Here Lies Wally George

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

   

BENEATH THE WIG
Off-stage, George was different person.

Hayes, in reference to a kiss she laid on George: He tried to stick his tongue in my mouth—bad boy.

McIlvany: I remember one time I was in the bathroom with him at [legendary metal station] KNAC-FM, and we were both peeing at urinals, and while we were both talkin', I remember thinking, "Wow, this is so surreal."

Blade: Backstage at Channel 56, we would talk in the little corridor, and he would say, "I'm going to talk to you about pop news, and I'm going to talk to you about the music, and then I'm going to scream at you, and about 15 minutes in, we're going to get you thrown off." I'd say, "Sounds like fun, Wally," and he'd say, "Okay, well have a good time, all right?"

The Poorman: He would always throw me off, and then after say, "Jim, that was really great with the bikini girls! I really think that was awesome. Thanks so much, Jim." It was just surprising. I thought he was this hard-ass, but behind the scenes, he was just the coolest dude of all time.

Urungus: As soon as we got there, this guy comes into our dressing room and says, "Hey, GWAR!" and it didn't even look anything like Wally George, and then we realized it was Wally George, and we proceeded to have a wonderful conversation in which he basically just said, "I love your stuff. . . . This is all a show. . . . This is all an act; let's just go out there and have fun with it," and that's exactly what we did. His reputation preceded him, and I must say, whenwe met him for the first time, not only did he impress us, but he also saved his own life. He was like, "Dudes, I'd love to come on tour with you and get hacked and mangled and have a dead dog stuffed up my butt every night, but I think I'm going to stay here in sunny California and do my TV show."

Holland: He actually was nice, and then he tore us apart onstage, and after that, we all felt happy when it was done. We felt like, "Yeah, this was great! We've really helped our band out today."

Schreck: I ran into him occasionally socially afterward, so I got to know him well. I ran into him in a nightclub in Hollywood. He seemed to be a little bit inebriated, and we got to talking. It was completely schizophrenic; whenever we were on the air, he was hostile and playing up this "Wally George" persona he had created, and when he was off the air, he was almost shy and humble.

Pat Matthews, news anchor for KDOC: Wally had a stutter. He would never do it on TV, but behind the scenes, he stuttered like crazy.

Schreck: He was a frustrated performer and musician himself, and I don't really think he took this Republican persona as seriously as he presented it. He told me that he used to be a music reviewer for a magazine or newspaper. We got to discussing our mutual taste in music for the film composer Les Baxter's and Martin Denny's 1950s and 1960s exotica music, and we were both very admiring of Brian Wilson's more experimental work, so it would be surreal to see the difference between our onscreen relationship and our off-screen.

Urungus: From Wally, I felt true warmth and camaraderie. We both played characters; we understood each other perfectly. When I told him on the show, "I'd like to see you crucified," nothing could've be further from the truth.

Todd Witteles, Wally George fan: In eighth grade, my teacher told us to write to a celebrity we admired, and I wrote to Wally George. I didn't tell him it was for a class or anything. Out of 30 people, I was only one of two kids to get a personal response. He even sent me an autographed picture.

Renee Vicary, female wrestler: Did he ask me out? I'd like to plead the Fifth on that one.

But George held a secret: His family life was in shambles.

Schreck: I was very sadistic and arrogant in my youth at that time, obviously, and before I went on the show, I researched him in detail so I would have ammunition. I recall very vividly the only thing that got his goat on the air was when I touched on his complicated personal life. On one of these radio interviews I did with him, I said we had initiated his estranged daughter Rebecca DeMornay into the Radio Werewolf Youth Party, and he turned 10 shades of purple and acted like he was going to have a stroke. That was one of the few times he faltered. It seems like I hit a nerve.

The Poorman: He would always date young women, which I thought was really fun.

Matthews: He married this woman from England and that was also disappointing to him. She was just a trophy wife. He was very sensitive about that; I think it was because he was so much older. She was, like, 40 years younger than him, and I always thought she married him to get U.S. citizenship. When he married . . . we all had our opinions. Mine was, it was doomed from the start. She didn't marry him for love. But they had a daughter named Holly. And she was around the station sometimes, and he was real happy about her and everything.

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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.

ElGalloNegro
ElGalloNegro

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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