Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Remembering Wally Boag and Betty Taylor

Remembering Wally Boag and Betty Taylor

Pecos Bill & Slue Foot Sue

 

       Wally Boag and Betty Taylor died within a day of each other this past weekend, Wally June 3rd, Betty June 4th. Old fans of the Golden Horseshoe Revue will well remember the joy and laughter they brought for 27 years to the guests at Disneyland.

       Wally Boag is best remembered for his long running Golden Horseshoe Revue that played on the stage at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon at Disneyland. He played there from 1955 to 1982. He earned a Guinness World Record for the longest running stage show. It is estimated he did more than 40,000 shows on that venerable stage, 5 shows a day 5 days a week. Wally even did an episode of the Muppet Show in 1980.

       Betty Taylor was hired a year later as his partner and love interest, Slue Foot Sue. She held that part until the show closed in 1986. Betty continued to perform at the park until 1987 but still performed at special events until 1995.
Wally Boag
       Wally Boag was born in 1920. He started entertaining at a young age and joined a professional dance team at the age of 9. He later started a dance school. By the time he was 19 he turned to comedy and traveled the world performing in hotels, theaters and nightclubs.

       The Golden Horseshoe is not Wally’s only tie to Disney. In the late 1940’s while appearing at the London Hippodrome he hired a 12 year old girl to come on stage to help with a balloon act and sing. This young lady had such a wonderful voice he hired her for the rest of the stay there. This young lady was 12 year old Julie Andrews. Julie and Wally reprised teh part in 1963 at the Golden Horseshoe.
Wally Boag with Julie Andrews

       Wally Boag wrote the scripts for the Golden Horseshoe and also helped to write other shows for Disneyland including the Tiki Room. Today you can still hear his voice as Jose the host of the Tiki Room. He also went to Florida when WDW opened to help open the Diamond Horseshoe Revue.

       There was a young boy who hocked Disneyland newspapers at Disneyland. He did all he could to see Wally perform as much as possible. This young man continued to work at Disneyland for years in various locations and finally ended up playing banjo with Wally in the show. Steve Martin learned a lot about the comic craft from watching and working with Wally Boag. Steve Martin called him Wally his hero.

       Betty was born in 1920 and took dance lessons at the age of 3. By the age of 14 she sang and danced at nightclubs around the country. At the age of 18 Betty had her own band, Betty and Her Beaus, comprised of 16 male musicians. In 1956 she was playing drums for a musical group and heard about auditions at Disneyland for a song and dance show. She aduitionened and wsa hired.
Betty Taylor and Wally Boag played sweethearts Slue Foot Sue and Pecos Bill.
       Walt Disney had a privet box next to the stage and would often watch the show and was always surprised at how fresh it was no matter how many times he saw it or how many shows Wally and Betty had done.

       I remember seeing Wally and Betty perform when I was a child. I know my mother and grandmother took me there to see the show. I have fond memories of the few times I saw it and well remember Wally spitting his “teeth” out all over the audience! He was a key influance in my becoming a mime.

       What was enjoyable about this show was the fun and fanciful way it portrayed life in the old west. They had can can girls and made no attempt to cover up the fact they were sexy. In the 1980’s times had changed and people felt the show was not politically correct in the way it portrayed women. Also attendance at the show had dropped some and the show was closed. This truly changed the style and feel of live stage shows around the park.

My husband and I were professional mimes in the early 80’s. Like me, my husband saw Wally and Betty during his early childhood and really enjoyed their performance. Even though he did not get to see them perform many times he would often think about their timing and showmanship and try to incorporate into bits we were doing. One of Wally’s great influences on my husband’s style was he could act the fool and still convey his inelegance. This is a trademark of all the great comic performers from vaudeville, silent movies and early screen.

       At Disneyland on Friday June 3rd and Saturday June 4th people stopped by the Golden Horseshoe and many went to the Tiki Room to honor both Wally and Betty and the joy they brought to millions of guests of Disneyland.

       I know in heaven God and His Angles are having a good laugh watching Wally and Betty perform again. So if sometime you are hit in the head by a lima bean tooth. Look up and say hi to Wally and Betty.

Here is a link to Wally Boag's guest book where you can leve a comment for his family.
http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/guestbook.aspx?n=wally-boag&pid=151604020


Here is a link to a guest book for both Wally and Betty.
http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/nola/guestbook.aspx?n=betty-taylor-and-wally-boag&pid=151604028&cid=full

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