Here Lies Wally George

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

Matthews: I went to the funeral. The Reverend Robert Schuller presided over the ceremony; I remember it was held at the Crystal Cathedral. It was mostly people telling Wally stories and stuff. I don't recall it being that somber, except when [his former wife] showed up. . . . She was acting like the distraught widow. They had been apart when he died [for] several years. Everybody wondered if Rebecca DeMornay would show up, but she didn't. That was sad.

Blade: It's not one of those graves where a mystery admirer puts flowers on it every year.

Kuc: Wally may not have been the most popular talk-show host, or the most well-regarded, but he was our talk-show host. He was not distant in some Ivory Tower somewhere. He was somewhere we could go get tickets to see. That accessibility made him special.

In Wally we trust
In Wally we trust

Urungus: We need more Wally George. I was truly very sad when I heard he passed. His influence on people was obviously great, and maybe as years go by, he will actually get greater.

Schreck: Because he was just so outrageous, me and the other musicians in Radio Werewolf would constantly quote him for years. To this day, we still say, "You're out of here! You sicko!" We still use Wally jargon all the time.

The Poorman: He was the modern-day P.T. Barnum. He was just a ringleader. He was Mr. Promotion.

Blade: I hate to say this, but his legacy is like throwing a rock into a lake; he made a ripple, but the ripples have gone. I don't think he left a legacy. I don't think his show made any sort of cultural impact. A few people watched it, and a few people laughed at it, and as soon as it was off the air and Wally was gone, the impact went with it. I don't think anyone followed in Wally's footsteps—no one watched that show and said, "I want to be the next Wally George."

The Poorman: I love Wally, but I always worried my own career would end up like his. He tried really hard to go national, and Morton Downey Jr. actually beat him to the punch, but Morton Downey Jr. wasn't half as fun as Wally George.

Tolcher: One of the sad things is that KDOC did not archive all of Wally's shows because they were such a small station. They just recorded over the tapes.

Kuc: That's the beauty of YouTube. [Now] there's a whole new generation of Hot Seat fans. One of the things we want to do is to encourage people to dig into their garages, their closets, and find lost episodes of Hot Seat and upload them. I know somewhere in heaven, Wally is greeting the dregs of humanity at the pearly gates and telling them, "You're outta here!"

Blade: Unfortunately, Wally wanted to reach the stars, but he barely left Anaheim.

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