This is Day 8 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.
It’s not that I’ve led a particularly accomplished life, or a notable one, or even a weird one. But I have paid some attention to the bizarre way in which my life seems to loop back on itself, how I’ll do a thing or be in a place, not really thinking a thing of it, and let it go completely (startlingly easy to do with a crappy memory and short attention span), only to find myself somehow enmeshed in it again.
Take Michael Jordan, for example.
As I explained earlier, back in the early 1990s, I wrote a series of commercials that Michael Jordan starred in, not during the four years I wrote Gatorade ads, which Michael Jordan ultimately also became a spokesperson for, but after being randomly assigned to a Wheaties clusterfuck at an agency I was freelancing at in Chicago to help finance the life The Chief Atheist and I were trying to carve out for ourselves in Los Angeles.1
We’d moved to Los Angeles mostly on hope, but with one job: mine, co-writing a kind of nifty children’s show teaching kids about the arts in a fun, engaging way.2 I’d gotten through my friend, George, who sold ABC on the pilot based on the bang-up job he’d done with Bugs Bunny on Broadway, a gig which had brought him into close proximity and friendship with Chuck Jones, one of the key animators of Bugs Bunny and friends, and the subject of a rather fawning documentary for which The Chief Atheist and I wrote lyrics to a heartfelt but saccharine anthem. (Stay with me, please.)
The pilot was wonderful, so of course, they killed it dead, and, job and money run out, I began flying back and forth to Chicago, doing the ad gigs in between classes at The Groundlings. One of the perks of being a Groundling is that you end up automagically shortlisted to audition for all kinds of gigs: I booked my first two tiny TV roles this way, as well as a voiceover gig playing an animated character in Space Jam, the new combo animated/live-action offering from Warner Bros. starring, you guessed it, Bugs Bunny & friends, as well as basketball legend Michael Jordan.3
You see? Random, random and weird.
The cel pictured here is signed (by Chuck Jones) and numbered. In other words, it’s not a super-valuable old cel from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but it is a bona-fide Chuck Jones cel, even if it features characters that were never actually made into cartoons for public consumption. Much like the Wheaties shoot, certain key players from the Chuck Jones biopic/lovefest were gifted with them after the show wrapped.
As nice as it has been, owning a piece of minor cartoon history, I’m just not a cartoon kinda gal, at least, not when it comes to hanging art on the wall. (The Chief Atheist and I did get a really nice cel from a Beavis and Butthead cartoon for our wedding, but he retained possession after the divorce.)
Are you a fan of Chuck Jones? Or is someone you know? This charming piece of history can be yours for a very modest price.
And we’ll throw in all the random, intertwined weirdness, no charge!
Interested? Contact my ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) ASAP, this baby goes up on eBay in five days!
1Side note of random weirdness, #1:During one of our frequent post-editing cocktail sessions, the freelance producer and I figured out that shortly after I moved out of our house in Evanston to go to college, he became the tenant in our coach house out back.
2Side note of random weirdness, #2: little Brandi Norwood, who would go on to become Brandi, was one of the stars, in one of her first gigs.
3Side note of random weirdness, #3: While I barely introduced to him during my audition and was directed in all of my VO work by producer Ivan Reitman (who is totally nice and awesome), this means I did technically work on a Joe Pytka film. This is after working on a Joe Pytka commercial for Gatorade (without Michael Jordan) as a writer, during which I never met him, because I didn’t travel to L.A. for the shoot, and before working on two Joe Pytka commercials (for IBM and Sony), where I did finally meet him, and during which he was every bit as terrifying as he was purported to be, but only ever gracious with me. Thank GOD, because I am a delicate f*cking flower.