Archive for July, 2016
July 25 – July 31
RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
My son Zach has a new CD out and I was checking out his Facebook page to hear some samples of the tracks. I saw this nice picture of him and thought I’d post it. That’s a very nice looking lad I helped produce!
I’ve always loved the song “Ah! Leah!”, and it’s a darn fun song to sing at karaoke. I stumbled across the original video, but then I found a more recent video that features an older Donnie Iris singing the song on what looks like a local TV show. And he totally KILLS it! And the band is amazing too! This guy still has it! I met Donnie when he opened for Loverboy back in 1981 and he was a super cool guy! (Does he remind anyone else of Paul Michael Glaser?)
Monday the 25th – JURY DOODY – In order to do my civic duty, I signed up for jury duty. This is the week I was supposed to check the internet every day to see which day I was needed. As luck would have it, first thing Monday the 25th I was due at the Burbank Courthouse at 9:30am. I had already taken my orientation on-line, so I didn’t need to be there at 7:30am. Whew! Though most of my friends just throw the jury summons away when it arrives, I decided that I would do my part. Boy, did I learn a lot! I got to the courthouse around 9:40, checked in and then sat around for about an hour and a half listening to my iPod and reading Batman ’66 comic books. Then they assigned all 65 people present a number. I’m not sure if it was random or not. But I was assigned number 20. Everybody there was not happy about being there. Nobody talked, everybody kept to themselves and the mood hanging over the room was gloomy. Some great system, huh? When I went up to the jury attendant he said to me…”Wallace Wingert. You’re 20.” I tried to lighten up the mood with some levity and said, “Ha! I WISH I was 20!” I only got a few chuckles from the potential jurors and I thought it was a pretty funny line. I put the orange #20 card in my badge holder and sat down. By 11am all 65 of us were brought into the courtroom. There was a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, and a defendant. We were seated and the judge entered the room. He spent a long time filling us in about the procedures. But it was slow, tedious, torturous, and just plain awful. He was doing comedy schtick, trying to lighten the mood of the grumpy jurors who had been enslaved against their will to fill out those seats. I wanted to tell him to give it up, I already tried comedy and it wasn’t working. He spent a huge amount of time talking about how the burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney, and he equated it to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He said you can’t make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if all you get is peanut butter and bread. He was using it as an analogy for needing to have the complete ingredients in order to find for guilt. Then he spent about 20 minutes asking people about their cell phones. He had them hold them up (I left mine in the car) and asked people who had an iPhone 4. Then he asked who had an iPhone 5, etc. It was a HUGE waste of time, and none of us were sure where he was going with this line of conversation, or why he was drawing out the proceedings in this excruciating manner. We broke for lunch from noon to 1:30, which gave me time to go home and walk Roxy and Bunny, get some fast McDonald’s and head back. As we started to assemble in the jury assembly room many of the jurors were furious at the judge; talking amongst themselves wondering why he was making these proceedings so slow and arduous. As I walked to the bathroom one of the other potential jurors said, “I enjoy your work.” I had been recognized at jury duty. That was pretty cool. His name was Mark and we chatted for a long time while we waited. He had seen me do the Voice Actor panels at the San Diego Comic Con for many years. He was a nice guy! From 1:30 to 4:30 the judge started interviewing each juror by number. The potential jurors were saying what they thought the judge wanted to hear, about how they could put aside their personal prejudices and feelings in order to be impartial. But I could tell (and so could the judge and attorneys, probably) which of the potential jurors would and would not be able to really do that. Over the next 3 hours the judge only got through the first 18 potential jurors. Which meant that I was stuck having to come back the next day. Great. Just before he dismissed us he told us that they would most likely have a jury seated on Tuesday. I was wondering how he was going to get through the remaining 47 jurors in one day. Then it hit me…he’s only interested in the first 24 potential jurors, who were sat in specially numbered seats. Once he weeds through those, he either has enough from the first 24, or he goes deeper into potential jurors 25 through 65. I was dreading coming back the next day, because I knew it would be my turn to be interviewed by the judge and I really wasn’t interested in being seated as a juror. This case had an aspect to it that I find inexcusable under any circumstances. So I was not going to be a good juror for this case. I was recognized again during a break by a guy named Matt. He said he was the editor on the documentary “Starring Adam West” and had watched hours and hours of footage of me when he was editing the film. We had a great time chatting. After we were dismissed for the day, I went home to feed the pets and relax.
Tuesday the 26th – JURY DOODY 2 – Edi arrived just after 8am to pick up Bunny and head to the south bay with her husband Elliot so he could start rehearsing for a concert he was giving. Then I hit the road for day 2 of jury service. My lucky number 26 was still working for me. I reported back to the Burbank Courthouse by 9am and as I was going through the metal detector, the security guard Adam said, “Do you do Voice-Over and drive a Mustang?” I told him I did and we chatted for a bit about a mutual friend we had. Recognized three times during jury duty was pretty cool. I went upstairs and when we were ushered into the courtroom, I took my seat in the #20 position. The judge started with the lady next to me; #19. He interviewed her about her experience as a healthcare professional. Bear in mind that he spent about 5 to 6 minutes speaking with each potential juror. Then he got to me. He and I chatted for a very long time. The total time he interviewed me was about 12 minutes, about twice as long as the other potential jurors. He seemed to be stuck on my unwavering support for police and law enforcement. I told him I had several good friends in law enforcement and it would most likely color my opinion of the proceedings, and I most likely would not be impartial. I told them I don’t believe that law enforcement officers lie on the stand, because I don’t see a logical motivation for them to do that. I said, “Why would officers take their very careers in their hands and risk it all by lying on the stand. I just can’t wrap my head around that.” He said, “But anyone can lie, teachers, construction workers…” I said, “But they’ll still have their jobs. Aside from the risk of perjury, they can go back to their jobs and not have any adverse ramifications. But if an officer lies on the stand he could lose his career. An officer is sworn to uphold the law in all aspects; on the street or in the judicial branch. I honestly don’t believe that law enforcement officers lie on the stand.” Then the judge said, “But what if one officer on the stand says the light was yellow, and another one comes on the stand and says the light was red?” I replied, “I don’t confuse difference in perception with an intentional lie. The officer may honestly believe the light was yellow because that was his honest perception. We all perceive things differently. That doesn’t mean that they’re willfully lying.” The room was deathly silent…everyone was in rapt attention. We continued to talk about other things and experiences in my life which may affect my opinions of the case. Then it was time for the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney to interview select potential jurors. The defense attorney came to me and started asking certain questions, none of which I can talk about publicly because it had to do with certain aspects of this particular case. But he said to me in closing, “You must be upset about all the police shootings that are going on now.” I said, “Yes. I’m a ‘blue lives matter’ guy.” I think that was all he needed to hear. The judge broke early for lunch, but held back about 6 potential jurors that he wanted to see in his chamber. We left at 11:15 and were ordered to be back at 1:45. I went home to walk Roxy, did a few auditions, and then went back to the courthouse to wait. One of the other potential jurors said, “Haven’t they cut you yet?” A few of the other potential jurors were telling me how much they enjoyed my interview with the judge and that they agreed wholeheartedly. One lady even gave me a high five. Others shook my hand. I was being congratulated for not teling the judge what I THOUGHT he wanted to hear, but what I honestly felt. We were brought in and seated and the judge said, “This is the part of the proceedings that are a lot like the show ‘Survivor’ where we start voting people off the island. If you’re dismissed don’t take offense, it’s nothing personal.” Every potential juror in there was laughing on the inside because not one of them wanted to stay anyway. They were all praying to be ‘voted off the island.’ He started reading off numbers, and one by one the potential jurors stood up, removed the orange tabs from their badge holders and deposited them in a small plastic container. It was like snuffing your fire on the island, I guess. Eventually, he called number 20. I stood up and said, “Thank you, your Honor,” put my orange tab in the plastic container and left the courtroom. I wanted to dance out of the courtroom and shout to the skies, but I kept my cool and solemnly walked out. I was done by 2pm. My friend Matt had also been excused. The 12 of us that had been “bounced” from the jury all sat around chatting while we waited for our dismissal paperwork to be complted. There was an obvious feeling of relief amongst everyone. I said my observation of our jury system was not a good one. It’s basically legalized enslavement; holding people against their will under penalty of financial fines and/or imprisonment. Is this really the best system? Nobody, but NOBODY wanted to be there. God forbid if I’m ever on trial, I don’t want a jury filled with people who would rather be somewhere else. In order to fix it I had a few ideas. First off, prioritize jury summons’ to those who get paid their full salary by their companies for jury service. Leave the independent contractor/sole proprietor/freelance people like me alone…unless it’s for a one day trial only. If I miss a day of work, it could be the one payment that qualifies me for my health insurance. And then who’s going to pay my doctor bills…the judge? He and the attorneys will still get their salaries. What if I miss an audition for a cartoon series that could potentially pay big? The fact that the court is unconcerned with these “normal life” dynamics makes me disrespect the system to my very core. I doubt Stephen Spielberg or Tom Cruise has done jury duty lately. What if there was a way to do a “buy out” of jury service, much like you buy out of a traffic ticket? You have to pay a “bail” payment for your traffic violation until your court date, and if you don’t show up to court to defend yourself the money is forfeit. Follow me here…if the juror “buy out” was $1200, you’d have people paying it because they can’t give up the missed work if they’re business owners. Then the court would take that $1200 and pay the jurors who stay for the case $100 a day (instead of the insulting $15 a day they’re paying now). Each $1200 “buy out” would pay for an entire jury for a full day! It seems to make much more sense, and many people would stay if they knew they were getting $100 a day. One of the potential jurors on our panel was a professional background extra for movies and TV shows. I know they make about $50 a day. But if she was given $100 a day for jury service, she would no doubt take the opportunity. I think it’s a worthy idea that needs to be explored, seeing as how this current jury system is so horribly broken. I got some ice cream at Baskin-Robbins and then went home. As luck would have it, when I got home I got an e-mail about a session for a new Naruto videogame session on Wednesday. Had I still been stuck on jury duty all week, it would have been a job I had to pass on. I’m glad my lucky number 26 was still working for me! I worked on the computer for a bit, and then my assistant Sara and I went to Lancers to celebrate being ‘voted off the island.’ Some beef barley soup and a hot beef sandwich gave me a better view of life. I went home and grabbed a short nap, and then got up for a ton of auditions. Then I got into a “YouTube trap.” It started by watching a video of Walter Egan performing “Magnet and Steel,” and then went to Bob Welch doing “Ebony Eyes,” Sniff N The Tears doing “Driver’s Seat,” and then watching Donnie Iris do a version of “Ah! Leah!” It was fabulous. But very time consuming!
Wednesday the 27th – WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY! – I woke up at 2:30 in the afternoon after having a really cool “Tarzan” dream; where I had turned into Tarzan and could do all sorts of acrobatics and stunts. I woke up with a smile because of that, and because it was good to be free from juror enslavement. I went to Studiopolis Burbank to do some work on “Naruto,” and then came home. An old friend of mine was in L.A. making a delivery that night. Rob Dickman is a guy I haven’t seen in about 40 years, and I enjoyed having dinner with him after we solved the problem of where he was going to park his 18 wheeler. After a fun dinner at Jerry’s Famous Deli, I went home for a nap, and then got up to do some auditions. Then I made some dinner and watched another episode of “Barnaby Jones” before bed. I’m really enjoying this series!
Thursday the 28th – THE STAKES FOR STEAKS! – Once again I enjoyed sleeping late into the day, and when I did get up I worked around the house all afternoon. Later that night I enjoyed dinner at the legendary Smokehouse with my friends Troy Thomas and Eric Silva. We all used to work together at “The Tonight Show,” and now Eric and Troy work on the “Ellen” show. We had a lot of fun and talked into the evening. I came home and grabbed a nap, then got up for my nightly auditions. I made a sandwich and watched another “Barnaby Jones” episode.
Friday the 29th – FINALLY FRIDAY! – After only a few hours of sleep, I got up at noon and let my maids in. While they worked I wrote checks, paid bills, went through my business receipts and did other miscellaneous work. When they finished I got cleaned up and headed to the post office to mail off some stuff. I took Roxy to the groomer to get a back, and then I stopped by Jersey Mike’s to get a giant #13 on white. I went back home to enjoy my lunch and do some work while I waited for Roxy to be finished. I went to Rusty’s to pick her up, and then came home to feed the pets dinner. I sat down on the couch to catch my breath and promptly fell asleep. The day had caught up to me. I woke up after a half hour, realizing I was exhausted, and took a shower. Then I went to bed to sleep for about five hours. I got up and did some work, and went on-line to search for certain cartoon images of Popeye, Mr. Magoo and Huckleberry Hound. There were large cartoon cut-outs on the set of a kids’ TV show I loved as a kid called Captain 11. I’m thinking about trying to recreate those for my home, but I need to find the right images. I have lots of photos from the original TV show for reference, but I need to find the actual cartoon images those cut-outs were based on. I went to Denny’s to get some food and watched more “Barnaby Jones” before bed.
Saturday the 30th – SATURDAY WITH SONIC! – Since a week had gone by since the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary party in San Diego, I went on-line to try and find video from the event. I found it! It’s right here..
And if you go 2:56:15 in to the video you’ll see me onstage during the Q&A. This is the point where my cat Spooky gets a huge round of applause from the crowd. I find that very funny. The comments off to the side were fun to read as well, with one person saying something like “Wally looks like a homeless guy they found on the street.” Some comments were about my hair, but mostly people were all about Spooky! I got some groceries and did a few errands. I got home to put the groceries away and get ready for movie night. My friend Alex Zsolt was in town for meetings, so he came to crash at Planet Wallywood and enjoy movie night with friends. We had a fun time watching one of my favorite movies, “The Stunt Man” on Blu Ray. After everyone left Alex and I stayed up late chatting and catching up, and then I did some work after he retired to the Puppet Room to get some sleep. I made my traditional Saturday night salad and watched the second-to-the-last episode of the old BBC show “The Avengers” before bed. I’m going to miss this show.
Sunday the 31st – BURGERS & BUDDIES! – Mid-afternoon I woke up and did some work on-line. It was still too hot to walk Roxy to evening church, so I went by myself. After the service my adopted grandma Shirley and I got picked up by my neighbor Bob to go meet some friends at Fuddrucker’s for burgers. I hadn’t eaten there in a long time and it was yummy! Then we all went to see a movie. When I got home I grabbed a nap, did my auditions and watched more “Barnaby Jones” on DVD.
And how was YOUR week??!! (Did a government entity enslave you against your will too?)