RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Back in ‘the day’ it wasn’t hard to find a puppet version of your favorite TV or movie character. Today it’s a lost art, sadly. But just look at all the cool puppets you could buy back then!
Long before his Ghostbusters hit, Ray Parker Jr. formed a group called Raydio. They had a few hits, but the first time I had ever heard of them was with a song called “Jack and Jill.” While driving the 1974 Gran Torino through town the other day, that song came up on my iPod and had me blasting the speakers to their full potential. MAN that song sounded good!
Monday the 21st – PRESIDENT’S DAY! – Even though it was a holiday, I was scheduled at Studiopolis to do a four hour cartoon session. The delivery date is coming up fairly soon, so they’re against the wall to try to get these cartoons finished and mixed. On the way home I was recognized by a young Voice Actor who asked, “Are you Wally Wingert?” Since I never get recognized it took me a bit by surprise. We chatted about Voice Acting, how to get a better agent, etc. It was a great conversation and I said I’d be happy to try and help him as much as I could. I got home and relaxed for a bit. I typed out Wally’s Week and hit the sack. I was beat!
Tuesday the 22nd – 2/2/22 ON 2’SDAY! – Another session was happening today, but unlike yesterday’s session, it was for a video game, and it would only be two hours. I drove over to Dave & Dave in Burbank and spent a fun couple of hours doing an accented character. It’s going to be a giant RPG (role player game) that will most likely be a few more years in development. Then I drove to meet my friend Michelle for dinner at Lancer’s. Since it was Tuesday, it was beef barley soup day! Woo hoo! It’s amazing soup! On the way home I stopped by my mailbox and found that the gift I had bought for my adopted-grandma Shirley’s upcoming 95th birthday had arrived! She loves a perfume that’s no longer made called Interlude by Frances Denny. I had bought her a bottle several years back because she had long since run out. Back then she was out and about almost every day; dining with friends, going to church, going to Bible study, coming to movie night, etc. – so she used quite a bit of it. But now, since the perfume is getting harder to find and more expensive, and since she’s not going out as much as she used to, I figured a smaller bottle would do the trick; just for special occasions. I found a really nice 1/8 ounce bottle on eBay for a good price so I grabbed it! I got home to feed the kids, did some work around the house, packaged up Shirley’s birthday gift securely in a Priority Mail box, recorded a ton of auditions, and did some more cataloging of the contents of scans I have of all my old personal photos. I have close to 4,000 scans to go through and I’m well over halfway done! It’s exhausting, but it’s fun at the same time!
Wednesday the 23rd – FLUSTERCLUCK! – A few of the seams on the leather seat on the driver’s side of my Mustang have started coming apart over time. So I had arranged with a local auto upholstery shop to bring it by to have it fixed. But I had to do some car-swap acrobatics. My friend Cher picked me up at 1:30 and we drove to B.J.’s to get lunch. While we waited for our order, I called the upholstery place and told them I’d be by in about an hour. They said I needed to be at their shop by 7:30am, a tiny little fact they neglected to tell me when I booked the time! YIKES! Bummer #1! So, TOMORROW I would need to be there by 7:30 in the morning so they can work on it all day. They don’t have the room to keep cars overnight, so they prefer to have it dropped off in the early morning so they can have it finished by the end of day. So I decided to get my Mustang from my auxiliary parking spot, and just park it at a spot overnight at my complex, and take it over in the morning. Cher drove me to my parking space, and when I pulled the cover off I realized that my left rear tire was almost flat! If I had left it any longer it would have gone completely flat! Bummer #2! Then as I went to leave the parking complex my access keycard wouldn’t let me out! It said they had no record of my account! Bummer #3! I buzzed for help and they raised the arm remotely to let me out. Luckily the Mustang drove alright, with the soft left rear tire, so I pulled it into a local repair place and they pumped it up for me so I could at least get it home. The repair tech said that since the Mustang has been there for a few weeks, and the tire was low but not completely flat, he said that the leak was VERY slow. I stopped by my mailbox and got a package, and then headed home. I plotted out a plan for the next day. I would get up at 7, drive the Mustang to the upholstery place and drop it off, and take a cab home. When I’m notified that the work on my Mustang has been completed I’ll pull the Gran Torino out of my garage and drive it to my auxiliary parking space. Then I’ll take a cab from the parking complex to the upholstery shop, and drive it home. Whew! On top of all that, it’s pretty cold and windy out. I did my nightly auditions and hit the hay to get a few hours of sleep.
Thursday the 24th – I JUST LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER! – After just a few hours of sleep, I got up at 7, hit the road with the Mustang, and even had time to stop at McDonald’s on the way to the upholstery shop and get breakfast! I arrived at 7:30am right on the dot, and showed Roberto the owner of the shop the damage. In addition to the torn seams in the seat leather, I also had a pretty good hole in the carpet under my floor mat. He looked at it, laughed and said, “Do you wear heels?” I chuckled and told him that was a rather personal question. No, it was close to 20 years of driving this car that had caused the resting heel of my left foot to wear a hole in the carpet, even under the rubber floor mat! He said he would fix that as well. Roberto was kind enough to have one of his guys drive me back home so I wouldn’t need to wait for a cab. He said to come back after 4pm and it would be ready. But the traffic wasn’t as great getting back as it was going there. School was starting and there are three schools on the path from the upholstery shop to my house. So traffic was pretty slow getting home. I tipped the guy $20 for taking me (hey, gas ain’t FREE ya know!) and went inside to nap in the Puppet Room for a bit, with my phone ringer on in case the shop needed to ask me a question. I got some other nuisance calls and texts, but ignored them and fell back to sleep. I got up at 2, called the electronics company where I purchased two ‘region-free’ Blu ray players back in 2016 to ask a tech why one of them was no longer playing a Zone B disc I had bought. (The only way you can see the full version of Laurel and Hardy’s final film “Atoll K” is to get it from another country) They ran me through a few standard fix-its, but while one of the players wouldn’t play the Blu ray version of the film, the standard definition version of the film played fine. Diaz the tech said that the machine may have forgotten how to run Blu ray discs, and that I should send it in for a repair estimate with a short description of the problem. Luckily I was able to find my original receipt in my e-mail account. After all, it was from over 5 years ago! I still have the box it came in, so I would pack it up later and send it off this week for repair. I drove the Torino to my auxiliary parking, with a quick stop off at McDonald’s for some lunch (McDonald’s…twice in one day??!!). We no longer have a McDonald’s close to us in the area, as they’ve torn it down to remodel. So I don’t get to feed my McDonald’s craving as much as I’d like these days. I drove to my auxiliary parking space, put the Torino to bed, and waited for my friend Jasmine to arrive to give me a ride to the upholstery shop. She was going to be in the area doing some work, so it all worked out perfectly! I arrived there, the work they did was stellar, and I drove the Mustang home. The way he matched the color of the leather for the new leather panels in the seat was amazing! And on the floor, he removed the damaged carpet and put down a permanent, rubber floor guard. Sweet! I got back home, did a few auditions to get them out of the way, because I wanted to have the rest of the evening clear for relaxation. Later I went to get some supplies at a local grocery store, but after 11:30 at night it’s only ‘self-checkout,’ which I abhor. Luckily they had an attendant to help, but I made a note to self never to go there after 11:30pm again! Sometimes when they say something’s for convenience, it’s not YOUR convenience they mean. It’s for their OWN convenience….like the convenience of not having to pay any checkers after certain hours. I drove to Denny’s to get my usual order, went home to feed the kids, walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, and settled in to watch a few more episodes of “The Lone Ranger” and eat my Denny’s! I had one more four-hour session to do on Friday afternoon, and then it’s the weekend!!
Friday the 25th – ROUNDTABLE! – I’m not sure what’s taking the workmen around my complex so long to complete these construction jobs, but I was once again awakened by grinding, pounding and sawing. Between my neighbor’s patio remodeling and the roofing work going on next door, it was noisy, noisy, noisy! I wish they’d finish these jobs up, stat! I drove to the UPS store to send off my Blu ray player for a repair estimate, and then I went to Studiopolis again for another four hour session. I can’t tell you which series I’m working on, but there are 26 episodes in this series. We’re going to do the first 13, they’ll release them, and then we’ll do the remaining 13 toward the end of the year. I love this show and we’re having a TON of fun! The session ended with a HUGE action scene and all of the yelling and shouting was starting to fatigue my vocal cords. Luckily we stopped just in time as the day ended. I promised myself that, since I hadn’t had one in a while, and because I was in the area, I would treat myself to a Roundtable pizza; something I hadn’t enjoyed in a very long time. I called in my pizza, went to pick it up, and couldn’t resist. I just HAD to have a few slices while I drove home. It was good and hot, and DELICIOUS! I got home and fed the kids and got a call from Shirley. Her birthday gift arrived and she was over the moon! Her 95th birthday is next Monday, so I’m glad it arrived early, rather than late. I was beat so I took a short nap, and then later that night I got up to do a bunch of accounting, reconciling of my receipts, and paying of bills. I had just gotten the 1970 movie “Pufnstuf” on Blu ray, so I decided to eat my leftover Roundtable pizza and watch it. I knew I probably couldn’t rope any of my other friends into watching it, so I decided to do a solo viewing. The only two people on the planet Earth that I know would want to watch this with me are Mary Ann Dallas and Kent Stolz, two friends from elementary school who were as into “H.R. Pufnstuf” as I was back in the day. But those two aren’t anywhere near me these days. I watched the whole thing, but it was…odd. I guess it really would have been terrific if only I were 55 years younger! The songs were sadly forgettable, and while the TV show worked great in a 30 minute format, this 90 minute film was getting tough to watch toward the end. It was fairly cringe-worthy, though the song by Mama Cass Elliot toward the end was a treat. However, that being said, it really was quite remarkable all of the things the Kroffts could accomplish with puppets and character costumes back in the day. Those were pretty amazing. The weekend was upon me and I couldn’t have been happier! The packages I received earlier in the day contained the Glinda the Good Witch figure I had purchased to finish my display of “Wizard of Oz” figures, as well as a 1:6 scale axe for the Tin Man to hold. Just before bed I took it outside and hit it with some primer. After that cures I’ll blast it with some silver spray paint and he’ll look complete!
Saturday the 26th – OK THEN, CHANGE OF PLANS! – In my box of paints I only had a little silver spray paint left, so I needed to make it work for the small Tin Man axe. I aimed the spray can carefully and did a few blasts to cover the axe nicely. Then I let it dry. I had screwed a small metal eye into the bottom of the axe handle. Then I looped some curved wire into the eye so I could hang it to dry. When it was dry I’d remove the eye and place the axe with my Tin Man figure. I cleaned up around the house in anticipation of my friend Sabrina coming over to enjoy some pizza and a few Laurel and Hardy films. But as I worked around the house she texted me to tell me she wasn’t feeling well and would have to cancel. I busied myself around the house, doing organizing work, putting fresh sheets on the beds, and putting away laundry. So, change of plans. I’d have the rest of the evening completely to myself. What to do? So instead of the pizza I was going to make for us, I decided to fall back on my traditional Saturday Night Super Saint Salad. But I was missing a few fixins’ for that so I drove to the local market and picked up a head of lettuce. I got dinner at the Taco Bell drive-thru and headed home. I napped a bit on The Most Comfortable Couch in the Universe (a treat I hadn’t enjoyed in a while), and later set about labeling some bins in the Tranquility Zone which contained a few books. I jotted down the contents of each plastic book, and then made labels for those bins. Some of the bins contained commercially available books I wanted to store in a protected environment, and a few of the bins contained personal books; yearbooks, annuals, and historical books. This is something I had been wanting to get at for some time, because I would look at the bins and say to myself, “I wonder what books are in those?” Since I had been given the night to myself, I figured now was the time. I started by cleaning off the bins, which were very dusty, and then adhering the labels to them. In addition to two Marvel Vault books, I also had a collectible book about the history of the Don Post mask company, a Pee-wee Herman Fun Book, my personal baby book, and a few other fun things. I took the opportunity to consolidate a few of the items into the bins, and I spent the rest of the evening in the garage prepping for some eBay sales that my buddy Bob is going to help me list. I have so much stuff clogging up my garage, stuff that I’m no longer interested in, that I need the space. I have to get rid of some of the stuff that no longer piques my interest. Later I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Saint Salad and watched an episode of “The Saint” before bed.
Sunday the 27th – SINCE I WAS 13! – As is my usual M.O. on a Sunday, I slept most of the day and relaxed. It was a very busy week, so I was especially in need leisure time this day! I spent a lot of time on the computer cataloging the contents of my personal photo album scans. Of the 3800 scanned pages I have to complete, I got up to 2800! Pretty sweet! For a long time I had been wanting to get a set of authentic Laurel and Hardy autographs for my collection. After their film career wound down they toured the U.K. doing live shows in theatres, so many of the autographs I found available were from right around that time; the year 1947 or thereabouts. The vintage British autograph books had rounded pages and leather covers. I had seen several offerings on eBay that had interested me. But two of the ones I had my eye on had been sold within the past 24 hours. So it boiled down to the two remaining ones I had my eye on, but though they were offered by the same seller (who had been collecting Laurel and Hardy stuff for years) the difference in price between the two were hundreds of dollars. The seller had been very kind to correspond with me several times about his offerings, and the more reasonably priced signature set was one he had displayed for years, even though there was no loss in vibrancy in the signatures. The more expensive set had been locked away in an autograph book and had barely seen the light of day! But given how fast some of the other L&H autographs were being sold, I needed to make a decision fast! But I still wasn’t sure. As I continued working on my personal photo scans I received an irrefutable sign that I needed to decide right now and purchase one. Of the almost 4,000 photo scans in my collection, the place in the sequence that I happened upon was very poignant and fortuitous at this particular time. When I was 13, my friend Chris Valle and I were deeply into Laurel and Hardy, as the local NBC station ran movies every Saturday night called “Laurel and Hardy Theatre.” He and I would dress up as Stan and Ollie from time to time and do their routines just for fun. I talked my dad into popping in a roll of black and white film, and shooting some pictures of Chris and I in action. Those very pictures were the ones that just happened to come up next in the sequence of the photos I was cataloging!! What are the chances that out of almost 4,000 scans, those would pop up during this period of indecision? But that’s not all. Apparently when I was a kid, and got the prints back from the photo store, I decided to take a ballpoint pen and scrawl some Laurel and Hardy signatures on those prints! A faux Laurel and Hardy, with faux autographs! Though the signatures didn’t look anything like the REAL Stan and Ollie autographs (there wasn’t really any way for me to research what they looked like at that time anyway) the fact that I was looking at these told me that it was time for me to fulfill a lifelong dream and purchase real signatures from the REAL Laurel and Hardy! I got on eBay and made the purchase right away. I figured coming across those photos randomly was a sign I couldn’t ignore! I’ll be getting the autographs in from the U.K. by mid-March! I’m VERY excited! I ended my day by making some hot dogs on the grill and watching a few more episodes of “The Lone Ranger.” Whew! What a week!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
While cataloging the scans of my old photos I came across some more gems. Please indulge me while I post a few here with a brief explanation of the history behind them. People seem to really like them when I post them on Instagram and Twitter, so I hope I’m not boring you here with these.