July 23 – July 29


If Mark “The Joker” Hamill can star in a movie called “Corvette Summer,” I think Wally “The Riddler” Wingert should do a follow-up called “Gran Torino Summer,” don’t you? It sure was fun having the old girl back out on the street again on a breezy, summer day.

 Ever since I got into a deep conversation about David Gates and Bread with my friend Alex at Comic Con, I’ve been thinking a lot about their music. And I’ve been wondering why he isn’t out touring around. People would flock to see him perform! One of his favorites of mine was always “Goodbye Girl,” which came out in 1977. I remember playing that on my radio show every day for my pal Dan whose girlfriend Lona was moving away. Every time I hear that song I think of that. Those were the days!

Monday the 23rd – COMIC CON AFTERGLOW! – Since I had gotten back late on Sunday night from the San Diego Comic Con, I slept in fairly late. I lounged around all day and enjoyed being home again. It was another hot day in L.A., but after I returned my rented SUV to Enterprise (a Yukon I named “Cornelius”) I walked back home. I fed the pets, then showered up and went to check my mailbox and get my packages. I enjoyed a quick salad at Paty’s and then headed home to do some writing. The legendary experience I had at this year’s SDCC was going to take a while to transcribe. I was still thinking about the cool radio dramas I listened to on AM radio all the way back home. I’m going to start tuning in regularly on Sunday night to listen to more of them! I grabbed a short nap on the couch, and then got up later to do my auditions and e-mail them into my agent. I did a little more writing on Wally’s Week, but since I had to be up early for a Tuesday morning session, I hit the hay fairly early.

Tuesday the 24th – 107?! – It’s clear to me that we got our August weather in July. After all, it only makes sense, since we got our “June Gloom” in late April. So summer coming early really didn’t surprise me. It was supposed to be around 107 today in my neighborhood. The good news is, fall will arrive earlier than expected, and that means I’ll be able to get to Palm Springs again sooner than usual! I got up at 8 and headed to L.A. Studios to do some more work on the animated feature I’ve been doing a few voices on. It’s a great script and at this point we’re just laying down a “scratch track,” something to give the producers an idea of how it will sound all finished up. After scrutinizing the “radio play,” they’ll do rewrites and have us come back in to record some more with fresh pages. Once they settle on a script they like, they may hire other voices to replace us, or they may keep us (if they like what we did in the original sessions). It’s a crap shoot, but I’ve laid down scratch before and actually stayed in the final mix. So I’m not against doing scratch tracks at all. We wrapped our work on the animated film around noon, and I headed back home to walk Roxy. Even though it’s blazing hot out, my nutty dog likes to lie out in the grass and sunbathe. People are amazed when they see her. “Doesn’t she get hot?” they ask. She does, eventually. And when she has had enough, she’ll shake the leaves and grass from her coat, do one final pee-pee and then come inside for a cookie. What a spoiled dog! My pal Edi and I went to lunch around 3 so she could get to Hobby Lobby and pick up some more baseball tees for her husband Elliot’s merchandise table. He wrote and sang the hit song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” and still tours quite often. He does his own solo singer/songwriter show, as well as guesting with various bands (like Yacht Rock Revue). But the baseball tees I had silkscreened a while back are long gone (VERY good sellers, those) so she needs to have more made for his upcoming end-of-summer gigs. We started with a delicious lunch at Lancer’s, and then we went to Hobby Lobby and got shirts. She dropped me back home and I did a few things around the house. Then I napped until around 9 and got up to do my nightly auditions. I managed to finish Wally’s Week, as there were a ton of pictures and videos to get through. But it all posted nicely, so I made some spaghetti and watched a few more episodes of “Happy Days” from the first season DVD set. WHY OH WHY did they abandon the single-camera set-up from the first season and go with a multi-camera live-audience sitcom thing? It totally ruined the show! I LOVE the first season episodes!! Sadly, being a mid-season replacement series, they only had 16 episodes from the first season.

Wednesday the 25th – OLD PAL…NEW PAL! – It sure felt good to sleep all day, especially knowing it was so darned hot out. I got up later to do some work, feed the pets and then clean up for a 6pm session. My old pal Carmen Grillo, a guitarist and musician extraordinaire, had put me in touch with a guy named Gary who was working on a sizzle reel for a new animation concept. I’ve known Carmen since the late 90’s when he used to hire me to sing various songs for a multitude of projects. He has a studio in Encino, so we recorded there. Gary has a very fun, new idea…and it was a blast doing four voices for the various musician characters. When we finished we went to the Encino Jerry’s Famous Deli (not my usual haunt) and enjoyed a fun dinner. I went home to grab a nap, and then got up later to do some work around the house. I’m still organizing from my Comic Con trip, and it’s a lot of work. I made a tasty pot pie and watched a few more “Happy Days” episodes.

Thursday the 26th – A NEW MOON (LAMP)! – Around 2 I met my old pal Ken Dennis for lunch at Paty’s. Ken was the Supervising Producer on the first three seasons of “Family Guy” and we’ve been friends ever since. I don’t get to see him enough, and we always have lots to talk about. After lunch I hit Fed Ex to mail off my old iPod to an Apple tech in North Carolina who could install a new battery. When I flew to South Dakota recently I realized that my old, trusty iPod wasn’t holding a lengthy charge like it used to. So I found a place on-line called iFixedQuick.com and I arranged to have him replace the battery. Since my iPod is like gold to me, I wanted it to get there quickly, and returned quickly. So I overnighted it to him for Friday delivery. If I wanted it to get there Monday it would be 40 bucks. It would be 90 bucks to get it there Friday afternoon. So for only 50 bucks more I could be confident in the fact that my beloved iPod wasn’t roaming around the country all weekend. So, I took the plunge. Heck, it’s a charge that I only have to incur once or twice during the life of the unit…so why not? I dropped by the post office to mail some items, and then headed home. It was a much nicer, breezier day than earlier in the week. I appreciated the break and started getting the itch to get my Gran Torino out again. I got home to do some work and grab a short nap on the couch. I got up later to do auditions and install my new moon lamp I had picked up at my mailbox earlier. The other moon lamp I had was purchased on amazon late last year. It’s a 7” diameter 3D printed replica of the moon, with LED lights inside so it glows gold or silver. I had rigged it with a little hook and eye mechanism so it could hang freely on fish line in my Tranquility Zone. But as time went on, the silvery moon LED setting (which I much preferred over the golden moon) started to dim quite badly. So I found a slightly bigger 8” version on amazon and purchased that. But for some reason they wouldn’t send it to any of my L.A. addresses. So I had it shipped to my folks, and they sent it on to me. What a hassle. I installed the little screw-in eye in the new moon lamp, and hung it from the very same hook hanging on the fish line. It looked fabulous, and I really like the much LARGER moon lamp! The smaller moon lamp will go in the Puppet Room so my guests can enjoy it. I fed and walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, came inside to make some Buffalo Mac and watch “Happy Days.”

Friday the 27th – DODGIN’ THE MAIDS! – Normally my maids arrive between noon and 2, so I figured it was safe to tell a producer I could do a session from home for his sizzle reel at 3. But after I had booked the session with him, my maids called and said they’d be at Planet Wallywood from 2-4. Great. But it all worked. The maids arrived at 2 and started cleaning upstairs. I had to tell them not to vacuum while I was recording, and once we started recording the voice tracks on my home system it all went pretty fast. (The producer was on phone patch listening in to what I was doing.) Around 4 the maids left and I got cleaned up for the evening. My pal Mark Fullerton came over to pick up a few items I wanted signed at the autograph show he was going to on Saturday, so I figured I’d pick up my “adopted grandma” Shirley so she could join us for dinner at Jerry’s Famous Deli. After dinner I came home to do some work and grab a short nap. I spent the rest of the evening organizing and reconciling all of my receipts from Comic Con; a job I was dreading, but a job that had to be done.

Saturday the 28th – TASTY TEMPS – TORINO TIME! – Since it was a nice, breezy Saturday…I got the Gran Torino out for a spin. It was nice to have it out and about again, since it had been a few weeks. I had been traveling so much, plus the temps in L.A. weren’t really conducive to driving around a 40 year old car with no A/C. I picked up my mail at my mailbox, and then drove to the grocery store to get some supplies for that evening’s movie night. We were celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Grease!” I LOVE that movie. And seeing it always bring back a slew of good memories; seeing it 12 times on the big screen at the Capitol Theater in Aberdeen, South Dakota. After everyone left I grabbed a short nap on the couch, and then got up to discover that I had an ant problem in my kitchen again! Darned little things! I fed and walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood under a full moon. In the quiet of the night, I could hear coyotes baying at the full moon in the distance. It was haunting and beautiful. I came inside to make my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watch an episode of “SNL” from the second season DVD set. The one I saw was just before the Christmas break of 1976, and I’m wondering when Bill Murray will join the cast.

Sunday the 29th – STEPHANIE & STEPHANIE! – I got up at 4 and started getting ready for evening church. It was still a bit too hot outside to walk Roxy over, so I decided to drive instead. It was nice to be back, after having been absent recently due to my travels. The band sounded as amazing as ever. Afterwards two gals I know from church (both named Stephanie) and I went to Barone’s for dinner to meet up with my seamstress Mariah and her husband Clay. We had a fun dinner and the pizza there is always amazing! Mariah had completed a few shirts she was working on for me. After dinner I took the Stephanies back to their cars and headed home for a short nap on the couch. I got up to do a few auditions, fed and walked Roxy, and then headed off to bed so I could be up early Monday morning for a rare on-camera commercial audition in Hollywood.

And how was YOUR week??!!