Archive for August, 2014

August 18 – September 1



My sincere apologies for the delay in updates to Wally’s Week. But as you read on through these two weeks’ worth of entries, I think you’ll see why I was unable to function in a normal capacity.

RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK 1

A while back when I acquired the personally-owned wolf’s head cane from the family of the late Jonathan Frid (TV’s Barnabas Collins) they also gifted me with several personal snap-shots of the actor.  Through their kind permission, I am allowed to release them to the public so his fans can enjoy seeing Mr. Frid engaging in activities outside of the “Dark Shdows” realm.  In this pic of Jonathan he appears to be enjoying a drink on the floor around Christmas time.  Maybe he was taking a break from gift wrapping?

Week 1 – After having watched the new release of “The Phantom of the Paradise” on Blu Ray a few weeks ago, I just couldn’t resist getting the soundtrack CD. And now that I have it, I can’t stop listening to Jessica Harper singing “Special To Me.” Words and lyrics by the legendary Paul Williams! The only bad thing about not watching her perform it from the movie is you can’t see her awesome dancing. LOVE IT!

Monday the 18th- ANOTHER LEGEND LOST…I REALLY HATE MONDAYS! – I got up around 10 and did a quick audition in my home studio, then hopped in my car and headed to McCoy Productions in North Hollywood for an in-studio audition.  I hit Taco Bell then came back to my house so I could walk my neighbor’s beautiful greyhound named Abby.  She’s very timid, but a lovely gal.  Having dealt with a timid dog for about 11years, I was familiar with that type of behavior.  I got Abby put away with a nice cookie and a few last pets, and then I walked Roxy.  I sped off to Voice Trax West to do another session for Multi-Media Assemblies and my pal Jim Hullihan.  I’ve been doing narrations for these in-school presentations for about 15 years now.  He takes semi trucks full of media equipment to schools all over the country and sets up in gymnasiums.  They are three large movie screens with full surround sound. He utilizes clips from movies, music videos, sports games, and interviews to present a 20 minute program with a positive message for today’s youth.  They’re amazing shows, and I’m proud to be involved with them.  But it was time for lunch, so I blew through the McDonald’s drive thru, and then headed over to my box to get my mail.  I got home and walked Roxy, took a dip in the Jacuzzi and grabbed a quick nap on the couch.  When I got up to do my auditions I read that the legendary Don Pardo had passed away.  He was a personal hero of mine, and whenever somebody from “Saturday Night Live” was on “The Tonight Show” I used to like to add a little “Pardo-ness” to my reading of their name.  It made me smile.  I made some spaghetti and watched another episode of “Magnum; p.i.” before bed.

Tuesday the 19th – BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME! – When I got up at 1 I walked Roxy, let my assistant Sara in to do some more eBay work, and then headed off to Regenix for a follow-up visit, and to get more supplies.  Regenix deals with the science of making your hair scientifically healthier.  I told my pal Gregg at Regenix that I had gotten a TV commercial audition the previous week based on my hair, (Check out last week’s Wally’s Week for the full story) and had been placed on notice that I may actually be shooting it later this week!  Unfortunately, I got the call from my agent while I was at Regenix that the “avail” had been released. They had gone with somebody else.  Oh well.  It would have been fun, but no big toot.  On my way back home I stopped by International Silks and Woolens and talked to my old pal Safwat, who now owns the place.  Jan Kemp, the designer of the costumes for the “Batman” TV series had introduced me to him back in 1989.  Jan used to buy most of the materials for the “Batman” TV series at this store, and though they have long sold out of many of the original vintage fabrics, it’s still a very fascinating place to visit.   The first thing I did when I got home was hit the shower and shave.  I had been letting my facial hair around my goatee and sideburns grow out in case I got cast in the TV commercial. I figured it would add an “extra scruffy” element to my character.  But now that it wasn’t happening, it felt good to shave off all of the extra facial hair I didn’t need.  Aaaaahhhh!  I put on a new “vintage” tuxedo jacket I had just gotten from eBay and went to meet my agent Vinnie for dinner in Sherman Oaks.  We had a great meal and a fun conversation.  When I got home I napped on the couch, and then got up to do some auditions and work around the house.  I walked Roxy and fed her, then made myself some dinner and watched another “Magnum; p.i.” episode.  I’m really enjoying these fourth season episodes.

Wednesday the 20th – WEDNESDAY WALK! – As I sprang awake I started thinking about an old credit card I had that would give me air miles for every dollar I spent.  I scrounged up the number and gave them a call to see if the program was still valid.  I was hoping I had enough air miles for another ticket.  Sure enough I just barely did.  So I got a companion ticket for my friend Brittney to come with me to the Aberdeen Central High School Hall of Fame ceremony in October.  I’m being inducted into my school’s Hall of Fame with another 6 inductees.  It should be a great time seeing old friends again and chatting about old memories.  I did some other credit card stuff and called around to talk to specialists.  I made some other phone calls, knocked out a few auditions, and then walked Roxy.  I came back in and fed Spook and did a little more work on the computer.  My assistant Sara came over so we could walk over to the local Panera with Roxy to get some food.  As long as we stay on the patio we can have Roxy join us for dinner.  And it was a stunningly beautiful night!  I got back in time for a dip in the Jacuzzi and a short nap on the couch.   I got up and sent out my movie night invites.  We’d be doing our Robin Williams tribute with a screening of “The World According to Garp.”  I also remembered that I had about 10 minutes of “Mork and Mindy” bloopers and outtakes on an old VHS tape, so I sought those out and made a DVD of them to show before the movie.  I fed and walked Roxy, then made a Tombstone pizza and watched another “Magnum; p.i.” episode before bed.

Thursday the 21st – OH CAROL! – At 10:30 I sprang awake and took Roxy out for a walk.  Then I came back inside and did a session for a Chicago ER in my home studio.  The director called up and directed me over the phone. Then when the tracks were recorded I sent them on to their e-mail address so they could build the commercial.  My pal Scott Sebring came over at noon, so we hopped into the Gran Torino and headed to lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli.   I swung by my mailbox and grabbed some mail, and then we headed back home. Scott sped off to get his wife Vickie from work, while I settled down for a short afternoon nap on the couch.  My pal Brittney Powell dropped by so we could walk over to a local pizza place to grab some dinner.  When we finished dinner I came home and grabbed a quick splash in the Jacuzzi.  Then I started about doing my auditions, and finished up the evening with doing some work around the house; laundry, dishes, etc.  Carol Burnett was the special guest in the “Magnum; p.i.” episode I watched that night.  I love Carol Burnett (who doesn’t) but it was an interesting episode.  Her character was wearing a beige backless outfit throughout the episode.  Obviously since it was backless the usual female support undergarments couldn’t be worn with it.  But remember it WAS the 80’s, after all!   All was well until they got trapped in an area where the overhead sprinklers went off.  My immediate thought was…light colored dress + no undergarments + water! OH NO!  Sure enough, it was the legendary Carol Burnett in an impromptu wet t-shirt contest on national TV!  I couldn’t believe my eyes! But again…it WAS the 80’s!

Friday the 22nd – FREAKY FRIDAY! – It was an overall weird day.  After getting up at noon to wait for my maids, I called my cell phone provider to see about getting some of the missing phone numbers from my lost phone reinstalled into my replacement phone.  In short, a year ago I “lost” my cell phone (Phone 1) and bought another one exactly like it as a replacement (Phone 2).  I had been using Phone 2 for quite a while, when one day I pulled the Torino on to the NBC lot to go to work at “The Tonight Show” and stopped quickly.  Guess what slid forward from underneath my Torino’s passenger seat?  Right!  Phone 1!  My amazing phone eating Gran Torino I guess.  So I put Phone 1 in storage as a back-up and continued to use Phone 2.  Until I “lost” Phone 2 awhile back on the 11th.  I searched all through my Gran Torino, thinking it had eaten another one, but no avail.  I called the restaurant and nothing.  It had simply vanished.  I had my phone plan send over another one as a replacement for the missing Phone 2.  I had gone back to using Phone 1 on the 11th, but wanted to have a back-up just in case.  While I was on the phone with the attendant I found out that I’ve been paying $10 a month for insurance on a phone I haven’t had in over a year (during the one week I tried using a “smart” phone).  So we quickly got rid of that payment and got everything settled.  Boy this gets confusing!  I poured over my credit card statement and found out that I had been overcharged for some stuff at the hotel I stayed at during Comic Con. So it took another two hours on the phone to get THAT straightened out.  My old “Tonight Show” pal Troy Thomas, one of the writers, called and said he’s now working on the “Ellen” show.  He wants me to start doing some voice-over work on that show voicing his comedy bits.  So he sent me over a script and some video, and asked that I do a few takes. All this while my maids were busy cleaning the house.  My pal Pete Tassler from “Hawaii Five-O” wanted me to send him an audition for a bit in the show they were doing about a horror movie. So I laid that down and got it sent over to him.  About the same time I lost Phone 2 (on the 11th) I also lost my pool key.  Replacement keys are $80!  So after weeks of frustrated searching I finally paid the $80 and they delivered my new key in my mailbox.  The maids finished up and took off and as I surveyed their work, I looked down at my entertainment center to see something shining.  It was my original pool key!  Apparently it was sitting there under some DVDs or something and I totally missed it.  But when they cleaned up the area they moved stuff around and there it was. RATS!  Of all the rotten luck!  I swear I have a gremlin in my house!  I recorded a few auditions then decided I needed a break.  I put Roxy in the backseat of the Torino and we picked up Sara for dinner.  She casually reached under the passenger seat and found…you guessed it…PHONE 2!  What the heck was going on with this day? It wasn’t even a Friday the 13th!   My phone eating Gran Torino had struck again!  We went to Paty’s and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner on the patio. It was a nice night, and as the sun went down it even got quite nippy.  Funny weather for late August in Los Angeles!  I got home to take a dip in the Jacuzzi and grab a nap on the couch to reflect about what an odd day it was.  When I got up I spent the rest of the evening putting my missing phone numbers into Phone 1.  So at least now they’ll be consistent.  I made hot dogs on the grill and watched another “Magnum.”

Saturday the 23rd – ZIMMMMORPHIC! – I switched back to the Mustang from the Gran Torino and noticed that I was feeling some minor body aches.  I had just gone through that during my recent Palm Springs trip, so I took some Advil and carried on.  I went to the Pasadena Convention Center for my buddy Scott Zillner’s “Power Morphicon” Power Rangers convention.  While I only had a few roles in Power Rangers stuff over the years, the commonality is Richard Horvitz.  Not only was he the voice of Alpha 5 in the series, but he was also, of course, Zim in “Invader Zim.”  Since Rikki Simons was also going to be there with Richard singing autographs, they scheduled an “Invader Zim” panel.  Scott asked that I come crash the panel and hang out and have some fun.  I thought it sounded like a great time.  We had an absolute blast and I got in my Mustang to head home.  I picked up a few grocery items on the way out of Pasadena, and when I got to my car I noticed what a gorgeous evening it was. So I popped the top of my Mustang and took the 14 mile ride home on the freeway with the wind blowing in my hair.  It was stunningly awesome!  I couldn’t stop smiling!  I got home and walked Roxy and took a short nap on the couch before movie night started.  We watched the “Mork and Mindy” outtakes and bloopers, and then watched “The World According to Garp.” It’s an amazing film and I’ve loved it ever since I was working at a second-run movie house in Sioux Falls in the early 80’s.  After the movie ended we all continued having a big discussion until 1:30 in the morning!  When everyone left I did some work around the house, walked and fed Roxy and made a huge salad to take to bed with me to watch an episode of the old British show “The Avengers.”  But the body aches were coming back and the slight tickle in my trachea that I had felt earlier in the day was getting worse.  I thought it was just because I was laughing so much at the Zim panel, but there was definitely something amiss.

Sunday the 24th – TRACHEA TICKLE! – When I got up at 4 the tickle was still there.  The body aches were minimal, but I was starting to experience some chills.  I went outside with Roxy to try and shake it off.  I came back inside and took a few pills and some cough syrup I had laying around. Then I went back to bed.  I got up around 9 and was still feeling out of sorts, so I hit the Jacuzzi.  I got out my steamer to try and chase the tickle away and slept some more.

RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK 2

A sickie selfie?  Here I am bedridden, and sucking steam from my personal steamer.   Woe is me!

Week 2 – Since the old British TV show “The Avengers” had been my constant companion throughout my bout with pneumonia, I obviously couldn’t get the catchy theme song out of my head! The Avengers Theme by Laurie Johnson … in Stereo

Monday the 25th – AS IF I NEEDED ANOTHER REASON TO HATE MONDAYS! – When I woke up around noon I was feeling awful. I called the Casting Director of the session for Denny’s I was supposed to do at 1:30 and told her I was sick.  I had a few friends who recently fought bronchitis, and I know it was going around, so I figured this must be it.  Great.  I also called my Ear Nose and Throat doctor and left a message.  Luckily I still had some antibiotics left over from when he treated me for something a few months ago, so I started in on those.  My poor ENT has been overwhelmed since his partner passed away in a motorcycle accident in February.  So he’s been handling his own patients as well as the late doctor’s.  He called in a prescription for me and I had Sara go pick it up.  Meanwhile, I was suffering from fever and was busy soaking through pair after pair of pajamas.  This may be much worse than what I originally thought.   But understandably getting in to see my doctor was tough because of all the patients.  I had four tickets to see “Wizard of Oz” on the big screen at the Arclight, but I gave them to Sara and told her to take friends if she wanted.  I always hate missing “Oz” on the big screen, so you know I must’ve been REALLY sick!  I got up around 6 to win an auction on eBay…a very rare Scarecrow of Romney Marsh Halloween costume from the 60’s.  I’ll be putting it on a new “Halloween Kid” mannequin in The Chaney Room and placing him right next to the big Scarecrow of Romney Marsh figure!   A rare find indeed!  The costume would have gone for about twice the amount it did, except for the fact that the seller had it mis-listed as something else.  Had they listed it as what it really was, they would have made a ton of money!  I wouldn’t have seen it at all except for a total accident.  Oh well, meant to be I guess.  I fed Spook and Roxy and went back to bed to steam and relax.

Tuesday the 26th – TERRIBLE TUESDAY! – I haven’t been this sick in a long time.  I took more meds, made some tea, ate a little something (though I haven’t been eating much since this began due to no appetite) and went back to bed.  Not only is the constant coughing hurting my voice, but it’s making my lower back and ribs hurt.  I hope those antibiotics kick in soon.  I slept the majority of the day, but I did get up later to try and engage in life somewhat.  I watched “Behind The Candelabra” on Blu Ray and tried to choke down some soup.  It was more meds, more steam, and back to bed.

Wednesday the 27th – THANK GOD FOR SARA! – When I dragged myself out of bed I walked Roxy, took some more meds, and then went back to bed.  I left another message for my ENT, and had Sara go pick up some more supplies.  I haven’t been eating much at all, but I’m trying to drink as many fluids as possible.  I never knew it was possible to be burning up with fever and have the chills at the same time.  Another pair of pajamas had been soaked through, so I took another hot bath and tried to relax.  I can hear the build-up in my lungs when I lay down. It rattles quite badly.

Thursday the 27th – LET THIS END! – It was more of the same and it didn’t seem like I was getting any better. I reached out to my ENT again and asked to come in as the antibiotics didn’t seem to be working.  More meds, more rest.

Friday the 28th – AT LAST! – My doctor called in the morning and gave me an appointment time for 1:30.  I wasn’t in any shape to drive, so I arranged to have Sara pick me up.  I had clearly let this go on for too long.  The very first day I should have gone to an Urgent Care facility and gotten examined.  Now I know better.  It was miserable.  I hobbled to Sara’s car and got in.  Even though her AC was blaring at full capacity, and directly on me, I was burning up. Sweating like crazy!  I got to the doctor’s office and I was still burning up.  I sat in the waiting room fanning myself with a magazine, trying to stop the sweating.  I got examined and was given several prescriptions for serious medicines.  A bigger, badder antibiotic, some heavy duty cough suppressant and narcotic, and a few other odds and ends.  But just before I left my doctor said, “Maybe we’d better send you over for a chest  X-ray just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.”  Good thing I did.  I got home and tried to nap while waiting for Sara to fill the prescriptions. It was hell.  When she got there I started in on the meds and slept.  When I awoke later that night I had an urgent voice-mail message from my doctor…”Mr. Wingert. Your X-rays came back and you have pneumonia in your left lung.  If you’re not feeling better by tomorrow call me immediately.”  This was serious!  I figured it was bronchitis, but pneumonia?  Would this mean hospitalization?  I’ve lived 53 years and never spent one night in a hospital since I was a baby!

Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th – A BIT BETTER! – I didn’t seem to be coughing quite as much, and when I did the coughs were more “productive” in expelling the crud in my lungs.  I even felt good enough to eat a light meal or two.   Since I was coughing less, the pains in my ribs and lower back had subsided.  That cough medicine had definitely helped me get the best sleep I’ve had in a week. All weekend it was more of the same…meds, sleep, eat, meds, sleep, eat, meds, lather, rinse, repeat.  I think this antibiotic was finally starting to take hold!  It was good to be eating again, considering all I’ve had to eat all week pretty much amounted to crackers.

Monday the 1st – HAPPY LABOR DAY! – This is the best I’ve felt in over a week.  My voice was still hoarse from all the violent coughing, but I’m getting lots of voice rest and watching lots of “Avengers” on DVD.  I’m realizing that I’m probably going to be out of commission for another week yet.  It’ll take at least that long before my cough is completely gone and my voice has returned to full working potential.  The fever, body aches and chills are all gone.  Sara came by to check in and she walked Roxy.  I slept until midnight and then got up to do some stuff around the house.  This is the sickest I’ve been in several decades.  But I learned my lesson!  As alarmist as it may seem, the next time I have a tickle in my trachea, I’m going to the Urgent Care clinic right away without hesitation!  I do NOT want to go through this again as long as I live!  Stay well, my friend!

And how were YOUR weeks?