Yesterday I had the day off, so decided to transact my ticket to Dancing With The Stars. Headed down to CBS Television City about 2 pm, drove by the front of the building on Beverly Boulevard and saw about ten dozen Dancing devotees already in line. Quickly, I finagled my car into the Farmer’s Market lot located behind CBS, put on my dancing shoes, and glided my way around the building to plant myself in the middle of the pandemonium. I must admit, you feel a little ridiculous running around Hollywood in nightwear when it’s not even Happy Hour. You wonder if people think you are still out from the night before, or if you just finished hosting a gameshow gig. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to find the lineup of other Dancing-destined fans and I took great comfort in seeing them all, as well, in their dandiest duds . . . even though it was definitely daytime. Yup, everything from tuxes to tiaras . . . Vera Wang to Versace lined up under the sizzling sunshine, waiting for dance cards to be distributed.
After about two hours of high-fives and hanging out with fellow fans, we samba’d into the studio. It’s, as usual, quite a bit smaller than it looks through the camera lenses . . . but regardless, my seat in the second balcony kept me a bit worried about a non-stop nose bleed. To my delight, not even a drip. It was a dazzling night at Dancing, with the show beginning at 6 pm PT for a live 9 pm broadcast on the East Coast. Sorry to see Ingo and Kym get canned . . . but now he can head back to Hawaii or his gig on General Hospital. After the show, we were asked to stay for a taping of next week’s musical guest star for the Grand Finale. Listen up. It’s Psy, guru of Gangnam Style! It’s a great performance you won’t want to pass on.
All of us could have danced all night, but it was now time to sashay out of the studio. Did I say night? Hardly. There we all were again. Dressed to the nines . . . for the ever-enduring daylight.
Ya-hoo! Yippy-ky-aay! And all the rest of that western rot. Yesterday I did a very short scene in a new television drama series coming out soon on the FX network titled “The Bridge.” The show takes place in El Paso, Texas, but is shot, of course, here in La La Land. My scene of about six seconds is made to look like we are outside of the El Paso Police Department. Actually, we are on the campus of Cal State-Northridge and one of the administration building’s façade was transformed into the “cops’ casa.”
I arrived on-set at 9 am in my own business casual attire, as was requested. Along with the rest of the Background Actors, I went to the wardrobe trailer to get approved. Everyone seemed to be getting a high-five in their own, present-day business garb. And then it came to me. Why, I’ll never know. But they chose lil’ ol Cowboy Carlos to be the one to portray more of a western wrangler from El Paso. Didn’t they know I never even wore “western” back in the Seventies? It was “Saturday Night Fever” all the way for me. Well, anyway, they broke out some black boots for me to wear that did nothing to make me take on a John Wayne walk. Nancy Sinatra came more to mind. Then they replaced my Kenneth Cole belt with one bearing a buckle big enough to make it impossible for me to bend at the waist. Finally, they topped me off with a big, black Stetson that I couldn’t keep from dropping over my perfectly suntanned face during my scene.
Luckily, it was the shortest gig I’ve ever been through – about 30 minutes of work in the 103-degree heat. Trust me, this cowboy couldn’t get out of that western fringe fast enough. As an ode to El Paso, I had a very humungous margarita the minute I got home. Everything is big in Texas, you know.
SCOOP: I have a ticket for “Dancing With The Stars” tonight. Don’t know if I’ll get in or not. It’s a ticket to behave myself in the audience – so hopefully my background acting instincts don’t kick in, and you see me drifting across the dazzling dance floor.
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Have a Terrific Tuesday!
Earlier this week I worked on a scene for a fantastically frightening feature film that will be released in April of next year. It has an incredible cast of stars and a very thrilling, thought-provoking plot. But, for now, that’s all I can say. Sadly, I had to swear on a stack of scripts that I wouldn’t divulge any particulars about the project. Not a morsel. Nada. But, I do need to tell you one thing. I was picked to be placed in a very prominent position in front of the “not-to-be-named” principal star in the scene. Well, I was Johnny on the spot and got into my new location on-set. Let’s just suffice it to say that this amazing actor reaches into the inner Deppths of every character he plays. But, like I said, I need to shut my yap. Yuppers, you can’t get another word out of “mums the word” me.
Some of you have asked what a typical day is like for a Background Actor. Well, it’s a lot about waiting. Waiting for wardrobe. Waiting for cameras to be repositioned between takes. Waiting for the director and crew to finish a pow-wow after each shooting sequence. Fortunately, the production crew always puts together something called Base Camp, where Background Actors can go to relax and always find a full feast of food and beverages. Sometimes BA is inside a sound stage. Or perhaps in a parking lot when on-location. On one more memorable day in downtown LA, BA was located in a particularly perplexing place. We were told to walk two blocks south. Take a left. Then enter the first building on the left-hand side of the street. The older, rather seen-better-days brick building needed a full facelift. It’s façade had not a single window, only a door brightly painted in Fire Engine Red and something about “girls” written over it. I thought it was odd that in this day and age, there were still remnants of separate entrances for men and women. I know she’s getting to be in ear-shot of eighty, but really, where is Gloria Steinem when you notably need her? Upon entering the room, two things hit me square in the face. First the smell of smoke. Between the Fire Engine Red door and the smell of smoke, I very smartly summized that the friendly folks at the local fire department must have offered their firehall to be our Base Camp. How nice was that! I continued to look around the place. Immediately, my eyes were attracted to the four shiny chrome poles in the center of the room. How great that our city’s firefighters were equipped with not one, but four quick exits to fight flames. It was assuring that our tax dollars are indeed at work. I then went through the lavish lunch buffet line and found a spot to sit down in one of the Fire Engine Red vinyl booths that circled themselves around the firepoles – a fabulous floor plan that allows our fearless flame-fighters to relax and share stories of battling blazes. I finished my lunch, and as I headed toward the door I can’t tell you how many tightly folded dollar bills I found here and there on the floor (especially next to the firepoles). One of those dedicated firefighters must have been in a horrendous hurry and in his haste hadn’t realized he had lost probably a full week’s wages. I got down on the floor, gathered them up and found a waitress to take them to safe-keeping. Poor girl. She had her hands so full of dishes, she blushed a bit and awkwardly asked me to put the bills into her bosom-filled bra. To not embarrass her, I did so as discreetly and decently as possible, hit the door, and fled back to set for the next scene. All the way, I couldn’t stop thinking of those generous firefighters who shared their building for our Base Camp. As a donation, I’ll have to send them a check . . . call me crazy, but something keeps telling me it should be dollar bills instead.
Well, actually, I’m not in Hollywood right now – I’m in Minne-snowta. Yes, it’s May 4 (I’m actually calling it February 92nd) and it’s down-right winterlike here. Who knew I’d be humming “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” this weekend.
Several of you messaged that you saw me on “Big Bang” the other night. Well, I finally had a chance to watch the episode online, and I think I was only a figment of your fabulous little imagination. Yes, that envious film editor snipped me from the show. I could smell that he was trouble all along. Obviously, he doesn’t know real talent when he see’s it and I’m sure he’ll be hearing from the show’s creator, Chuck (or “Chas” as I’m sure he would prefer moi to refer to him as) Lorre – and his little head will be rolling down some Hollywood Hill very soon. But . . . I’ll stop and take the high road. Of course, he was being professional and just worried about my brilliant performance upstaging the principal actors. I simply need to dumb-down my impeccable presence a wee bit. As most of you know, blending into the background will be my biggest acting challenge yet, but I’m up for it. Don’t cry for me, Argentina . . . or any of you anywhere else like Alabama, Antonio or Albequerqe. It takes more than one brief bump in the road to stop this little cookie.
Happy weekend to all!
Work has been a little show this week, with more and more shows going on hiatus. So, I am heading to Minneapolis this evening for a long weekend. I am blessed to be able to visit my 89-year-old parents and my dear neice, Lindsey, and her family – which includes my grandnephew, Alex, who is nothing short of brilliant and the most handsome boy on the planet, of course.
But what’s with this whacky weather! I’ll be leaving 92 degrees here in Lala Land and heading into temps sixty degrees less. The perplexing part is that I’ll be ascending the sky sipping on a cool margarita and hitting the ground with a hot toddie – hopefully my stomach can make a fast, four-hour alcohol adjustment. Peppermints and Pepto-Bismol are already packed in my carrying case.
Yes, I’ll be winging my way through “The Big Bang Theory” airwaves tonight when perhaps you’ll see a glimpse of me during this evening’s episode on CBS. If I remember correctly, we shot the scene twice, with cameras moved from front to back angles of the principal characters. So, who knows what you might see of me – if anything at all. I could have easily ended up in digital heaven due to some very inept editor. We’ll see . . . but it promises to be a funny episode with Bob Newhart even if my magnificent mug is missed.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Spent yesterday afternoon in the Hills of Beverly. Some friends of mine were shooting a thriller independent film in their home. We had met a couple of months ago at the LA Independent Film Festival Awards – a super glam event where I was managing the red carpet – or more accurately, playing “bouncer” at the red carpet. Picture it: lil ol’ me ridin’ side-saddle wrangling in a herd of Hollywood bulls and heifers. We always hear how the stars hate the paparazzi. Well, cry me a Mississippi River. Truth be told, they’ll trample and take out anyone who gets between them and the flash of a photog. Let’s just say that I won’t be back to “bounce” next year without my own team of pitbulls, a taser, and ten shots of tequila.
But I digress. Back to yesterday’s filming. Two of my friends who are in the film are very beautiful women. You know, the kind of friends that you never see without being perfectly put together, and after a couple of years of friendship you lay awake at night wondering if you should tell them that it’s not actually safe for them to sleep in false eyelashes. Well, when I walked in the door yesterday, I couldn’t find either of them. Not a coiffed blonde hair, a lipo-lean midrif, or a flawless fingernail in sight. But then, finally, I heard their pretty much voluptuous voices. I walked toward both of them to find that they had each been transformed into their own antithesis – truly haunting. What a makeup job! And, best of all, I even discovered that they can remove their eyelashes. They both did several scenes and when it comes to creating a thriller, Michael Jackson had nothing on these two. The film is still untitled, but I’ll keep you posted on that and a release date. This one is not be be missed.
And finally, a NEWS FLASH: the scene I did recently in “The Big Bang Theory” will be airing this Thursday night, May 2, on CBS. Check local listings. I’m in a very brief cafeteria scene, somewhere near the top of the show. At best, you’ll see the back of my gray-haired head at a table behind the principal characters. Bob Newhart does a guestshot later on in the show – funny script – you’ll get a Bang out of it.
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April 10, 2013
Worked yesterday afternoon and into the late night on a few scenes for “Criminal Minds” which will air sometime in May. I have to say, working on these shows has given me the opportunity to further incsrease my respect for the lead actors and the entire crew, which can be up to 50 or so people even for a one-minute scene. They work very long hours, and are all deeply committed to making every scene as perfect as it can be. As well, it’s all business on-set. Background actors need to watch for for cues and directions from the various directors, and be willing to do or not do whatever is requested.
Even though I’ll probably be a only shadowy figure on a seedy street in downtown LA, I was delighted to be positioned in some very prominent positions in front of the camera. And then suddenly it happened. After a few takes, I was replaced by two extremely short-skirted bimbos who’s cups more than flowed over, if you catch my drift. I, without hesitation, remained professional and took position in a lesser spot as the director instructed. But really, “girls of the night” replacing moi? What could the director possibly been thinking! With terrible tarts upstaging me, do they want to have to re-title the show “Minimal Minds?”
April 8, 2013
Having a lazy day after a 14-hour one yesterday on location for a scene in “Bones.” I’ll probably not even be on camera, as I was one of about 200 people in cars creating a traffic jam during a murder attempt. “Detective Booth” (David Boreanaz) goes after a looney-tunes blonde who tries to murder the psychiatrist (John Francis Daley) on the show. Also in the scene was “Bones,” the forensic examiner (Emily DeSchand). Can’t divulge any more – watch for it this summer or fall.
I got up at 4 am, grabbed some coffee, and headed to downtown LA where they had transformed a city block into Washington DC with fictional street and tourist signage. I checked in, grabbed some more coffee and juice, and took my position in the car, where we were instructed to stay until each scene segment was completed. Things began well. We all took our cues from the director to look frustrated in traffic, from behind our windshields. Then I received a different kind of cue – from my bladder. My “coffee tank” was on full and needed attention. Let’s just say I clenched muscles in my crotch that I never knew I had before. I cracked every knuckle in my fingers – and toes. I had to do something. Next, I reclined the car seat to allow my bladder to stretch as much as possible. I’m pretty sure that my gestures for traffic frustration began looking like something else. Finally, the director yelled “wrap” – and I’m pretty sure I yelled something less appropriate, and ran knock-kneed to the john. I came up with a whole new spelling for “relief”: lordhavemercy. I apologize for letting on to you about my aging anatomy – the epitome of TMI, I know. But those of you over fifty will literally feel my pain.
Watch for this exciting episode of “Bones” on FOX this summer or fall. I’ll be in the silver car that’s bouncing a little bit – and you’ll know why.
April 5, 2013
Your prayers came through for me – I got into the “Hot in Cleveland” taping tonight! Here’s a shot immediately after the last scene was shot. Obviously, having these five MTM legends amassed again was very moving for the audience, the crew, and the actors themselves. In true MTM style, the script for the episode is titled “Love Is All Around.” And indeed it was.
April 5, 2013
Yes, there is a God. Just got a call that I was picked for the maitre’d role I auditioned for which is for the pilot being developed by the producers of “Two and a Half Men.” It will be somewhat of a more principal role than normal background – and it means six days of booked work. AND . . . it overlaps with the date I was suppose be be on “Mad Men” – so my casting director agreed I should cancel “Mad Men” (without getting blacklisted) – so no fitting this afternoon. I’ll be off to the studio for “Hot In Cleveland” in short order to plant myself near the front of the line for tonight’s MTM reunion for Valerie Harper.