Another fantastic L.A. sunset!

This is turning into one of my favorite Christmas songs. It’s Herb Alpert’s “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle,” and I’ve been humming it all week!


Monday the 13th – PUPPET PORTRAITS! – Now that I’ve collected up 12 really cool Muppet replicas, I wanted to get detailed portraits taken of them for my website. That way anyone else who is hoping to make their own puppets could possibly use my website as a reference. If my puppets could help another builder in their on-line research, then that’s totally great! My pal and webmaster Scott Sebring brought his camera gear over just before noon to get set up. My pal Officer Mark arrived to help with the set-up as well. These photos will serve as documentation for posterity as well, so we’re going to get front, profile and reverse shots of each character. We shot all afternoon, got some great stuff, and then took a lunch break and headed to Lancers for a meal. On the way there I dropped off my Mustang to get the blower repaired at the Burbank Auto Doctor. I found out the other night (on a very cold night) that my blower was out, and I wasn’t able to get any heat in the car. After lunch I was driven back home to complete the photo shoot, and we had a few others show up who could provide extra hands for the puppets. That way we could get some great group shots. We finished up and Scott downloaded all of the photos to my computer while I put the puppets away. Scott got VERY good, studio-quality photos! Originally I was just hoping to get some quick shots of the puppets for posterity, but the way Scott shot them made them look worthy of the Henson company themselves! Officer Mark drove me to my auxiliary garage to get my Torino so I’d have a car to drive around while my Mustang was getting repaired. Since Christmas is getting closer, I like to drive my Torino around anyway. Sometimes I’ll even decorate it up! I got back home and did my auditions, typed out Wally’s Week, and got ready for a rainy night! I worked all night around the house finishing things up, and early in the morning I phoned my trademark attorney (who’s on the east coast) to finalize some things with Christoween and the trademark office. I also called my accountant (who gets up VERY early this time of year to get tax things finished for clients) and we went over my corporate taxes for the end of the year. After that I hit the hay! What a day!

Tuesday the 14th – THIS RAIN MAKES ME MELLOW! – Since it was raining all day, I decided to push my errands off to Wednesday. It rains so rarely here that when there’s a really sweet rainy day I like to stay cozy inside and enjoy it fully. I did a last-minute audition and e-mailed it to my agent. Then I worked on prepping some Christoween stuff for this weekend’s big Season’s Screamings convention. My effects guy Jim Ojala came over to get the lower half of my Scarecrow of Romney Marsh figure for repair. A few years ago, when I took Scarecrow to Monsterpalooza to display him, he somehow broke his ankle during the transportation process. Luckily the knee-high English riding boots he’s wearing helped to support him as he stood in the Chaney Room, but eventually he started tipping over. So now Jim has to remove the boot, fix the fiberglass mannequin foot, put the boot back on, reattach him to the base, and bring him back home. Big job! My friend Emily had just finished her last finals for school before the holiday break, and she got A’s! So I took her out for a nice dinner at Barone’s to celebrate! She is also assisting me this weekend at the convention, so we did a bit of strategy planning. There’s a LOT to consider when mounting something like this! I came home and enjoyed some “Christmas Nappies” on the couch with the pets. (Many years ago when I had my dog Sassie, I first started calling it “Christmas Nappies.” Basically, Sassie would lie on her beanbag chair and nap, and my cat Spook would lay by the fireplace and nap, and I’d nap on The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe while listening to Christmas music softly play on the satellite. I asked Sassie if she wanted to take “Christmas Nappies” and she was very enthusiastic about it. So the term just stuck throughout the years.) When I woke up I did my nightly auditions, and did some more strategizing for the weekend’s convention. I want to make sure everything goes right with my “Christoween Informational Seed Planting” mission; planting the seeds of information about the Christoween franchise and driving people to the website to hear the audible stories.

Wednesday the 15th – BACK TO THE DOCTOR…ALREADY?! – When I arose I drove the Torino to the Burbank Auto Doctor to drop it off for its yearly maintenance service (I take it in this time every year) and get the Mustang, which just had a new blower installed. I went to KFC to get some lunch, and then went to my mailbox to send off some Christoween stuff and get some packages. I drove to my seamstress Shelley’s to pick up a new bowling shirt I had her work on. It’s a shirt with a bunch of skulls on it wearing Santa hats; perfect for the upcoming Season’s Screamings event! I drove to CVS to print off some hang tags for some Christoween merchandise, and also print the price lists for the items I’d be selling at the show. But when I got in the Mustang to go home…a new problem! There’s a little button on my center console gear shift that I have to engage with my thumb before it will go into gear. The button won’t engage unless I have my foot on the brake. (It’s a safety thing) Even though I had my foot firmly on the brake, the shift lever wouldn’t move! I moved my tires back and forth hoping it was just locked up, but it wouldn’t budge. Finally, the button depressed and I could shift. Whew! I got home and set up for an interview with two nice ladies for a Power Rangers YouTube show called “Power Rangers Playback with Cat and Nakia.” It was a very fun interview. I fed the pets and then got back into the car to head to Staples to pick up some things. But again, I had trouble with the shifter. Something was definitely going wrong! I initially thought that some sort of sensor might have gotten disturbed during the installation of the new blower. But I don’t know much about cars so I could be wrong. At Staples I picked up some little neon green dot stickers so I could print my booth number on them, and attach the stickers to the 1000 double-sided promo cards I had printed up to pass out at the show. I also bought two big plastic bins to transport the Christoween merch back and forth to the show. But when I got in the car, again there was a problem with the shifter. Just when I think I’ll be stuck there unable to get the gear shift into gear, it’ll suddenly work. Strange. I was unhappy with the photos of my price lists I had printed earlier (I made the lettering too dark on one, and the other had the lettering too close to the edge of the photo) so I tweaked the layout and needed to reprint them at CVS. The new prints looked much better! I got some food to go at Panera and got into my Mustang. I prayed it would work, but again…gearshift problems. But again, thank God, it got into gear. I needed to get it back to the Auto Doctor right to have this fixed! When I got home I spent the rest of the night putting the new hang tags on a few pieces of Christoween merchandise, and I printed the little neon green dot stickers with my booth number. It’s a tedious process, since the sheets of stickers are 4” x 6” and have to be hand fed one at a time into the printer. Ugh. The amount of stickers in the pack numbered 1008, and I had ordered 1000 promo cards, so it would work out perfectly! But as they printed out, I would print another sheet while I stuck the dots on to the cards. I started realizing that I had plenty of sticker dots left, but I was running out of cards! Did I not get the full 1000 postcards I ordered? I stopped and did a count of the promo cards, and sure enough, I only had one-fourth of what I ordered. Luckily I have the cell phone number of the lady who owns the printing business, and it wasn’t too late in the evening at that point. She was convinced that all 1000 got sent, but I told her that pack of cards was all I received. When the box of cards arrived I put them in my garage and left them alone until it got closer to the convention. So the likelihood that I misplaced them somewhere wasn’t very likely. Plus, looking at the size of the pack of 250 cards, I would have had to have gotten three more packs that exact same size, and I know for a fact I didn’t. She said she’d call her printer the next morning to see if there was a problem. I looked at the postage receipt she sent me, and the total was just over $16. That very morning I sent a package with one Christoween t-shirt in it, and that alone was 5 bucks! So it was hard for me to believe that she could send 1000 heavy postcards for 16 bucks. But she’ll check on it and let me know, even though the show was quickly approaching and I was about 750 cards short! I took some “Christmas Nappies” and relaxed. I got up and went over the list of items I needed to take with me for the Christoween display, and prepped for two sessions on Thursday; one would be at home, and the other would be at a studio.

Thursday the 16th – GIMME A BRAKE! – The printer lady called me to inform me that her printer had indeed made a mistake in the quantity. Come to find out, after talking to her, that they print four 5 X 7 cards per one sheet of paper. Then the sheets are cut into quarters and the cards are made. In order to make 1000 cards, you need 250 sheets of paper. Apparently the printer thought they wanted 250 cards total, not 250 sheets of paper. So that’s why I was missing ¾ of my order. She assured me that the printer was working on them, and she would deliver them personally to my house later that afternoon. Sweet! Whew! That was a close one! When I started up the Mustang to go to the Burbank Auto Doctor it went right into gear, so I sped over there to drop it off and take the Torino back. They had finished up all of the annual maintenance on the Torino, and just needed to fix the hazard lights. But that can wait until later. So the Torino was basically ready to go! Mike at the Auto Doctor explained that the rear brakes are directly connected to the thumb release on the gearshift. So he figured some solenoid was out of whack and needed to be replaced with the braking system. Sure enough, when he checked, my brake lights were totally out! So he’ll replace everything to get it working perfectly again. Sheesh, just last week I hit 80,000 on my Mustang and it seems like the blower and gear shift problem happened right after that! I’m just wondering what else will be happening soon as the car continues to age. Even though it still has low mileage for a car of its age (it’s a 2003) it is quickly approaching its 20th birthday! I took the Torino to Burger King to get some lunch, and then went to one of my favorite stores in Burbank to buy myself a special Christmas gift. I dropped off four sacks of clothes at Goodwill, and then came home to get set up in the home studio to do a one-hour Voice Over session for a talking Halloween toy. My printers arrived with the remaining 750 promo cards, so I was all set! I relaxed for a bit, and then hopped into the Torino and headed to Rocket Sound for a quick session for a video game. It was all of two lines, so it took me longer to get there than the actual session took. Sometimes that happens. I went to my seamstress Shelley’s house to pick up another Christoween item I needed to have for the weekend, and headed home to start packing for the convention. I filled up the two plastic bins with merchandise and utilities that I would need for set-up. I reconfirmed with my checklist, and then I enjoyed some “Christmas Nappies.” When I got up I finished packing, edited together the video for this week’s Aspiring Voice Actor Christoween compilation, fed and walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, and got ready for a very early morning and a very full Friday!

Friday the 17th – SEASON’S SCREAMINGS: DAY 1! – Roxy’s groomer arrived at 9:30, and while she was getting groomed, I loaded stuff to the garage so it could be easily loaded up when my pal Edi arrived to take us to the convention. Roxy looked fabulous when she was finished, and just like clockwork Edi arrived so we could load stuff into her SUV and head to Pasadena. We arrived a little early for our load-in time, so we waited outside to be ushered in. Once we got in I started loading the pegboard display, the two plastic bins, and my rolling case of photos into our booth. We got it all set up in under an hour, and by that time my pal Officer Mark had arrived across the street and was holding a table for us at the restaurant. We enjoyed a nice, leisurely pre-con lunch at the Yard House. And then it was time to head back to the convention center for our 4pm safety inspection. Once the show opened we met some awesome people and spread the word about the audible Christoween stories on the website. Many of them were really interested in the concept! Officer Mark helped to hand out promo cards while Edi and I manned the table. By the time we wrapped up at 10pm it had been a very long day. But the weekend was just beginning!

Saturday the 18th – MOTHER OF THE YEAR – As luck would have it, I woke up 2 hours before my alarm was set to go off. My mind was buzzing with ideas and excitement about the day to come. I fed Roxy, and did some last-minute things before taking off to the convention. My pal Emily would be assisting me the rest of the weekend at the convention. Since all the stuff had already been loaded into the convention center, we only needed to take our personal effects to the show. But we arrived a bit too early, so there was a fair amount of just sitting around before the show opened at 10. I vowed not to arrive quite so early on Sunday. Once again, I met several really cool people. I met amazing, young actress Kayla Cromer who approached my table to talk about Voice Over. She had just completed an on-camera role in a two-season show called “Everything’s Gonna To Be OK.” And now she was beginning to book some Voice Over work and I told her to e-mail me any time she had questions. I met a young lad named Marcos who was always in some sort of amazing cosplay. I don’t think I ever did see his real face the entire weekend! His mom stood at my table and after buying a Christoween book and Stalking set, explained to me how Marcos’ reading skills increased exponentially once he was allowed by his teachers to read the stuff he was interested in. I told her I was the exact same way when I was a kid. Marcos was very interested in reading the first Christoween story “Frankie-fied!” and was excited to hear the rest of the stories in audible form on the website. His mom said she worked a deal with his teachers to grade him on the books HE wanted to read, instead of the books THEY wanted him to read. As a result, his reading improved monumentally. Amazing! Good job, mom! I told her that, not only were my parents very supportive of my reading of monster mags and comic books, but that my dad even bought me a spinner rack for my comics from an old drugstore in the Midwest! Talking to Marcos was a bit like talking to my younger self. And I REALLY knew that he would relate to Donnie Druthers, the lead character in the Christoween stories! I gave him a Donnie Druthers plushie as a gift. Emily, Officer Mark, and I took a break to go eat lunch at El Cholo across the street. But our waiter seemed more interested in doing comedy than being a waiter, so we had to virtually beg for drink refills, etc. It was weird. But every time he came to the table it seemed like he was trying to entertain us with his witty quips. We got back to the convention and a guy came up to the table, looked at my name and said, “Are you from South Dakota?” I told him I was, and he told me an amazing story about how I had DJ’d a dance at his high school in Dell Rapids back in the 80’s! He remembered listening to me on the radio back then. He moved to L.A. many years ago to get into the stocks and securities business. Unbelievable! The last few hours of the convention moved very slowly and I was aching to go home. Once 7pm hit we were outta there. It was a pretty fantastic day though, and we only had about a few stacks of promo cards left. I got home, did some work, took some much-needed “Christmas Nappies” and plotted out the strategy for the next day. Officer Mark wouldn’t be with us to hand out promo cards, so I’d be doing it. I thought it might be nice to put the “Frankie-fied!” animatic on my tablet and have it playing at the table. Of course I’d play the video with the audio turned down, so my neighbors in the surrounding booths wouldn’t get sick of hearing the same audio over and over. Why didn’t I think of doing that on Friday and Saturday? UGH!

Sunday the 19th – SEASON’S SCREAMINGS: FINAL DAY! – One of the disheartening things I heard at the con all weekend was “I wish I had known you were going to be here!” The convention wasn’t great at advertising the actors who were there doing signings, so it did us actors a bit of a disservice. The con also didn’t have numbers up on the booths, so it was very difficult to find specific vendors. I hope they consider improving that going forward. Emily picked me up and we headed to the con and got the tablet set up to show the animatic. We met a lot of fun people, including a kid named Zim! Yes, named after the cartoon! Zim was very excited to meet me, and after getting a signed photo and a selfie, also bought a few Christoween items. I gave Zim’s dad a free roll of Christoween wrapping paper at the end of the day with the express request that he wrap all of Zim’s Christmas gifts in it for Christmas morning! He was very touched. By about 4 in the afternoon I had handed out the remaining promo cards. It was hard work, because I was leaping up from the table periodically to hand out cards, and then sitting back down to talk to people. I sensed that I would definitely be feeling it the next day! OUCH! My effects guy Jim Ojala stopped by the show to check everything out. I saw Muppet writer and producer Kirk Thatcher walking by and we said hi and got a photo. The time flew by pretty quickly on the final day, actually. I did a little shopping, and then 6pm arrived. Emily and I had our exit strategy all planned out meticulously, and it worked perfectly. We avoided the loading dock entirely and just did a curbsides pick-up. I got home and my friend Sara came over to get her Christmas present; a t-shirt I had bought at the show in the form of the “I Love Lucy” heart logo, but the words read “I Love Spooky.” Since she adores my cat Spooky, I figured it was a perfect gift for her. Emily dropped over to download a video file she had shot at the show. And then I enjoyed some loooooong “Christmas Nappies!” I got up to feed and walk Roxy, and then I laid back down on The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe to nap some more. I was beat! Later I checked through all of the stuff from the con to do an updated inventory list for the Christoween website. I got other things all settled and looked forward to heading into the final week before Christmas! I’m so glad I did the con. I met some amazing people, had a bunch of fun and laughs, and best of all, I spread the informational seeds which will hopefully sprout into lots and lots of interest in the Christoween franchise!

And how was YOUR week??!!


Here are just a few of the fantastic shots by Scott Sebring of my Muppet replicas. More to come!

Season’s Screaming is open for business!

Edi helps arrange the items as we set up the booth!

The table is set and we’re ready!

Officer Mark and I man the booth!

And the Stalkings were hung in the booth with care!

A Christmas ghoul stops by to hassle me!

I never get tired of seeing this reaction when I perform a character voice in the presence of a young fan, even if it is with a pig-head mask on.

MUCH better without the mask on!

What’s so odd about two South Dakota boys hanging out at a horror convention in L.A.? This guy remembered me from my radio days in South Dakota! Amazing!

“The Mother of the Year” explains to me how she lobbied her son’s teachers to grade him on the books HE was interested in reading. Fantastic!!

Meeting amazing, young actress (and future Voice Acting superstar) Kayla Cromer!

Here’s Eve as “Sexy Freddie” with Mr. and Mrs. Scream Santa.

Marcos the Reader Kid returns in yet another amazing cosplay, and he gets a free Donnie Druthers plushie!

I want this to be my Christoween tree forever and ever.

Maggie shows off her amazing puppet that she built with her fiance.

Muppet writer and producer Kirk Thatcher stops by the Christoween booth on his way to his panel!

My pal Jim Ojala snapped this shot on Sunday toward the end of the day; overall a “thumbs up” experience!