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Disneyland's Wally Boag retires

Disneyland’s Wally Boag retires

Feb. 3, 1982: Wally Boag, right, star of Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon, poses for staff photographer Don Kelsen. On left, Boag in character as Pecos Bill.

After 32,000 performances at Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon, comedian Wally Boag retires.

These photos accompanied a story by staff writer Donna Donan in the Feb. 18, 1982 Los Angeles Times that began:

Walt Disney once wrote to Wally Boag: “I don’t know how it is you can keep up the enthusiasm. I have seen your show 50 times and I still laugh.”

From his box on the left of Disneyland’s ornate Golden Horseshoe Saloon, Disney used to watch Boag, a handpicked comedian, who helped create a favorite Frontierland attraction, the Horseshoe Revue.

“We always used to go down to see the show when we went to the park. That was the most fun about going down there,” recalled Edna Disney, Walt’s sister-in-law.

Now, after 26 years and 32,000 performances, the man who amazed the master of amusement has retired with a mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest running continuous act. …

“I’ve had such a pleasant time here I can’t really be too sad,” Boag said of his retirement.

Using his Traveling Salesman and Pecos Bill characters, five times a day, five days a week, Boag took audiences back in time not just to the Old West but to vaudeville itself.

Amidst carved wood, velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers, Boag delivered his one-liners: “A kleptomaniac is someone who finds something before you lose it.” …

As with any Disneyland attraction, Boag’s show was undeniably wholesome. The wholesomeness was altogether natural for the 61-year-old comedian who received much of his early training in vaudeville houses like the Palace, the Orpheum, the Strand and the Hippodrome.

“If you said damn or hell they’d fire you,” Boag recollected. “You’d go backstage in a vaudeville house and there would be a note opposite your dressing room saying these are the do’s and don’ts of the place. Don’t mentioned breasts.”

Thus when Boag met Disney on an empty stage in 1955, Disney could see the act needed very little revamping to fit in the frontier saloon.

Thinking that he was just auditioning for another two-week booking, Boag went through his routine. He did a ventriloquist act, played the bagpipes, made animals out of balloons and did a couple of backflips. It was essentially the same performance he gave for the next 26 years. …

For more check out Wally Boag’s obituary Wholesome comic made Disney laugh by staff writer Dennis McLellan published in the June 7, 2011 Los Angeles Times.

Feb. 3, 1982: Wally Boag’s routine as a traveling salesman was a crowd favorite at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon at Disneyland. This photo was published in the Feb. 18, 1982 Los Angeles Times. Credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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