Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank You Memory on Thanksgiving

I was honored to speak at the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Helen Hayes Theatre last Spring. I  worked on the speech for this event for a very long time. I wanted to get it right.  It was the first time I had been back to the Helen Hayes Theatre since my show closed. I assumed the speech/performance  was just a live event, done and  gone forever.
A few days ago a video of that speech surfaced. There is a "Live" quality to the recording which sometimes makes it difficult to understand but, it is better than a transcript.

I may or may not be writing blogs over the Holidays. You may or not be reading blogs over the Holidays. Whatever you're doing over the holidays may they be filled with joy, gratitude and most of all love.
As you were,

The Two and Only

Editing the film shoot of "Jay Johnson:The Two and Only" is like trying to cut a trail through a Forrest with cuticle scissors.  Here is a quick trailer.  The music is not my favorite but it was the best of the stock tracks that are Public domain. At any rate, here is a "behind the scenes" promo.  Other trailers to come.
As you were,

Friday, November 16, 2012

More from Hollywood

Wow do I feel like an international star.  I just received a check for foreign residuals from some of my past acting work.  You never know when these checks will show up. SAG/AFTRA waits until they have an amount big enough to send a check.  This is the distribution accounting.  
As my godson said to me: "Don't spend it all on chewing gum."
Have a great week end and a great Thanksgiving Holiday where ever you choose to celebrate it.
As you were,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I have no idea what a moving picture is worth. Here is my thousand word blog for today.
It seems if you wait long enough Hollywood will come looking for you.  Here is what I woke up to today in front of my house.
To think that all these people got a job working on a 10 second commercial. That is great.  If I was just in the commercial that would be one more person working.
As you were,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This is a Churches Fried Chicken commercial I did it the 80's.

I don't know how it is today but back then you did the commercial for scale and were paid based on the number of times and markets it was played.  If it was a national commercial and played a lot then you could make some serious cash. This shoot had a twist that I didn't see coming.
It was a fun day, the crew was great, so I was kidding around with Bob. Churches was in direct competition to McDonalds McNuggets as the dialogue implies. During one of the breaks, for benefit of the crew and director, Bob started going off on McDonalds. He joked about their CEO being a clown named Ronald, he questioned that there was actual chicken in McNuggets. The more the crew laughed, the more extreme Bob and I got. I wasn't paying any attention to what we were saying as long as we were getting crew laughs. (note: for me crew laughs are the best. If you can get a jaded Hollywood film crew to crack up it is a better feeling than almost anything). What I didn't know is that on one of my longer "rolls" with Bob the camera was still rolling.  They had my McDonald rants on film. The director said that they wanted to use some of the "outtakes" for a Churches advertising meeting would it be okay with me.  I casually said, "Sure if it is not going anywhere else."
On a break my agent called to see how it was going.  I told her what fun we were having and that Bob and I had gone off on McDonalds. There was a long silence followed by "What? Do you mean 'go off'?" I explained remembering then some of the jokes we had made at McDonalds expense. 
I proceeded to get a lecture from the agent on what a bad idea that was.  What if McDonalds got a look at the film,  they do tons of advertising and that would insure that they would never hire me. In today's world when film can go viral on the Internet it would have been an even  bigger deal. The agent said she would call the producers to get restrictions on the usage.  For the rest of the day Bob and I were better behaved toward McDonalds.
As it turned out the producers and the ad agency loved the adlib stuff as much as the commercial copy. They wanted to incorporate it into their presentation to Churches, and maybe use it at their next corporate meeting. The agent went back and forth with them and eventually negotiated the restricted use along with a payment to me at my "industrial film" rate. (I didn't know I had an industrial film rate, but that is why you have and agent).
I made a lot of money for the commercial with residuals as it played for the next year, but I made almost that much up front for my "industrial film" contributions.  All in all it was a the most profitable day on a set I have ever spent, and some of the most fun. 
Seven years later McDonalds hired me to do their "industrial tour".  It was at the time the cherry job of corporate shows, 12 cities and 24 shows. I never found out if they saw the film where I roasted them on camera for Churches, really didn't want to know. If Churches followed my agents demands the industrial film was destroyed after it was used once.
As you were,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Only the Truth is Funny

CIA General Petraeus resigned after he admitted to an affair with a woman who was his biographer. The book she wrote about the General is titled, "All In".  If I wrote that in a script I would immediately be laughed at for having an over active writers libido.
When I was in college, between North Texas University and the Oklahoma border was a motel off the freeway. It was a close enough drive for college kids to have a weekend fling, but far enough away that  the likely hood of being seen by friends (who weren't there for the same purpose) was remote.  The motel was named... "Planet Inn" with a graphic of Saturn on the sign.  Further down the road there was another motel which offered female company for a price and it was named "Walkin' Stick Inn" with a cane on the sign.  I don't believe these names are just random semantic coincidences any more than the liquor store in Beaver, Colorado named "Beaver Liquor".
Being sort of a wordsmith myself I have to admire that sort of plausible deny ability.  When questioned about the "suggestibility" of the name it can be turned on the inquisitor for having such a dirty mind to even think such a thing.  Perhaps I admire it from a purely passive/aggressive point of view.
But back to the retired general head of the CIA. I don't care that he had an affair, and I don't care who he had it with,  extra-marital affairs are not unique among high ranking men. And I am not so sure that this particular dalliance was dangerous to national security. But here is why he had to resign.
If the head of the CIA is not good enough to keep an affair secret... how can he be good enough to keep all the national secrets entrusted to him.
In a week when Republicans are wondering where they went wrong hearing that the great GOP hope for 2016 left the current administration in disgrace is just another defeat.
As you were,

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Judging on the volume of email that I receive, I became very unpopular on Wednesday morning of this week.  Something must have happened on Tuesday to change my status.  I am no longer hearing from famous people whom I barely know extolling the virtues of political candidates. It has been days since my congressmen and senators reminded me of what a great job they were doing, and the same amount of time since I heard from others on what a bad job my congressmen and senators were doing.
No one cares about my views on taxes, health care, the economy and "binders full of women" since Tuesday.
 Last week at this time my opinion seemed to be very important.  I was encouraged to sign petitions and give money to organizations that were going to make my "valued" and "wise" opinions known to the world.  I had the weight of saving a nation on my individual shoulders.
Since Tuesday, strangers addressing me as "concerned voter" no longer email me to let me know that I was the most important person in the nation, able to leap tall budgets with a single bound.
What happened? All this activity and urgency to act quickly before some crisis, and just as I was beginning to fear the worst... nothing. No one cares any more.
Although nothing has changed, I feel better.  It is a much better day when most of my emails are Facebook friend requests instead of donation requests. I never thought I would look forward to a picture posting of what a friend had for lunch.
In this day when popularity is based on clicks, hits, likes and shares, it seems my standing has declined considerable. Based on sheer volume and Internet statistics my aggregate esteem has suffered considerably since Tuesday night.
It would be easy to perceive it just a coincidence until I compare that drop in activity to an equal drop in my popularity with robots.  Last week I could count on getting phone calls from at least five robotic voices during the dinner hour alone.  It was difficult to eat on Wednesday night because the phone was silent. I am beginning to think that I can no longer salivate unless there is a bell ringing.
When was it that all those bad things were supposed to happen? To my way of thinking, nothing seems to have changed since Tuesday, the sky is not falling and the wolf is not huffing and puffing at my front door.  Everything is the same but nobody is telling me what a pickle I am in since Tuesday. I have lost nothing except popularity.
As you were,

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Day- Oxymoron

I am glad the election is over.  I really thought that as contentious as it was in the campaign it would be a much more dramatic and drawn out ending. The anti-climax was almost a disappointment.  We didn't get to see a third of the video tricks John King's magic screen could accomplish.  
So... it is time to move on or stay put or whatever this election means.  The problem is that after all the money spent and all the hoopla, we are no closer to having a government that works.  It is still an uncompromising behemoth that does not know the meaning of compromise or negotiate.  We used to be a government that could work together to find common ground for the good of the nation in spite of political differences.  My fear is that today is not the ending of the 2012 campaign, but the beginning of the 2016 run for an open presidency.  
But... as for me,  I am moving on.  
Yesterday I was walking Boo on a beautiful California day. She became distracted by one of the yards in my neighborhood.  Before I realized what had happened she ran into a yard newly fertilized with manure.  I pulled on her leash and told her to come and she slowly wondered toward me but stopped. It was there in the neighbor's  yard she decided  to "do her business"... "make a pit stop"...."share a tootsie roll"... she took a shit... okay? 
In an action that can only be described as "reverse Pavlov's psychology" I began unfurling a doo doo bag to dispose of the gifts my dog had shared with the neighbor's yard.  That is when the significance of this knee jerk reaction hit me.  There I was carefully trying to remove dog shit from a lawn covered in cow shit.  At almost the same moment I remembered it was election day and I needed to vote. I needed to do my civic duty to make a selection between types of shit.  The metaphor was too close in my mind. 
As you were,

Monday, November 05, 2012

Argo F yourself

If you have seen the movie Argo you will know the reference to this title. Sandi and I saw the movie this weekend in the Archlight Movie theatre at the Galleria.  I'm not a movie critic, but it is a good movie and well worth seeing for my entertainment value.
If you have never seen a movie in the Los Angeles area before, there is a different code of courtesy here than in most cities that every movie goer abides by.  Since there is a greater likely - hood of people who worked on the movie living here; the audiences stay through the credits to see their own name or the name of friends.  That is just the way it works.
So when an older man dashed out the emergency exit to the right of the screen the minute the credits began to roll flooding the theatre with light, everyone took notice.  Toward the end of the credits there was a distinct knocking on the exit door where the man had left.  Obviously it did not lead where he thought and he could not get back in.  The knock continued louder.  It eventually became a pounding.
There was a giggle that wafted through the audience as everyone became aware of what had happened to the "discourteous man".   The knock continued.  Even louder than the knock was the voice from a patron in the back of the theatre yelling..... "Don't let him in".  There was another laugh from the audience as everyone began exiting through the proper doors.  Finally an usher came to the man's rescue, the rest of the audience ignored him. 
As reality imitates art, borrowing from the tag line in the movie.... "Argo F---- yourself, Mr." 
As you were,

Thursday, November 01, 2012

All Saints Day

Happy All Saints day, better known as sugar hangover day.  

As you were,