Archive for September 5th, 2017

September 5 – September 10



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

Hey…what’s so crazy about a dog and his birds?

After seeing the amazing “Muppets Take the Bowl,” and meeting the legendary Paul Williams, it brought a song to mind from the “Muppet Movie” that I’ve always loved, but didn’t hear at the show. (Being a slower song, it probably would have slowed down the pacing too much) It has always meant a lot to me, and when you really think about it, it’ll probably mean a lot to you as well.

In the movie…here’s Gonzo, often ostracized for being weird and an oddball, singing a ballad about wanting to go back up to the sky where he felt free, accepted and at peace during an earlier accident with a bunch of helium balloons. Also one of Jim Henson’s all-time favorite songs, he probably was emotionally impacted by it in the same way as many of us were. I feel that while “Rainbow Connection” is the film’s anthem, “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” is the film’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

I still get chills when I hear it, and Dave Goelz’s performance is amazing.

“I’ve never been there, but I know the way”

Tuesday the 5th – DVDs FOR VETS, MEALS WITH MUPPETS! – When I got up around 2 I was feeling pretty good. My back pain was slowly and surely diminishing. I think that elastic wrap I’ve been wearing has really been helping. And it makes total, logical sense if you think about it. The muscle can’t heal when it’s constantly being used, so by binding it up, it’s not being used unnecessarily and has the support it needs to heal. I reorganized my video cabinet, which it was in sore need of. I took out about 50 DVDs I no longer needed, and even a few Blu Rays. I packed them up in a box with the intent of sending them to one of my favorite charities “DVDs for Vets.” They distribute donated DVDs to Veteran’s Hospitals all over the country. As Vets are convalescing, or as older Vets are being treated, they like to have movies to watch. It’s a great cause that touches my heart. This is the second big donation I’ve sent to them. I cleaned the house for VIP visitors later that night, and got ready for my dinner meeting. I met my pal, “Comic Book Legend” Paul Dini at Jerry’s Famous Deli so we could chat with two Muppeteers who were in town for the big “Muppets Take the Bowl” concert. My pal Eric Jacobsen introduced us to Matt Vogel, who just took over the responsibilities as Kermit the Frog a few weeks ago. Matt and I share the credits in “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” as he plays Wilkins and I voice Humpty Dumpty, and a variety of other, smaller characters. It was great chatting, since Eric and Matt are huge Batman fans, and Paul and I are huge Muppet fans. In fact, at the beginning of the year Paul got four box seat tickets for us to see the opening night of “The Muppets Take the Bowl” on September 8th! After dinner Paul had to leave to go do a signing for “hurricane relief,” and Eric and Matt came over to tour Planet Wallywood. Eric had toured it before, but Matt had not. When he walked in all he did was giggle and say, “Wow! Wow!” It was one of the coolest reactions to my collection I’ve ever received! But the most fun for me was getting them to sign the wall in my Puppet Room, and showing them my 1:1 Muppet Replica puppets. They were very impressed with the work of the builder who made them, and said they were very close to the real ones. They even put them on and moved them around a little bit. When Matt put Kermit on and ran Kermit through a variety of facial expressions, I was fan-boying inside! What a fun night! They looked through my book of Muppet stills, and enjoyed other collectibles. After they left I recorded my nightly auditions, and then grabbed a short nap. I got up later to do some bookkeeping, I fed and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, made a sandwich and watched “Barnaby Jones.” It was a good episode, but it seemed like the producers were trying to develop a spin-off show called “Counterforce.” But it all seemed very forced and didn’t work too well. This happens from time to time in old series TV, and it never seems to work very well when I come across those episodes.

Wednesday the 6th – LET’S GET PHYSICAL (OR NOT!) – Around 1 I got on the phone with a few producers to do a redo of a session I did last week from my home studio. They wanted to do it again with a different “character” voicing the piece. So we banged it out and then I did some more bookkeeping. I dashed off to a Physical Therapist’s office to have him look at my back muscle. But I made the appointment last week, and he’s so busy it took a full week to get into see him. As I suspected, my back was doing much better and it was almost unnecessary to see him at this point. When I got there, as luck would have it, I found out I had given them the wrong insurance info. They don’t take the SAG/AFTRA actor’s union insurance for some reason. So I would have to pay for the majority of the treatment myself. And since by that time I didn’t really need treatment, I told him I’d call my insurance company and ask what to do. So…no PT for me. I got the Mustang washed and then met my assistant Sara for lunch at Paty’s. It was a fun day dining on the patio and enjoying the much-cooler weather. I dropped by my mailbox to get my packages, got an ice cream cone at McDonalds, and then home to do some work and relax a bit. I grabbed a short nap and then got up later to do my nightly auditions. I reconciled all of my business receipts, worked around the house and tidied up a few things. I got a LOT done and felt very productive! Then I made some sloppy joes and watched another episode of “Barnaby Jones” before bed.

Thursday the 7th – MUPPETICIPATION! – Around 9 I sprang from bed and got ready for the day. I was due to be in Santa Monica at 11 for a session for Autotrader. But the traffic down to the westside was horrible. Just as I was about to phone my agent to let her know I’d be a little late, she called me! The producers were a little behind with their recording session. So it all worked out! I got to Lime Studios around 11:15 and waited in the lobby reading the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. There was a great article in there about the upcoming “Muppets Take the Bowl” show, and I took great interest in reading it. The article mentioned how people would see two, vastly different things on stage. If you wanted to just watch “The Muppet Show,” all you needed to do was watch the big screens on either side of the stage. The camera operators would be cropping out the Muppeteers so it would look like an episode of the old TV show. But if you’re an insane fan like I am, and you wanted to watch the artistry of the amazing Muppeteers at work, you should keep your eye on the stage. The team of puppeteers would be dressed in all black and performing the choreography necessary to bring the Muppets to life. I was getting VERY excited at the prospect of FINALLY seeing Muppeteers in action before my very eyes! I went into the session at 11:30 and was out by noon. Since I was just down the street from Campos, my favorite Mexican restaurant, I stopped over to get some food to go. I ate it in the car in the slooooooow freeway traffic on the way home. I got back home and walked Roxy, did a little work, and then went over to Voice Trax West for some American Airlines work. I was SO glad my back was better. Not only because I wanted to be in good shape for the Muppet concert Friday night, but I had two sessions to do today and I didn’t want to be in pain. It all worked out very well! I had to postpone some American Airlines sessions from the previous week due to my back, but we’re going to make them all up next week after I’m completely better. Next time I jump rope or exercise I’m going to WARM UP and stretch first! Lesson learned! I got home and fed the pets, and then grabbed a little nap. I got up later to do auditions and do a little work around the house. Sara came over later with food from Denny’s and we watched an episode of “Barnaby Jones.” Though she’s young, she enjoys the old shows.

Friday the 8th – FANTASMICAL FRIDAY! – Today was the day! I was finally going to see the Muppets live at the Hollywood Bowl! I got up at noon to let the maids in so they could clean. While they worked I did a few things around the house and tried to stay out of their way. I got my camera ready for the “Muppets Take the Bowl” concert later that night. I went through the card on my camera and deleted a ton of unnecessary photos to make some room. I had a second, unused card that I’d be bringing along just in case, as well as a spare battery! I was going to try and run a few errands, but I looked at the clock and the afternoon was waning away quickly! Paul and his wife Misty called to say they were running late. They were going to meet at my house so we could all take a Lyft to the concert, but they’re going to take the chance of parking at the Hollywood Bowl. My friend Carrie called to say she was running late as well. So I just hung around the house and tried to figure out what I was going to wear. I had a set of Kermit the Frog/Mickey Mouse ears I bought at Disneyland years ago, but after I put it on I realized that it was “too much.” So I settled on a Muppet t-shirt that I had gotten as a gift and was ready to go! Paul and Misty ordered dinner to be delivered to our box seats, and that would be there by 6:45. Carrie arrived in the Lyft just after 6 and the traffic to the Bowl was great! In fact, Lyft has their very own traffic lane at the Bowl for pick-ups and drop-offs! Sweet! We got in the concert, I bought a souvenir t-shirt and we found our box seats. The dinner was amazing, the company was stellar and the evening was alive with magic! To say the show I saw was amazing would be the understatement of the year! I had waited most of my life to see what I witnessed on stage that night! I got teary-eyed more than once, and during the “Rainbow Connection” finale I was literally weeping. It was very emotional, very meaningful, and very moving. Given the fact that at one point in my life I wanted to be a Muppeteer more than anything, the emotional impact hit me on many levels. I’m convinced that life worked out the way it was supposed to, but…what if? What if that could have been me on that stage performing a Muppet? Hmmm… I guess I’ll never know. After the show Paul and I went to the “Wine Bar” section of the theatre to see Eric and Matt. Eric was kind enough to get us on the list to stop by after the show and say hi. While I wasn’t able to meet the legendary Dave Goelz (the only original Muppeteer still working with the group) I was able to shake the hand of the legendary Paul Williams! “The Phantom of the Paradise,” “The Muppet Movie,” etc. – his work has meant so much to me over the years. I told him I had just seen him in the 1979 TV movie “The Wild Wild West Revisited” just a few days ago on DVD. He said when he did that he was about 148 pounds. He said James Cagney visited the set, and at the age of almost 80 he looked better than Paul did. So that’s when Paul Williams decided to lose some weight and get into shape. What a truly amazing night. Paul Dini and I couldn’t believe what we had just seen, as he’s as big a Muppet fan as I am! He and Misty drove Carrie and I to my house, and I got to show Paul my 1:1 Muppet replicas. Then I made a pizza and Carrie and I watched a few episodes of “Taxi.” We took Roxy for a walk, and then I turned in for the night. What an amazing, dream-come-true-filled day!

Saturday the 9th – SUPER SUMMER SATURDAY! – While I slept the morning away, my friend Edi let herself in so she could rest up in the Puppet Room. She had driven in from Palm Springs that morning and was tired. I told her I’d be in my room sound asleep, but she was welcome to make herself at home. I got up around 2 and we headed out in the Torino to get lunch at Paty’s. I stopped over at the UPS store to mail a few things, and then we went over to Hobby Lobby to buy some blank t-shirts and baseball tees. Her husband Elliot Lurie of the 70’s group Looking Glass has a lot of shows coming up, and they wanted to have a lot of merch to sell at those shows. I’ll take the shirts to Wizard Printing and have my Elliot Lurie/Looking Glass design printed on them. The ones we’ve had printed so far have been VERY popular! We went next door to Toys ‘R’ Us and I bought three more talking Jakks Batman figures to give out as gifts. The voice you hear on the Covert Combat Batman figure is me, so I like to have a few to give out to friends and colleagues. I even gave one to Paul and Misty Friday night! We stopped by the store to get some groceries for movie night, and then stopped by the dry cleaners to pick up a comforter I had cleaned. It was a stunningly gorgeous day and Edi and I had a great time tooling around in the Torino and enjoying the weather! By the time we made it back to Planet Wallywood, my assistant Sara was just pulling in to prep for movie night. We had a great time watching Steve Martin in “The Man with Two Brains.” Edi, Sara, and our friend Brittney Powell did an impromptu photo shoot wearing the Elliot Lurie/Looking Glass shirts to post on Elliot’s website. Sadly though, my “adopted Grandma” Shirley wasn’t able to come to movie night. She had taken a fall the day before and while nothing was broken, she was still fairly sore. I hope she’s back in business soon and feeling better! After everyone left I took a short nap, and then got up to make my traditional Saturday night Super Salad. I watched the second “Wild Wild West” TV movie called “More Wild Wild West,” done in 1980. I’m sorry I did, as it was very disappointing. But, the completionist in me is glad I saw it.

Sunday the 10th – WILD AT WARNER! – My pal Officer Mark came by my house around 2 so we could help our buddy James move some stuff around in his office. James works at Warner Brothers in Post-Production Services, and he needed some strong backs to help him redecorate. I had to postpone until my back was better, but I was ready and rarin’ to go! Thought it was a hot day, I told Mark we should drive the Torino over and get some good shots on the lot while we’re there. After we were finished with the work in James’ office, I parked the Gran Torino in front of the famous facade used as Commissioner Gordon’s office in the old “Batman” TV series. It looked very cool. But because the car looks so amazing, the tourists on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour were stopping to take pictures and video. They really got a thrill when I got in the car, started it up and drove it around the block on the backlot. I got to blow the siren and everything. I’m driving through Warner thinking, “I’m driving my Starsky & Hutch Gran Torino at top speeds through the Warner Brothers lot! Does it get any better than this?”! The tourists sure loved it! I got home to get ready for evening church, but it was too hot out to walk Roxy over. My old friend the Reverend Dr. Marilyn Fiddmont was teaching that day, and she’s always stellar! Her lessons always result in a standing ovation! I call her husband Uncle Norman, because he’s the uncle of the old “Tonight Show” keyboardist Wayne Linsey. After I heard Wayne call him Uncle Norman, the moniker stuck with me. They live in Houston and I was relieved to hear that they didn’t suffer any damage in Hurricane Harvey. I got home and met up with Brittney so we could drive the Torino over to Barone’s to have dinner with Officer Mark, James and his wife Cynthia. What a great time, but I was getting tired! What a weekend! I grabbed a nap and then got up later to do some auditions. I heated up some leftover Barone’s pizza and watched another “Barnaby Jones” episode

And how was YOUR week?!?!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

What’s THIS?! A “different” Dynamic Duo parked in front of the famous steps leading to the office of Gotham City’s Commissioner Gordon??? What could be afoot here?!

As you can see, the tourists on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour had as much fun seeing the Torino as I had driving it!

Sara, Brittney and Edi model the spiffy Elliot Lurie/Looking Glass baseball tees!

Out for a Saturday drive, Edi seems to be in “70s Heaven!”

Edi’s dog Bunny looks like some sort of weird Jedi!

Yeah…the hat’s a bit much I think!

I was very sad to hear that my pal and Comic Book Legend Len Wein died this week a the age of 69.

Here are some pics and a composite video from the amazing Friday night performance of “The Muppets Take the Bowl.’ I hope hope hope hope this comes out on DVD someday!