Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pheaturing Wally Wingert

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile for a Sunday, how are you, kids? So, I was thinking about Adam West's Batman just now and it dawned me... he never had to say "I'm Batman." He just showed up and people knew who the hell he was. Am I right? Sometimes I wonder about Batman why didn't he just become a cop? Hmmm. Anyway, let's start off with something fun for a change, shall we?
Aside from being one of the most beloved actors of our time, Tom Hanks is somewhat of a social media darling. He sends selfies to fans, he photobombs weddings, and his Instagram is hilarious. But Hanks' latest tweet has the Internet bugging out. On Friday, Hanks posted a photo of a rather ominous-looking building in New York City.
"This is the scariest building I've ever seen! WTF goes on inside??" he wrote. (And then he signed the tweet, "Hanx.") The building's height and lack of windows sent shivers up the spine of many of Hanks' Twitter followers. But, because it's 2017 and we can find anything out with the help of the Internet, the building's true identity was soon revealed.

That's right! It's the NSA! According to an investigative article by The Intercept, the building is situated in lower Manhattan. The 550-foot skyscraper used to be an AT&T building, known as the Long Lines Building, and is now used as a listening post for the NSA. There's even a 10-minute documentary about it. The short film is titled Project X, and was created by Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke as a collaboration between "The Intercept" and documentary film company, Field Of Vision. Well, that certainly took a turn. I'm still choosing to believe that the building is occupied by David S. Pumpkins.
What a week it's been for the administration of President Trump. Between the Kathy Griffin controversy, his idiotic decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and the expansion of a probe into the White House's Russia ties, it seemed there was no end to the fear, vitriol, and disgust on all sides. It can be really tough to take in all this garbage simultaneously. But, for once, CNN turned out to be pretty helpful. If you wanted a single sentence to describe the mess in Washington this week, it would probably be this caption...

Yes, Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman who faceplanted so badly in his first press conference after a two-week break that he literally ran away, is saying that he can't speak for the president on the issue of climate change. So... time to look for a new gig? Then again, maybe he's got the right idea. It would be nice to not hear from the president at all for a little while.
After announcing that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement that most Americans approved of, President Trump made the now notorious statement, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." Aside from that making no sense whatsoever, the mayor of Pittsburgh himself scolded Trump for the comment, saying his city would continue to honor the agreement. So when the White House wanted to hype a "Pittsburgh Not Paris" rally to thank Trump for the disastrous decision, they knew they couldn't actually do it in Pittsburgh. Instead, they held it in a Washington, D.C. park named for... get this... a French war hero. Just beautiful messaging there, guys. The rally itself was, well... sparsely attended, you might say. Wow, looks like literally tons of people who equate CNN with ISIS and pollution with employment showed up! But it seems like someone was missing. Where was Trump in this glorious demonstration? Didn't he want to greet his supporters? Nah. He was at one of his golf clubs. Again. From "Business Insider," "According to a pool report, the president's motorcade pulled up at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday morning. It's unclear whether the president is playing golf, and the press pool said it would file another report when it gets more information about the president's activities." A pro-Trump event so pathetic even Trump wouldn't get involved? Yeesh. But don't feel too bad, MAGA-hat dweebs. There were successful demonstrations across the country... they just happened to be for the other side. Even so, it sounds like the Trump camp is doubling down on their sloganeering. Just, ugh. Now to talk about one of my least favorite "celebrities" ever...
"Comedian" Kathy Griffin hasn't been having the best week. On Tuesday, a photo of Griffin holding a bloody head meant to look like President Donald Trump from a photo shoot she did leaked online and sparked a huge backlash among, well, everyone. Now it seems the only remaining theater allowing her to perform her comedy tour has canceled the show. According to TMZ, the Uptown Theatre in Napa, California just became the seventh venue to cancel Griffin's appearance. The theater was the last remaining venue allowing Griffin to perform her show, and up until Wednesday, had said that her performance would go on as planned, TMZ reports. They seem to have had a change of heart after the press conference Griffin held on Friday, in which she claimed to have been bullied by the Trump family. TMZ reports that the Uptown Theatre was the last remaining venue allowing Griffin to perform her comedy tour. All venues for Griffin's remaining tour dates have now pulled out. In the wake of the photo, Griffin has also been let-go from her position as a co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve Show. Kathy Griffin did issue an apology video after the photos went viral, but it seems that the damage has already been done.
Less than a month ago we were introduced to the male romper (also known as the 'RompHim') by the clothing company ACE, but it has already been trumped by an even more flamboyant frock for men... see-through lace shorts.

The shorts were designed by Hologram City specifically for a music video for American rapper and songwriter Luke Caswell, better known as "Cazwell." To be honest, I am way more offended by those socks than I am the shorts. I wonder if Laird Jim would wear these this summer... Laird? Haha. Anyway, here is the thing... they are just shorts. If your masculinity is threatened by a piece of fabric, that sounds like a personal problem. At the end of the day, clothes aren't gendered. If you identify as male and put on these lace shorts, we promise that your legs won't burst into flames. Life is short, wear whatever the hell you want. Side not, I'm not wearing them.
I have been saying though on the Phile for the last few weeks if this was the 70s I might be wearing this...

There's a 60% chance that this isn't a clothing ad, but a promo photo for a short-lived show called "Nightgown Men: Fighters of Crime." So, I love "Family Feud," and I have to show you this... it made me laugh.

So, I saw this on-line and I don't know what it is from but I have to share it...

WTF? Do you know what I love? Geeks that protest... they always have the best signs.

Some people just don't know when to shut up. Did you see the cover of the new "Justice League of America" comic? No?

Ha! I love the "Batman" '66 TV show, and when I was watching the Blu-ray I was surprised to see this...

Hahaha! A lot of people don;t remember when "Star Trek" and "Batman" crossed over, but I do. Here's proof it happened...

See? So, I saw this picture the other day which reminded me of something...

And then it hit me.

Ha! Alright, so, next weekend I will be taking the Amtrak train down to Hollywood, Florida and I thought to kill time on the trip to post an entry of the Phile going there and then back up. It's a long trip but I hope it's not as long as the Trans-Siberian Railway...

The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway line in the world. There are connecting branch lines into Mongolia, China, and North Korea. It has connected Moscow with Vladivostok since 1916 and is still expanding. Full-time construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway began in 1891 and was put into execution and overseen by Sergei Witte, who was then Finance Minister. Similar to the First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA, Russian engineers began construction at both ends and worked towards the center. So, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff that happens in Florida that could happen nowhere else in the Universe. So, here is...

Golfer man Tiger Woods was found asleep at the wheel in his Mercedes in Jupiter, Florida, and was arrested and charged on Monday with driving under the influence. According to court records obtained by the "Palm Beach Post," Woods did not have any alcohol in his system, and his lawyer's statement blamed "an unexpected reaction to prescription medications" for his unexpected nap. The very sad, very bloated mug shot quickly got the tabloid treatment, giving punsters the headline of their dreams and the nightmare of being duplicated.


All in good pun.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, I mentioned the Kathy Griffin story just now, but I was wondering what a friend of the Phile has to say about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

Good morning, humans. Happy Sunday, phuckerz. So let me make sure I'm crystal clear on this... Now, Kathy Griffin is the victim? Do the world a favor and shut your mouth, you unfunny... Strawberry Shortcake looking motherfucker. Just go away. So... being a long suffering fan of the New York Mets myself, I get it... we know... we suck. We only win the World Series when Halley's Comet comes around. Whatever. Mr. Met got pissed off and gave the finger to some fans after a game. So? First off... this is New York... get the fuck over it, you whiney little twats. Second... some of these "fans" are obnoxious and deserve to be slapped around a bit. Thirdly... do you think it's easy walking around with that head on for the entire game? Try it, some time. Fourth... that guy in the costume deserves a high-five and a beer for having the nerve to act like a REAL New Yorker... he does NOT deserve to be fired for it. and lastly... If you honestly believe that this untalented piece of shit, Kathy Griffin deserves her "freedom of expression" but Mr. Met doesn't... then, fuck you too.

And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Sports Mascots' Shenanigans Yet To Be Exposed
5. When posing for photos with fans, Orbit talks at length about how 9/11 was an "inside job."
4. Bernie Brewer often bets against own team in mid-inning sausage races.
3. Since 2001, the Phillie Phanatic has left a floater in the visitors' clubhouse for every singing MLB team.
2. Steely McBeam refuses to pay child support for his estranged twins, Tanner and Clarissa McBeam.
And the number one sport mascot shenanigan yet to be exposed is...
1. The Presidents for colliding with Russian mascots.

Manuel Noriega 
February 11th, 1934 — May 29th, 2017
A man, a plan, an evil dictator. Manuel!

In case you took a well-deserved break from the Internet on Wednesday, "covfefe" was the Trump typo that just wouldn't go away. In the wee hours of May 31st, President Donald Trump sent out his most head-scratching tweet yet.At 12:06 am, the President, who appeared to attempt to start yet another rant against the media, tweeted "Despite the constant negative press covfefe." That's it. The typo went viral. Over an hour later, it was still not deleted, sending Twitter into a complete frenzy. People were speculating what the President could have meant, and why the error went unfixed for so long. Did he die mid-tweet? Did he suddenly get distracted by Fox News? What is a covfefe, anyway? Starbucks' new drink? The nuclear codes? A distraction from Trump's ties with Russia? In the end, even Merriam-Webster couldn't help us make sense of things.

Hell, in a rare moment of self-awareness, even President Trump was about to laugh about it.

Of course, the most likely explanation is that the President meant to type "coverage" and somehow ended up with... covfefe. Then he tweeted it out, leaving it online for an hour, because he truly DGAF. Who knew that one simple typo would be the thing to finally unite us all? But now we are simply living in a post-covfefe world, baby.

The 60h book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author and Phile Alum Wesley will be on the Phile tomorrow.

Today's pheatured guest s an American voice actor, singer, performer, actor, and former radio personality who has done numerous voice work in various animated films, television shows, video games, and commercials. Some of his best-known roles include Jon in "The Garfield Show," one of the Almighty Tallest in "Invader Zim," and the Riddler in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Please welcome to the Phile... Wally Wingert.

Me: Wally! Holy shit, Batman, I'm so excited to have you here on the Phile. How are you?

Wally: I had a pretty nutty beginning of the year, but things are smoothing out now and I'm going on vacation in a week. So I'm jazzed about that!

Me: You dub yourself The Man With 999 Faces, am I right? Why only 999?

Wally: Lon Chaney Sr. was and always will be the Man of 1000 faces, so as a fan I always defer to him by one face out of respect.

Me: Have you always done impressions and voices growing up?

Wally: Absolutely! Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, the Muppets... all those were favorite of mine to imitate as a kid.

Me: Who was the first you learned to do? Which one is your favorite?

Wally: As far as I can recall, my first impression was the singer of a song called "Winchester Cathedral" from the 60s.

Me: I heard and saw your work over the years and love your version of The Riddler in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders which we will chat about in a minute... but we have to talk about "The Beat of the Bat." I interviewed Pat Evans and thought to myself I should interview you. So, here you are. So, how did you get to meet Pat?

Pat: He just appeared in my life one day and he had hypnotized me into believing that I'd known him most of my life. It's weird I know.

Me: You also know Adam West pretty well good, right? I met him once at a convention and it was a huge thrill. How did you get to know him?

Wally: I met him at the World of Wheels in 1980 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and we've been friends since. It took me 36 years to get to do a scene with him in a show, but it was worth the wait. 

Me: You're a huge fan of Batman '66, right?

Wally: Never heard of it. Is that a band or a baseball team or something?

Me: Ha! My dad was the lead singer in Foghat and in the 80s Burt Ward had a company that printed rock and roll shirts and Foghat was one of his clients, and he got to go to Burt's house for dinner. I was so jealous. Anyway, did you ever meet Burt?

Wally: Wait a minute, your dad was the lead singer of FOGHAT? I need to be interviewing YOU! Did he sing "Third Time Lucky?" Loved that song!

Me: Yeah, my dad wrote and sang "Third Time Lucky." That was his favorite song he wrote!

Wally: I've always LOVED that song! When did he join the band? Was he aware that two of his roadies are the fathers of Beavis and Butt-Head? When that song came out I wanted to learn how to sing it because at the time I considered that a quintessential rock vocal performance. It's still on my iPod to this very day! "Slow Ride" was one of the first 45s I ever bought on my own!

Me: He founded the band and I was aware about the Beavis and Butt-Head Foghat link but I don't know of he was. Okay, so, do you know Nick Jameson who used to be in Foghat and has done voice overs for so many video games and shows like you?

Wally: I didn't know that. Which video games?

Me: A lot of Star Wars ones... he was The Emperor. Alright, so, how did you first get to know Neal Hefti? As a fan of the old Batman show I bet you asked a shit load of questions, am I right? Do you remember where you were when you found out he passed?

Wally: I think I got a call from somebody at my church. Neal would attend services at my church from time to time because he loved our choir.

Me: Alright, so, back to "Beat of the Bat," what do you think of the documentary?

Wally: It'll be a great doc that answers a lot of questions.

Me: I am guessing you have a pretty big Batman collection, Wally. What's the coolest thing you own?

Wally: A pair of lifesize Batman and Robin figures and one has Adam West's face!

Me: That's cool! Have you read the "Batman '66" comic? Whatcha think?

Wally: I liked it quite a bit. Artist Ruben Procopio is a good friend of mine and I thought he and the other guys did a spectacular job.

Me: I LOVE the movie Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and you were great as the Riddler. That's not the first time you played that character though, right?

Wally: I played a different version of the Riddler in the "Arkham" video game series. But he's a vastly different Riddler than the Gorshin Riddler.

Me: When you played him in the past did you mimic Frank Gorshin?

Wally: To the ninth degree.

Me: Did you have to audition to get the part, Wally?

Wally: Yes, I sent over a voice sample with Bat music behind it. I put together a script made up of some of Frank's lines from the show, low energy, high energy, laughing, small giggles, etc., and sent it over to Ruben who did storyboarding on the film. He sent it on to James Tucker the producer.

Me: So, I always say Adam West is my favorite Batman. Who is yours?

Wally: That Adam fella you mentioned.

Me: Apart from Batman you have done so many other things... your resume is so impressive. You worked with Jay Leno as his announcer on "The Tonight Show." I am a big Conan fan, and was bummed that he stepped down from "The Tonight Show." You were around that whole thing... so, were their ramblings behind the scenes?

Wally: It was definitely weird, but it all worked out.

Me: Do you think Conan made the right decision? As I understood it, it wasn't his decision. It was the network's.

Me: Anyway, how did you end up working for Jay?

Wally: I started on "The Jay Leno Show" in the fall of 2009. When NBC gave Jay "The Tonight Show" back in March of 2010, they kept most everything the same as it was on the prime-time show. 

Me: You started off as a DJ for a radio station... when and where was that?

Wally: KASD college station; Aberdeen, South Dakota. KABR; Aberdeen, South Sadoka, KXRB; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KELO, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, KTWV "The Wave"; Los Angeles, California.

Me: A DJ was the first job I wanted to do, but my voice is terrible. I sound like a retarded Kermit the Frog... then I wanted to be a talk show host, and now I just do this blog. Anyway, did you take any voice lessons at all? Or does your talent come naturally?

Wally: I took a course to learn the business of voice-over back in the early 90s, but I'm mostly self-taught.

Me: You are a pretty good singer as well... I like your Adam West song you did for the Dr. Demento Show. By the way, I got to interview Dr. Demento and that was a huge deal for me. What was the inspiration behind the song and what did Mr. West think of it?

Wally: The different direction they chose for the 1989 Burton film was the impetus for creating the song, as they weren't going to use Adam as Batman. At that time the biggest thing going was "The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller, which featured an older Batman. So we as fans just figured it was an obvious choice. Adam actually liked the song quite a bit (except for a few lyrics) and when he did interviews he would ask the interviewer to use the song in the finished piece.

Me: I have to mention a few other shows you were a part of... "The Garfield Show." Is that a fun show to do? Interviewing Jim Davis who created Garfield is on my bucket list.

Wally: One of my favorite jobs of all time. It's a supreme joy to work with so many insanely talented people.

Me: And you were on "Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law." I wish they still made that show. You played a number of characters on it, right?

Wally: Yes, Hadji, Mr. Twiddles, George Jetson, Astro and a few others.

Me: You got to play Andy Kaufman in a made-for-TV movie... I saw that and thought you did as good as a job as Jim Carrey. Were you offered that role or did you audition?

Wally: It wasn't a made-for-TV movie exactly, but an E! True Hollywood Story. I auditioned for it against about 20 other guys. But I had been doing Andy since I was 16 so I had the definite edge. And my own Elvis costume!

Me: You must've been a Kaufman fan, right?

Wally: Who's this Kaufman of which you speak?

Me: Ha! Alright, so, who are your influences growing up, Wally?

Wally: Adam West, Popeye, Daws Butler, Don Messick, Eddie Munster, William Shatner, Andy Kaufman, Laurel and Hardy, my folks and Grandpa Joe.

Me: Okay, so, I am sure you're very busy and I asked so many questions. I have so many more so I hope you'll come back soon. What project is coming out next for you?

Wally: Unfortunately nothing I'm at liberty to discuss at the moment. It's all NDA stuff.

Me: Are you gonna be doing anymore Batman movies?

Wally: Unfortunately nothing I'm at liberty to discuss at the moment. It's all NDA stuff.

Me: Gotcha. Wally, I hope this was fun. It was a huge thrill to have you here on the Phile and I hope you'll come back again real soon. Mention your website and anything you want. All the best, take care.

Wally: Thanks!,, @wallywingert. Take care!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Wally Wingert, I have so many questions for him. I felt we only scratched the surface. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer, author and Phile Alum Wesley Stace. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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