Wally Boag, one of America’s most multi-faceted comedians and the star of Disney’s long running stage show Golden Horseshoe Revue, passed away this past Friday in Santa Monica. The 90 year old funnyman had an illustrious career, famous for delivering over 43,000 performances in the Golden Horseshoe Revue, providing the voice of Jose in “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” and performing in such MGM films as Without Love and Thrill of a Romance. He was also a contributor to the development of the “Haunted Mansion” attraction at Disneyland. Boag performed twice on The Ed Sullivan Show where he sang “Happy Days Are Here Again” and entertained the viewers with his comedic talents.
At the age of 9, Boag joined his first professional dance troupe and by his teenage years had worked his way up to performing in theaters around the world. He performed in “Starlight Roof” alongside Julie Andrews at the London Hippodrome in the mid-1940s and later signed a contract with MGM to begin appearing in films. At the recommendation of a friend, Boag auditioned for a job at Disneyland and quickly became one of Walt Disney’s favorite performers. Wally Boag would go on to work for Disney for 27 years.
Boag was widely recognized for his family-friendly slapstick routines and acrobatic display, along with his ability to craft animals and other objects out of balloons. He called these “Boagalloons.” His character, Pecos Bill, was known for spitting a seemingly endless supply of teeth out of his mouth. Modern comedian Steve Martin cited Boag as a major influence on his style and comedic timing. Longtime Disney executive Marty Sklar considered Boag to be “the Heart of Disneyland in the early days.”