RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
Boy did I love this cereal as a kid. Even though they had a very politically-incorrect mascot character at one point.
I recall working at a college radio station in Aberdeen, South Dakota as a 16 year old kid and marveling at the wall of albums in the record room. I saw that they were throwing out a bunch of records, so I was given permission to take what I wanted. One of those albums was an LP by The Stampeders, the band who brought us “Sweet City Woman.” When that song came up on my iPod the other day as I was driving around in the Gran Torino, it really took me back. I wish I still had that album, but as I recall it was pretty trashed.
Monday the 19th – INVESTIGATING HIS BACKGROUND! – Roxy’s groomer came over to give her a bath while I did some work inside. When they finished up I drove over to Plastic Depot in Burbank to talk to my pal Kyle about cutting a piece of plastic that I could attach to the back of the case where my Rowlf the Dog replica Muppet resides. After I removed a piece of art that hung behind the case, all that remained is bare wall. I had Kyle cut a piece of plastic that’s 24” by 28” that I could cover with some colorful lame fabric and mount behind Rowlf’s case. Then I hit KFC to get some food to go, and I got a few grocery items. I stopped by the dry cleaners to drop off a comforter, and then I hit my mailbox to get my packages. A nifty new Chaney t-shirt arrived, which features both Lon Sr. and Lon Jr. as various characters. It’s sweet! When I got home I dug out some cherry-gold lame that I had in my storage, sprayed some Super 77 glue on the plastic piece I just got from Kyle, and attached the lame to the plastic. I smoothed it out as best as possible, and then took it upstairs so I could glue down the overlaps on the side. Once it was cured I took some large binder clips and mounted it to the back of the Rowlf case. I turned on my new Muppet lights (which I had installed a few weeks ago) and it looked amazing! I took a short nap, and then got up later to take Roxy out for our late-night stroll through the neighborhood. She’s really doing well, considering how she was a few weeks ago. I recorded some pick-ups for a regular client, who had the wrong date on the original copy I recorded a few days ago. I wrote Wally’s Week, went over some bank statements, made a pot pie and watched another episode of “The Magician.”
Tuesday the 20th – WINKIN’ BLINKIN’ MAHNA! – The day started with some rigorous cleaning of Planet Wallywood, and then my pal Ryan came over for a quick tour. My buddy Andy was also supposed to get a tour, but at the last minute he had to bow out because of work reasons. When the tour was complete Ryan and I hopped in the Gran Torino and drove to Paty’s for lunch. But the parking lot was full and there was no parking anywhere, so we drove over to Bob’s Big Boy instead. It was a fun lunch! When we finished I dropped Ryan off at his car (he also drives a vintage Mustang!) and I went inside to do some work. Speaking of Mustangs, the Burbank Auto Doctor called and said my Mustang was finally ready to roll. They’re doing some last minute road testing just to make sure it’s 100% before they release it to me. I did some more R&D work on the eye cones for my new Mahna Mahna replica Muppet I’m building, and I’m really liking the progress. I’ve decided that in addition to giving him the ability to blink (like the original) I’m also going to give him the ability to wink! There’s only one incarnation of the original Henson Mahna Mahna puppet that I’ve ever seen wink his individual eyes. Mostly, we see Mahna blink both at the same time. But a piece of old footage from “The Ed Sullivan Show” exists on YouTube that shows Mahna blinking AND winking! That’s the only time I’ve ever seen that puppet do both. So I’ve decided to make mine look like the more-famous later version of Mahna, but make his functionality like the earlier version. Because of the limited amount of space inside the puppet’s head I won’t be able to do it internally. So I plan on rigging each eye with a length of fish line that will run down the entire length of the puppet and attach to different-colored plastic rings on the end. The mechanism will be external, and I’ll operate it with the fingers of my left hand. My left ring finger will operate the right eye’s wink, and my left index finger will operate the left eye’s wink. If I pull both strings down at the same time, he’ll blink both eyes. That’s the plan anyway. I’ve got to do some more test to make sure that the lengths of fish line won’t have any sort of hang-ups as it extends down through the inside of the puppet’s head, down between the fingers of my right hand (which will be operating his mouth), and down the inside length of his body. It all seems like it’ll work in theory. I know that the eye mechanism on the original Mahna Mahna puppet was external, because you can see a small rod hanging beneath the puppet on an appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” when Jim Henson brings the puppet out to show Dick. I took a short nap, and then headed to Staples to pick up some of those little plastic straw coffee stirrers. My pal Sara said she did some research and that was the nearest place that had some. I need to mount little pieces of the straw inside the puppet’s eye cones and head so that the fish line can move freely. The nylon fish line rubbing against the foam rubber of the head was encountering too much drag, and I needed the fish line to move more fluidly. So creating little conduits, or channels, with the plastic straw pieces will give me that fluidity. Then I picked up a few grocery items and headed home. I did some experimentation with the plastic straw coffee stirrers and it worked perfectly! There was no resistance or drag like there would have been running it through the foam rubber head. I recorded my nightly auditions and sent them in to my agents. I found out about three new sessions that are coming up; one for a test commercial for a new snack, one as a vintage-sounding announcer for a feature film, and one for a video game based on a cartoon I was in. Great stuff! Later I made a barbecue, some tomato soup and watched another episode of “The Magician.”
Wednesday the 21st – PS CANCELED! – In anticipation of the Thursday session I’ll be doing for the test commercials for a new snack good, I got my equipment fired up and did a quick test with the engineer in San Francisco. I had a workman come over to look at the toilet in the Puppet Room, as one of the valve parts was about ready to die. He told me the part I needed to order, and I got on-line and bought it. It should be here early next week. When it arrives he’ll return to install it. It was a gorgeous day. Roxy was doing very well and we took a short walk. I’ve found that limiting the time she spends on her feet to 15 to 20 minutes seems perfect to keep her legs from getting too fatigued. I worked around the house and ordered a Domino’s pizza. I wasn’t able to get a ride to the mechanic’s to get my Mustang, so I’ll have to get it tomorrow. I had planned on going to Palm Springs for a few days, but given all of the sessions that were being scheduled I had to cancel my trip. I wasn’t able to find anyone to stay with my pets anyway, so I’ll have to go another time when things slow down a bit. I recorded my auditions and sent them in to my agents. There were a ton of owls in the neighborhood hooting like crazy. It was great! It was a cool, clear night; simply gorgeous. Fall is on the way!
Thursday the 22nd – IT’S BACK! – Around noon I set up the soundproofing in my recording area for the session for the test TV spots for the snack food. At 2 we did the session and it only took about 20 minutes. Pretty sweet! Then I drove the Gran Torino over to the Burbank Auto Doctor, and paid the bill for the work on my Mustang. Since the auxiliary parking space for my Torino is so close to the mechanic’s shop, one of the mechanics drove my Mustang and followed me in the Torino over to the parking space. I put the Torino to bed, hopped in my Mustang and drove the mechanic back to the shop. But since the Mustang had been in the shop for so long, it was REALLY dusty and dirty. It badly needed a bath. I took it to a local car wash and had them do a wash and wax. This car wash is an original 50’s car wash that looks a lot like the location for the “Car Wash” film of the 70’s. But that one was actually in downtown L.A., and it no longer exists. I’m sure glad to have the Mustang back again, and it’s running very well! I picked up my dry cleaning at the cleaners, went to my box to get a package, and then went home to feed the kids. Later I picked up my friend Bianca so we could have a late dinner at the Coral Café. Then I headed back home, took a brief nap, and spent the rest of the night doing some work around the house. I was exhausted as it was a VERY long day!
Friday the 23rd – CREATIVITY CONCLAVE! – My buddy Mike McGee at Alex in Wonderland in Burbank is helping me with an idea for a new art piece I want to work on. He had inherited some Batman-themed pieces from a friend who was divesting himself of some unwanted items, and these Batman-themed pieces were among them. While I was there, I also spoke with his wife Alex about the fabrication of my new Mahna Mahna replica Muppet, which she’ll be helping me to create. I got home and worked around the house. Later I made a salad and watched another episode of “The Magician.” This was a great episode about a 9 year old girl that was a witness to a murder. It was brilliantly written, and one of the actors had been dubbed by an actor named Vic Perrin, a man who had given voice to tons of characters in the old “Star Trek” series. While Vic did appear on-camera from time to time, I knew him as the main go-to guy for Voice Over dubbing when a character needed a little extra pizazz. I sense that the on-camera actor they cast might not have been a very good actor, but fit the look they were going for. So they probably brought in Vic to improve the performance.
Saturday the 24th – I FINALLY SAW IT! – Most of the day I spent relaxing, but later in the evening my friend Sabrina came over so we could go to dinner at the Smoke House. It was a hot day and we drove over in the Mustang with the top down. It was a very nice dinner, and the food is always great. When we got home we decided to watch the new “Elvis” movie that I just got on Blu Ray. I hadn’t heard many good things about it, so I was a little hesitant. It seems the people who liked it the most had only a moderate knowledge of the story of Elvis Presley. The people I know who didn’t like it know a lot about Elvis. As I count myself in the latter category I was a bit concerned. I could go very deep into my thoughts about the film, but I’ll keep it simple and just say that I felt the film was too dense. There were way too many flashy music video contrivances for me, and I wished they would have abandoned those in favor of just telling the story. In some scenes they had two or three different music pieces playing simultaneously and I thought it was very distracting and confusing. The kid who played Elvis was adequate, and he’ll probably get an Oscar nomination. But I was disappointed that he didn’t have that trademark Elvis smile; that famous sneer that made Elvis so unique. But his Elvis speaking voice was perfect! I won’t comment much on Tom Hanks as there wasn’t anything about his look or performance that I enjoyed. In fact, I felt rather embarrassed for him from time to time. The make-up was too much, and his accent didn’t sound anything like the real Col. Parker (if you look up his actual interview footage on-line). I felt the role should have gone to somebody like Russell Crowe who had more of the natural girth of Col. Parker. So unfortunately for me this film is a “one-and-done” movie.
Sunday the 25th – SORE THROAT! – When I got up Sunday afternoon I felt a bit achy and had a dry, sore throat. I wrote the body aches off as the result of sitting up in bed watching the 3 hour “Elvis” movie. But the sore throat concerned me, considering I had two big sessions coming up this week. Sabrina and I went to Paty’s to enjoy a mid-afternoon lunch on the patio, and enjoy the gorgeous day. After lunch Sabrina headed back home and I decided to rest all evening. I did a little prep for my Monday session which will happen bright and early. I did my auditions and sent them to my agents. If my throat is still sore on Monday I’m calling the doctor, as I think I might have strep throat again like last December. More on this later.
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Here’s a little test I did for the Mahna Mahna eye cones, and the individual winking mechanism I’m working on