RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Every once in a while I’ll miss the snacks I loved as a kid, including these…SPACE FOOD STICKS! What I wouldn’t give for a box of caramel Space Food Sticks right now!
One of the songs I discovered over the weekend on the satellite music channels was this gem! It’s the George Martin orchestral version of the Beatles “And I Love Her!” Haunting. Lovely! Stunning! The genius of George Martin doing orchestral versions of the Beatles songs was to demonstrate that their songs were so good, they transcended the typical rock and roll format.
Monday the 8th – DICE BUYS RICE! – Just before noon I did a session for a producer and it went very well, and it was just under an hour. I got ready and headed over to my dermatologist to have a few things removed from my back (yeah, I did some sun tanning back in the day). I first met Dr. Gene through my friend Bruce Kulick, who had Dr. Gene on his Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp team many years ago. Dr. Gene is a talented guitar player in his own right. After the appointment I went to the grocery store to pick up some supplies. Because the face mask I wear is a picture of the lower half of my own face, it always gets a lot of attention and notice. One lady was commenting on how funny she thought my mask was, and was pointing it out to her boyfriend. I recognized him right off, even with the big sunglasses and face mask. And when he spoke I knew it was him. It was Andrew “Dice” Clay! I asked him if he was Andrew and he said he was. I told him how funny I thought he was and thanked him for the loads of laughs. You couldn’t do his type of comedy in this day and age, but in his time he was a prince of comedy! While I shopped I kept reciting Dice’s famous lines (inside my mind, of course!) and I was laughing to myself hysterically! I got home to put the groceries away and fed the kids. I recorded my nightly auditions and later I typed out Wally’s Week. I made myself a delicious salad and watched another episode of “The Invaders.” The second season of this show is rockin’! The lead character carries a gun and shoots a lot of aliens. After doing some reading about the show on-line I discovered that it was referred to as “James Bond fighting aliens.” It’s pretty much true, as I see a lot of Bond-isms in the lead characters. In fact, Roy Thinnes might have made a pretty good James Bond at one point.
Tuesday the 9th – RUNNING (AND PAINTING!) THE GAUNTLET! – Mid-afternoon I had a 40 minute phone call with a state government judge about an appeal I had filed over a personal issue. Because of the whole virus thing no in-person appearances have been allowed for about a year. But it gave me the chance to state my side to a real person, and not some algorithm on a website. I was satisfied with the result of our conversation and I left the call with the impression that she was up to speed on the real dynamics of the situation. I’m hoping she’ll move to dismiss. I drove to Paty’s with Roxy and had a great lunch on the patio. Like me, Roxy had also missed going to lunch during the prohibition on outdoor dining in California. I picked up the packages at my mailbox, and then went home to complete work on my Iron Man gauntlet lamp. Once finished I was very happy with it. If I had to do another one I would do a few things differently, but I learned a lot about the repainting process on these. It was down to the garage to get the big ladder, back upstairs to the theatre to position the finished gauntlet with the rest of my Iron Man items on top of my massive video case, and do a clean-up of the whole area. It looked GREAT! I recorded my nightly auditions, then I made some food and watched another episode of “The Invaders.”
Wednesday the 10th – A REAL PANE IN THE GLASS! – The first stop of the day was to Dee’s Flowers, next to my church. I pre-ordered Valentine’s Day flowers for my friend Michelle who would be coming to town this weekend. Her favorite Muppet movie is “Muppet Treasure Island” and I had a Kermit “Treasure Island” finger puppet in my collection. I brought the puppet over to Dee’s so they could put him in with the bouquet of roses. I’m going to print up a comic balloon with the words “You’re a treasure!” to mount next to the Kermit puppet in the bouquet. If you remember from reading Wally’s Week around Christmas time (Michelle’s birthday is 12/26) through a series of circumstances she ended up with 14 roses – setting up our personal tradition of 14 roses every time I get her flowers. So I ordered the bouquet of 14 roses, prepaid and went on to my next errand. I went back to my mailbox to pick up my packages, and then headed over to Joann’s to pick up some fabrics. I needed to get some contrast fabric for my new Andy Kaufman-themed bowling shirt. I got some frames for some new art pieces. I stopped by Taco Bell to get some lunch, and then stopped by the vet’s office to pick up some more prescription food for Spooky. I got back home and fed the kids. Then I started in on the project of framing my art pieces. The first piece I framed was the cover of a record album called “TV and Movie Cartoon Themes;” a record I had as a kid and absolutely loved. Though my original album is long gone, I found not one but TWO copies on eBay recently. The really nice copy is coming from Italy and will be here in late February. But the second one came from somewhere in the U.S. and was in only ‘fair’ condition. The jacket was splitting at the seams, so I went ahead and separated the front from the back. I only needed the front of the cover anyway for my art piece, and that was in pretty good shape. But once I split the front from the back and went to put it in the 12” X 12” frame, I realized that this album cover was actually a half inch too big. So I took an exacto knife and trimmed off a half inch from the side and top to make it fit. Luckily I didn’t have to trim off any relevant parts of the artwork. It worked GREAT and looked fantastic. Just looking at it makes me happy, and really takes me back to the good days when I spent hours in my room listening to cartoon themes and voices. The second project didn’t go quite as planned. It was a print I got from eBay that was absolutely gorgeous. When Jim Henson was first getting his Muppet empire going, he moved to New York and hand drew an ad to promote that fact. It’s a wonderful piece and it’s printed very nicely. I bought a 16” X 8” floating frame that allows you to mount a photo or art piece between two panes of glass and give it a ‘floating’ look. This is exactly the look I wanted for this. I trimmed the art piece to the size I wanted, measured everything out meticulously (measure twice, cut once – as my late friend and contractor Terry always used to tell me) and cleaned the panes of glass very well. I put the first pane of glass into the frame, mounted the art piece on the second pane of glass with double stick tape, and put the two panes of glass together. I put the bracket on the back of the frame and stood it up perpendicular to make sure the back of the second pane was cleaned off perfectly. At that point, both panes of glass slid out of the frame and crashed on to the floor! The amount of naughty words that came out of my mouth at that point would have made a sailor blush! I calmed down and recorded another bit for the “Ellen” show. I sent it over to my friend Troy (a writer on the show) and then headed out to go back to Joann’s to buy another frame. I also stopped by my seamstress Shelley’s house to drop off all the fabric for my new bowling shirts! Then I went home to finalize the Henson piece – very, very carefully. Once it was put together it looked amazing! But as I was putting one of the panes of glass into the frame I cut my finger just above the first knuckle of my right middle finger. I just can’t catch a break today (unless it’s made of glass!). I sat down and started in on a new puppet project. I designed the pattern pieces for the head, cut some foam pieces and glued them together. Then I cut the mouth plates, joined them together with leather, and put the felt on the mouth – along with the tongue and throat pieces. It was turning out pretty well, and even though the puppet ‘seems’ simple, it could be difficult in several areas. I drove to Denny’s to get some food and came home to watch another “Invaders” episode.
Thursday the 11th – RARITIES ON THE WAY! – There wasn’t anything on the schedule for the day, so it was essentially a ‘day off’ of sorts for me. I slept very late, but when I finally got up I did some more work on the puppet project – making the body. The puppet is very small, and the body portion will be just a small, basic tube. I spoke with a fellow Muppet collector who told me he was selling a few rare pieces in his collection. When Jim Henson started the Muppets, the empire all started with a series of wacky coffee commercials for something called Wilkins Coffee. The two puppet characters who were featured in the commercials were recreated as toy premiums that you could get through the mail by submitting proof of purchase seals. Those were the first Muppet toys ever produced. But the second set of Muppet toys that were produced were commercially available puppet replicas created by the Ideal toy company in 1967 of Rowlf the Dog (who was enjoying a lot of success on the Jimmy Dean TV show) and Kermit (who wasn’t a frog yet, at that point). Incidentally, my parents named our first dog ‘Ralph’ after the canine star on the Jimmy Dean show. But because Jimmy Dean had a thick southern accent, my parents misheard him as saying “Ralph” and not “Rowlf.” But if this single fact wasn’t predestination for me to become a life-long Muppet fan, I don’t know what is! These two puppet toys are VERY rare and normally VERY expensive. It’s tough to find them in good shape, but these are in excellent condition! But because my pal wants to sell them to a good home he chose to sell them to me! So very soon, I’ll be adding these two rare gems to my Planet Wallywood collection; and I already have the perfect place to feature them in the Puppet Room! I’m very excited to have some of the first Muppet toys ever produced in my collection! I spent the rest of the day working around the house, recorded my nightly auditions, made a pot pie, and watched another episode of “The Invaders.” I’m starting to realize that my dog Roxy is beginning to lose her hearing. This could have been developing for a while now, but I’m now noticing that it’s getting pretty bad.
Friday the 12th – SYSTEM STREAMLINED! – While doing some recent work adding a few new components to my entertainment system (the new DirecTV box, and a brand new turntable) I took notice of how messy the whole system looked from the back. It was a mass of muddled spaghetti – twisted cables, and a confusing, ugly visual of intertwined wires and cords. In some instances there were unplugged cables that I wasn’t sure were even relevant any longer. Since I originally had the system installed 20 years ago, I’ve added a lot of new things as an afterthought over time. As things get added, and as things get pulled out after they break down, cables get pulled out, technology changes, and it gets very confusing what IS and what ISN’T needed any longer. I decided to have Corey, my A/V guy, come in and rethread the entire system. It needed a massive streamlining and cleaning up. I’m glad he did, because he was able to make sense out of a lot of things that no longer were needed and rewire things accordingly. He just happened to have a little gizmo that would allow my system to accommodate a firestick (like Roku) if friends came over to stream some things for me. This same gizmo can also take the audio from the firestick and send it into my system (as opposed to having to listen to it on my TV speakers). After he left I went about Planet Wallywood installing some new display pieces. First I hung the cartoon LP cover on the wall in my showcase area. I put the Henson ad artwork in the Puppet Room, and I brought my Batkid mannequin up from the garage and put him in the theatre, next to my drive-in movie speakers, and my Sebastian Bach chainmail tank top. I ordered up a Domino’s pizza, took some photos of the new displays, and did some work around the house for the rest of the night.
Saturday the 13th – JOANN’S AGAIN! – Before they closed for the weekend I needed to stop by Dee’s Flowers to pick up Michelle’s roses for Valentine’s Day. I spoke with my pal Mark Evanier on the phone for a while who told me some very interesting things about the cartoon theme LP I’ve been obsessing over lately. It’s always fun to hear from historical experts on the things I’ve loved for decades, and get the true behind-the-scenes stories about their creation. But when he told me about a rights issue the record company had with this record, it made me realize why these records are so rare. It was one of those EUREKA! moments. I went to see my stylist to get a touch up on my color and a trim, and then I came home to feed the kids. The new puppet project I’ve been working on is turning out quite nicely, so I wanted to get to Joann’s fabrics again to try and find some usable eye pieces and some suitable fabric for the dress. In the early days of “Sesame Street” one of the Muppet performers named Fran Bill did a character called Prairie Dawn. I thought this would be a good character to start Michelle on, as she’s learning to build puppets, perform and do the voices. The character’s design is simple, and the voice is in her vocal range. My special Valentine’s Day surprise, when Michelle arrives on Sunday from Florida, is to show her the work I had done on a Prairie Dawn replica thus far, and then start her on making her own version of it. It should be a fun project to work on together, and when we’re finished we’ll have matching Prairie Dawn puppets. Not only did I find some really nice fabric for Prairie’s dress with a small print pattern on it, but I also got some nice lace trim for it as well. But as I was browsing through the character fabrics, I stumbled upon a GREAT print that had escaped my previous browsings! It’s called ‘Lost Boys Parade,’ and features the Lost Boys from the movie “Peter Pan.” One of the first big Voice-Over jobs I ever got was voice matching the Cubby character from the film. I’ve done the character many times now in various projects for Disney, and I decided to make a Lost Boys bowling shirt. I got some gas in the Mustang and ran into my pal Laura, one of the main supervisors at my favorite Italian restaurant Barone’s! She was gassing her car up there too. I hadn’t seen her in a while and it was nice catching up. Oddly enough, I had just called in my pizza order to Barone’s, and I told her I was on my way to the restaurant to get my food. She had just gotten off work and was heading home. I got my pizza, came home to eat it, and got busy getting ready for my houseguest. The rest of the night I was busy cleaning up the house, doing laundry, vacuuming, and preparing for Michelle’s visit.
Sunday the 14th – VALENTINE’S DAY PASSENGER! – My friend Michelle got in from Florida just after noon, and I drove to LAX to pick her up. I had several Valentine’s surprises for her lined up. Since we were on the Westside of L.A. I took her by the apartment I lived in for the first several years of my life in Los Angeles. Then we got lunch at Campo’s, my favorite Mexican restaurant. We parked beside a quaint Culver City park to chat and eat lunch, and then I took her by a car dealership that she had been following on-line. Since she’s moving to L.A. permanently in a few weeks, she had been researching a necessary car purchase, and found a few really good options at this particular dealership. So I took her over there so she could test drive the vehicles that piqued her interest. Then we drove to Planet Wallywood to get her unpacked and settled. She loved the Kermit arrangement of roses that was waiting for her, and I had her start cutting the foam pieces for the Prairie Dawn puppet head we’d be working on.
Monday the 15th – MEALS, MATERIAL, MOORE, MUPPETS & MUSIC! – Since it was a holiday I was looking forward to a very relaxed day. Michelle and I met my pal Edi at Paty’s for a late lunch. Then we headed over to Joann’s again, (I was becoming a regular there!) so Michelle could pick out fabric for the dress of her own Prairie Dawn puppet. We came back home and spent several hours building her puppet. It’s the very first puppet she’s ever built, but she’s a very quick learner! We ended the evening with two identical puppet heads, and two identical puppet bodies. The mouth that Michelle made for her puppet turned out a lot better than the mouth on mine, so with an exacto knife, I removed the mouth on my puppet and redid it. But my eyes were getting bleary, so we made some food and settled in to watch an episode of “The Saint” starring Roger Moore, and then we watched the episode of “The Muppet Show” that featured Roger Moore as a guest. I believe this was the final episode of the final season of “The Muppet Show,” and it was fantastic! As I was dialing around the music channels on the satellite, I heard three great songs that I had never heard before. I made note of them and went downstairs to my computer to purchase and download them on-line. I just LOVE discovering new music like this!
And how was YOUR week!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Hard to believe that parts of the country are suffering from sub zero temps, while a February morning like this is dawning in L.A.! Gorgeous!
The past week I posted this video on my social media pages to highlight the third Christoween Stalking in our set. It’s the Bride!