RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Ever since I saw the opening of the film “The Blob” last weekend, sure enough, I can’t get the theme song out of my head! The Five Blobs SURE did know how to craft a catchy tune!
Tuesday the 8th – I WAS AFRAID OF THAT! – If you remember in last week’s “Wally’s Week,” my 93 year old ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley was taken to the hospital because of an unknown condition. She was out of her residence for most of the day, but returned later that night when they were unable to diagnose her problem. I was secretly hoping that she wouldn’t be under a 14 day quarantine when she returned, as it was the first time she’s left the facility where she lives in 6 months. Sure enough, she called and said all of her scheduled visits had to be canceled because she was under a two-week ‘solitary confinement’ lockdown. Previously, she was at least able to make accompanied walks through the building. But now the only contact she would have with another person would be when the medical staff came to look in on her. Rats! I’ve been urging her for many months to move in with her daughter and son-in-law in Palm Springs so she could have her freedom back. But so far she’s resisted. I hate the thought of her having to be locked up for another six months if this state doesn’t figure out a way to reopen for our senior citizens at retirement facilities. I know if it were me, I’d be going nuts! I scanned negatives all day, and I stumbled across some real gems! If you recall from past installments of “Wally’s Week,” I’m undertaking a huge project of cataloging the contents of all of the film negatives and slides in my collection. I’m almost done cataloging the negatives from my days of living in South Dakota. And when I stumble across negatives that contain images of which I don’t have prints in my collection, I make a point to scan them and prepare them for printing. But I was craving a burger, so my pal Sara and I went over to Bob’s Big Boy to get some dinner. It sure was good having some great food! I came back home and did some auditions, and prepped for a session on Wednesday.
Wednesday the 9th – SOUTH DAKOTA SESSIONS! – On the way to my session I stopped at Taco Bell and got some lunch. Then I went over to the Little Big Room Studios in Burbank to do a session for a healthcare service which primarily serves the South Dakota area. Even though the spots will run exclusively in my home state, they still auditioned and cast the part here in L.A., as they were looking for professional Voice Actors for the job. It had to help that I was from that area and knew the product very well. It was a lot of fun doing the session, and chatting with the producers about South Dakota things. I stopped by my mailbox after the session and got my packages. I picked up some groceries at the store, stopped by Shirley’s residence to drop off some grocery items for her, and then headed home to put all of MY groceries away. The second session of the day was ALSO a South Dakota-related project. My old pal Dave in Sioux Falls has been involved in their local community theatre for a long time, and due to the absence of theatrical productions with large audiences, they’re doing a series of radio plays that people can download. Being a lifelong Dracula fan, he submitted a radio show script that he himself adapted from the original stage play. When they accepted it, he decided to get his old Sioux Falls buddies in on the action. This included two of his buddies who currently reside in Los Angeles as working actors. Our pal Christian Malmin would portray Dr. Seward, and Dave tapped me to play Dr. Van Helsing. (Dave is playing Dracula.) Chris arrived at Planet Wallywood and hung out while I did my lines through an on-line connection, and then Chris recorded his lines. Afterwards Chris and I went to Bob’s Big Boy and got some food. When I came back I did my nightly auditions, and then I was happy to spend some time NOT talking, after a very busy day in front of the microphone.
Thursday the 10th – “ORANGE” YOU GLAD YOU HAVE A DAY OFF?! – The local fires have made the skies an eerie orange, and the sun at sunrise, looks like a dull orange ball in a gray sky. I stayed indoors and scanned more negatives. I got a Domino’s pizza and kept working. I got a call from Shirley’s daughter, and then from Shirley herself. They both had the same piece of news – Shirley is moving to a facility in Palm Springs to be closer to her daughter! This is great news, as she’ll enjoy so much more freedom! She’ll get to go to lunch with her daughter on a regular basis, have freedom to come and go at will, visit a park, play with doggies, etc. Though I’ll be sorry to not have Shirley in the area any longer, it’s all for the best. And with the exception of one masked, socially distanced visit recently, I haven’t seen Shirley in person in six months! I’m blissfully happy at this news, as it means that Shirley will no longer be tantamount to a penitentiary inmate in the last decade of her life. And the reasons that were keeping her here may no longer exist in their previous form anyway; movie nights at Planet Wallywood, church services, dinner with her friends, etc. After talking with Shirley I could tell that she had honestly embraced the idea of moving with great enthusiasm. Many of us thought that she might resist the idea, but even she realizes the amount of freedom she’ll now enjoy. I worked around the house, completed all of the scans from my South Dakota negatives, and recorded a ton of auditions. Now that I’ve finished cataloging and scanning my South Dakota negatives, I’m moving the images over to an external hard drive for posterity. I also submitted 217 images to Shutterfly for printing to 4 X 6 prints. With those prints I’ll plug the holes in my photo scrapbooks. This project has been REALLY worth it!
Friday the 11th – THE HUTCH TOUCH! – My pal Tuesday Knight, her friend Jeff and I met for lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli. And even though the air outside wasn’t ideal, we were luckily able to sit in a section of their outdoor patio that was covered. After lunch I drove over to Alex in Wonderland to pick up my new animatronic-ized Hutch mannequin. A while ago, I had the top half of a mannequin created to look like David Soul’s ‘Hutch’ character from “Starsky & Hutch.” As I drove my Gran Tornio around town, I got sick of people asking, “Where’s Hutch?” So my effects pal Jim Ojala painted him up to look lifelike, my pal Sergio Lopez attached a realistic blonde wig, and I dressed him in Hutch’s famous black turtleneck and brown leather jacket ensemble. He always got laughs and double-takes when I drove around town. As people sat in their cars next to me at a stoplight, I could see them laughing when they discovered that the Hutch lookalike was actually a mannequin. I always thought it would be funny to have a hidden knob down between the bucket seats that I could manipulate and make his head turn to look at them. That would be a REAL shock! During one of the many trips I’ve made to Alex in Wonderland for Muppet replica work, I got to talking to Alex’s husband Mike (who does special effects) about my idea. He said he could easily install a servo motor in his neck that could easily be manipulated with a small switch on a control box. I told him to do it! Though the air is much too horrible out, and the weather is still a bit too warm for Gran Torino weather, I look forward to taking Hutch for a ride in the Tornio very soon. Mike showed me how the rechargeable battery pack connected into the control box, and how Hutch’s wire plugged into it on the other side. I was ready to rock! I got home and did some work, and recorded all of my auditions for Monday morning – just to get a jump on everything. It was the day to do a refresher dose of the flea medication for Roxy and Spook. I also found out that my niece Sara in South Dakota had her baby! She and her husband welcomed an 8 pound baby girl named Claire! I walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, enjoyed a cigar, and then came back inside to make some Buffalo Mac and watch an episode of “The Time Tunnel.” I’m learning a lot of great history from this show!
Saturday the 12th – ON-CAMERA CAMEO! – Most of the day I rested, and stayed inside to avoid the horrible outdoor air. I did a little work around the house, but I set up the office area to do an on-camera bit for Cameo. In case you’ve never heard of it, the Cameo company connects celebs and fans with personalized messages. A customer can select from a number of actors and personalities who have signed up through the company, and order thematic messages to be recorded and sent. I’ve done them in the past to help congratulate people for weddings and other monumental occurrences, as well as simply giving people encouragement for certain situations. The gal who requested the most recent one was having difficulty settling into a new job. She’s a big fan of the anime show “Tiger and Bunny,” so for the video, I wanted to wear the famous cap that was worn by my character Kotetsu in the show. But I knew it was in one of the boxes in my underground storage, and it would take a bit of work to dig it out. Luckily, because I cataloged the contents of the boxes in my underground storage so specifically in the past, I was able to easily locate it in my database. Box number 30! I opened up my storage and THERE IT WAS! I didn’t have to move a lot of boxes around to access it. I set up the camera and recorded the video. Then I edited it a bit and sent it in. Later that night I made my traditional Saturday Night Super Salad, and watched the third-to-the-last episode of “Space 1999.” If you recall from last week’s “Wally’s Week,” I was noting that the star of “Space 1999,” Martin Landau, wasn’t in the episode. It consisted mainly of the supporting cast. It was explained that Mr. Landau’s character was out exploring one of the quadrants of space. But in this episode it was exclusively Martin Landau, with a few other random crewmembers thrown in. I’m guessing that they must’ve been filming this episode simultaneously with the episode that I saw last week; which would explain the casting anomaly. But this episode was another ‘embarrassingly bad” one. The majority of the supporting cast was made up of actors whose performances seemed like bad high school theater. But it did provide a lot of laughs. At one point, a character walked out of a transporter booth, became overwhelmed by some unseen bacterial invader, and dropped dead. The actor they hired looked exactly like Andy Kaufman! It was hilarious! Another character walked out of the booth, became overwhelmed by the bacteria and dropped dead. But the way they performed it was comical. I’m really glad I only have 2 episodes left of this show, and I’m really anticipating starting up the old “Saint” series with Roger Moore when “Space 1999” is mercifully completed. I’ll start on season one and go all the way to the end of season 5. I’ve seen them all before, a long time ago, but I need a refresher. And with Roger Moore at the helm, it’s kind of like watching a mini-James Bond movie every week!
Sunday the 13th – SUNDAY SLIDE SCANS! – It occurred to me that there were a few slides in my collection that I would also like to have turned into prints for my scrapbook, but they would need to be sent to my graphics guy for color correction. So I scanned those and sent them over to my pal Scott Sebring. I was craving a Barone’s pizza, so I went to get some take-out food and brought it home so my pal Sara and I could enjoy it. I did some work around the house, and since I recorded all my auditions last Friday I didn’t have those to do. While I was moving some things around in the bookshelves in my Tranquility Zone, I stumbled across an old Montgomery Wards Christmas catalog from 1976. I had bought it at a retro store a few years back. Looking through it sure brought back some good memories. I decided to scan certain pages and post some of them on Twitter. Hilarious! Later that night I enjoyed some leftover Barone’s pizza and then hit the hay.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Alex In Wonderland studios rigged up Hutch, my Gran Torino driving partner, with a new, fun, lifelike feature! THIS Is bound to get a few second looks!
This funny space death on “Space 1999” had me rolling! I’ve seen better acting in small town high school plays! But this really is hilarious!