1. A Fascinating Find on Salvation Army’s Kitchenware Shelf!

    ONE of the neat things about living in Los Angeles is that often, entertainment-related memorabilia will find its way into thrift stores, where an enterprising, ambitious fellow like me, always on the lookout to make a quick buck, will pick up such items and resell them on eBay for thousands upon thousands of dollars.

    I’ve found, among other unique items, a prop t-shirt featuring Daphne and Niles worn by David Hyde Pierce in a Valentine’s Day episode of “Frasier,” a framed photo of Tom Poston gesturing behind him to two cows in flagrante delicto used as set dressing in the film “Mickey Blue Eyes,” and a handmade doll of Squiggy as an elf, that according to David Lander himself was given to him by Penny Marshall as a Christmas gift during the run of “Laverne and Shirley.”

    None of those, however, compare to this:


    What you see above is the personalized mug used by that kid with the speech impediment when he was filming the animated cartoon “Battle of the Planets.”


    I tracked down Keyop – he was appearing at one of those depressing Hollywood Collector’s Shows at the Mabel Albertson Holiday Inn in North Hollywood – and he confirmed it had been his:

    “Reedeep!  My old coffee cup! Brrrrrrrrrip! Where did you find it? Rrrrtoo-toot!”

    He posed for a picture with me and the mug, and I must have made some impression on him because then he invited me back to his hotel room after the show closed for something involving bath salts and one of the gals from “The Waltons” table. That or he was trying to sell me an autographed 8×10. He’s kind of difficult to understand.

    These esoteric posts…? They help to keep this blog from becoming too accessible. Heaven knows we wouldn’t want that.

    Posted by on January 14, 2013, 2:59 AM.

  2. Finders Keepers!

    Man, did I pick the right elliptical at the gym today or what!


    In the receptacle dealie on the left! Look! Look!


    Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – I couldn’t believe it either!


    What’s more, there’s a good half inch left!


    Couldn’t come at a better time, either – right now we’re in the middle of a dry, windy, cold snap here in Los Angeles, which has turned my usually luscious Slovak lips into a cracked, bloody mess!

    Posted by on January 11, 2013, 1:58 AM.

  3. Del Taco’s Up to Their Old Tricks! But In A Snazzy New Setting!

    HEY, they completely re-did the Del Taco near me!

    Look!  Look!

    Del Taco 1!

    And they did it all in one night! One crazy night!

    What’s more, I was like the first one to eat there once they reopened! That, friends, is commitment! First to eat there after the “re-do!” Let me in, let me in! Open the doors! Let me at those Macho Tacos!


    You’re probably saying, “Ted, we’re of course proud of you for your accomplishment, but in this economy, how on earth did they afford to renovate a restaurant that really wasn’t in bad shape to begin with?”

    The answer came just as soon as I ordered:

    “Welcome to Del Taco. What can I get for you?”
    “I’ll have the Number One please.”
    “Medium or Macho size?”
    “Oh…just medium.”

    Dammit!  Dammit!  I meant “regular.” Upsold again!

    It’s the Del Taco way.™

    Posted by on January 9, 2013, 10:32 AM.

  4. Huell Howser 1945-2013: We Had A Wonderful Time!

    Huell Howser by Flickr User Joits - http://www.flickr.com/people/45349448@N00

    SO VERY SAD to learn that Huell Howser has died.

    It was pretty clear when he retired abruptly at the end of November that something was wrong.

    He was interviewed a few years ago in a local free weekly where he said something like he’d hoped his last show would be him dropping dead on camera and viewers watching matter-of-factly saying, “Well, I guess that’s the end of Huell.”

    Reading that was surprising at first. These seemed like the words of a man who didn’t realize just how beloved he was by his viewers. But if you watched Huell regularly and with a careful eye, you saw a man who valued his privacy: His remarks suggest a guarded man who, despite being in practically every shot of every episode of every program he produced, still wasn’t comfortable with the fact that even on public TV, he’d garnered quite a following.

    Huellnog. Photo by Amy Lam, via Wikipedia.

    On his shows, where he oohed and ahhed over everything from eggnog to calligraphy to quilts to lawn sprinklers to avocado-eatin’ dogs, he rarely if ever offered any details of his own life. (Another article interviewed a seemingly reluctant Huell at a desert home of his waaay out in Twentynine Palms, located behind a large gate of steel plates.)

    Often when he’d be taping a show there’d be those – usually old ladies! – who, upon recognizing him, would stymie his interview style with interjections of “Oh, I love your show” or “We’ve been watching you for years.” Somehow he’d manage to – politely! – deflect and all but disregard any eruptions of unbridled fandom with a quick “thank you” before immediately redirecting the focus back on the fan herself – usually by doing what he’d started to do anyway, which in a restaurant meant grabbing their plate, holding it up to the camera and asking what they were eating.

    He was lampooned magnificently on The Simpsons in the 2005 episode “There’s Something About Marrying” as “Howell Huser,” where he literally falls off a turnip truck, and later declares Springfield as “The Worst Town Ever” – a perfect parody of his über-positive road-tripping “California’s Gold” series.

    Howell Huser © FOX, I guess.

    Apparently he was taken by surprise by the episode and seemed almost mildly annoyed by the depiction, wondering to an interviewer why they hadn’t contacted him to provide his own voice. Matt Groening, himself a big fan of Huell, attempted to rectify this by bringing him in for a (frankly much less funny) cameo as himself in a later episode.

    KCET intends to continue broadcasting his shows, though they have been careful to not say for how long. I have a feeling by this time next year they’ll be gone from the airwaves. Huell donated much of his work to Chapman University in Orange – everything but the “Visiting…with Huell Howser” episodes which are owned by KCET – so at least some of it will have a permanent home, and will be available online.

    Rest in peace, Huell.

    Posted by on January 7, 2013, 3:57 PM.

  5. Thank Goodness The Holidays Are Behind Us!

    …’cause now’s when they mark all the good stuff down!


    The Price Is Right!

    And lucky for me the store up the street had 116 boxes left – unlike last year when I spent over a week driving around to eighty-five different stores in a forty mile radius from my place and I only got half as many!

    Posted by on January 4, 2013, 11:30 AM.

  6. Happy New Year!

    Baby 1952!

    WHY is it that if we’re so much more enlightened, if things are so much better here in the twenty-first century, there’s a dearth of fat, balding, middle-aged men willing to wear a diaper and put on a homemade sash for New Year’s Eve? Aside from that private club I went to once, I mean.

    The festive gent seen here in a photo similar to a few hundred curiously specific 1950s New Year’s Eve snapshots floating around on the internet was identified by my dear great aunt – with a steel trap for a memory, she has – as the guy who lived across the street from my grandparents.

    And now this treasured family photograph has been harvested by a handful of complete strangers for their Tumblr pages. You’re welcome! But if I see it on the cover of some awful “upcycled paper” journal on Etsy, I’ll sue you for every last hand-made knit hat with ridiculous dangly pom-pommed ear flaps that you own!

    Posted by on January 2, 2013, 10:33 AM.

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