RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Just in case you forgot.
This song from Tal Bachman has always been one of my favorite, and it would be a great song to sing at karaoke – if it ever returns to L.A. that is. This is “She’s So High.”
Monday the 22nd – SURPRISE APPEARANCE! – The day started with a little work around the house, and then I drove over to a studio in Sherman Oaks for a four hour video game session. One of the characters I’ve voiced for years is making a surprise appearance in an upcoming game and it was so much fun to reprise the role. But SHHHHHH – don’t tell anyone. It’s just between you and me! I got home to feed the pets, did some auditions, and ordered up a Domino’s pizza. I typed out Wally’s Week and hit the hay. I was exhausted!
Tuesday the 23rd – KEN, KYLE, COOKIE AND KFC! – Since I was running low, I stopped by Spook’s vet to pick up a new supply of cat fud. While I was there I saw my old pal Ken from church. I hadn’t seen him in literally years. It was good to catch up. I drove out to Burbank to see my pal Kyle at Plastic Depot. A while back I sent him a design for a stand for my new Cookie Monster replica Muppet, and as usual, Kyle did a fantastic job! I stopped by KFC to get some lunch to go, and headed to my mailbox to get my packages. I got home and met up with fellow Voice Actor Aaron Laplante and gave him a tour of Planet Wallywood! He and I have a lot in common so I knew he’d love to see the place. I did a little work, recorded an audition, and then my pal Bob came by to pick me up so we could go to the drive-in theatre in Montclair to see “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” But there was lots of traffic on the way and we ended up missing about the first 15 minutes of the film. While we were getting our eats we missed another 10 minutes of the film, so by the time we got settled in the car we had missed a third of the movie! But again, it was very hard to see what was going on. Lots of night-time scenes and the projection outdoors isn’t very bright or crisp. The ambience of a drive-in theatre is great, but the trade-off is a lousy picture and sound. I didn’t seem to notice a problem like that back in the days when they simply shined a bright light bulb through acetate. I don’t think much of digital projection for outdoor venues, frankly. What we saw of the movie was great, and the last 15 minutes was worth the drive over! I got home later and did a little work.
Wednesday the 24th – I AM THANKFUL FOR…A CLEAN CAR! – Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had the bright idea to get my car washed on the day before Thanksgiving! The car wash was packed and it took over an hour to get the job completed. But it was well worth it! I drove to CVS to pick up a few prescriptions, grabbed some food at Panera next door, and headed home. I finally figured out how to load all my music onto my new phone, and it works great! I have to read the manual to ascertain the method for creating playlists. I started designing a new replica Muppet. When I was a kid I always liked the little vignettes at Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School, and I used to entertain my little sister for hours with my Roosevelt Franklin vinyl headed puppet that I bought from the Sears Christmas catalog. Even though I swore I was going to stop at Cookie Monster, I am thinking about making a Roosevelt; a character with a much too-short life on “Sesame Street.” It was extremely windy out, so when I walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood we had to sidestep quite a few fallen tree branches. One large branch cracked off and bent a chain link fence bordering or property. I made some soup and a sandwich and watched a few episodes of “The Lone Ranger” before bed.
Thursday the 25th – HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Unlike last year’s boring “pandemic” Thanksgiving, this one was terrific. It was great to anticipate being with people again for the traditional meal. As is our tradition at our annual gatherings, I bring a sack of pens and a stack of index cards to the feast. At the end of the meal I pass them out and have people anonymously write down one random thing they’re thankful for. I checked to make sure all the pens worked (it’s a running gag every year that most of the pens are inoperative) and I sliced up some index cards on my paper cutter. I called my 102 year old WWII vet buddy “Bazooka” Joe and confirmed that I’d be picking him up at 5:15pm. I got cleaned up and headed to “Bazooka’s” place right on time. He was waiting for me in the lobby, we got him loaded into the freshly-washed Mustang and we hit the road. I had allowed a full 45 minutes to get into Burbank and Lancers restaurant, but because the roads were virtually bare we made it in 15 minutes! So we got there early. Our gang arrived in sections, and while it was great to see everyone, unfortunately the service at the restaurant was severely lacking. It seemed that the staff was blindsided with an influx of guests and wasn’t prepared for it. But it was fun nonetheless and we made the best of it. But the company was good! Lancers isn’t usually like that when I visit for periodic meals, but I think the influx of Thanksgiving patrons overwhelmed them. “Bazooka” was a big hit and he wowed everyone with some great jokes and stories. He commented about how nice he thought all my friends were! On the way home I remembered that “The Christmas House” would be up and running in Burbank. This is a house I’ve been visiting for about a decade, and it’s owned by a professional lighting designer for TV and movies. Every year he decorates his house with a fantastic light show that’s set to music. He once told me that it takes him about a full week to program just one song! “Bazooka” loved it and we had a blast watching the lights. The homeowner added two new songs this year, Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and – wait for it – “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams. Another one of my traditions is that when I hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” in some random situation, that tells me that it’s really Christmas time. So…it’s officially Christmas time I guess! I got home and prepped the new Christoween Aspiring Voice Actor compilation video to post on my social media on Friday. I’ve been posting snippets in script form and asking aspiring Voice Actors to record their take on it so I can expose their work. I’ve been getting some great responses! Then I plotted out the remaining Christoween social media posts for the rest of the week.
Friday the 26th – A MUPPET FAN AND DAN! – My maids were due to clean Planet Wallywood, so I spent a few hours waiting for them to arrive by doing some work around the house. Once they arrived they dove in, while I wrote a new press release for my PR guy to post on monster-themed websites. Just as the maids were finishing up, my pal Dan Roebuck and his wife Tammy stopped over for a tour of Planet Wallywood. Tammy is a huge Muppet fan and Dan asked if they could stop by so she could see my replicas. We had some puppet fun, and then we walked down the street to grab dinner. When we got back we had more Muppet fun and then they had to take off for another engagement. I paid some bills, worked around the house some more, and made some buffalo mac (macaroni and cheese with diced pieces of buffalo chicken) and watched a few more episodes of “The Lone Ranger.”
Saturday the 27th – WHEN DOES A SAINT BECOME A DEVIL?! – As we were driving to dinner “Bazooka” told me that he loves to listen to the Singers and Swing music channel on his TV. Being 102 years old he has slight tremoring in his hands and he is unable to operate most equipment, like DVD or CD players. I asked him if he knew what an Alexa was. He didn’t. I got an idea to get him an Amazon Echo with Alexa that he could use in his room to request any music he wanted to hear. It could also tell him the time, the weather, anything. Best of all, it’s hands-free! I consulted with a few friends who know more about this technology than I do, and we set about trying to make it happen for “Bazooka’s” Christmas gift. One of the attendants at the facility where he lives told me that they have wi-fi in the building. So that’s a start. But I found out that you need a smartphone to set the unit up, and I don’t have a smartphone. Neither does “Bazooka.” My pal Mark the Cop said I could buy an Amazon Fire tablet that would do the same job, and they’re very inexpensive; especially on Cyber Monday! Excellent! I was going to get “Bazooka” his music if it killed me! I’ll make the purchases of the gear on Monday after I confirm with “Bazooka’s” living facility that they have the wi-fi infrastructure to support it. It was about 80 degrees out so I walked to the grocery store to get some items for my Saturday Night Super Salad. I listened to my tunes on my phone all the way there. Neat! Later I glued a piece of foam rubber on the end of the rod in my new Cookie Monster display stand so his head could rest on something more cushiony. I didn’t want the fur to get distorted if it had to rest on the hard plastic shaft for too long. One of the posters in my Andy Kaufman exhibit had fallen down because the adhesive gave out, so I got the ladder up from my garage and rehung the poster. While I was there I dusted the entire exhibit, and it was DIRTY! I pulled a large sewing needle out from my drawer and picked Cookie Monster’s seams. During the process of sewing the puppet on a machine, some of the pile of the fur gets caught up in the seams. So it’s best to take a needle and pick the pile out of the seams in order to completely disguise the seams of the puppet. While I was doing that I discovered a few small holes in the puppet where the fabric had gone off the machine. I hand-stitched them up and it was good as new! Now that Cookie’s seams have been picked, he is well and truly done – completely! I read my phone’s manual and figured out how to do playlists, so I spent a little time populating the playlists in my phone. It’s a fairly slow, arduous process…but once it’s done it’ll be great! I have my 70’s playlist for driving my Gran Torino around. I have my Palm Springs playlist when I want to get mellow. And I have my walking playlist for when I take my brisk walks. But while I was doing this my cat Spooky decided he needed attention, so I had to take time out to give him a “Spook Massage.” Svengoolie on ME-TV was going to run “The Devil’s Rain” on his show, so I decided to record it to watch later. I hadn’t seen that film since I saw it in the theatre back in the 70’s! This will be a treat. Instead of my usual viewing of an episode of “The Saint,” I decided to make my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad and watch this great old 70’s horror movie. But despite having all kinds of stars in it, the movie was a real mess. The effects were great, but I realized why I have absolutely no recall of seeing that movie – even though I know I did. Heck, as a kid, I’d see ANYTHING that had William Shatner in it! But one particular scene with Shatner in his “hollow eye socket” make-up looked very familiar! I posted the video here with an explanation. After the movie I wrapped everything up and hit the hay.
Sunday the 28th – ANOTHER FRIEND GONE! – After resting all day, as is my usual Sunday tradition, I received an e-mail from a guy I knew back in the 80’s named Rick. He was the mutual friend of the guy I first roomed with when I moved to L.A. Stan Amacher was a newsman at the Sioux Falls, SD radio station where I worked in 1986. He told me that a friend of his in L.A. was trying to get him to move out there to become a securities broker and make some big money. He moved out and Rick helped get him started. Then in 1987 I moved out and roomed with Stan for a while, sleeping on his living room floor. Eventually, when I picked up more work, we got a two bedroom unit in the same complex and everything was working out well. But then Rick decided to move up north to the Sacramento area, and Stan went with him. That was the last I saw of him around 1989. I got an e-mail from Stan just a few years ago catching up with everything that was going on. But Rick informed me in the e-mail that Stan had passed away of a heart attack back in January of 2020. I was wondering why it took so long for me to hear the news, but I guess I wasn’t in the loop of those who needed to know. Rick and I chatted on the phone for about an hour and got all caught up, told some funny Stan stories, and promised to get together the next time he was down in the L.A. area. Very sad. I did an audition, did some work around the house, and drove to Little Toni’s to get a pizza to go. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and I was craving one of their pizzas. Delicious! Their food always reminds of another late friend named Fred who’s been gone for about four years now. I stayed up all night working on the computer, and before I hit the hay in the morning I found out I had a callback audition at 3pm. So I wouldn’t be getting very much sleep before I needed to be back up again. I also found out from the place where “Bazooka” lives that if the resident has purchased wi-fi for their room, then an Amazon Echo would work fine. But if not, the building’s wi-fi wouldn’t be sufficient. His words were, “Don’t waste your money.” Oh well, it would have been neat, but I’m sure that “Bazooka” doesn’t have his own wi-fi. He doesn’t even have a computer or cell phone. Oh well. I tried.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Mr. Spook wanted his “Spook Massage,” and he wanted it NOW!
OK, quick history of horror movies. The mask used for Michael Myers in the 1978 “Halloween” movie was a retooled, commercially available Captain Kirk mask – the face of William Shatner. In “The Devil’s Rain,” William Shatner foreshadows that movie three years earlier with a very eerie pre-Myers hollow-eyed head tilt. (The head tilt was Michael Myers’ signature move in the films.) Did John Carpenter see this movie and work it into his “Halloween” film? The coincidence is making nerds’ heads everywhere explode!