April 8 – April 14 (2019)



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

I ran across this pic in a group e-mail recently, and with the new Lion King movie coming out soon, I thought it was appropriate! Cute!

 On the way home from Monsterpalooza I was feeling quite high. It was a fantastic weekend with lots of fun, frights and friends! I was elated to hear that my local AM oldies station was playing strictly 70’s music on the AM band! Normally they play too many 50’s and 60’s for my taste, but I guess they must be doing 70’s on Sunday nights! Amazing! They played a whole string of amazing songs (SO good to hear on the AM band like in the old days!) but Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years” really got my rockin’ in the Mustang! (“You’ve been telling me you’re a genius since you were 17. And after all this time I still don’t know what you mean.” Brilliant!)

Monday the 8th – SHAZAM! – Over the past several days I had been dealing with an annoying tickle in my trachea which created frequent, violent coughing spasms. It’s a holdover from a cold I had about 7 weeks ago. Here’s how it happened…7 weeks ago I got a cold, but my doctor was out of the office for a few days. Not wanting to let it go through the weekend, I accepted an appointment with one of the other doctors in the office who had never treated me before. She didn’t know that I’ve had chronic bronchitis problems all my life due to bad hay fever. My doctor knows that only the strongest medicine works for me when I contract this type of illness, but this doctor was only willing to prescribe me the cough medicine that she figured would be adequate; to play it safe. I told her it wasn’t going to work, and I was right. I spent that entire weekend coughing my lungs out…violently. By the time my doctor returned to his office that following Tuesday, I didn’t have a voice. He put me on the right medicine and I began the repair process. But the annoying tickle never fully went away, though it came and went in varying degrees. The past week or so the tickle got progressively worse, so I went back to my doctor who suggested a lung X-ray, and a visit with my ENT Dr. Jill so she could scope me to see what the problem was. Once he mentioned Dr. Jill I remembered what she told me a while back when I had the same issue. She said when a person coughs violently, they inadvertently bring up a lot of stomach acid which can injure the vocal cords, trachea and esophagus. That’s exactly what happened. Normally when I develop a cough I immediately go on double-duty antacids (Nexxium, Zantac) to mitigate the excess stomach acid. But I hadn’t done that this time. So I figured I would just “self-diagnose” and start on the antacids and let my acid injury heal on its own. Bad idea. I should have gone into see Dr. Jill right away. I didn’t want this to go on any longer, so I left a message on Dr. Jill’s voicemail to see about getting in on Tuesday to see her. I spent the day resting (like I did on Sunday) but I got sick of sleeping. I got on-line and bought a few tickets to a late-night screening of “Shazam!” and took my pal Sara to the show. I came back home to write up Wally’s Week, and opened up the costume on my Scarecrow of Romney Marsh figure so I could duct tape all the joints. That way when we moved him later this week to the Pasadena Convention Center so he could be on display at Monsterpalooza, he wouldn’t come apart in transit. Then I hit the hay.

Tuesday the 9th – MONSTER PREP! – Dr. Jill’s office called to say I could get in at 4:30 to see her. GREAT! My cough had gotten bad again, so I really needed to get my butt in there to see her! The animated series “Boruto” needed me to come in and do some lines to meet a delivery date, but I explained to them that I had to be out of the session by 4 to make my doctor appointment. They said it wouldn’t be a problem. Luckily the character I voice has a deep, gruff voice. So it worked out alright. I left Studiopolis a little before 4:00 and headed to see Dr. Jill. She said I had bronchitis; severe lung inflammation. She prescribed a steroid for me called Prednasone that she said would bring down the inflammation. I wasn’t contagious at all (though my cough sounded nasty!) but all of the violent coughing when I had a cold, coupled with the acid reflux caused by being on the wrong cough medicine during a sensitive time of the illness, had brought me to this. I drove home to feed the pets, then went to CVS to get my prescription. I had a nice, leisurely dinner at Panera next door, and then came back home to work on more stuff for Monsterpalooza. I sewed some Velcro to the inside of the shirt cuffs on my Andy Kaufman “Heartbeeps” figure. Then I glued the plastic cuff links to the exterior of the cuffs. Like I did with the Scarecrow, I undid the costume and duct taped all the joints on the mannequin so he would travel in one piece. I made some food and watched the final two episodes of “I Dream of Jeannie” from the fourth season DVD set.

Wednesday the 10th – THANK GOD IT’S STILL ONE CAMERA! – When I got up I had a few last-minute auditions to record. Then I drove to Lancer’s to meet Edi for lunch. We went to Hobby Lobby so I could get some more supplies for Monsterpalooza weekend; including foam board, easels, and more duct tape. Then I drove over to Plastic Depot to talk to Kyle and Kevin about the case I’m having made for my Rowlf the Dog puppet. We took more specific measurements so they could start in on the fabrication. As my late contractor Terry Crisp always used to tell me, “Measure twice, cut once.” We wanted to make sure the measurements were correct, so I brought Rowlf along with me to lay everything out. Then I went home to rest. Dr. Jill said it would take about 48 hours for the steroid to kick in, so by Thursday I should be much improved. I took a nap, and then got up later to put together the signage that would be displayed next to the pieces I would be loaning for the Monsterpalooza museum. It was the first year I’ve had anything in the museum, and I’ve been trying to get items in there for years, so this was VERY exciting! Especially since the show owner Eliot Brodsky asked for the pieces personally. I’ll be bringing my four Wizard of Oz busts, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, and the Andy Kaufman Heartbeeps figure. I could transport the busts in my car, but the figures would need to be hauled over in a much larger vehicle. So my effects guy Jim Ojala said his pal Erik would assist. When I finished the Monsterpalooza prep, I made some food and started in on the “Happy Days” season 2 DVD set. I was a little nervous that the second season would be the start of the dopey live audience three-camera set-up, but luckily they were still shooting the show single camera, ala M*A*S*H and The Wonder Years. The show was SO much better single camera! Much more meaningful and poignant.

Thursday the 11th – MONSTER SET-UP! – Shortly after 3 my pal Clay came over to help me load stuff into the SUV and haul it over to Monsterpalooza at the Pasadena Convention Center. Clay brought some dollies with him, so we brought the Scarecrow out of the Chaney Room and put him in the living room to get him staged for transport. Jim Ojala and Erik arrived around 4, and we loaded everything up and headed to Pasadena. Clay, two Oz busts, and I were in my Mustang, while Erik had an Oz bust, and the two full-size figures in his SUV. We met up in Pasadena and got everything set up and laid out like we wanted it. The great Tom Savini, whose make-up and effects work broke a lot of important ground in the industry, came by to check out the Oz busts. I’ve loved Tom’s work for years in many different films! He asked if he could touch the lion. He seemed fascinated by them. Then Clay and I drove over to Jim’s studio to pick up a few things, and then I went home to nap for a bit. I got up later to do my auditions, work around the house, make some buffalo mac, and then watched two more episodes of “Happy Days.” This was going to be a VERY exciting weekend!

Friday the 12th – FABULOUS, FRIGHTENING FRIDAY! – This was going to be a VEEEEERY busy day! I started by going to my seamstress Shelley’s to pick up my Rowlf the Dog cap she had made. I had hoped to have it ready to wear to Monsterpalooza, but I still had a fair amount of work to do on it to complete it, so it wasn’t looking like it would be ready in time. But it turned out GREAT! I got some lunch at Taco Bell, and then drove to Bang Zoom studios in Burbank to do a session for the digital assistant project I’ve been doing for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, I still had a bit of a cough, and my voice wasn’t completely back to normalcy. I feared that once I got on the microphone, the director would deem the work to be too inconsistent with the previously recorded stuff, and call off the session. Which is exactly what happened. I got caught up in one of my coughing spells, and Kevin the director said he wasn’t going to put me through the rest of the day. I felt very bad, but he said not to worry about it. The tracks have to match previously recorded stuff perfectly, and I just wasn’t quite there. So I drove over to Pasadena to Monsterpalooza. I saw a lot of friends and had a bunch of fun. My friend Valerie Perez was going to drop by, but she had been fighting a bug herself, so she decided to lay low for the night so she could be in fighting shape for Saturday. The museum exhibits looked great, and I was very proud to see people coming by taking pictures of my pieces! Around 9 I was getting tired so I headed home to do some work on my Rowlf the Dog hat. Jim Ojala had made a silicone cast of the nose off of a Rowlf puppet toy from 1979. The size of it was perfect for my cap. He gave me a copy of it in hollow black plastic. So I put some Magic Sculpt inside the hollow nose, put two small bolts through the front of the cap, and then secured the bolts into the Magic Sculpt and let it cure overnight. It seated beautifully! The next day the Magic Sculpt will have hardened nicely around the bolts, thus securing it to the front of the cap. Then I pressed Magic Sculpt in miniature plastic spoons to make the eye pieces. I’ll let those cure overnight as well. Then I hit the hay for a REALLY ambitious Saturday at Monsterpalooza!

Saturday the 13th – BEST. MONSTER. EVER! – I got up at 9:30, and was on the road to Pasadena by 10:15. When I got to the Convention Center the line was wrapped around the block and the line to park was extensive. I got parked and met with my trademark attorney Stephanie in front of the Convention Center just after 11. We went across the street to eat at PF Chang’s and discuss the project we’re working on. Today would be a “research” visit for her, so I can demonstrate that the audience for monster-related products is considerable. It didn’t take much convincing, as she saw for herself the overwhelming turnout for these types of products once we got to the show. We saw my pals who do the Monster Party podcast, we saw my old friends the Chaney family, and I met up with Valerie. We walked around and enjoyed the festivities. A bit later my pal Bridget Marquardt arrived. She was on the show “The Girls Next Door” on E!, and when my late friend Chuck McCann got my involved in one of the episodes, Bridget and I hit it off and have been friends since. Now she has a terrific ghost hunting podcast called “Ghost Magnet.” I urge you to check it out! In addition to loving REAL ghosts, she also loves horror movies. All of us had a monsterrific time at the show, but by 4:30 we were starting to feel the drain. I bid farewell to Stephanie, with the promise that we’d reconvene later after processing all that we’d seen at the show. I hit the road and went over to Weinerschnitzel to get a banana split. BOY did that taste good! When I got home to relax I couldn’t, even though my body was exhausted! I was still very mentally charged up by the amazing day I had just enjoyed. I popped one of the Rowlf the Dog eyes out of the plastic spoon mold and started carving and sanding it to get it ready to paint. I got one eye finished, and then I took a nap. I was really glad that I hadn’t gotten too ambitious and scheduled a movie night for that evening, because I was beat! Normally I would have probably been OK, but with the cough I’d been fighting, I felt it was a better option to rest. I got up later in the evening and worked on the other Rowlf the Dog eye piece. I’ll prime, paint and seal them on Sunday afternoon. At this point I wasn’t planning on going back to Monsterpalooza on Sunday, except in the evening to loadout the figures. I made my Saturday night Super Salad and watched an episode of “SNL” from the fourth season DVD set. The guest host was Frank Zappa. He was an odd choice for a host. I’ve never really “gotten” Frank Zappa, but he definitely had a big following.

Sunday the 14th – PALM SUNDAY! – I’ll be singing a song from “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the upcoming Good Friday service at my church. I’m singing “Pilate’s Dream,” partially as a personal tribute to my pal Barry Dennen who passed away a few years ago. He was the original Pilate, and a great guy (and very talented Voice Over artist!). They wanted to do a rehearsal after morning church got over at 11:30, so I was at the church by 11:40 to rehearse. I know the song by heart so it was a quick, easy rehearsal. I went upstairs to the social hall and found my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley who was helping out with the bake sale. I bought her a chocolate cupcake (her favorite) and I bought a few chocolate chip cookies. We chatted for a bit, and then I walked back home. I put a coat of primer on the Rowlf the Dog eye pieces, and then went inside to do some work while they dried. Then I put a coat of off-white on them, let it dry. Did a second coat, let it dry. And then did a third coat, and let it dry. When everything was set I attached the eye pieces to the cap’s front, aligned them up so they’re even, glued them down, and screwed on the capnut on to the back of the bolt. Now all he needed was a trim and he was ready to be worn! I grabbed a short nap before evening church, and then drove over for the service. I took Shirley out to eat at Paty’s, and then dropped her off at her home. Even though Monsterpalooza ended at 6, I wanted to wait for the rush of the mass exodus to cool down before I headed over there to get my items. So I took my time. I got to the Convention Center around 8, and still had a little bit of a wait to get a parking space. I loaded the Oz busts into my car, and waited for Erik to pull his SUV up in front of the center. I got to speak with Eliot Brodsky about future shows. He wants me to be more involved in them, by hosting some panels and doing some other fun stuff. I’m game! When Erik arrived we loaded up the figures and we were on our way! What a successful weekend! It didn’t take long for Erik and I to replace the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh and Heartbeeps figures. Just as I was bidding Erik farewell, my hair guy Sergio Lopez arrived at my door. I knew he was in the area for another reason, but he wanted to stop by and do the trim on the Rowlf the Dog cap while he was local. What a great guy! It didn’t take him long to do the cut, and it ended up looking perfect! I was pretty tired so I grabbed a short nap. Then I got up to do my auditions, walked and fed Roxy, and came inside to make spaghetti and watch a few more “Happy Days” episodes. What a FUN weekend! And I’m glad I’m finally starting to feel better. That Prednasone is amazing!

And how was YOUR week??!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

The Rowlf the Dog cap is DONE! Thanks to Shelley Johnson, Sergio Lopez, and Jim Ojala!

Laying out all the display items Thursday night during set-up at Monsterpalooza!

The great Tom Savini enjoyed looking at my pieces!

A really great Michael Myers Halloween 2018 display by Chris Nelson!

This likeness of Bela Lugosi from Madame Tussaud’s is uncanny!

A hauntingly novel Santa Claws!

All the signs are hung and the Planet Wallywood collection is ready for the world to see!

My buddy Larry Toro brought his Wicked Witch of the West figure to display next to my Oz busts! Perfect!

Which one is real?!

A model is made up as the Elephant Man

My friend Valerie Perez says hello to actor Doug Jones (Shape of Water)

My buddy Bridget Marquardt finds a fan in Jason Voorhees (it might have been the Camp Crystal Lake t-shirt she was wearing!)

Attorney Stephanie, Bridget and Valerie look glamorous in front of the backdrop!

James Gonis from the Monster Party gang interviews Bridget on the show!

I mean, seriously…look at that detail!

One more shot of the ladies in front of the display before we go!