Wally Boag- The Clown Prince of Disneyland

Wally Boag
Image via Wikipedia

One of my friends  (Joel Jeske, if you must know) has been on a facebook posting tear lately, posting lots of great video from YouTube.  One of those items was a Muppets appearance by the great Wally Boag.  I had never seen it, and didn’t know the name, but he looked and sounded so familiar, that I had to look him up.

Wally was one of the original fast-talking clown/magic comedian guys.  He came up at the end of vaudeville, the beginning of television, and he ended up becoming one of the Disney comic stars.  He was the centerpiece of the comedy in the Disney Golden Horseshoe Revue, and performed as Pecos Bill/the Travelling Salesman.  He was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for putting on the most live performances of a single theatrical presentation.

His fast patter/corny jokes/rapid fire banter and his slightly adult outlook are the things that seem to me to be classic about his work.   And something that, whether I remember him or not, are stuff that I’m sure have influenced my own work.

One of the things that strikes me is how well his material has aged, and how as he aged with it, it didn’t matter that he couldn’t do all of the physical stuff.

Below are videos of him in an early show (where at the end he throws a backflip!) and the Muppet appearance that Joel originally posted.  (Much older, no back flip)  The material is mostly the same, and it works perfectly.

Wally Boag's Memoir

You can also look him up on his own website http://www.wallyboag.com, where he’s recently released a memoir: Wally Boag, The Clown Prince of Disney Land.  He’s still alive (Hooray!) and lives with his wife in Southern California.

If you have a remembrance of Wally performing, or if he’s influenced you as a performer, please post in the comments.

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One comment

  • Many thanks for your kind comments about Wally. I was his co-author of “Wally Boag, Clown Prince of Disneyland.” It's beautifully illustrated and traces Wally's wonderful career from the time he began performing in his hometown, Portland, OR, to his many years of appearing in the world's leading hotel showrooms and nightclubs to his amazing 27 year run at Disneyland. Along the way he worked with a young 12-year-old singer who brought the house down twice a night. Her name was Julie Andrews and later with a young Steve Martin who has called Wally his mentor. Not only is the book about Wally, it also provides an eye witness account of Disneyland's early days.

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