RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
I get it. A “melon” collie!
When “I’m Doin’ Fine Now” by New York City came up on my iPod recently, I immediately flashed back to one of the K-Tel albums I had as a kid with that song on it. Though the group never had another hit, this one sounds SO good!
Monday the 31st – GOOD TO BE BACK! – After recording a last-minute audition, I walked to Subway to get a tuna sub and then headed over to Studiopolis for another four hour session. Just like last week, this is an on-going series of sessions for a show featuring a character that I’ve voiced before. And we’re certainly having a BLAST doing this continuation. But with the past two years being what they were, I’m a little out of practice for four hour sessions. So they have become a bit exhausting. I walked back home to feed the pets, did a few more auditions, and unwound a bit. I grabbed a short nap, and when I got up later I wrote Wally’s Week.
Tuesday the 1st – MOVIEEEEEEES! – It was great having lunch at Bob’s Big Boy with my pal Michelle Schulman, as we were celebrating her recent signing with an agency for acting. I gave her a puppet stand I had made for her Prairie Dawn replica Muppet we made. She had just picked up a collection of vintage Steiff puppets for a GREAT price, and we were talking about those gems. I stopped by my mailbox and picked up some packages. I got in several Laurel and Hardy films I didn’t have in my collection. I had seen a lot of their early to mid-career films, but some of the later films I wasn’t so familiar with. They signed with 20th Century Fox in 1941 and did six feature films that I had never seen before. They all arrived on DVD and I’m anxious to see them. Though with my current once-a-month “Laurel and Hardy Theatre” screening schedule, I probably won’t get to these until early in 2023! I got some auditions recorded, and did a little video editing. The rest of the night I worked on photo cataloging and didn’t get to bed until 1pm on Wednesday! There’s so much construction going on around my house that it’s a little too noisy to sleep well anyway.
Wednesday the 2nd – ANOTHER CELEBRATION! – My old pal Amanda was in the area to do a two-week training program for a new job she just acquired. And it’s a REALLY good job! A game changer, as they say. So since she was in the area, she asked if I would drive to where she was staying to say hi. After an enthusiastic “yes,” I showered up, stopped at the store to pick up some congratulatory flowers and a gift card, and hit the freeway. I figured the trip would take about an hour, but I had forgotten that the direction I was going on the freeway was actually AGAINST the heavy traffic at that time of day. So I breezed over there in about a half hour! I had already bought her a singing Barney a few weeks ago, as a gift. I worked for Mattel back in 2017 where I voiced a few different Barney the Dinosaur toys. She saw it in my display case about a month ago and fell in love with it. I told her to meet me at Petrelli Famous Steaks for dinner, one of my regular hangouts when I lived down in the West L.A. area. I loved it! Since I arrived so early, I brought in the vase of flowers with the gift card, and the Barney figure. I set them up on the table and waited for her to arrive. She said her first word as a baby was ‘Arney. She meant “Barney,” but she couldn’t make the “B” sound yet. I totally understood that, because my first word was “Pipe-eye.” I meant Popeye, but because he had a pipe, I just figured his name was Pipe-eye. It was great having dinner at Petrelli’s again after all these years. My original server Omar was still there and waited on us! I got to give a hug to Mrs. Petrelli and chat for a bit. It was amazing! Great fun catching up at a celebratory meal with great food at a wonderful restaurant! I got back home and took a quick nap, and then spent the rest of the night doing auditions and cataloging my photos.
Thursday the 3rd – 50 YEARS??!!! – This August is the 50th anniversary of the song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” going to #1 on the charts. I’ve been working with the wife of the singer/songwriter of that musical gem (Elliot Lurie) about some cool merchandising ideas. I figured a slam dunk piece of merchandise would be the “braided chain with a locket that bears the name” that’s mentioned in the song. That piece of jewelry is to “Brandy” what the light sabre is to “Star Wars!” I mocked up a phony TV commercial to show Edi and Elliot what it could look like. It was fun putting that together! My homeowner’s association sent over a termite inspector to look at some termite dust I found on my floor by my patio door. He confirmed it was termite damage and would call me back with a time for the technicians to come by and get it fixed. I did an audition and then drove to Chin Chin to get some food to go. Later I did a ton of very frustrating accounting work. My numbers weren’t adding up, and it took me several tries before I discovered that I had a double entry in my checkbook! That made all the difference! I also reconciled my receipts and did some more bank account work. After organizing a little bit on my computer, I went up to the Puppet Room to grab a nap with my cat Spooky. He loves sleeping in there now, and he really loves when I join him for a nap. Later I walked Roxy on our usual late-night walk through the complex and it was REALLY cold! She was energetic and wanted to take the long way, but I had to veto that because it was so freakin’ freezing. I can’t wait for those warm nights to return! Then I came inside and made a tasty salad and watched a few episodes of “The Lone Ranger.”
Friday the 4th – HIGH HAIR! – My maids were due to arrive between 1 and 3, but they didn’t make it until around 3:30. I had fully intended to hit Paty’s for lunch after they left, but by the time they finished it had gotten pretty late. So I heated up some of my Chin Chin food and relaxed. Then I worked around the house, did my auditions, and started thinking about the hair on the Muppet called Roosevelt Franklin. It’s VERY big! Granted the puppet is small, but unless you can find a VERY high pile fake fur, it’s going to take a little design prowess to achieve that look. After careful study, I’m starting to think that his hair isn’t just a strip of fake fur on top of the puppet’s head, but rather a specific piece that’s built up a bit to accentuate the height. I got on-line and ordered some fur that has a 3.5-4” pile so I’ll see if that will work. If not, I’m going to work with my seamstress at Alex in Wonderland to help me design a special hairpiece for Roosevelt that gives him a little help in the height department. Later I called my pal JoeMel at Denny’s, and he said they had everything in stock; fried chicken, Italian dressing, etc. So I ordered my usual order and went to pick it up. I got home and enjoyed it while watching a few more “Lone Ranger” episodes. I thought I was almost done with season 3, and was looking forward to Clayton Moore’s return in the next season, but after closer inspection, I realized that I’m only about halfway done with the season.
Saturday the 5th – PUPPET ROOM REARRANGING! – It was a gorgeous day, and warmer weather has returned to L.A.! I walked to my stylist’s to get a touch-up on my color, and then I came home to do a little work in the Puppet Room. Because of a new art piece I just got in, I wanted to rearrange a few things. The old store Woolworth’s (where I spent a great deal of my money, and my childhood) always had the greatest newspaper ads; particularly around Halloween. An artist had taken some of those vintage ads, digitally cleaned them up, and printed them on spiffy metal signs. I bought one that featured the old Ben Cooper mask for the “Shazzan” character from the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Shazzan was a genie that could be summoned with a brother and sister joined rings, and the genie would come bail them out of trouble. I loved that cartoon! But unlike the other Ben Cooper Halloween masks, the Shazzan mask was made out of translucent plastic, and had a flashlight bulb embedded in the forehead. There were little wires leading to a battery pack, so your Shazzan would light up! Since the new artwork was so slick, I decided to move some things around on the Puppet Room wall so I could display the mask next to the artwork. But my Shazzan mask was high on the wall behind my display of “Wizard of Oz” figures by Applause. They sit high up on top of a display case. The Shazzan mask was a bit cheated because it was displayed behind a bunch of other stuff. It looks great in its new place. But now my Oz figures look a bit plain. So I got on-line to try and find some sort of Oz-related poster to use as a background. After looking at a few options, I settled on a nice poster painted by an artist. It should look great behind the figures! Since it was the first Saturday of the month, it was “Laurel & Hardy Theatre” night! I tried to watch their films in order, but I skipped over one called “The Devil’s Brother.” It was their first feature film written and directed by Hal Roach. But I always figured it only featured Stan and Ollie as guest stars, and wasn’t much interested in it. However, after more careful study, it was a film produced by Hal Roach to prove that Laurel & Hardy could carry a feature film. I found the film on DVD and ordered it. I had NEVER seen this film and this was going to be a real treat! I made my usual Chef Boyardee pizza, popcorn, banana Twinkie, and Diet Pepsi in my childhood Oliver Hardy mug, and watched the film. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though there was a bit too much “opera” in it for me. But considering the year it was made, it was a very ambitious undertaking! Early Sunday morning I was walking Roxy and noticed somebody in our Jacuzzi trying to light a purple cigarette. First of all there’s no smoking in the pool area. But after closer inspection I realized he didn’t belong there. We’ve had problems with vagrants sneaking into our pool and Jacuzzi before to bathe, but never in the bright light of day. I grabbed my phone and camera and documented his intrusion to present to the association, and escorted him out of the complex. He was a bit belligerent at first, but once he realized that I was polite, but meant business, he got dressed and went along his way. I never use the pool or the Jacuzzi, but I’m mostly concerned that someday one of these vagrants might get belligerent with a homeowner who’s NOT 6’1” and 220 pounds. And I don’t want any homeowners around here getting injured, since we’re hearing all sorts of reports now about situations like that happening. I phoned the former president of the association to come look at the Jacuzzi, as there were piles of thick suds lingering on top of the water. I’m sure the vagrant had some sort of soap or detergent he was using in the Jacuzzi. The Board of the Directors needs to come up with policy about this problem very soon.
Sunday the 6th – TECH IS TOUGH! – As usual on a Sunday, I got up later in the day. I worked all evening on my computer cataloging the scans of my personal photos. I have about 4,000 scans to catalog (listing the contents of each scan in a document so I can do an easy search when I’m looking for something specific) and I’m currently at 1,900. So I’m just about halfway done. It’s been a laborious job, but fun at the same time. I always love reviewing these photos. I did some work around the house, which even involved some hand-sewing. The weather is warming up and is going to hit almost 90 next week! Great news! There is a very specific thing I want my tablets to do, but none of my 3 tablets apparently will do it. I poured over the tech manuals for two of them but couldn’t find the solution I needed. What I basically need to do is to insert an SD card with a folder of photos into the tablet. I need to bring those photos into a slideshow in the tablet’s photo app. I need that slideshow to shuffle. I also need the tablet to be able to “screen mirror” (now called Smart View) onto a big screen TV; either with a hardwired cable or wireless. But the tablet I have that does shuffled slideshows doesn’t have the ability to screen mirror to a TV (it’s pretty old). And my newer tablet shows photos as a slideshow on my TV through Smart View, but not off of an SD card, and the slideshow that it does offer doesn’t shuffle. I looked through the manuals both printed and on-line and I just couldn’t find what I needed. The idea is that someday, I want to have a bunch of family photos in a slideshow playing for ambience at a family gathering, and I’d like to play them using my tablet as a source. I also thought it might be nice to have photos shuffling on a monitor when I start signing at conventions again. Photos of my animated characters, interesting pictures, celebrity photos, etc., would all be great ambience at a con. But until I can find a source that will do everything I need it to do (shuffle a slideshow of photos from an SD card, and talk to a TV) I think I’m out of luck. There’s got to be some sort of solution out there. And if there is, I’ll find it.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
This is the mock TV commercial I threw together to show how great a celebratory necklace would be to commemorate the 50th “Brandyversary”! (The captions signify actual engraved artwork that would be on the locket.)