Here Lies Wally George

The story of the father of combat TV as told by female wrestlers, punk rockers and a furniture-throwing pacifist

George Kuc, Hot Seat regular and founder of Wally George Alumni group: Wally was kind of mellow at first. This was before his audience chanted, "Wally! Wally!" The audience actually used to clap for his guests instead of boo and hiss. Wally became more well-known, and he developed a combative personality with his guests, and he became more in touch with his audience.

Hot Seat changed forever when George invited Bonpane as a guest.

Bonpane: He called me—this had to be 1983—and asked if I could come on his program. It was right during Reagan's war in Grenada. In a phone conversation, he seemed just delightful. I was in the background listening to his interviewee just before me, a Mexican-American attorney, and Wally was just insulting him with racial slurs and so on, and I was quite irritated just hearing him operate. When it was my turn, I went to the interview, and he had a large group of young people in the audience, and just as he was getting started, I turned toward the audience and I said, "I hope you won't go and die as the enemy in a place like Grenada where you're not wanted."

He got a little upset when I made that comment. He came over and assaulted me and battered me. He attacked me from behind. It was a little difficult for a long-standing boxer to not respond, but I thought that would be a terrible thing to do, so I looked at his desk, and I saw there was no one near it and that no one would be harmed, so I just flipped the desk over and walked out.

I came home and told my wife and two children how surprised I was, and within moments, we saw it on ABC, CBS, NBC—it was all over the country. I think that particular episode has been played 1,000 times across the country. I still see it. It's amazing how it made an impact on TV.

There was no staging, however. After the security men ushered me to my car, I went home, and the following morning, Wally called and said, "Blase, we have a terrific thing going here. We can do this all over the country." I said, "Wally, you're a charlatan, and there will be no further interviews, thank you."

After that, Hot Seat became a smash. George began booking provocative guests from pop culture.

The Poorman: I was terrified to go on [Hot Seat] because I saw the way his all-male audience just ate up the guests. I just thought, "Oh, my god, I'm going to get killed on this thing." . . . I knew there was one thing that could [appease] all those guys, and that would be to come out with hot girls in bikinis. That was my whole idea for making myself able to survive being on Wally's show.

Blade: The secretary at Channel 56 asked, "Would you like to be on Wally George's show?" and I said, "Isn't that that lunatic in Orange County?" and she said, "Yep, that's him." So I wiggled my rabbit ears to try to bring in Channel 56, and I watched the show, and I thought, "I could do this." My first memory was, "God, this guy's a lunatic"—and I don't mean to be mean, but [he was] not very intelligent. The person I was with at the time said, "Oh, my god, I can't believe you're going on that [show]," and I said, "Why are you worried? It's going to be fine." She thought I was going to get the shit kicked out of me.

Urungus: I had been hearing rumors about him. It was right as GWAR was starting to break out. We heard he was a potential adversary of GWAR, and we were even thinking about kidnapping him from his show and sacrificing him nightly on our tour.

Holland: We were fans of the show. . . . We saw the Hags on [Hot Seat], and he was great. [Front man Mark Dead] was kind of friends of ours, so we sent Wally George a record, and he called us right away and had us down. . . . A lot of guys would go on the show and make an ass of themselves, but really, for bands, we didn't have to talk too much, and I think he made us look cooler.

Kuc: The Offspring had one of the shortest segments in the history of Hot Seat.

Holland: I was getting ready to say something, but it didn't work out. I think we got just a couple of words in, but he knew how to interact with his audience and get the right reaction. It took a really long time to break [our] record [in pieces]. It wasn't wanting to break for him.

Blade: He'd say, "We've got that layabout, useless person Richard Blade coming out. He is just an abominable DJ and terrible influence to the young people. You advocate pot use with your songs that you play there . . . and all the sex use," and I'd say, "Like what?" He'd say, "Oh, you know the ones, like 'Johnny Are You Queer?' and songs like that, and it's disgusting!" I'd say, "Well, what kinds of songs do you like, Wally?" "Well, I like the '60s stuff," and I'd say, "Like what? Those psychedelic, acid-dropping Beatles?"

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19 comments
artpedroza
artpedroza

Can you believe it Gustavo? Ourfriend Sean Mill worked on this show.

Rabbi_Pedro
Rabbi_Pedro

The greatest TV EVER was when Wally's guest was J. B. Stoner. Stoner complained bitterly about the,"Jews, Niggers and Faggots". I still laugh so hard tears come to my eyes. Also I was also a vicious caller on Hot Seat Hotline!

madmonsterparty
madmonsterparty

Wally George ushered in the angry conservative talk show genre which ultimately led to the Coulters and Limbaughs we now endure. Today angry conservatives are in positions of power shutting down the government and refusing to accept responsibility for having done so. It seems personal accountability is not something angry conservatives believe in.

jose810725
jose810725

I loved wally i was lucky enough to be thrown off his podium 3 times during comments once for calling reagan a nazi. Years later he was cool enough to record a greeting for me on my machine it was great he said on my greeting that i wasn't home because i was out smoking a joint and badmouthing the government it was classic wally! I think it's criminal that kdoc taped over his shows i think it would be great to see those shows in their entirety. Rip wally=jose s. And piss off richard blade you limey fuck!

BillBancroftsStache
BillBancroftsStache

There was no "Hot Seat Hotline".  It was "Hot Seat Highlights," and there were no calls making fun of Wally's wig, etc.  I

Page 1 and it's already wildly inaccurate.  In a word: LUDICROUS!

Pantell Adam
Pantell Adam

I went to a taping of the show with my buddies from high school. I was picked to ask him a question. Rudy Krauss was his guest with the super cosmic visor. I have the footage of the whole episode on DVD. I'm trying to go to Facebook or YouTube but it's the wrong format.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Sick of all the spanish because we're white and don't speak spanish.

Two words from him (Gus) last week, "Following Up" and still haven't seen the article or cover page about the Christian Hypocrites that he told me was a 'good idea". Because these people seemingly want to make themselves look like they're above everyone else and make them live thier lives by the Christian ways and rules, when this country was not founded on Christianity but I'm an Agnostic as even Jesus (not Haysoos) as he was reportedly supposed to have been himself back in his day. The Earth is millions of years older than +2000 years old.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"My experience with Arellano is that he starts to have communication with you with positive promises, then disappears after the first email exchange, failing to follow up - as if to say he has more important things going on than to deal with readers".

I found his book that was written by him called Ask A Mexican the other day and I was thinking to myself, that's interesting sort of, but alas we all still wish that the old publisher hadn't have been canned in exchange for him because the paper has gotten less thicker than the old version and there isn't much real news in it anymore, I've even seen complaints about it every once in awhile. I don't mean to complain much but after all it's a free publication. And since the Village Voice Media ( a gay publication) picked it up it's got more stories about the fags in it too which detracts from it's quality. I'm not gay so I could really care less about thier lifestyle.

Steve York
Steve York

Wow Richard Blade came off as mean and full of cliches. He can talk down on Wally all he wants but I doubt anyone will be talking about Richard Blade ten years after he's dead. Wally won.

VinceDaniels
VinceDaniels

The word that drove it home that best described George in this article, is Accessibility.  On the show, Wally often said to guests, "you couldn't shine his shoes."    10 years after his death, The Weekly's Gustavo Arellano still can't shine Wally's shoes when it comes to being accessible to the public.  My experience with Arellano is that he starts to have communication with you with positive promises, then disappears after the first email exchange, failing to follow up - as if to say he has more important things going on than to deal with readers.  With Wally, he always showed up.  He always returned a phone call.  Regardless of his on-air persona, that goes a long way in my memory.

gallo_negro
gallo_negro

When I was a kid, I used to watch Pro Wrestling (NWA, WCCW), then the Hot Seat.  It was perfect.

And I am curious to see a list of people who declined comment for this article.  No Rick Dees?

Frank Balcazar
Frank Balcazar

WALLY. WALLY. WALLY WALLY WALLY. WALLY. WALLY WALLYWALLY. WALLY. WALLY WALLY

Rabbi_Pedro
Rabbi_Pedro

@BillBancroftsStache - Hotseat Hotline was on every afternoon at like 3:30 or 4. 5 minute stupid commentary and then 20 minutes of high school kids calling in and making outrageous insults at him. He would hold up dayglow signs calling us Perverts, Nit Wits and my favorite insult, "You SWINE" with the sound of a pig oinking in the background! God life was good in the 80's. 

BillBancroftsStache
BillBancroftsStache

Oh dear.  Apologies, my own toupee wax fumes confused me.  Of course there was a  Hot Seat Hotline w/ calls.  But let us not forget Hot Seat Highlights!

464 611111111111111111111111111111111111111111


GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@VinceDaniels Wow, talk about having a hard-on for me. I don't even know who your are...when did you email me?

VinceDaniels
VinceDaniels

@GustavoArellano @VinceDaniels I can't remember, it was two or three years ago.l I'm sure I have a copy in my sent file.  You were once or twice a guest on The Jay Boatman Show, a radio talk show that I owned as executive producer. Jay gave me your info because I wanted you on to debate illegal immigration on my show. I emailed you and you replied by saying yes, you'd come on.    To a producer and host (of which I was both), saying "yes" means something to me.  It means that 1/6 of my show was good to go and I can move on to the other 5 half-hour segments, which I needed to have all figured out by thursday night so that I could send out my E-Blast for Saturday's show.   My next step was to continue the email exchange with you and set up the time for the segment, get your number so my engineer could call you, etc.  But you disappeared, never to be heard from after repeated attempts to get ahold of you.  No rhyme, no reason.   You got right back to me the instant I emailed you the first time on a saturday night.  Then I hung on, waited for you to get through your weekend and emailed you again on monday morning, and monday night, and tuesday morning, etc, you suddenly became disinterested, after you had made a commitment.   At least that was the only way I could take it.   Communication had broken down.  All I could do was assume.  No guest has ever blown me off like that in my 10 years of doing my show.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@VinceDanielsThat's bizarre—I never turn down radio requests. It could be that your subsequent emails were lost in the morass that is our spam system. I am not trying to make excuses; email that I never receive even after I've exchanged email with someone happens WAY too much. If you still want me on, I'm more than happy to appear—but I'm sure at this point, you wouldn't want me on, which is fine.

 
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