Thursday, April 30, 2009


I don't know if you've heard, but we're all going to die!

Seriously. It's coming. One way or another, we're all doomed.

It could be global warming. It could be the worldwide recession. (A recession so severe we're all going to become wandering nomads of hunter gatherers. I've seen Road Warrior. Well, if it comes to that, I warn you...we're protected by a fierce toy chihuahua. You won't know what hit you. So stay away from our eggs! You hear?! They're OURS! I've been digging tunnels. We have traps. Oh yes. We have gizmos and traps and if you even touch our eggs you'll be impaled on this rusty impaling thing I invented.) 

We could die from drinking our polluted water. We could be done in by global cooling! (Which is similar to global warming only much cooler.) It could be climate change! (Which has elements of global warming, global cooling and man-eating, carnivorous tornadoes.) It could be bird flu! SARS! NO SPARE PARTS FOR MY PONTIAC! It could be Asteroid B-58-1 which is lurking out there in space just waiting to KILL US ALL!  Or it could be...SWINE FLU!
(However, I heard today that Joe Biden has suggested that if we all just stand away from each other in the middle of a field...we should be safe. But don't you even think about getting near OUR field. I've got it booby-trapped with booby-traps. Some of them are quite painful I assure you and even more rusty than the impaling gizmos I invented to protect our eggs.)


But I'm all panicked out. Seriously. Seems like we've been living in panic mode for too many years now and I'm exhausted. Swine Flu just may be our doom, but seems like everything is going to be our doom.

I am reminded of Y2K.  

The theory behind it went something like this: At 12:01am on January 1st, 2000...our computers would kill us in our beds. 

My daughter was about to be born a few weeks before that dreaded 12:01am nightmare came true.

The news reports were super scary. People were moving to bunkers in Idaho. I thought about us moving to Idaho but the daily commute to Los Angeles would have been a killer. Plus I don't like bunkers. There's something way too Bergtesgarden about it.

But what would the point be anyway? Our computers would just kill us. Planes would drop from the sky. A malicious computer would force us to watch Golden Girls reruns 24 hours a day...on every channel.

And what about my newborn daughter? No computers = no medicine. No food. No water. No power. NO NOTHING!

I panicked. I bought a 5 month supply of powdered milk and freeze dried food from a company in Utah. I did. No joke. (But as the rest of the world floundered my family and I would be happy with our reconstituted egg product.) I was smart. Forward thinking. Brilliant.

And 12:01am on January 1st, 2000...I waited in the a corner of the bedroom...waited for my computer to slowly creep up on me and KILL ME! I had a baseball bat and my dad's old army helmet. I was prepared. I encased my sleeping wife and newborn daughter in bubble wrap. And then...

The sun came up and...

Five years ago we threw out the last remaining bits of freeze dried food which had all gone way past their expiration dates. We had tried to have some of the food once a week...but it was nasty.

Since that day I have decided to fear wisely.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It was developed by the Mafia.

It looks like regular Scotch tape, but one side has been fiendishly coated with nitroglycerin (a highly explosive explosive.)

It can only be deactivated with water from the kitchen sink. 

And for some reason, the Mafia had put it on my cat's belly.

Strange? Unusual? Weird? A dream?

Yeah. A Dream.  A dream so bizarre that when I told it to my fiance she seriously thought about calling off the wedding. She didn't. And since we're about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, she has finally given me permission to share it with you. 

She must not like you very much.

Be strong. Be brave. Don't judge me too harshly. If, at the end of this blog, you decide we need to call everything off...I'll understand.

Here's the deal: my dreams are directed by Ken Russell. 

This is Ken Russell. He is weird.

Mr. Russell is a British director. His movies are weird. 

Why Mr. Russell has chosen such a low paying job as directing my dreams since childhood...I will never know. There are a lot of other directors I would have chosen for the job. Kubrick would have been perfect. He's weird, too, but I like his camera angles a whole lot better. Russell likes a lot of hand-held shots. I don't. Especially in my dreams.

I have tried to forget most of Mr. Russell's night time work on my psyche. However, I haven't been able to forget two dreams he directed. I don't know who he hired to write them, but I have a feeling it was Samuel Beckett (who was also weird and a major nut. Well, I'm not sure about that but try sitting through 'Waiting For Godot' without wanting to throw a hand grenade at the actors.)

The first dream was when I was a young boy of four or five. I won't bore you with the details (I don't want to give Mr. Russell the satisfaction), but the bottom line was that every time it was windy, my grandma became a kite and blew away.

For years after this dream, I would rush her from the car to the house for fear that the wind would...turn her into a kite. 

The second dream was Nitro Tape. But I need to put it into some context.

I had a cat. A very fat, chubby cat named, Rollo. Rollo would sleep on my chest every night. The night of the Nitro Tape dream Rollo was soundly asleep on my chest...


The mafia is after Rollo. He's done something to raise their ire. I don't know what he did but the head guy is super mad. (Rollo scratched my cornea so badly once that I almost lost an eye. So maybe he did the same thing to someone in the mafia. I dunno.)

But the bottom line is that the mafia decided to whack Rollo and the method of whacking was...


So two goons...maybe Lou "The Leach" Lastrgassi and Jimmy "The Prick" Delmaggio got Rollo on the ground. He tried to fight them off. Ahh, he put up a good fight. But these were huge Mafia goons with guns. They pinned him down. Then one of the goons took out a tape dispenser, pulled about three inches of tape off and put it on his belly. It was the dreaded Nitro Tape. Then, fearing the impending explosion, they ran off. Those bastards ran off...leaving Rollo to explode his kitty bits all over the place.

Rollo tried to get the tape off. He scratched. He clawed. No use. Within seconds he was going to be all blown up.



I opened my eyes to see Rollo sleeping deeply on my chest. NITRO TAPE! I had to get it off!

I grabbed the sleepy Rollo and ran out of the bedroom. NITRO TAPE. It must have been about 3am. I think I screamed something like, "Nitro Tape! They put Nitro Tape on you! What do I do? What do I do?"

I wanted to run to the window, open it up and warn everyone that the mafia had put Nitro Tape on my cat! 

But there wasn't time.

I did the only thing I could think of. I ran to the kitchen sink. I plopped my sleepy cat in and turned on the water. (Note - Cats don't like that.)

I frantically splashed his belly with water. This was the only way I could think of to deactivate the nitroglycerin. I splashed and splashed and splashed.

And then...


I woke up to see my cat in the sink. The water was on full.

I turned off the water and stood there. Rollo gave me a look; a sleepy, grumpy, feline look of utmost disdain.  

I picked him up sheepishly and carried him back in the bedroom. He shook his wet paws a couple of times and then jumped off the bed. For the next year he decided to sleep under the coffee table where I couldn't get at him.

When I told my fiance about this dream and the moments immediately after it, she worried that she would wake up one day to find herself in the sink.

I'm happy to say in 20 years of marriage it hasn't happened yet.

Should Mr. Russell ever decide to retire from directing my dreams, perhaps Spielberg could take over. I like John Williams music.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen...this is BIG. (Notice how I made the word 'big' big? That's a clever thing I've done to convey the BIGNESS of my announcement. See? I did it again with the word 'bigness'.

There has been extensive back-channel negotiations via Facebook (what's up with that Facebook thing anyway...I still don't get it) and I am pleased to announce that KEEPER has agreed to subject himself to monthly musical challenges. These will forever be known as KMMCs. 

Like me, you were all probably astounded at Keeper's version of Anthony Newley singing about Freakazoid. If you weren't, you're made of stone and I don't know what to do with you.

Something tells me, we haven't even scratched the surface of his musical ability. (Or if we have...we're about to find out.)

At the beginning of each month, Keeper will be given a musical challenge. He has a month to work on it and then submit it for our enjoyment.

However, this is a group effort. And we're a group. Right? We are a group, right?

Beginning today you may submit your musical challenge suggestions to the following email:

I will also put this email up in a sidebar so you can always have it handy. Isn't that dandy?

I will pick the top five and put them up for a poll on Friday. By Monday we will have our winner.

Isn't this cool? Isn't this a keen thing for us to do as a group? Because that's what we are. Right? We're a group. Right?

Then, Keeper and I will have a little teleconference and I will give him his challenge. (I'm not sure how we're going to do that. But we're gonna. So there!)

Cuz we're a group. Right?

Monday, April 27, 2009


She must have been about 70 years old. She wasn't frail. She was feisty. She wanted a picture frame. She was loud. (That's how I knew she wanted a picture frame. That's how everyone within a three mile radius knew she wanted a picture frame. A brown one. NOT BLACK.)

How I came to be behind her in line at Rite-Aid at 6pm on a Saturday night isn't important. But as I'm avoiding work, I shall tell you. I needed money. Fast.

We had run out of food and drink tickets for the carnival at my daughter's school. All parents of children who attend Catholic schools know the importance of bringing enough cash to these carnivals. However, I had a mental lapse and thought 40 dollars would be enough to keep everyone happy. It wasn't. At fundraisers like these a hot dog can cost as much as a sports car. So off I went in search of quick cash so my starving family could eat a Ferrari.

I could have walked four blocks to an ATM, but I had a better, quicker plan. It's here that I am reminded of something a priest I know says: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

My plan was to make my money pilgrimage much shorter by walking across the street to a Rite-Aid, buying a 7-Up, using my debit card and getting cash back. 

I heard the woman the moment I stepped into the Rite-Aid. I can't tell you how long she had been at the counter, but one look at the poor clerk waiting on her and I knew it must have been a couple of hours. Maybe a day. Maybe three. The clerk looked as if she had been sapped of all her life force. I didn't think much of it because that's usually how most of the clerks at Rite-Aid look.

But this time it seemed more serious.

I grabbed my 7-Up and got in line behind the woman. She was holding a picture frame and the picture she was planning to put into it. "Does that look like it's going to fit in that thing?" she asked the clerk. 

The clerk looked at her. "Yes. That should fit."

The woman thought a moment and then said, "Well you're going to have to put it in because I can never figure those things out. I don't want to get home and find out it doesn't work. So put the picture in there for me."

I got the sense that the clerk would have built the woman an atomic reactor...anything to get her out of there. 

The clerk started to unwrap the picture frame when the woman stopped her. "Wait! Wait! WAIT! That frame isn't going to work! THAT'S NOT GOING TO WORK! It doesn't go up and down! Just sideways. THAT'S ALL WRONG. NO! NO!"

The woman turned to look at me. She rolled her eyes and gestured to the clerk as if to say to me, "Can you believe this?" 

At this point the clerk told the woman to go back to the frame area and find one that would work.

"Oh, no you don't," the woman said. "YOU come with me. Show me one that will work. I don't know about frames."

The clerk walked with the woman to a shelf with about six frames scattered on a shelf. The clerk handed her one. At this the woman said. "NO! NO! THAT'S BLACK. YOU'RE SHOWING ME BLACK FRAMES. I TOLD YOU I DON'T WANT A BLACK FRAME! DON'T SHOW ME ANY MORE BLACK FRAMES!"

I got the sense that they had been to this shelf more than a few times in the past hour.

The clerk told her that's all they had. The woman told her to check in the back. I presume the woman thought there was a large storage room in the back that contained thousands of frames. Like when Harry Potter bought his wand; thousands of magical frames in dusty boxes just waiting to be purchased.

The clerk looked at another clerk who was helping other customers in line. She asked him to go look in the back. At this the woman said, "No! Don't ask him. He didn't find any before. He's useless. You go!"

The clerk told the woman that if he already checked, then this is all they had. The woman then told her to call other Rite-Aids to see what frames they had. Seems this woman would only buy picture frames at Rite-Aid.

I put the 7-Up back and decided to walk the four blocks to the ATM.

As I walked, I couldn't believe that woman. THAT WOMAN! But then it occurred to me that this woman wasn't insane or intentionally cruel or anything.  She simply thought it was 40 years ago. We've all learned to expect nothing. She hasn't. 

40 years ago, maybe you could walk into a Rite-Aid and talk to Hank who would tell you everything you wanted to know about picture frames. He might be able to call Doris at the Rite-Aid in Encino and see if they have any more RX-41B's in stock. 

Last year Rudy's Hardware closed down. It was very close to my house. It had been a hardware store for 60 years. It was very small. But it magically had everything I ever needed. It also had Rudy. Rudy could take you instantly to whatever you needed. He knew every bolt, screw and anti-siphon valve.

But Rudy is gone and so are those days.

So if you're ever in the San Fernando Valley and you see a loud woman trying to find the right picture frame, don't be too harsh. She just never got the memo that service has gone the way of the Dodo Bird.

Friday, April 24, 2009


When I was a young boy growing up in Las Vegas in the late 60s there wasn't a lot to do. There was a lot for adults to do, but I wasn't old enough to go to strip clubs or join the mafia. (Actually, that's not true. I went to school with a few kids who's fathers were in the mafia. If I had asked, I'd probably have been let in. But I don't think I'd have been able to whack a kid for not paying protection.)

And so, for a time, my father would drive us to McCarren Airport. We'd park at the end of the runway and watch the jets land and take off. Back then, the only thing separating us from the jets was a chain link fence. Not like today. Try to park near a runway to watch jets take off these days and you'll quickly be met by an Uzi carrying security guard who will not only run you off, but start a homeland security file on you.

Anyway, back in those days of the late 60s, Vegas may have been small, but every major airline flew in from all over the country. Boeing even practiced numerous landing and take-offs of its new 747.

We'd sit in the heat and watch them. Pan Ams. Western Airlines. TWA. United. Continental. I soon learned the difference between a 737, a 727, a 707, a DC-8, a DC-9. In later years those would be added by DC-10s and L1011s (my favorite), 757s and 767s.

I learned to appreciate these amazing things. Even as we sat there in that parked car in the stifling heat, I never wanted to leave. I made my dad stay so long once that an 8-track tape he had on the dashboard actually melted. It was Ferrante and Teicher. So, no great loss.

My love of airlines has continued to this day. I could tell you things about most every model of commercial jet there is. I could. You'd fall asleep. But I could.

But here's the weird thing - I'm afraid to fly. No, REALLY. Just ask my wife who threatened to divorce me on a flight to Costa Rica. I had my head buried in her lap with a blanket over my head. I think I squeezed her so hard it has led to fibromyalgia. I made inhuman noises every time the plane bumped. I asked that they give me an entire bottom of wine in an IV drip. White knuckle does not begin to describe that flight. 

Flying for me is an ordeal. I'm the guy who keeps his eyes on the flight attendants see if perhaps they're hiding something from the fact one of the wings is falling off and we're going to die. I'm the guy who sits there while everyone else watches their movies and reads...or, heaven help me...sleeps. Oh, how I envy those sleepers. Most amazing to me are those people who can sleep on a take-off. I cannot sleep. I dare not sleep. I alone am keeping the plane aloft with my Rosary and Our Fathers. 

My dad once told me to never worry. He would say that the pilot wants to get home as much as I do. Yes, but what if the pilot is an idiot. What if he has a massive sneezing fit on touchdown. Or worse, what if the captain leaves the cockpit to use the restroom and there's some turbulence and the captain bumps his head and his hand stays on the flushing mechanism and he's literally sucked out of the plane. His co-pilot then chokes on a pretzel and dies. These scenarios may not bother you. But, to me...

Now, I can tell you what every sound on a plane is; flaps retracting, wheels retracting...etc. I know the plane's wing are built to flex and withstand more turbulence than has ever been experienced. I know all these things. I know...but that's doesn't help.

It wasn't always this way. I used to like to fly. I think it all started to change on a flight from Vegas to Los Angeles. I was heading back to college from Spring break. The aircraft was a small jet. It was a British Jet. It had four engines and the wings were placed at the top of the fuselage. 

Anyway, just after boarding, the pilot said one of the engines needed oil. A few seconds later a man showed up in overalls carrying a can of valvoline. He opened it up, opened the engine and poured some in. Now...this was...this couldn't be. Jets can't take valvoline. They must take some other oil...preferably, "Raptor Selestra Nuthian Particle B1H73 Professional Jet Oil Emollient." But surely not valvoline. Not the same thing I put in my 1982 Nissan Sentra...the Sentra that couldn't make it up the Sepulveda Pass without overheating.

It started to occur to me that planes were machines. They didn't just magically fly. They needed oil and had lots of parts and were built by people...some of whom might have been having a bad day when they riveted that flecking stirrup to that glozing nub.

Over the next decade or so I flew regularly but unhappily. After landing I always needed to nap at least 12 hours before doing anything humans normally do.

After flying to San Francisco for a vacation once, I suggested to my wife that we should drive back to L.A. It would be fun. She didn't buy it. 

And then about five years ago...I found the cure: International First Class. 

I was hired to help write something in London and the company I was working with gave me a first class ticket.

Turns out I wasn't so much afraid to fly...I just had never flown correctly. International First Class is dandy. It is ridiculously expensive. You could buy a small Armenian Village for as much. But when someone else is paying it is the only way to go. 

Having spent most of my flying life in 33c, I never knew what 2a was doing. Turns out they were having a lovely party. 

When my family and I recently flew to Australia...and I was sitting in economy watching my daughter throw up...I took great comfort knowing that the folks in the front of that huge 747-400 were being treated like royalty. There's a reason they don't let economy class people go past those curtains...because if you did you'd want to stay. You'd ask for a cookie. You'd want to were one of those PJs they give out. But mostly, you'd want to meet the flight attendants who appear to actually be nice. It's a not a real nice, it's a fake nice and it costs a lot, but who cares.

When I flew to London and experienced all this for the first time, I was shocked. While all the economy passengers (who I am in my real life) crammed on board and fought over luggage bins, we International First Class passengers sat in an airport lounge and ate finger foods and drank fancy wines and were pleased as punch to be us. 

Then after all the rabble had been boarded, it was our turn. The PA Announcement went something like this: "You're free to board now. Take your time. We'll wait."

So then I boarded and instead of turning right...I made that "you've arrived you magnificent bastard" left turn. I walked into the front of the plane...past a bar. A real bar. There were snacks on the bar. I wandered further forward and a flight attendant lead me to my seat. Only it wasn't a was a little world. It was complete with everything my world would need. Pajamas. A little kit. (Note: save the little kit to give to your child. Very important.) A glass of champagne. A cookie. A TV screen. A phone. Comfy pillows. 

Now normally when I board a plane, I try to run out. I didn't this time. I sat down. I looked at all the cool goodies in front of me. A flight attendant gave me a glass of wine. I put my leg rest up. (In first class, you can do this whenever you want...even when taking off. They just tell you not to do that in economy because they hate you.)

And then the plane took off. There's hardly any noise that far forward. I looked out the window. I wasn't sweating. I was...having...this was a new I wanted to turn to everyone else in first class and yell, "Whoa, dudes! We're in first class! Woooo! Is this cool? Huh? YAAAA!"

I didn't. They brought a menu. They gave us a cloth tablecloth. And real utensils. Metal ones. Real metal ones. There was desert and cake and people laughing at the bar and overall merriment.

Then the flight attendants came by one at a time to make our beds. They would press a secret button and the seat fully reclined into a bed...with blankets and sheets and pillows and a chocolate. I never got into me PJ's...but most everyone else did.

And then something horrible happened. Everyone went to sleep. Wuh? No! NO! We're in first class. It's my first time. Don't go to sleep! Let's all take pictures and run around and stuff. NO! Don't waste this! Don't sleep! Who wants to play caps? Come on!

But they slept. And then, so did I.

I woke up about six hours later as a woman gently patted me on the back. "Would you like a massage?" At first I thought I was back in Vegas.

But no, she was the first class massage person. She took me to her area and gave me a full rub down. On a plane! I thought about the folks in economy. They were eating cardboard and contemplating suicide and I was getting a massage.

When we landed everyone rushed to get off. I lingered. I think I hugged my seat. "Thank you Mr. Seat. Bye bye Mr. Pillow. Good bye little world. Thank you."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


After a week spent driving California's highways and byways I can confidently say the following things with absolute certainty:

1. California is HUGE and mostly empty. 

2. It has more Applebees than people . 

3. It is the nation's leader in Drive-Thru trees. 

Driving through a tree isn't all it's cracked up to be. But I challenge anyone not to follow a road sign that says, "Humbolt County's Largest Drive Thru Tree Next Exit." You gotta do it. And when you get to the drive-thru tree and find out it costs 5 dollars to drive through a drive-thru still feel compelled to drive through the tree. Of course, having spent five dollars to drive through a tree you pretend it was a bigger experience that it actually was. Afterwards, people gather in the parking lot and swap stories about how amazing it was to drive through that tree. And then, feeling slightly silly, you disperse and get on the road again only to discover there's another drive-thru tree only five miles ahead. Thinking that perhaps you missed something in the experience of driving through that first tree, you take the exit to this newer drive-thru tree hoping to feel that sense of wonder and accomplishment that surely must come from driving through a tree. Only this tree costs 6 dollars. But by this time you've worked yourself into such a spiritual panic that you'd gladly pay 20 dollars to understand what the big deal is. So you drive through the tree and as you slowly pull forward you realize that paying to drive through a drive-thru tree is just stupid...only you can't admit that so you start saying things out loud to convince yourself that what you've just done was tantamount to curing cancer. "My goodness! Look at the rings! Why this tree must have been around when Lincoln was president! Can you imagine that! If Lincoln had come here, he'd have seen this very tree. Just think. Hmmm. Well, who's hungry? I see an Applebees over there."

4. Driving along the coast on some portions of CA1 makes 9-year-old girls throw up. 

And don't think that fancy motion-sickness medicine the pediatrician gave you (the one with the nice grape flavor) is going to work. It's not. Plus, when 9-year-old girls finally get around to telling you they are getting motion sickness and you give them the fancy medicine with that nice grape flavor, the nice grape flavor isn't so grapey and nice and makes them yack on the spot. 

5. The roadside location where 9 year-old-girls decide to throw up is always incredibly inappropriate...such as directly in front of the pampered clientele of the 'Sea View Gentle Breeze Day Spa'. Something tells me the women getting oatmeal facials at the 'Sea View Gentle Breeze Day Spa' never imagined that view would include my daughter losing her lunch and that the breeze would carry the aroma of half-digested Ruffles.  (On a side note, I found it interesting that even after soaking in stomach juices for a over an hour, Ruffles retain their ridges.) 

6. When traveling more than five hours in a car, audio books are an absolute necessity (and should therefor be considered tax-deductible.) When not throwing up, my daughter was always pleasantly engaged in The Secret Garden. We were, too, but I must admit there were 30 to 40 mile stretches where I totally zoned-out. Luckily not a lot happens in the book so I could pick up pretty much were I had started to zone-out.

7. Spending time with family is great.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So, today the Freakazoid Season 2 DVD is released!!!!!

Director Troy and his merry band have lovingly added all sorts of yummy things for your viewing pleasure. One of my biggest fears had always been that if they ever did release a Freakazoid DVD, it would be done by somebody who could care less. Nope. Freakazoid was cared for very nicely by Troy. We shall have to honor him with another Barones Pizza. (The official pizza of the Freakazoid show. Just so you know.)

On the the season 2 DVD you'll find a special, little something about the man whose caricature you see above.

Richard Stone. I miss him. A lot. Richard passed away in 2001 from pancreatic cancer.

I think it's safe to say that Freakazoid, Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain would never have been as good without him. Richard Stone was our ace-in-the-hole. He could take something good and make it great. He was something of a magician. The Great Stonini.

Richard was our lead composer on Freakazoid. Joining him were the brilliant Steve and Julie Bernstein. I'm telling ya...we were blessed.

For me, the best part of putting a show together happened at the end. After it was written, recorded, boarded, animated, editing...there was the scoring session. Folks, it was cool. 

There was never any reason for us to really be at those sessions. We just wanted to be. We wanted to sit on that comfy couch in the recording booth and watch those 40 or so musicians make some of the most amazing music on the same recording stage Carl Stalling used for the classic Looney Tunes. Did I mention it was cool? Cuz it was.

Now, I can speak with some authority about this. That ain't the way it's done any more. Music for most TV shows is done at a keyboard connected to a computer. It sounds okay. Sometimes. But when you watch your Freakazoid DVD, know that there were 40 or so musicians being conducted...with a real baton and everything. I mentioned it was cool...right?

And these musicians weren't just any musicians. These particular musicians were (still are) the go-to guys for most big-time movie scores. Some are even in the LA Philharmonic. My point: these guys had all the work they could handle. But they loved working with Stonini. He (and Steve and Julie) would write them complicated, fun, manic stuff to play. He made 'em work hard. And they loved it.

I have three favorite Freakazoid scores. All three are in Season Two; Dexter's Date, Hero Boy and Normadeus. Normadeus is perhaps the most amazing. We knew that was probably the last time music would ever be put to a Freakazoid episode. And Richard Stone decided to mark the occasion with as many musicians as he could. 50 if I remember. We had harps! Harps I tell ya! And since we were doing a parody of Amadeus, there would be plenty of Mozart. 

So, here's the way a scoring session went:

The musicians would arrive in the morning and unload all their instruments. They'd all chat a while and then sit down. They didn't rehearse. They'd be handed their music. The particular scene we were doing would be projected on a huge screen above them,  Richard would raise his baton and suddenly there was music. It usually took about half a day for each episode.

After Richard was satisfied they had gotten it, he'd ask for it to be played back. And this...this always amazed me. These hard working musicians wouldn't just sit on the stage and wait. Many of them would rush into the control room to see the scene. They'd laugh and pat each other on the back and watch the show. They were into it. These musicians who had seen it all and done it all were into this strange, little cartoon. Cool.

Anyway, if you get the DVD, take the time to listen to the music. The wonderful, silly, perfectly Freakazoid music.

Thanks, Richard. 

Monday, April 20, 2009


Director Troy has written a really touching piece about the events in Colorado 10 years ago.

I highly recommend it.


It is with great fanfare and other such things that I announce the winner of the 2nd Froynlaven Reader Participation Contest (the one with a real prize). The winner is:


He swept all the categories. (True, he was the only submission...but...he has won! He's won!

What did he win? Keeper has won an autographed Freakazoid Season 2 DVD!

And why did he win. Well, just look at this:

I know you all join me is saying, "Well done, Keeper."

Unfortunately...and I hate to be a nudge about this...but I couldn't help but notice Keeper is also wearing a Freakazoid T-Shirt. I don't think it's an official Warners Licensed Freakazoid T-Shirt either. Which is too bad because Keeper is probably going to go to jail once the people at Warners find out. They are not to be trifled with. Trust me.  I knew this old lady once, she was like, 100 years old and she really liked Freakazoid and she got a shirt similar to that and Warners found out and they threw her in jail. And she was like, 100 years old or something! Another time, I knew this 4 year old boy and his dad got him a Freakazoid T-Shirt like that and Warner found out and they had him thrown in a juvenile work camp. And he was only like 4 years old! And those are just human people I'm talking about. Once, these old folks knitted a sweater for their dog and it had the Freakazoid logo on it and Warners found out and they had the dog put down and they made the old folks watch. So...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Hey all, we've just returned home from our 1,700 mile Northern California Easter Break. That's a lot of driving. I wasn't going to put this post up until 9pm pdt, but I fear I won't be up till then.

So, please provide your links to your submission in the comments section and let's see...

The prize is real this time. 


Friday, April 10, 2009


So, I already blogged today(see below)...but, here I am again. My wife is going through our closets looking for stuff for our trip and she came across some photos of my going-away party at Warner Brothers Animation.

I figure...what the heck. Here are a few of them...

Warners was a great time and I worked with great people. Let's look at the first pick, eh?

Here's Joe Leahy (our announcer), Jonathan Harris (Professor Jones), Me and John McCann. As I recall, we were had all done massive amounts of shooters.

Greg Shepherd, John McCann, Me, Doug Langdale and Spike Brandt prepare to burn the pilot script for the Daffy Duck Prime-Time show. We had all worked months on the project. Jamie Kellner didn't like it. In all honesty, it was the best thing we had done at Warners.

Greg Shepherd was our assistant on Freakazoid and Daffy. Some of you may recognize his likeness from the episode, "Island Of Dr. Mystico." Greg is now very wealthy and important.

John and I with our amazing editor Al Breitenbach. John and I always called him, "Uncle Al." Without his lunacy, Freakazoid would never have been any good.


When I was around 17, I went to a movie with a buddy. The movie was NETWORK, and it remains one of my all time favorites...if not my absolute favorite. (This top spot always waffles between DR. STRANGELOVE, 2001, & MY FAVORITE YEAR.)

As I sat in that darkened theater as a bright-eyed youth, I became creeped out as NETWORK unspooled before me. It wasn't the movie I thought it was going to be. It was worse...and better. It made me super uncomfortable. A movie had never done that to me. NETWORK was a horror movie. I saw most of the people in it as monsters. Unreal monsters.

Now in middle age, I have met and worked with most of the archetypes. They are quite real, I assure you. And if I haven't most of my friends have. 

NETWORK tells the tale of television gone awry. More to the point, it tells the tale of popular culture gone awry. As a teenager I took comfort in my perception that it was pure fantasy. 

I am now convinced that screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky, was a prophet. Not only have we arrived at his television nightmare, we have surpassed it. 

In the story, a stodgy network news program is turned into pop culture entertainment. I remember thinking that would never happen. Boy, was I wrong.

Paddy Chayefsky imagined a world in which most of the television shows were reality based. Boy, was he right. 

Chayefsky portrayed a world in which popular culture had become nothing more than collective, creepy voyeurism.

He wrote about a world filled with TV Psychologists, Psychics, Advice Experts and Geeks. I'm telling ya, the man knew.

If you haven't seen NETWORK in a while...or have never seen it at all...get it. Watch it. 

Maybe it's time to be mad as hell...and not take it anymore.

The family and I will be driving up the coast of California for the next 8 days. I shall return with the special 9PM (pdt)  blog on Sunday, April 19th so ya'll can provide your Youtube links for the big contest.

Peace and Happy Easter

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Are as follows:

1. The Beginning.

2. The Middle.

3. The Children's Book.

This highly profound thought hit me while spending lonely hours practicing my puppetry in a dark, empty studio last week. It's hard to write down thoughts because they're so brief and shoot into our mind from out of nowhere. But the process went something like this...

"I'm hungry. It's dark in here. My shoes feel funny. The floor in here is very flat. I wonder if they paid to make it that flat or just lucked out. I wonder if there's someone who's paid to make floors flat. It's dark in here. Maybe I should write a children's book. I'm hungry."

I rolled the idea of a Children's Book in my mind for a while and then quickly decided against it. "I'm not that washed up yet. I still have a few good years left in me. Maybe in a few years."

It seems when an actor has nothing left to do, they write a Children's Book. I don't know why this is. 

It makes me feel sorry for kids that they're forced to read books written by people who are too tired or depressed to do anything else. Or worse, read a book by a celebrity who has a lot to say about social issues and can only say them in a Children's Book. These books are usually titled something like, 'Mr. Higgly and The Lonely Tree.'  Or, 'Clucky, The Duck With A Sideways Waddle.' (These books are usually about being kind to people who are different, misunderstood or have disfigurements.)

A few years ago, Madonna wrote a children's book. It was something about a man who had apples. I read it to my daughter one night. We haven't looked at it since. My daughter was too young to realize that it really wasn't about apples but something much more important. I was old enough to realize it wasn't about apples but couldn't quite figure out what that much more important thing was. But I know this: when I think of wholesome and inspirational messages for children, Madonna is always top on my list.

Search any kids section of a book store and you will find the carcasses of Children's Books written by celebrities in this third stage of their career. 

Curiously, some of these books come with a quote from a child psychologist. Something like, "In Bunny Num Num's Cotton Caper, TV's Donny Most from Happy Days has managed to magically convey the importance of Social Justice and Liberation Theology in this story of a spirited Bunny who's just trying to sell his cotton to a finicky pig."

Usually, however, there is no underlying message to these books and just lazy, third stage career prose. A good example is Abe Vigoda's Children's Book, Funny Tree. "Funny Tree was hungry. Who had lunch for Funny Tree? Mike did!" See? What's all that about?

I think probably the best explanation for why third stage career celebrities write Children's Books is because...truth be told...most childrens' books are shamefully stupid. 

Come on. I'm a dad. When my daughter was two, I spent countless hours reading her things I couldn't believe someone got paid to write. Sometimes, there were only two or three words per page. Sometimes there were only four pages. That's 12 words! In a book. 

I always try to think how a 12 word book comes to be. Does a writer come up with those twelve words and then look for an illustrator to bring them to life? How do you pitch a 12 word book to a publisher? Do you only give them two or three words for fear that if you give them all 12 they might steal your story? How does that work?

I notice there's always a photo of the author on the back cover and a little bio. "Ethel Wenz-Loopine is the author of numerous 12 word Children's Books. Her trilogy Spider's Big Day, Spider Takes A Nap, and Spider Sees His Reflection have sold over 8 million copies and been printed in every known language. Ms. Wenz-Loopine lives on a 100 acre farm and drives a different expensive car for every day of the week."

Hmmm. Maybe I will write that book.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I meant to blog. I really did. I super, really did. 

However, I didn't anticipate that my every waking hour would have been filled with a desperate panic that my "O" and "E" mouth shapes weren't up to snuff. Until they were, blogging would have to wait.

We wrapped the Henson puppetry gig last night "O" and "E" shapes never got much better. The good part is, I don't have to panic about it anymore, though. Whew.

After having spent the better part of two weeks entombed in a dark studio, I am once again a child of the light. 

We only filmed for two days, with two days of rehearsal before that. A week prior to that I was in the studio every day practicing. And practicing. And practicing. My wrists are numb. 

We used Henson's awesome digital puppetry system. It's an amazing technology. Seeing folks like Drew Massey and Tyler Bunch operate their rigs is akin to watching Vladimir Horowitz play the piano. 

Me? Uhhh. If you like Chopsticks....

Anyway, time to restart the blogging train...

A Reminder: don't forget the CONTEST. Entries are due Sunday the 19th.

Okay then...

Nice to blog to you again.