Archive for August, 2013

August 26 – September 2


If what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words is true, then this photo has to be worth TEN thousand words. Stunning!

Last Wednesday I was craving Little Ceasar’s Crazy Bread. So when I finished up some “Tonight Show” comedy bits for which I got called in early, I left NBC and drove to the nearest Little Caesar’s to sate my hunger with that buttery bread. Not only did I get an order of delicious Crazy Bread, but I got two tubs of Crazy Sauce, and a pepperoni pizza. I grabbed a Diet Pepsi Super Big Gulp and two Twinkies at 7-11 and drove back to the lot. But instead of pulling into my parking space I pulled over to the side of Bob Hope Drive and parked in a shady spot. I had my i-Pad playing through my car’s sound system and I was just enjoying my lunch with some music in air conditioned comfort. An old song called “The Knife Feels Like Justice” by Brian Setzer came on my i-Pad and it created a wonderful moment for me. Looking out my car window at the hot summer day, combined with the taste of Crazy Bread (which I used to live on back in the mid 80’s when L.C.’s first opened) and the sound of this old song combined to take me back to a nostalgic place in my head. All of my senses had joined forces to take me back to life as it was in 1985 for a brief moment…smelling, feeling and tasting the Crazy Bread, hearing the great music, and seeing the clear, sunny summer day. It was happily overwhelming and enjoyable. But when that song finished, the next one that came on my i-Pad was REALLY poignant. It’s “I Wanna Go Back” by Billy Satellite. And the lyrics “I wanna go back again, and do it all over but I can’t go back, I know” really hit home. Not that I’d WANT to go back to those days, mind you. But sometimes it’s fun to project back mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I really DO sometimes think that my i-Pad is enchanted!

Monday the 26th – AAAAAAND WE’RE BACK! – It was our first day back from a two week hiatus from “The Tonight Show” and we got right to it.  I got a hotline call at 11 to be in at 1:15 to cut some voice tracks for comedy bits.  I walked Roxy, cleaned up and stopped by KFC for a quick lunch before heading to NBC.  I got to the studio and it sure was good to be back.  Everyone seemed so rested and relaxed, including Jay. During the rehearsal for Headlines he was cracking up and having a lot of fun. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so jovial and giggly, but clearly he had a great two weeks off.  I finished up the comedy bit and then worked on the computer until showtime.  I had some guests coming to the show that day, so I went outside as they were letting the audience in so I could find them.  My agent Sumeet and his parents (visiting from Illinois) were there, as were my friends Jeff and Linda Logan from South Dakota.  Jeff and Linda own the Starlite Drive-In Theater that I visited when I was in Mitchell, South Dakota over the 4th of July holiday.  They were out in L.A. visiting their daughter Steph and her husband Josh, who were also with them at the taping.  After the show was over I went into the audience and grabbed them so they could come backstage with me.  They got the tour and even got a photo with Jay!  Sumeet and his folks had dinner plans, but the Logans agreed to meet me at Paty’s for dinner.  I talked to Jeff about the drive-in and how they are going to have to hang it up after this season because of the overwhelming cost of going digital.  In fact, many drive-ins across the country are going to cease to exist because they simply can’t justify the purchase of a $70,000 digital projector when they’re only open a few months out of the year.  The Mitchell Starlite included.  While I’m glad I made a special trip to visit the Starlite while I was there, it’s very said that it’s all over and done with.  It seems to me that the movie studios need to pitch in and give theaters like that subsidies so they can keep operating. In addition to being a slice of Americana, there will be less screens available to show their films.  It doesn’t make sense!  Oh well, another one of life’s little injustices (even though I’m noticing more and more of them every day!).   After dinner they all came to Planet Wallywood for a tour, and to meet Roxy and Spook.  My effects guy Jim Ojala brought over my little “Halloween Boy” mannequin, with his hair freshly painted.  Jim changed him from a blonde to a brunette.  I bid farewell to the Logans and then grabbed a short nap on the couch.  Later my pal Edi came over to do some work on my computer, and when she was finished I did my auditions and e-mailed them into my agents.  I did some work on the computer, paid some bills and hit the hay.

Tuesday the 27th –  LIGHTS! CAMERA! CAPTAIN ACTION! – I got up at noon and did some work on the computer.  As I was working I got a call from “TTS” to record a bit and e-mail it in.  I turned it in right away, and then took Roxy outside for a walk. It was another hot day…typical of summer in L.A.’s valley area.  I came inside and got cleaned up for work.  I hit Taco Bell and then drove over to NBC.  Once I got there I recorded another comedy bit, then we taped the show.  On the way home I picked up some groceries and headed back home.  I stashed them in the pantry and refrigerator and prepared to take Roxy for a walk.  But Tom T. and Michael showed up for our “Captain Action” recording session.  My pals Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn are putting together a demo for an animated “Captain Action” TV series, and they tapped me to be the voice of CA himself!  We did a session a few weeks back, but we are having to redo it because it was too long for their purposes.  Tonight we recorded a much shorter version.  It’s very exciting to be able to voice a character I’ve loved for years.  Like many other animated characters on TV, Captain Action started out as a toy in 1966.  I’ve loved the character ever since.  Tom T. has worked on hundreds of hours (maybe even thousands) of animated shows, so he brought me some souvenirs for my collection.  A Quake animation cel from the old TV commercials promoting the cereal from Quaker Oats, a  Zorro cel, a few Fantastic Four cels, and a couple of old Lassie comics.  When Tom and Michael left I headed for the jacuzzi to take a quick dip.  Then I napped on the couch for a little while.  When I got up at midnight I did my auditions, fed and walked Roxy, and enjoyed some TV Time with a pizza and an episode of “Man From Atlantis.”  Though the show isn’t as good as I had remembered,  the episode tonight wasn’t as bad as I had originally feared.

Wednesday the 28th – CRAVIN’ THE CRAZY! – The hotline rang again at 11 with orders to report to NBC at 1:30 for a comedy bit. I slept another hour and a half and got up at 12:30.  Just before I left for the studio I got another call letting me know that there was a script in my inbox that needed to be recorded BEFORE I came in to record the other bit.  So I did that, sent it in, and then headed in to NBC.  It was another REALLY hot August day!  When I got to the studio I recorded 3 additional bits, and then got called into a meeting with the NBC Universal HR person.  Everyone was being called in to speak with an HR rep so we could be brought up to speed about the arrangements for the ending of the show in February 2014.   When the brief meeting was over, I was craving Crazy Bread from Little Caesar’s!  So I hopped in my car, sped over to the nearest outlet, and got an order of Crazy Bread and a pepperoni pizza! YUM!  I got back to work but I had started to develop a sinus headache.  It seems to happen this time every year.  When I was a kid, my allergies would act up every year at the end of summer. I remember starting the schoolyear many times with a completely stuffed up nose!  And it wouldn’t clear until the first freeze of the winter season.  When the show wrapped I came home and found that my order from Amazon had arrived. An additional set of the 1966 Batman and Robin figures from Mattel had arrived. I already had one set which I mounted on the wall, but I needed another set to put in the Batmobile. And the only way you can get a Robin figure is to order the set, even though you can buy Batman separately. Strange.  They fit nicely in the Batmobile and they looked awesome in my display case!  I took Roxy for a walk and then popped some Advil. I grabbed a quick nap in hopes that my sinus headache would disappear.  When I got up I did some laundry, wrote my invite e-mails for Saturday night’s Movie Night, and then went back to bed. Sinus headaches suck!

Thursday the 29th – ROOOOOD STEWART! – The hotline rang again at noon and woke me up to let me know that there was a script for a comedy bit in my inbox.  I flew out of bed, recorded it and sent it right in to NBC.  I had a few hours before I had to be at work, so I scanned some checks and prepared them for deposit in my bank accounts. On the way into work I stopped at Burger King to get some buffalo chicken tenders, but I saw that my old favorite the chicken Parmesan sandwich was back!  Unfortunately I think I got one that had been sitting under the heat lamp for awhile. It was…chewy and gross.  The buffalo chicken strips were good though!  I drove down Magnolia Boulevard and saw a new vintage shop that had opened up. I went inside and found a blazer that’s roughly the same style and coloring of the Andy Kaufman jacket I have.  I always like to pick up look-alike jackets in case I ever want to do a line of Andy Kaufman mannequins for private collectors.  I stopped by the bank and deposited some checks, then headed over to “TTS” to tape the show.  Rod Stewart, one of my all-time favorites was on the show.   At first he was on the panel being interviewed by Jay, and then he sang a song from his forthcoming new album.  It’s a rarity for me to leave the confines of my audio booth and go out into the audience to see a performance, but I had to go see Rod perform.  He’s still the quintessential rockstar…with the charisma, dance moves, microphone acrobatics, etc.  Amazing!  I’ve only gone into the audience to see Tom Jones, Lisa Marie Presley and Cheap Trick perform.  Other than that, I stay put in my little audio room.  When I got back home it had cooled off a little bit, so I took Roxy for a nice walk down the street.  But even though it was cooler, it was still very humid.  After doing some computer work, and other work around the house, I laid down for a quick nap at 8.  But I ended up sleeping until midnight!  Isn’t it weird that I’m on 12 hour cycles?  I get up at noon, and then again at midnight.  I didn’t have any auditions to do that night, so I just spent the evening goofing off, playing with Roxy and Spook and doing more laundry.  I made some of my world infamous Summer Sausage Spaghetti and settled in to watch another episode of “Man From Atlantis.”  But a special treat awaited me!  My pal Ted Neeley (“Jesus Christ Superstar”) was the guest star again playing the lovable con man Muldoon.  Always great to see him work!

Friday the 30th – A REAL PAIN IN THE…ARM! – When 11am rolled around I woke up on my own.  No hotline waking me up today!  I walked Roxy, checked the mail, read some e-mails and did some work on the computer.  Then the call came in from NBC to be in at 12:30 to record a bit.  I drove in, did the bit, and headed over to the world famous NBC Commissary to get a salad for lunch.  I always like to sit there and enjoy my lunch as I try to envision what it must’ve been like back in the 70’s.  Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Dean Martin…all the greats just sitting at tables with their entourage having lunch.  I went back to the studio after lunch and got ready for the show.  Senator John McCain was the guest today!  He had some interesting things to say about the current political climate.  After the show Arsenio Hall came by to do a bit for his new show.  It’s called a “post-tape” when they tape something after the main taping is done.  It was fun watching Arsenio rehearse the bit, and then listen to Jay’s comments for honing it down and streamlining the bit.  Arsenio said, “This guy’s been teaching me comedy for 20 years!”  Jay really is the Johnny Carson of his generation.  He’s helped so many comedians along the way and assisted in the development of their careers.  About mid-afternoon, I noticed a pain in my upper left arm, between the bicep and the tricep.  About a year ago, when I had a hoarse voice, the nurse at my ear, nose and throat doctor gave me a steroid shot in roughly the same place.  I thought it was odd that it continued hurting a few months after.  But sometimes that happens she said.  It hadn’t hurt in quite awhile, but just today it started hurting again. Strange.  I thought maybe the shot had caused some nerve damage that decided to recur.  Or maybe it’s like when you sprain your ankle and it starts hurting again when it rains.  Maybe the humid weather had something to do with it. Regardless, it was definitely weird.   After work I stopped by Floyd’s Barbershop for a touch-up on my color, then I went home to feed Spook and walk Roxy.  I was starting to get another sinus headache again. That and the pain in my arm was really bumming me out.  Every few weeks I like to drive the Gran Torino around for a little bit to get its circulation going. So I hopped in the Torino (now that it had cooled off a little bit) and drove over to pick up my friend Brittney. She wanted to borrow some outfits from my collection for a photo shoot she was doing the next day.  I’m afraid I wasn’t very good company, since all I really wanted to do was go home, take an Advil and get some sleep.  I picked up a prescription for my nose spray at the local CVS and went to Taco Bell to get some food to go.  It was still warm and humid out.  I switched back to my Mustang and headed inside to nap.  I slept until 2:30am!  I must’ve really needed some sleep!  I did wake up feeling a lot better though.  I fed Roxy and took her on our late-night stroll, then came into start the Labor Day weekend by making some of my world infamous Buffalo Mac (Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese, with diced buffalo chicken strips and diced celery) and watch an episode of “The Saint” from the first season DVD set.

Saturday the 31st –  A YOUNG BATFAN! – Promptly at 2 I woke up to meet my maids who had come to clean Planet Wallywood.  One of the two maids was new, I hadn’t met her before. But she was telling me how much her 6 year old son loved the classic Batman movie.  She knew I was a fan since she saw lifesize figures of both Batman AND Robin standing at the top of my stairway.    She said they watch the movie on Netflix but she was afraid it would go away soon, since Netflix likes to change things up from time to time.  Before she left I gave her a DVD of the 1966 “Batman” movie, and some Batman photos and stickers.  That way if Netflix decides to remove the film, he has a back-up on DVD!  It was still really hot out so I went back to bed and slept until 7pm.  Our movie night crowd was missing several regulars…Scott and Vickie Sebring were in Atlanta for Dragon Con, Edi and Ems had been at a horse show all day in the heat and were exhausted, and my assistant Sara was in the hospital with a very bad tooth infection.  When the group showed up we decided to go to DuPar’s for a quick dinner, and then come back and watch “The Howling” on Blu Ray from 1980.  Fun film!  When everyone left I felt the urge to lay down on the couch for awhile.  About an hour later I woke up, fed Roxy,  took her on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, worked on my computer, cleaned the fan that’s in my bedroom (it was FILTHY!) and went downstairs to make a Wally Super Salad.  I got ready for bed and dined on some delicious morsels while watching another episode of “The Saint” from the first season DVD boxed set.

Sunday the 1st –  CLOSE CALL! – Again, when 2:00 hit, I was awake.  I walked Roxy and noticed it was pretty hot outside. But despite all her hair she loves to find the sunniest spot in the lawn and lay down to sunbathe. I’m not sure how she doesn’t get overheated, but she LOVES laying in the sun!  We went back inside to have a treat and cool off. We goofed around for awhile then I got ready for evening church.  I couldn’t take Roxy because I had to leave immediately after the service to go visit  Sara in the hospital.  It’s a good thing I didn’t take her too, because the church was having A/C problems. So it was a tad too warm for her.  But during the sermon, they had a large cloth stretched over a wooden frame standing up at the back of the social hall.  Streaks of paint moistened the cloth as the sermon commenced.  It took me a little while to realize that there was an artist behind the large tarp painting a picture as Pastor Louise spoke. It was really cool, and I’d like to see that every week.  As Louise spoke about being the clay in the hands of God “the potter,” the hidden artist painted images of clay pots and bowls. And because the artist was standing behind the tarp, the images appeared magically! It was a fun process to watch!  After the service I went to St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank to visit Sara.  Thursday she was experiencing severe pain in her left cheek. The pain got so bad she checked herself into the hospital. Come to find out, the dentist who performed a recent root canal hadn’t cleaned her tooth out properly, and also gave her the wrong antibiotics.  So the infection grew and grew over time, until she couldn’t stand it any longer.  She showed me photos of her face on Friday, and it was so swollen it looked like the left side of her face was a balloon. Over inflated!  Scary stuff.  The oral surgeon told her if she had let it go another 6 hours she may very well have died!  EEK!  Sara’s mom flew in from Wyoming to be with her for the past few days, and I know they’re speaking with lawyers about what to do.  Good!  I would think a dentist that careless would soon be out of business!  I stopped over to Bob’s Big Boy to see my friends Larry and Kerry Strothe, and some relatives they were entertaining.  After that I went to my pal Joe Cranston’s house to watch that evening’s episode of “Breaking Bad.”  Joe’s son Bryan has won the Emmy for that show several years in a row.  But I had never seen the show before, so since it’s serialized, I really had no idea what was going on.  But it was fun to hang with Joe and the gang.  I got back home and walked Roxy, did some work and grabbed a short nap.  It’s a cooler evening than the past few nights, so that was much welcomed!  As the sun started to rise, I made some chili dogs on the grill outside, and I watched another episode of “The Saint” just before bed.

Monday the 2nd – HAPPY LABOR DAY! – Since I hadn’t gotten to bed until 9am, I slept until 2.  I took Roxy out and it was still very hot and humid. In fact, Roxy didn’t want to spend much time outside sunbathing, so it must’ve been hot!  I had about 8 auditions that were due first thing Tuesday morning, so I spent the afternoon working on those.  I got a text from Sara that she was being discharged from the hospital, so I told her that I’d buy her and her mom dinner at Barone’s later.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon listening to music and designing a Tony Clifton bowling shirt that I want to have made.  I scanned the fabric of an orange tuxedo that’s similar to the one Andy Kaufman wore as Tony Clifton, and then uploaded the design to a company on-line that will make custom fabric for you.  So once I get the design perfected, I’m having some fabric printed to make this bowling shirt, which I think will be really cool.  I also designed a card for a voice-over casting director who’s retiring.  But it’s a total surprise so I can’t reveal the person’s name here!  I got showered and dressed for dinner, and noticed that it was a very still, warm and humid summer night. Plus, the sky was covered with dark clouds…quite magical.  So I grabbed my i-Pad, put the top down in my Mustang, rolled down all the windows, and enjoyed a nice ride to dinner while listening to some appropriate music.  It’s the kind of weather I remember experiencing during those South Dakota summers. So it really felt nice. And the dark, dusky sky filled with clouds overhead really set a mood!  My pal Edi and her daughter Ems, Sara and her mom were already at Barone’s when I got there.  We enjoyed some amazing food, as always, and said our goodnights.  I couldn’t wait to get back into the car, roll down the windows and pop the top, and do some more driving around to enjoy the evening.  When I got outside it was still warmish, but there were less of those dark clouds overhead.  As I drove down Oxnard street I smelled trees, grass, somebody barbecuing…the typical smells of summer. It was really nice.  The warm air blew through my car as I listened to the songs on my i-Pad that matched the mood perfectly.  I was in a mood to just drive for awhile, and enjoy the evening.  I drove from one end of the valley to the other.  From Oxnard street all the way to Hollywood  Way in Burbank. Then up to Glen Oaks, and all the way over through Sun Valley and Pacoima.  I really thought I had gotten lost until I came upon Van Nuys Boulevard, a major thoroughfare. From there I got back on Woodman and headed south.  I got back to Oxnard street and drove right by Barone’s. I had just spent an hour driving a full rectangular pattern around the valley. It was nice, relaxing, reflective and much needed!  It was a great way to clear my head. I stopped off to get a few grocery items and then headed home to feed and walk Roxy, and enjoy an episode of “Man From Atlantis” before bed.

And how was YOUR week??!!!


Here are my Batman and Robin figures safely tucked away in their Batmobile!

Roxy brings me her toy every once in awhile so I can throw it. She’ll fetch it and bring it right back to me so we can do it all over again!

Here’s the design for the Tony Clifton bowling shirt I’m working on.

My agent Sumeet and I with his folks standing outside the voice booth at “TTS.”