RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
It was fun seeing this shot pop up on my Instagram feed from Monsterpalooza and a convention guest. Apparently they liked seeing my “Wizard of Oz” busts on display at Monsterpalooza back in 2019! What a surprise seeing this! (Note: you can see my Andy Kaufman “Heartbeeps” figure in the back!)
Now that I have several MP3 players scattered all over my house and in my cars, I sometimes hear a lot of repeated songs. Such was the case this past week with “Boogie Child” by the Bee Gees. I heard it in my Mustang while driving around, and then heard it TWICE at my house. Needless to say I’ve been humming it since!
Monday the 23rd – PAT AT PATY’S! – It had been since 2014 that I had seen my good pal Patrick Smith, who was the sound mixer on “The Tonight Show.” He and his wife Catrina had moved away to New York for a short time, but they returned about 9 months ago. His wife Catrina has interest in getting into Voice Acting, and they wanted to meet to chat more about it. So it was my pleasure to meet them at Paty’s for a wonderful 2+ hour lunch! I love those people so much! It was great to see them! It was fun chatting about the old days, but also about the future. Then I drove over to the Alex In Wonderland studios and picked up my finished Roosevelt Franklin replica Muppet. It turned out WONDERFULLY! I got back home and spent some time outside with Roxy and then fed her dinner. I did some prep on the script for a session early the next morning. Since Roosevelt Franklin was almost finished, I did some “seam picking” with a safety pin. Seam picking on a puppet made of fleece is delicate but necessary. When fleece material is sewn by a machine you obviously will see a seam. But the reason Jim Henson and puppet-builder Don Sahlin used fleece as a material when they started creating the Muppets, is because the pile of fleece material can be manipulated to cover the seams. An expert seam-picker can make seams completely disappear! Each time I do some seam picking I get a little bit better at it, but people like Alex at Alex In Wonderland are masters at it! The Fuzzelle material that we used to make Roosevelt Franklin is particularly wonderful for hiding seams. I do need to have his hairline altered a bit, as it’s a bit too sharp. My pal Sergio Lopez is coming over Tuesday to cut a wig for a performance I’m doing soon, and I’ll ask him to help me fix it then. Once that’s finished, I can put his eye pieces on, add the pupils, and he’s done! Then I’ll build his display stand and put him in his case with Gonzo. Roosevelt is the final of the 13 Muppet replicas I wanted to have done, and then I’m finished with making puppets.
Tuesday the 24th – CRAZY, BUSY DAY! – The day started with a session at The Voicecaster in Burbank. I literally haven’t been there in about 3 or 4 years, so it was nice to be back in the old studios again! I spent about an hour narrating a corporate video. Then I drove over to Roundtable Pizza, which is in the same neighborhood as The Voicecaster, and got a large pizza to go. My pal Sergio Lopez was on his way to spend the afternoon doing work at Planet Wallywood, so I wanted to get us some lunch to get us going. Sergio arrived, we ate, and then he started on working on the wig. He took a break while the spray set on the wig, and softened the hairline on the Roosevelt Franklin replica Muppet. My pal David Joyce brought his keyboard over and we rehearsed the short stage presentation I’ll be doing next weekend at Monsterpalooza in Pasadena. We rehearsed the act a few times and got our cues down, and I think it’ll be terrific! While Sergio worked away, I recorded some auditions. I was staring at my Oscar the Grouch replica Muppet, and I realized that his pupils were a bit smaller than I would have liked. I don’t know why I hadn’t caught it before now. I originally designed my particular replica to look more like the classic 70’s Oscar, and his pupils were pretty large. So just for comparison I cut a round pupil out of black velvet that’s 1/8” larger than the ones I had on the puppet. I showed Sergio and he agreed…the larger pupils looked perfect. He and I gingerly and gently pulled the old pupils off of the plastic eyepieces, and thankfully, it didn’t damage any of the eye pieces. Later I’ll cut two 1 1/8” pupils out of black velvet and attach them. Once Sergio finished up with the wig, I put the eye pieces on Roosevelt and let them cure while he and I went to Bob’s Big Boy for dinner. When I got back home I grabbed a quick nap, and then got up to put on Roosevelt’s pupils. I punched them out of black velvet and glued them onto the eye pieces. I also attached the new, larger black pupils onto the Oscar puppet, and he looks perfect! Roosevelt is also completely finished and ready to have his display stand! I prepped for a video game session the next day.
Wednesday the 25th – WEINERS AND WARNER! – It was nice to take Roxy outside and see her lying in the sun for a while, enjoying the day. Then I drove to Wienerschnitzel to grab a couple of chili cheese dogs and head over to the Warner Brothers studio to park, eat, and do my Voice Over session. It was fun being back at Warner again doing another video game. After two and a half hours we wrapped the session, and I went to visit my friend James at his office in Post-Production Services. I swung by my mailbox and picked up my packages, and then headed home to feed and walk Roxy. I did a little bit of work, grabbed a quick nap, and then got up later to do my nightly auditions. I had a few necessary phone conversations, and then started working on the Roosevelt Franklin puppet stand. It turned out very nicely! I watched another episode of “Ghost Story,” which was renamed midseason in 1972-73 to “Circle of Fear.”
Thursday the 26th – TUESDAY ON THURSDAY THEN ZOOM! – It’s always a great time to meet with my friend, actress Tuesday Knight and her mom and friend Jeff. We had a great lunch at Paty’s, and then I drove to Foam Mart in Burbank to buy another sheet of a soft, rubbery substance called L200. I want to increase Roxy’s living space quite a bit to give her more space in the living room. Because of her advanced age of 14 she’s no longer allowed to be on the carpet, as she has some potty accidents from time to time. So I put down this soft, cushy, rubbery material down on the floor, cover it with her bed and blankets and that’s her little “play area.” I also bought a bag of fiberfill to stuff into the hands of a few Muppets I’ll be bringing to Monsterpalooza next weekend. They’re live-hands puppets, so unless they’re stuffed with a certain level of firmness, they’ll flop around and look odd. I also purchased some craft foam for a few prop pieces for my Monsterpalooza stage presentation I’ll be doing, and I bought two nice little foldable gates to help build Roxy’s new expanded perimeter in the living room. I got back home and did some prep, and then did an interview with a young guy named Chris Mayek via Zoom. It was fun, and you can find it here https://youtu.be/KwvN77t_G4c on YouTube. Later I did my nightly auditions and worked around the house.
Friday the 27th – MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND! – It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the unofficial start of summer with the advent of the Memorial Day weekend holiday! Where does the time go?! My maids arrived to clean Planet Wallywood, and later I met my pal Joe Garner for dinner at the Smoke House in Burbank. FUN TIME! I got back home, took a short nap, and then got up to do some prep work for the next day’s whirlwind of activity!
Saturday the 28th – THE REAL, BEHIND-THE-SCREAMS STORY! – Top Hollywood make-up artist Kenny Myers, his wife Karen and their assistant Chris came by Planet Wallywood to work out the make-up and hair pieces I’ll be wearing at the upcoming presentation I’ll be doing at Monsterpalooza next weekend. It’s VERY exciting. If you remember from Wally’s Week a few weeks ago, when Kenny first came by for the consultation, I’ve known of him since 1987, when I worked as a background zombie on “Return of the Living Dead: Part 2” shortly after my arrival in L.A.! If you remember the film, at the end when they’re shocking all of the zombies at the power plant, a zombie that’s an obvious nod to the Michael Jackson “Thriller” zombie jumps into the frame and his hair catches on fire. The “Thriller” jacket he’s wearing is mine. I happened to wear it to the set one day, and I saw all sorts of eyes peering at me from inside the make-up trailer. Then I was approached and asked if I would be willing to loan them my jacket for a bit for the film they were doing. I said it would be alright, as long as it didn’t get damaged. I always assumed that they had planned on doing the Michael Jackson parody bit, had prepared the make-up appliance for it, and had just intended to put a regular jacket on him. But here was a replica of the actual jacket! As Kenny and Karen worked on me, I talked about that day back in 1987, and how excited I was at the odd coincidence. But then Kenny said, “Do you want to know the behind-the-scenes story now?” I eagerly said yes! Apparently when I strolled onto the set on that February day back in 1987, the production crew spotted me wearing the jacket and got the idea to do the parody/tribute to Michael Jackson. Kenny pitched the idea to the production crew, and said he could fabricate an ersatz Michael Jackson zombie from wigs and pieces he already had with him in the trailer!! It wasn’t a planned bit as I had originally believed. My presence in the jacket that day gave them the idea!! Once I agreed to loan them the jacket, they made up a stunt guy as the “Thriller” zombie, prepared the pyro effects for lighting his wig on fire, and shot the scene. Kenny said they went back and forth with the film’s legal department who didn’t think the parody/tribute was a good idea. Kenny said they should shoot it anyway just to have it, and they could cut it out of the final print if they didn’t like it. But it did make it into the film, and I feel it was one of the funniest scenes in the finale of the film. Hearing Kenny tell that story was WILD! I hadn’t been aware of that for 35 years! After Kenny and company left, I grabbed a short nap, and then got up to prep the living room for company. It was one of the first movie nights I’ve had in quite a while. I took up all of Roxy’s “protective” padding and blankets, and just made sure to give her frequent bathroom breaks so there wouldn’t be an accident on the carpet. But it all worked out VERY well and she was perfect! We had something called an “Ersan-athon,” where we watched four of the eight episodes of the Turkish comedy series I worked on called “Ersan Kuneri.” Since the small group of friends I had assembled for the viewing liked the show, we’ll watch the other four episodes at a later date. It was great fun, and I was very happy with how the English dub cast sounded in the final mix. After everyone left, I needed to reassemble Roxy’s living area. This would be the time I would do the expansion of her space with the new sheet of L200 and the new gates I had just bought. It worked out beautifully and she now has run of virtually the entire living room, though she spends most of her time sleeping. I started working on another art piece I need for my stage act at Monsterpalooza, but I stumbled across a math problem. There needed to be slats installed into a frame and they all needed to be equidistant. But being the “math impaired” person I am I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. So I Tweeted out the conundrum and my VO pal Beau responded with the perfect equation. SOLVED! The first Saturday of every month I watch a Laurel and Hardy film, and since I’ll be at Monsterpalooza next weekend I moved up my “Laurel and Hardy Theatre” presentation to this weekend. To remind me of the fun times I had watching “Laurel and Hardy Theatre” on channel 9 back in the old days of life in Aberdeen, South Dakota – I like to make my experiences as retro as possible. So I make a Chef Boyardee pizza (had LOTS of them as a kid), eat a banana Twinkie (which tastes a lot like the Banana Flips we enjoyed back then), and have some popcorn. But the final touch is drinking Pepsi from one of the giant Laurel and Hardy mugs my mom made for me at her ceramics class back in 1973! I still have them and cherish them greatly! I watched the feature film “Our Relations” which was great fun. It revolves around Stan and Ollie’s long lost twin brothers Bert and Alf. Hilarious!
Sunday the 29th – SUNNY, SUNDAY SOLITUDE! – As I do every Sunday I rested most of the day. Later my pal Sara and I went to Miceli’s to chat about the Monsterpalooza act (she’s helping me) and catch up on stuff going on in her life. I got home to do some writing, and stuffed the hands of the puppets I’ll be taking to Monsterpalooza so they look a little more “alive.” I did some more work on the art piece I’ll need for my stage act. Busy busy busy!
Monday the 30th – A POIGNANT, REFLECTIVE MEMORIAL DAY! – Since it was a gorgeous day, I walked over to Michael’s to pick some paints that I needed for my art project. I got back home to paint, but ran out of one of the cans before it was finished. Back I go to Michael’s on Tuesday! I spent some time with Roxy out in the courtyard watching some of the other dogs play, and then made some hot dogs on the grill! YUM! After a short nap I got up to make my final packing list for the upcoming convention weekend. After not having a Monsterpalooza convention for three years, I was going to make the most of this one! I prepped for two meetings I’d be having on Tuesday, wrote Wally’s Week, and paid some bills and reconciled my receipts in my bank accounts! Whew! I just know that this week is going to go VERY fast, and I’m trying to work ahead as much as possible!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK