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“Hair Club for Men?”

Three Stories Three for thee…

1.) Toupée
Booked as Fake Scientist on the same Spy Show I worked before. Hello … the Crew remember me as the ‘Convulsing Human Resource Guy’ from 8 episodes & 2 months ago. Uh oh. Hard to believe but this is a real problem. Looks like I may be replaced because, heaven forbid, an Extra (me) who was featured for 3 seconds in a Close-Up, might be seen in another episode and recognized by some TV Addict who spends his weekends freeze framing DVD Scenes to spot inconsistent Continuity Errors (Oh Lordy that is totally the same HR Guy who is also a Scientist in episode whatever). Better sound the ‘Nerd Web I Caught A Mistake’ Alert! Who really cares? Suddenly the Director is involved. Thank you to the Head of Props who saves my ass…”Put a Wig on him and take off his glasses.”  Rushed to the Hair Trailer and 5 different attempts later I am Crowned with my once in a lifetime ‘Ken’s Dream Hair’ (or the President of ‘Hair Club for Men’…you decide). Literally the first time I am wearing a real stylish Toupée that is not Fire Engine Red or a Howard Stern Halloween Wig. Having a Blast Party of One. I do not care that I am kinda blind without my glasses. Back to set is ‘Double Take’ central. Lots of compliments & I am forced to tell folks that yes I started losing my hair at 19 and no I don’t care anymore and besides I now have a ‘Shaved Head Look’ not a ‘Bald Guy Look’. No one can believe what a difference a piece makes. I am asked by 3 different Wardrobe and Hair People “You’ll return this, right?” I get it. No steal Wiggy. How does everyone know I want to? I am not easy to read. Am not.

What fun. I get to repeatedly grab his right forearm and strap the Leading Handsome Star into a James Bond chair while Fake Head Scientist (who looks like Donald Pleasence in FANTASTIC VOYAGE) does experiments on Mr Hunky. Yay I have a full head of gorgeous hair & I love my job! We later release the Star and he does a flat-to-the-floor Stunt Fall (onto hidden quad-thick gym pads). As a joke for the last shot he doesn’t move at all on the Matt and pretends he is Out Cold. They say “CUT” and all the Crew  know & love this guy. He is faking it and they are not having it. They walk around him ignoring his faint away bit for 5 minutes & start to set up the next shot. Finally someone tells him he needs to change his shirt for this scene. He twitches on the Matt as if he’s coming back from a Coma & gets up. The crew applauds. He’s a good yolk.  And cute.

Time for the Martini Shot (last of the day). Will I please do a Hand Insert Shot for them? You bet I will. Someone gives me this Scientific Electro iPadish Thing and I’m told to simply type in “No Intersect Activity” a few times. Only my hands and the Equipment will be seen. Unfortunately once again I am thrown under the train when they call “Action” without giving me a moment to practice with this heavy device even once. Without Glasses. After 3 Takes of me not getting it right someone (they are all a blur to me) takes a gosh darn second and shows me that all I have to do is type on any letter repeatedly and the proper pre-set phrase comes up automatically as if I am really typing it. “No Intersect Activity” indeed. Thanks for letting me know. Finally. The last 3 takes are perfect you Bastards. I end the day covered in Flop Sweat under a Wilted Wig. Triumphantish.

Who’s a Hollywood Doggy? Who?

2.) Dog

Ran into so many Extra pals on this fun TV shoot (including Cher’s Stunt-Dance-Double who is wonderful … she worked on a movie with Lucky & me last Spring). “How’s the Baby?” she asks as Lucky licks her hand. Everyone is thrilled to see Lil’ Lucky, except the semi-gracious 2nd AD … her opening 7am comment ? “I don’t like Dogs. Keep him away from me!” Yes Cruella.

Lucky loves attention on Set. Where did he learn that? Such a good boy sitting in the Fake Greasy Spoon Indoor-Outdoor Set we use all day for Holding the Background Performers. He has his bowl of water and some treats & there always seems to be a pal who will scratch behind his ears while I am sometimes in scenes as a Pedestrian without him (how funny to continually walk by the Diner Door & catch his eyes while the film is rolling. He did not bark once all day and he hit his leash marks during all shots. Good Lucky. Very good Lucky. Earning money for Daddy Lucky.

A moment from our sponsor…Lucky Starr & I now haves our Legal United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Exhibitor License for Animal Handlers. It was a total pain to get and well worth the effort. When not filming with the Movie Colony, Lucky is now available for Bar Mitzvahs & Baptism’s.

10 Minute Clown-Start to Finish…

3.) Clown
A favorite Casting Director books me to make Balloon Animals for a Hospital Comedy Scene. She says there is a chance they may also want me to be a Clown for a different sequence and highly suggests I bring my costume & make-up “Just in Case.” I ask “Would there be any more money?” She delightfully replies “No. Is that a problem?” I say “Not at all.” We laugh. I never turn anything down but my collar.

I am not supposed to be On-Camera today. I am making intentionally bad Poodle Balloons for an Actor playing a guy who does not know how to make Poodle Balloons. “Not bad enough” says the Director for my 1st several tries. Bigger Badder they want?  Bigger Badder they get! I fill the Fake Hospital Room with Huge Ugly Poodles. Here a Poodle, there a Poodle. The adorable Prop Gal hands me Double Sided Tape & I cover every inch of wall and counter top space. I teach the Actor how to blow up Skinny Balloons with a Pump. He catches on fast. I give him the old Clown trick of “accidentally” letting an untied blown-up Balloon loose right on laugh cue. It blows away and gets a big laugh. The Director loves it and the Actor takes Full Credit for my bit. Surprise & welcome to Hollywood. After every take the Actor says “Balloon” and I hand him an identical powder blue Professional Qualatex Balloon. Only 2 Balloons pop the entire day. Qualatex are expensive and worth it. The Prop Gal asks me to help wrangle the Helium Bouquets for another shot and since I am the Hired Balloon Expert I am put in charge. No one knows the last time I did Helium Balloons was for a Tom Bradley Mayor Race Fund-Raiser that my Mother coordinated at the Beverly Hills Hilton Ballroom when I was 15. Shhhh. Don’t burst my balloon.

After a very long and fun day I hear that the Producers have decided to hire 2 more Clowns. I rush to the 2nd AD Team and remind them I am a Clown. “We shoot in 10 minutes. Can you become a Clown in 10 minutes?” “Yes, I can become a Clown in 10 minutes.” “Then do it.” Exactly 10 minutes later I run back to set moments before they cry “ACTION!” My face make-up is a frightening mess but I have saved the day. A Hair Gal comes by for “Last Looks” (to check on the Stars before rolling). “Who did your Make-Up?” “Me…in 10 minutes from start to finish including my own Wardrobe.” “Wow. You are a Pro!” Thanks for noticing people.

12 Responses to “Toupee Dog Clown”

  1. Flor says:

    Thanks for making me laugh. That wig is surprisingly becoming!

  2. Madeline says:

    This shot of Lucky and you is utterly adorable, of you both! I really like the fact that we can see the set in the background.

  3. Andy Estrella says:

    Did you get to have lunch on the Sony lot?

  4. Ann says:

    You look great with the wig! But those privileged few of us who knew you way back when you had your own luxuriant locks can say-that’s not what your hair looked like! It was curly. This is like, bouffy hair.

  5. I would like to hire the Ken wig for my next baptism. And Lucky too.

  6. Tom T says:

    Your instant Clown, now that’s what I call “Johnny on the spot” and you pulled it off! What a pro! Well done you, the crew and support must love you!

  7. john starr says:

    To Andy Estrella-
    Regarding your comment above….thanks again for taking me to lunch at Sony Studios yesterday where I once again was booked as a Circus Clown (on a new mid-season upcoming replacement TV Show). We caused a riot when we walked into the Commissary (a Suit and a Clown walk into a Studio Restaurant…). However my ’10 Minute Clown’ story in this week’s blog is about a different recent booking (I’m slapping on that grease paint a lot these days!).
    -John Starr-

  8. Shelby says:

    My vote is; new President of Hair Club for Men.

  9. Trevor says:

    It was great workin’ with you, John!!

  10. Ben Estrella says:

    Excellent blog!

  11. LA says:

    Yes, I read and totally enjoyed. You’re doing great and it appears the ones that count agree. Keep up the good work you clown.

    Love ya

  12. Elena K says:

    VERY funny. I love reading these!

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