The forecast for the forthcoming week looks like summer is trying to break through for a few days, only to be slapped back down quickly by spring.

I had never heard of Nikki and Rich until they appeared on “The Tonight Show” when I was working on the show. I immediately developed a crush on Nikki lead singer, in her form-fitting 60’s dress, perfect Italian-girl face, and her dark hair cut into retro bangs. I heard the song “Cat and Mouse” on my iPod this past week and re-lived some fun memories of working on the show and their amazing appearance. This is the studio version of the song, but I wholeheartedly recommend that you hit YouTube and find their appearance on “The Tonight Show.” I bet you’ll be smitten too!


Monday the 28th – INDUSTRY RESPECT! – To begin the day I did a little writing on Wally’s Week. I got the pets situated, got cleaned up, and headed to the neighborhood Chick-Fil-A for lunch. There’s one within walking distance of the studio where I’ve been dubbing that foreign sitcom. So it’s been quite convenient these past few weeks. During a break at the session, a young man came up to introduce himself. He’s a Voice Actor who was working in one of the other studios at the facility (on a different project) and he was also on break at the same time. He told me how much he has enjoyed my work throughout the years, and I was deeply touched. It’s always nice to get accolades from anyone, but when it’s an industry peer (particularly from the younger generation of Voice Actors who are up and coming) it’s especially nice. We finished up the four hour session for the day and I headed home to feed the pets. The rain we’ve had for the past few days had begun to subside. I did a little work and was suddenly craving spaghetti from Little Toni’s. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, so I phoned in an order and drove over to pick it up. I recorded my nightly auditions, finished up Wally’s Week, and prepped for the next day’s dubbing session by watching the subtitled version of Episode 5 of the foreign sitcom. This is gonna be a REAL tough one! Our work is cut out for us!

Tuesday the 29th – A FOREIGN TAKE ON AN ENGLISH TERM IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE!? – As luck would have it, I actually got ready early enough to drive to McDonald’s to get lunch before my session. The first half hour of the session was plagued by technical issues, but once we got going it went great. We totally finished dubbing Episode 4 of the foreign sitcom, and we got started on Episode 5. By far, Episode 4 has been my favorite so far, as it deals with a genre that’s close to my heart. Episode 5 was promising to present many challenges in dubbing it to English. First, my character was drunk in many scenes and had slurred speech. Lip match is tough enough, but it’s doubly challenging when you have to sound drunk and choose the words you’re going to slur to achieve that effect. The second biggest challenge was, the show did a foreign-language take on an Iranian name that sounded a lot like an English slang term. It took a bit of crafting to figure out how we were going to make that joke play correctly. But I love the challenge! This sitcom is very dense with verbiage, and there are a lot of words. The experienced directors and technical people have said that this sitcom has about 500% more words than your average foreign dub. VERY WORDY! I made it home and fed the pets, and then met my pal Sara for dinner at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. I picked up a few grocery items, and then went home to do my nightly auditions. It was nice to relax for a bit, and some new frogs have taken up residence outside my house again and I’m enjoying a second wave of the soothing sounds of croaking at night!

Wednesday the 30th – HALFWAY DONE! – As I was out with Roxy on our start-of-the-day walk, I noticed how gorgeous a lot of the flowers around the neighborhood looked. I grabbed my camera and started shooting some photos. I even got some shots of a friendly squirrel. A humming bird and a mourning dove were also in the area, but I wasn’t quite fast enough on the button to capture them. But it was an absolutely gorgeous morning; as is usual after a rainy spell. I hit Taco Bell for some lunch, and then headed to the studio in Burbank for another day of foreign sitcom dubbing. Since we are now into Episode 5 of the 8 episode run, we’ve surpassed the halfway mark, and we still have another 2 and a half weeks of work to do. It’s been a monumental task, but I think you’ll really like the results when you see it! The first four episodes took us about 58 hours of actual dubbing time to complete. And that’s just MY character! That doesn’t include the other characters they have to record! Since I’ve been locked into this gig for several weeks, I’ve been unable to do any of the regular work that comes in. So my agent is starting to field work offers for jobs that will start immediately after we wrap on the foreign sitcom. So it looks like even though I’ll be finished on the sitcom on April 20th, there’s another full week of work on video games after that. As Grandpa always used to say, “Make hay while the sun shines!” Even though quitting time was fast approaching, we were in the middle of a fairly complex scene with a lot of dialogue and energy. I didn’t want to stop since we had some good momentum going, even though the clock was telling us that our session time was over. I asked if we could continue and complete the scene, even though that would put us 10 minutes over. I didn’t feel we’d be able to match the same momentum and energy if we picked it up the next day. Plus there are technical considerations as well, as the studio location and distance to the microphone would likely change within 24 hours, giving the scene an inconsistent sound if we broke it up over 2 days. We got what we needed and we headed home. It was good that we didn’t break the flow and got a nice, even, consistent take of that vital scene. Sometimes when you’re in the flow of something like that, the clock be damned – it’s got to be right. I came home and fed the kids and relaxed. Later I made a barbecue and watched another episode of “The Lone Ranger.” I’m sorry, but the guy they replaced Clayton Moore with is really awful. His acting isn’t even up to high school play caliber. I’ll be glad to start season 4 when Clayton Moore returns. Proof that you just can’t fill these classic roles with a pretty face and expect it to fly.

Thursday the 31st – TUESDAY AND DAN! – Our lovely L.A. weather was short-lived, as it was another gloomy day. I found out from the casting people who are working on the foreign sitcom I’ve been dubbing, that my casting suggestions for certain roles in the show became a reality! My good friends Tuesday Knight and Daniel Roebuck ALSO got roles in the show! This is going to be a GREAT dub cast! I hit Chick-Fil-A for lunch and headed to the studio. I don’t have a Chick-Fil-A in my area, and haven’t eaten there very much in the past. But because there’s one so close to the studio it’s going to be a good friend for the next few weeks, at least. I did my four hour session and then went home to do some work. I recorded my nightly auditions, relaxed, and made note of the fact that the rest of my April workdays are almost completely booked up already! By the time my birthday trip comes up in early May, I’m going to be MORE than ready for a break!

Friday the 1st – LUNCHEONETTE LAKE! – Before I headed out to my session I recorded a few auditions. I phoned the folks at Paty’s and had them make a salad to go, that I could grab on my way to the session. I got to the studio, ate my salad in my car while I talked to my dad on the phone, and then did the four hour session. We’re within a stone’s throw of being finished with Episode 5! As expected, it was a tough one! But it looks like Episode 5 might be a bit easier. It’s shorter than the other episodes, and the dialogue for my character isn’t nearly as dense. After today we still have two weeks and two days’ worth of dubbing to do before we’re finished. I talked to my buddy Dan Roebuck and asked how his first day on the show was, and he had a blast. My pal Tuesday Knight had fun too, and she’s been working on the show for about a week now. I went to my box to get my mail, and saw that I got some more cookies from my pal Randy Sherwyn, producer and host of my favorite Christmas radio show “Christmas Across the Lands.” I’ve agreed to return to this year’s show as Wally the Elf, and as a gesture of thanks, he sends me these great cookies! I got home and did some auditions, and then drove over to Chin Chin to get some food to go. I worked a bit around the house, as the maids are coming on Saturday to clean Planet Wallywood. I took a short nap in the Puppet Room, but when I got up around 2am Saturday morning to enjoy my night, I noticed that there was a big puddle of water in the far end of my kitchen. The drywall on the ceiling above that spot was wrinkled and moist. I had a leak. Then it hit me. As I was showering in the master bathroom Friday morning before I turned in, I noticed an odd thing. The showerhead is connected to a shower arm (the pipe that brings the water into the showerhead), and the shower arm protrudes in through the wall. It’s connected inside the wall to the water source. But the shower arm is normally secured to the wall with a small metal ring that is usually attached to the wall with silicone or putty. As I showered I noticed that there was a slight bit of water coming in from underneath that metal ring. First off, why would water be coming in from that direction, and secondly, wouldn’t the silicone or putty have prevented it anyway? I made a mental note to call my contractor about it, but with everything going on it slipped my mind. Sure enough, there’s most likely some sort of leak inside the wall at the junction of the water pipe and the shower arm. And it’s been pissing water downstairs to my kitchen ceiling. Even though it was 2am I called my contractor to leave a message on his phone. I figured he’d get it when he woke up and then call me. I moved all of the stuff I had in the far end of the kitchen out, and moved it to the Chaney Room. This included chairs, file folders of photos and negatives, a scanner, a plastic tub of items for my photo scanning project, and my Andy Kaufman/Elvis mannequin, and my Tony Clifton mannequin. Then I mopped up all of the water. My contractor Handy Don called me back, as he had heard his phone ring and it woke him up. He said he’d be over at 10am Saturday morning. My Saturday schedule was already very busy, but this would complicate everything considerably!

Saturday the 2nd – GOD’S TIMING! – The day was promising to be extremely full, and I woke up wondering how I was going to fit everything into my schedule. Apparently God had it all handled already. Handy Don texted me that he would be coming at 11, not 10 as originally planned. Apparently he didn’t sleep well either. I woke up about every hour with the plumbing issue on my brain. I met Handy Don at 11 and luckily, we were able to immediately diagnose the issue. Normally, when there’s some sort of problem, it takes a good hour or two to even ascertain what the source of the issue is. But because I had seen that water dripping in underneath the attachment ring of the shower arm, we already knew exactly what the problem was, and it saved us countless hours of investigation. Handy Don tried several things first in an attempt to avoid having to knock a hole through the opposite wall to access the coupling on the shower arm. But after a few tries it was decided that going in through the back would be the only option. So he went to the Puppet Room bathroom (which is directly on the other side of the wall from the master bathroom), made appropriate measurements to gain access, and cut a hole. Sure enough, the pipe in the copper coupling had gone bad due to the metal at the join corroding and decaying. He was able to pull it apart, after much work, and pick up a new shower arm at the local hardware store. As expected, that small leak had probably been going on for months, and I was totally unaware because I hadn’t been using the master bathroom shower that often. (I like the showerhead and water pressure in the Puppet Room bathroom much better). He cut and re-soldered the section of piping that was presenting the problem, and tested everything to make sure it was water tight. He put a patch over the hole in the wall of the Puppet bathroom and, as luck would have it, just as he finished in the upstairs bathrooms, my maids showed up to clean! Since they always start upstairs and work their way down, the timing was perfect! Don was just finishing and moving his operation downstairs to the kitchen to work. God’s timing! He cut a rectangular section out of the kitchen ceiling drywall to determine if there was any standing water left and if so, to clean it out. Luckily there wasn’t any, so we just opened up the kitchen picture window to give it some ventilation for a few days, and to expedite the drying out process. Roxy’s groomer arrived while the maids were upstairs, and while Handy Don was working in the kitchen. I took Roxy outside and got the groomer started on her mobile bath. I had a hair appointment originally scheduled for 4:30, but earlier in the day my stylist texted me to let me know she was experiencing food poisoning and would have to postpone until next week. Good thing too, because I most likely wouldn’t have made it on time anyway, with everything going on. God’s timing again. Handy Don had finished up and left, and the maids finished up around 4:40. I had received an e-mail notification that some cool eBay items had arrived at my box, and they closed at 5. So I high-tailed it over to my box to collect them. I got there mere minutes before they closed. God’s timing again! I got some Wizard of Oz fabric that I had ordered for a new bowling shirt, a pair of vintage Laurel and Hardy hand puppets, and (as luck would have it) a brand new showerhead I ordered! Now that my master shower was fixed, I could try it out! I got home and discovered that my cat Spook had become enamored with my kitchen table. He was sitting atop it looking out on the area from a second story view; something he wasn’t able to do before the water leak was discovered. Normally my kitchen window is blocked with display curtains and mannequins. But since everything had been moved to the Puppet Room, there was lots of room! A few neighbors were walking by with their kids and they pointed up and said, “Look at the kitty!” I chatted with them through the window, and then got a wild idea. I said, “Do your kids watch ‘Sesame Street’ at all?” They said they did, and I told them to hold on. I went upstairs to grab Cookie Monster, and I was basically giving a puppet show out my kitchen window! Then I did the same with my Oscar the Grouch! It was a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed seeing the Muppet replicas quite a bit. In regards to the Laurel and Hardy hand puppets I just received, these were vintage 1966 toys in perfect shape. The Stan puppet was still in the original plastic package, but the Ollie was loose. Several months ago I found a Stan in the package, mint condition, all by himself. I had searched for months for a companion Ollie in like condition, but the only Ollies I could find were loose, and in awful condition. But even though the Ollie in this set was loose, he was in perfect shape. And although I already had a mint condition Stan in the package, I needed to add the Ollie, so I bought this new set. I could take this Stan out of the original bag and put the Ollie in it, so I could have a Stan and Ollie both in original packaging. I would take the Stan I just received, put him in a different plastic bag and put him in storage. But there was still the issue of what to do about the display card. I scanned the Stan Laurel card in high resolution, and started working in my photo program. I touched up the imperfections, gave it a different inventory number, and erased STAN LAUREL from the header. After a quick search through my fonts, I found a font that matched the original one quite well. I typed in OLIVER HARDY, colored it accordingly, and did a test print. After some finagling with sizing and colors, I got the perfect print that matched Stan’s card almost perfectly! I was rather proud of the job I did, considering I’m an amateur. I cut out the card, made a cardboard support body for inside the Ollie puppet, put them all inside the bag, sealed it up, and hung him next to my original mint condition Stan Laurel puppet in the Puppet Room. At last, a complete set! Just as I was wrapping up my friends Scott and Vickie Sebring texted that they were on their way to meet me for dinner. Perfect! I got cleaned up, and we headed to Lancer’s for dinner. I hadn’t seen either of them in quite a while so it was good to catch up. We closed the place at 9:30 and headed back to my house to visit for a few more hours. Then I collapsed in the Puppet Room bed for a quick nap. I needed it! I got up later to feed the pets, walk Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, and (since it was the first weekend of the month) prepare for my monthly “Laurel and Hardy Theatre” presentation. I made my traditional Chef Boyardee pizza, had ice cold Diet Pepsi in my vintage Stan Laurel mug (the one my mom made for me in her ceramics class back in 1973), and a banana Twinkie and popcorn. I watched “Bonnie Scotland.” I realized that I had never seen that movie before. It was definitely a weird one. It was almost like there were two separate movies mashed-up into one. There was the typical Laurel and Hardy comedy, smashed into (quite awkwardly) a love story of sorts involving a young couple. Both stories had very little to do with each other, and it seemed like the producers had some trouble trying to find commonality between the two stories. I would have much preferred just to see the Stan and Ollie comedy, and forget about the love story angle, but whatever. Oddly enough, at the movie’s finale, the love story angle never got fully resolved. They just kind of left it hanging. Strange movie. I can see why it probably wasn’t in the usual rotation of Laurel and Hardy movies they ran on TV when I was a kid. But I’m glad I saw it. I took great delight in heading to bed and getting a day full of rest with no appointments, and no plumbing issues! What a day! Whew!

Sunday the 3rd – RECHARGE, RECALIBRATE AND REFRESH! – Though I had only slept a few hours, I got up to eat some leftover Chef Boyardee pizza and take Roxy out for a bathroom break. Then I went back to bed until the evening. I got up later, did some work, and then took a nap in the Puppet Room. Some frogs had returned to the L.A. River out behind my house, so it was nice sleeping to their gentle croaking again! It sure was nice to have a day to do nothing.

And how was YOUR week??!!


Here’s the final Laurel and Hardy vintage puppet display, complete with my recreation of the Oliver Hardy insert card.

And now, please enjoy a few photos of the beauty of spring.