Archive for October, 2017

October 23 – October 31



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

When Jonathan Frid passed away a few years ago, his family was kind enough to gift me with several personal photos from Jonathan’s collection. They gave their blessing and allowed me to share the photos with his fans. Here’s something you never saw on “Dark Shadows!” Barnabas Collins in a bathing suit enjoying the sunshine! (Although there was that time Dr. Julia Hoffman briefly cured him of vampirism which allowed him to enjoy life during the daylight hours!)

At last week’s Micky Dolenz concert at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, special guest Mike Nesmith sang “Listen to the Band.” It got stuck in my head (particularly that amazing brass passage) and I’ve been humming it all week!

Monday the 23rd – BLIND AS A BIRD! – Shortly after noon I awoke and opened my curtains to get ready for the day with my folks. As I was getting ready I heard something hit my bedroom window. I looked out but didn’t see anything. I initially thought it was the glass adjusting from the intense heat outside with the cool of the interior. But then I looked closer and saw a dead little yellow-breasted songbird lying on my sloped roof. Sometimes birds will accidentally fly into my window and get a bit dazed, but then they’ll fly off soon after. But this one was stone cold dead. Poor little guy. He must’ve been tearing through the air at a very high speed when he hit the window. Because of the awkward placement of the little bird body, it wasn’t possible to crawl out my window to get it (dangerous with a sloped roof,) and it’s not possible to put a ladder on my patio and climb up to get it. Boy do I hate death. I did a few last-minute auditions, walked Roxy, and compiled a Monkees CD for my parents to enjoy (they really loved the Micky Dolenz concert last Friday night). It was about 103 outside, with some areas clocking in at 107! My folks were getting one last taste of summer before they flew back to the autumn-entrenched Midwest. My effects guy Jim Ojala stopped by to measure some wall space for a new display I’m working on. More on that later. It was fun getting my folks’ input on how it should look. The parents and I went to Jerry’s Famous Deli for dinner, and then I came home to nap. I got up later to do auditions, type out Wally’s Week, and then I spent all night working on putting the finishing touches on my Chairry Jr. backrest pillows. (See last week’s Wally’s Week). In fact, I stayed up until 10:30 Tuesday morning working on them. I was definitely in a creative groove and couldn’t stop!

Tuesday the 24th – FINAL NIGHT FOR THE FOLKS! (?) – Since I didn’t get to bed until around 10:30, I slept until 3:30. When I got up my folks were napping too. I did a few auditions and worked on some stuff until the folks woke up and came downstairs. We got the Gran Torino out and drove over to Lancers for dinner. When we got home we spent their final night in town chatting about all sorts of things. They went to bed and I took a short nap. When I got up later I did more auditions, paid some bills, reconciled my bank statements, glued the eyes to my Chairry Jr. prototype, and hit the hay. I needed to be up at 11 to take the folks to the airport for their trip home.

Wednesday the 25th – UNITED STRIKES AGAIN! – My alarm went off at 11 and I started getting ready to take the folks to the airport. Though their flight wasn’t taking off until 3:45, my dad likes to be really early. Plus, this would give us time to get lunch before heading to the airport. I looked outside to greet the day and the body of the little yellow-breasted songbird who ran blindly into my window…WAS GONE! How did that happen? My dad thought it was a cat, but no cat I know could get up on my roof like that. I started wondering if his other bird friends came to take him away, as maybe there’s a bird burial protocol we don’t know about. Or maybe one of the ravens swooped down and grabbed him for dinner; but I didn’t think they ate meat. A hawk could have come by, but I think they only prefer fresh meat, and not already-dead things. Very puzzling. The folks and I stopped off at Jersey Mike’s to get some sandwiches, and then I dropped them off at the airport. I went to CVS to get some photo prints made, stopped by Guns Direct to get some ammo, stopped by my mailbox to get some packages, and then went home to unwrap those packages and see what goodies came in the mail. I was doing some auditions in my home studio when my mom called. She said I’d have to go back to the airport and pick them up. What?! The flight they’d be taking to Denver for their connection had technical trouble, and by the time it arrived from San Francisco and got to Denver, they would miss their connection to Sioux Falls. So they’ll be taking the same flight out on Thursday, but they’re not going home today. They tried to get on the first flight out the next morning, but it was booked. I thought maybe they should stay at a closer hotel in case something opened up they could get to the airport right away. But all the area hotels were sold out because of the World Series. So I drove back and picked them up, and we headed back to my house. They were disappointed because after a week’s visit, they were ready to get back to their home and their routine. Good old United Airlines strikes again. The folks rested and I finished up all four of the Chairry Jr.s I had. I grabbed a short nap, fed and walked Roxy, and then did some work around the house. I hit the hay so I could be up early to take the folks to the airport again the next day. Déjà vu all over again!

Thursday the 26th – THE COOL DOWN! – When I got up at 11 I checked on my folks’ flight. But since it wouldn’t be leaving San Francisco until 1:30 it was pointless. I walked Roxy over to Studiopolis to pick up a check. The weather was great as it had cooled off considerably from our previous week’s heatwave. I did some work around the house, and then packed the folks up in the Mustang and headed to McDonald’s for some quick lunch. I dropped them at the airport really early (my dad’s request), and then I got a few groceries. I hit the cleaners to take a comforter in to be cleaned, and then I stopped by my mailbox to get some packages. I drove over to Shirley’s to hand her a Monkees CD and a photo I had framed for her from the “BV2F” screening last Saturday (see last week’s Wally’s Week!). I got back home, unloaded the groceries and did some work around the house. I did a few auditions and checked the United website to see if my folks’ flight was going to make it. Sure enough, it made it on time and they were on their way home. My pal Brittney Powell came over later to do some work, and then I grabbed a nap. I got up later to hit Denny’s for some food to go. I fed and walked Roxy and then ate my dinner and watched an “Outer Limits” episode from the second season DVD set.

Friday the 27th – HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE! – After waking up at 2, I did a little work and then headed to Hollywood for an audition. But first I stopped at Arby’s and got a few pizza sliders for lunch. I made it to The Crossroads of the World for my audition. It’s an old Hollywood landmark that has amazing architecture, but it’s not very well maintained. I haven’t been there in years, but there are still a few casting offices left in that complex. After the audition I traversed the horrible Hollywood Friday afternoon traffic. The Hollywood Bowl was having a concert that night, so it’s always “interesting” trying to navigate through that craziness. I stopped at Rite Aid to get some supplies, and then made it home to feed the pets. I got my costume ready for a Saturday Halloween party, and I prepped some stuff for “Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con” which I’d be attending the next day.

Saturday the 28th – STAN LEE, PEE-WEE, AND GOOFY! – At 11:30 my friend Secunda Wood and her son Aaron came over so we could all catch an Uber to the L.A. Convention Center. Secunda would be doing her first-ever Voice-Over panel, so I wanted to show up and cheer her on. Taking an Uber was much wiser than trying to find parking on a Saturday at the convention center. We got there around 12:30 and got our tickets. We went inside to meet Mark Fullerton, who was holding our place in line for Paul Reubens’ autograph. I’ve met Paul several times before, and have lots of stuff signed by him, but I wanted him to sign one of my new Chairry Jr. backrest chairs. When Mark and I got up to the table I introduced myself and he said, “We’ve met before, right?” I told him we had. Then I told him, “The other day I was shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond…” and he said, “Name dropper.” Funny! I pulled Chairry Jr. out of the bag and said,”Chairry had a baby!” He was fairly impressed by it and even took a photo of it on his phone. I told him I had one for him, and all I needed was his mailing address. I gave my card to his assistant and he said he’d be in touch. I also had my “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” Blu Ray case signed, and I picked up a cool book called “The Official Pee-Wee Herman Fun Book” and had him sign that too. After we left Paul’s table I moseyed on over to see the lovely Julie Newmar. Then I stopped by Burt Ward’s table to say hi. I waved at Lee Meriwether, but she always had a crowd of people at her table so I didn’t bother going up. I saw lots of Voice-Over people who were there signing, including my old pal Brian Cummings. Brian is also from Aberdeen, South Dakota so we always have fun talking about the old days in “The Hub City.” I ran into my pal Sean, whom I first met at last year’s L.A. Comic Con. Sean is also a member of Sons of the Desert. We went upstairs to find the room where Secunda’s panel would be. My agent Vinnie was there as well, so I sat by him and we enjoyed the discussion. I’m happy for Secunda because she’s fairly new at all this stuff. But she had a good time and she did a great job on the panel. We went downstairs to find Mark who was waiting in line for a photo op with Paul Reubens. The line was tremendously long! We wanted to go grab a late lunch, but we knew Mark would be in line for a very long time. But it paid off, because the picture he got with Paul was really fun! So Sean, Secunda, Aaron and I went across the street to Hooters to get lunch. After we finished we caught an Uber back to my place and hung out. Then I started getting ready for Bill Farmer’s annual Halloween party. Bill is best known as the voice of Goofy and Pluto for Disney, and every year he throws a Boo Bash at his house. Last year I was at the L.A. Comic Con and felt myself getting sick halfway through a Voice-Over panel I was on. I figured the best thing to do was to go home and stay home and not go to Bill’s party. The last thing I wanted to do was to take an illness to a party full of Voice-Over people! It’s too bad too. Last year I had that TV commercial for Dell running in which I played a glam rocker. I was determined to go out on Halloween for the first time ever as MYSELF! I had the costume mocked up by my seamstress Karyn; even down to the green lame spandex pants! But I never got to wear it last year because of my bronchitis. So the costume sat in my closet for a year. Tonight was my chance to put it on and rock the world! But would anyone remember the reference to a commercial that was a year old? I put black fingernail polish on my nails, then showered and did my hair 80’s glam rock-style. I put on some fake tattoos, put on the costume and put my eye make-up on. My friend Valerie Perez was running a bit late, which was OK because I was still in the process of getting ready. (Those damn dance belts!) We got to Bill’s at 9:00 and had a great time. We danced, ate, chatted with some of the other folks there, played on my buddy Michael Gough’s Theramin, and watched “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” on Bill’s outdoor movie screen. I got back home around 1:30 and walked and fed Roxy. After a hot shower I napped for a bit on the couch. I didn’t wake up until 5:30am. The day had really been a long one and I was exhausted! I walked Roxy and then made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watched episode 3 of “Saturday Night Live” from 1975. It was much better than the previous 2 episodes I had seen. I got to bed around 10am Sunday morning.

Sunday the 29th – SHIRLEY SICK! – Like clockwork, my body woke me up at 4:30, just in time to get ready for evening church. As Roxy and I were walking in the church we saw Shirley (my adopted grandma) being driven away by my friend Tracy. Shirley wasn’t feeling very well and wanted to go home. Her blood pressure was spiking for some reason. Since the World Series game was on the group at church was small. But I still enjoyed it. Next week the band and I will be singing Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate” at the evening service. FUN! Roxy and I walked home and I laid around to catch my breath from the previous week’s activities. Between the folks visiting, the comic con and the Halloween party, I was beat! It felt good to just relax until I had to record my auditions later.

Monday the 30th – GAVE UP THE GHOST! – My first stop of the day was at Plastic Depot. I took the plastic cases in that cover my Kermit the Frog and Animal 1:1 Muppet replicas. I was getting tired of having to pull the heavy covers off every time I wanted to remove the puppets. So I redesigned them to accommodate little hinged doors. Kyle at Plastic Depot is going to affect the changes and let me know when they’re finished. Then when I want to remove the puppets to show them off, I just need to open a little door and grab then. Easy! I got some food at the KFC drive-thru, and then headed to my mailbox to get my mail. I sat in their parking lot talking to my friend Scott from Sioux Falls as I ate. Then I went into get my packages. But when I came back out my car’s battery was dead! I called AAA and they came out to replace it. The date on the other battery was from July of 2013. Yup! Time for a change! I’m just glad it didn’t give out while my folks were here, or while I was out partying on Halloween! I got home and fed the pets, did some writing, and then grabbed a nap. When I got up I had a ton of challenging auditions. They were fun, but very intense. I worked around the house and prepped for the Halloween party at Paul Dini’s house the next night. I made soup and a sandwich and watched an episode of “The Outer Limits” before bed.

Tuesday the 31st – HALLOWEEN! – As a kid, one of the happiest days of my life was when I would walk into the Woolworth’s store in Aberdeen, South Dakota on a certain day in late September. It was the first day all of the Halloween stuff had been put out on the shelves. The new Halloween costumes for the year were hung up from the ceiling with fish line on flat little cardboard mannequin shapes. The fact that they were up so high added to the magic and mystique. I stared up at them in awe, trying to pick out which one I wanted to be. Secret Squirrel. Mickey Mouse. Batman. Superman. Peter Potamus. Dick Tracy. Bullwinkle. Frankenstein. The choice was a difficult one, but an amazing one! The smell of the candy was palpable, and I would make a bee-line over to the Halloween aisle to drink it all in. One side of the aisle was nothing but bags and bags of candy. On the opposite side of the aisle it was all masks, costumes and make-up. Back then the mask and costume sets were in boxes, with the name of the character and the size printed on the edge of the box. The costume was neatly folded inside, and on top of it was the character mask; peering through a cellophane window in the top of the box. They had Small (for kids 3-5), Medium (for kids 6-9) and Large (for kids 10-12). I guess the Ben Cooper mask company figured after the age of 12, you’re too old to trick or treat. To the right of the boxed costume sets were just the masks ala carte. The store had a peg board display with long metal hook pegs fastened into the holes in the peg board. The long pegs would go through the eyes of the masks as they were all stacked together. I still remember the price of the individual masks – 29 cents. I much preferred getting just a mask and fabricating my own costume. When I was Thor one year, my mom dyed an old sheet red for my cape. Then I took a support rod out of an old wooden chair we had, and taped a Kleenex box to it for my hammer. Those were the days. I just wish I could go back in time for one day to the old Woolworth’s store a few weeks before Halloween. That was indeed one of my happy places! Around 2 I drove over to Studio Copy to pick up a new Andy Kaufman poster I had printed. I’m retooling my main Andy Kaufman display, and the new exhibit will have this new color poster of him wearing the suit I have in my collection. Then I dropped the poster off at Kinko’s to have it mounted to foam core. I drove over to say hi to Shirley and drop off a few items for her and see how she was doing. She spent a few nights in the hospital, but was now doing well. Her favorite movie is “Love is a Many Splendored-Thing.” We screened it at her 90th birthday party. One of the last living actors from that movie is the legendary James Hong. He didn’t have a line in the film, but he was definitely in several crucial scenes. He was probably around 18 at the time it was filmed. Mr. Hong was at the L.A. Comic Con singing photos, so I had him sign one for Shirley. He signed it, “Shirley…Indeed, love is a many-splendored thing.” Then he signed his name in both Chinese and English. What a class act. On my way home I stopped by the carpet and blinds store to pick up my repaired bedroom window blinds. While I was there I spoke with a guy named Jack about replacing the carpet in my living room and studio area. It’s something I’m going to need to do before the end of the year, I believe. I got back home and readied myself for Paul and Misty Dini’s annual Halloween party. My pal Val Perez came over, this time dressed as Zatanna, and we drove over to the Dini’s. They live in a neighborhood with lots of “trick or treaters.” It was a real “treat” for me to see them coming to the door in their costumes asking for candy. What fun! After the party I came home to shower and grab a short nap. I got up to do a few auditions, made some pizza rolls and then watched another episode of “The Outer Limits.”

And how was YOUR Halloween week???!!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

My pal Valerie Perez couldn’t resist hitting the dancefloor when they played “Ghostbusters!”

Donald Duck as Freddy Krueger! GENIUS!

All dolled up and ready to rock!

Both kids and adults alike had fun trick or treating!

Even “Groucho Barks” was enjoying the festivities!

Val and I rock out one final time before Halloween 2017 comes to an end.

Crystal the pony stopped over to say hello!

I love neighborhoods that really get into the “spirit” of the festivities!

Pee-Wee himself LOVED my Chairr Jr. customization!

The lovely Julie Newmar is always a treat to behold!

Robin, The Riddler & King Tut walked into a convention…stop me if you’ve heard this.

Theramin Master and fellow VO actor Michael Gough stops over to say hello.

Mark and Paul’s photo. The wait was worth it!

Burt Ward signs my amazing Batman shirt.

Fellow Voice-Over Actor and former fellow Aberdonian Brian Cummings and I get ready to tear it up!

The legendary James Hong loves hearing my tell all about my adopted grandma Shirley’s love of “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing”…

Mr. Hong stops to remember how old he was when he did that film…

..success! Shirley’s gonna LOVE this!