find a t-shirt like this somewhere!

Recently we watched a favorite old movie of mine from 1974 called “The Groove Tube.” I used to rent it all the time when VHS was the new “in” thing. I’ve had it on DVD for years, but only just recently got around to watching it. In the movie they feature Curtis Mayfield’s“Move On Up,” and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. NOW THIS IS MUSIC! The brass, the strings, the vocal performance, the lyrics, the melody…ALL PERFECT! It makes me want to crank up this song and drive my Gran Torino down the street VERY fast!

Monday the 31st – NEW YEAR’S EVE! – The last few days of our holiday break from “The Tonight Show” was very pleasant. I can’t believe it’s almost over! It went by so quickly! I slept very late, and when I got up I met up with my contractor friend Terry who came to pick up a bunch of materials I had extricated from my garage. He has a friend whose kid is into puppet making. So I gave him a ton of foam rubber, styrofoam pieces and fabric to get him started on his puppet making studio. I got busy around the house and began cleaning it up for my New Year’s Eve gathering that night. I filed my tax receipts (there were a LOT to get filed before year’s end) and I finished up just in time for the guests to arrive. It was a great group of folks which even included my pals Joe and Zandra who drove down all the way from Lompoc! We had a fun evening watching a “Mannix” episode which featured Adam West, and a “Charlie’s Angels” episode which had the Angels fighting crime in Hawaii. Lots of fun guest stars and LOTS of great…ahem…Angels in bikinis! Campy fun! Then we ran “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” on Blu Ray, which took us to midnight! When the guests left I took Roxy for our usual late-night walk around the neighborhood. But unlike our usual 2am walks, the streets were still fairly well populated with people walking around. Most likely going to their cars after the New Year’s celebration was over. I ran into a gal named Valleri and her little dog Yoda, who LOVED Roxy. It’s just so strange to bump into people at that time of day! Normally when we take our quiet, late-night walks it’s usually only us on the street. Both Yoda and Valleri were wearing pink pajamas. The celebratory mood was everywhere! I ran into several other people who quickly walked by in the chill of the night and issued a muffled “Happy New Year” from beneath their scarves. I came back inside to make some dinner and settle into bed to watch another “Mannix” episode. As the long break comes to a close, I reflected that I wished I had gotten more done. But the stuff I did get done was important, so I felt a minor sense of accomplishment. I actually didn’t end up getting to sleep until 9am New Year’s morning because I was watching the news coverage about the “fiscal cliff” nonsense. One TV personality equated it to a plumber who charges you a hefty fee for unclogging the toilet that he plugged up in the first place! I thought that was pretty apt!

Tuesday the 1st – HAPPY NEW YEAR! – I woke up mid-afternoon rather sleepy. I gathered the gang for a late lunch at DuPar’s. It was Edi and her daughter Ems, my friends Nancy, Emily and Sara. The restaurant had recently had a fire and was in the midst of remodeling. The once-carpeted floors were bare, and there were new booths everywhere. Thankfully they didn’t need to be closed for too long after the fire. I remember Jerry’s Famous Deli being closed for about a year after a fire they had. We ran in to our old pal Chuck McCann there, who said he just got over having pneumonia! But he was doing very well now! I came home to do some work around the house, cleaning up and organizing. I grabbed a quick nap, then got up to record some auditions that were due the next day. I started getting stuff in order to get back into the swing of things for the new week. Or what was left of it. Though we’d be back taping at “TTS” on Wednesday, it would be a very short week. I made some dinner and retired to bed to watch an episode of “Mannix.” When the episode started I saw my old pal “Grandpa Leonard”…actor Leonard Stone (who was like my adopted grandpa!) He was a great character actor who appeared in just about every TV show in the 70’s and 80’s. He’s most famous for having been Sam B. in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.” At first I was elated to see him on the screen, but then a few tears came. It struck me that Leonard’s been gone a little over a year now. I miss him.

Wednesday the 2nd – AAAAND WE’RE BACK! – It was the first day back at “The Tonight Show” and it was good to be in the saddle once again. Jay was in fine form, and had a very funny line while cutting the promos at the end of the show. The guests were Kevin Hart (who has a new show on BET that’s getting huge ratings), Betty White and Dwight Yokam. Jay said, “Tonight…it’s black, White and Dwight.” It was totally off the cuff and brilliantly funny. When we wrapped the show I stopped by my mailbox to pick up my mail. Then I went to CVS to pick up a prescription, and then got some groceries at the store. I got home and put all the groceries away just in time for my pal comedian Jon Reep to come by with his podcasting equipment. We recorded an hour and a half show for his podcast, and I’ll post the link when it’s finished. It turned out very well and it’s really funny! When we finished up I recorded my auditions and did some work around the house. I got a TON of work done. I got the Chaney Room completely cleaned and organized, I finished up a Michael Myers bust for my pal Scott in South Dakota, and I boxed up a bunch of old scripts for storage. My assistant Sara picked up food at Denny’s and brought it over so we could enjoy an episode of “Mannix” from the Season Six DVD set.

Thursday the 3rd – NEW YEAR! NEW SUPPLIES! – I got a hotline call to be into “TTS” at 1:30 to record some bits. I walked Roxy and then got in my car and headed to NBC. I recorded two comedy bits, and then went to Staples to stock up on new supplies for 2013. New printer ink, a new tax receipt box, file folders, a new calendar (the only other 2013 calendar I had was the Playboy one, and I can’t really hang that up in my office for all to see!), and more banker boxes for storing stuff in my garage. My contractor Terry will be finishing some more underground storage compartments in the coming weeks, so I want to have plenty of stuff to stash in there when it’s complete. I stopped at the Wendy’s drive-thru and used my new gift card I got for Christmas to get some lunch. Then I headed back to NBC to tape the show. When I got home I met up with my effects guy Jim Ojala. I have an old plaster lifemask of Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein Monster. I have never liked the hair or the paint job on it, so Jim is going to re-do both. I was able to grab a quick nap afterward, and then got up to do about 7 auditions in my home studio. I e-mailed them into my agents, and then made a few phone calls to friends. It’s great being up all night, because you can have in-depth conversations with no interruptions. I fed Roxy, took her for our late-night walk, and then made some spaghetti and watched another “Mannix” episode before bed.

Friday the 4th – END OF A SHORT WEEK! – The producers at “TTS” have decided that each Friday from now on we’ll tape an hour earlier than normal. They did that over the holiday period to accommodate certain schedules, and I guessed it worked out so well they decided to make it permanent. It’s great because when the show wraps there’s still an hour of daylight left. I can make my chiropractor appointments early and get a few days done before the weekend kicks in. It may be a traffic issue as well, since L.A. traffic on Friday afternoons seem to be particularly bad. This may allow the commuters on our staff to get a head start on the freeways. I got up an prepared for work. But the new earlier start time throws me a bit still, so I lost track of time and had to speed into work. Luckily I made it to NBC on time, and after I did the opening announcement I went to the world-famous NBC Commissary and got a salad. After the show I met up with Micki and Mackenzie, a few friends who were at the taping. I gave them a quick backstage tour then drove them to their car. Then I drove to my chiropractor’s office to get an adjustment. Many of my chiropractic issues have been completely resolved and I’ve been feeling pretty well. Later my pal Brittney came by, we took a dip in the jacuzzi, and then went to Jerry’s Famous Deli. I got home and spent the rest of the evening putting CD and DVD info into my database. Then I filed the CDs and DVDs in my cases. When I finished up I was pretty exhausted, so I hit the hay and watched another “Mannix” episode.

Saturday the 5th – SLEEPY SATURDAY! – I got up mid-afternoon and cuddled with Roxy on the bed for awhile. Then we got up for a walk. It was a chilly afternoon, and all I wanted to do was jump back in bed and crank up the electric blanket. So I did. I got up early evening and started cleaning up for movie night, but since the maids were here the day before there wasn’t much for me to do. We had great fun at movie night, with a Laurel and Hardy feature called “The Bohemian Girl,” followed by the next film in our James Bond Blu Ray set. It was Timothy Dalton’s first outing as Bond in “The Living Daylights,” a great movie! I remember seeing it in Westwood back in 1987 when it opened with my pal Dave who was visiting from Sioux Falls. When the guests left I cleaned up, fed Roxy, did our late-night walk, and fixed some dinner while it started to rain. Roxy, Spook and I hit the hay to watch another “Mannix” episode.

Sunday the 6th – WHAT WEEKENDS ARE FOR! – Sleeping and rest! Which is exactly what I did. Though I didn’t get tobeduntil around 9am Sunday morning, I took full advantage of the day and slept soundly. I got up around 2 to walk Roxy, but napped again until it was time for evening church. With the cold and flu season off to a roaring start, it’s more important than ever to make sure you get plenty of rest so your body can fight off any bio-invaders. I am more than happy to comply. Roxy and I went to evening church, and as always, had a great time. In fact, Roxy likes going to church so much that she now knows the word “church.” When I say it her ears perk up and she gets that anxious look on her face. After church I met up with my friends Emily, Nancy, Amanda, Sara and Chris and we had a wonderful dinner at the Coral Cafe. I drove by “The Christmas House” but I was sad to see that the lights had all been taken down. Oh well, there’s always next Christmas. When I got home I did some work and recorded a few auditions to e-mail to my agents. Hopefully next week the industry will be coming out of its “Christmas Coma” and work will pick up again. Then we got prepared for another evening of “Mannix” in bed, with dinner for me and little bits of diced chicken (“chickey”) for Spook and Roxy. All in all, a nice, peaceful, relaxing weekend!