14 Ways to Spot The "Wally's" Hanging Around in Your Life
"Ozzie and Harriet" The foundation
To those who remember the television icons, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, I applaud you. I sometimes think to myself that I am alone in my admiration for these two “show business legends,” but thank God that many of you are of the same fan worship that I have for this famous couple.
But sadly, this piece is NOT about this famous duo, but one of the famous regulars: Skip Young, also known as “Wally Plumstead.” Who? “Wally,” as he was called by Ozzie, Harriet, Dave and Rick. Very seldom was “Wally,” called “Wally Plumstead.” What a disgrace this was to a noted, talented actor as Skip Young. I mean if it were me being walked-on by the Nelson clan, I would be peeved enough to tell Ozzie, the producer and director, just how little I thought of this insensitive act.
“Wally,” never harmed anyone on this super-famous black and white sitcom. He just rounded-out the cast. “Wally,” had his faults just like the famous Nelsons, but still, “Wally” was as human as they were. Granted, there were those few times that “Wally” misunderstood what someone said to him or those times that he got too full of himself (as we all do at times), but I do not think he was a criminal.
Ozzie and Harriet: Behind The Scenes
- The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is an American sitcom, airing on ABC from October 3, 1952, through March 26, 1966, starring the real-life Nelson family. After a long run on radio, the show was brought to television, where it continued its success, initially running simultaneously on radio and television. The series stars Ozzie Nelson and his wife, singer Harriet Nelson (née Snyder, professionally Hilliard), and their young sons, David and Eric "Ricky" Nelson. Don DeFore had a recurring role as the Nelsons' friendly neighbor "Thorny".
- Currently, reruns of the show are broadcast on Retro Television Network.
- In the early 1930s, a booking at the Glen Island Casino gained national network radio exposure for Ozzie Nelson's orchestra. After three years together with the orchestra, Ozzie and Harriet signed to appear regularly on The Baker's Broadcast (1933–1938), hosted first by Joe Penner, then by Robert L. Ripley, and finally by cartoonist Feg Murray. The couple married on October 8, 1935 during this series run, and realized working together in radio would keep them together more than continuing their musical careers separately. In 1941, the Nelsons joined the cast of The Red Skelton Show, also providing much of the show's music. The couple stayed with the series for three years. They also built their radio experience by guest appearances, together and individually, on many top radio shows, from comedies such as The Fred Allen Show, to the mystery titan Suspense, in a 1947 episode called "Too Little to Live On".
"WALLY" EVERYDAY AND EVERYDAY "WALLY"
To show you that I am a fair man, I will talk “just” about those times where he was a purebred “doofus.” And I will not “pull punches,” about how irritating it must have been to All-American housewife, Harriet Nelson, when she cooked one of her family-feasts, just for her, Ozzie, Rick and Dave, but up popped “Wally” in his famous sweater sticking his head through any open window and door saying, “Dinner time, eh? Got room for one more?” And the Nelsons being the template for all nice American citizens just couldn’t say “no” to this jovial, obese, and lovable guy who idolized Rick and Dave for their cool and popular lifestyle. And how slow Rick would speak.
Okay. I admit the fact that “Wally” was, at some times, annoying and irritating even to the best of people. Even Ozzie, the always-smiling, joking, and everyone’s favorite neighbor. He hid his aggravation of “Wally” very well.
Were the Nelsons this stupid as to not know that “Wally” was taking advantage of their hospitality and Harriet’s cooking? I wish I could answer this question, but on every show, there he was—gorging, glutting himself to an early death on someone else’s food and agreeing with whatever Dave and Rick would say. I will bet you that Skip Young’s directions on his scripts were: “Wally” enters scene and eats. Or “Wally” enters scene, grins that dazed jackass grin and eats. Simple and easily-followed.
But would things have been different if the Nelsons had known
14 Ways to Spot The “Wally’s” Hanging Around Your Life
- No matter the event, anniversary, birthday, death in the family, your “Wally” is there with bells on. Even without being invited.
- Your “Wally” is always hungry as a mama lioness with a newborn litter to feed. AMAZING ‘WALLY’ FACT: even after a filling meal, your “Wally” is still famished, as if he were being paid to eat. Now that I think of it, he was paid to eat.
- This character never says or does anything offensive to you or to your back. I mean your “Wally” is not dumb. What doofus would dare sabotage his free meal ticket?
- Your “Wally” hangs on your every word, even if you are just making up jibberish. Your “Wally” thinks you are a genius.
- Your “Wally” can take being made fun of by you and your family without his feelings being hurt.
- One night you are exhausted from being so busy, so you crave bedtime. But when you turn the covers back, there he lays. Your “Wally” grinning and fully-dressed and with no explanation of why he is in your bed.
- One morning your husband gets a disturbing phone call from one of his buddies telling him about a stunt that a mutual fishing buddy pulled the previous day and your husband says, “Dummy,” several times and as sure as a campfire is hot, your “Wally” who is planted on your couch, jumps up and says, “Yes!”
- “Dick,” your youngest sweet son, senses that your “Wally” is really a freeloader and decides to pull a prank on him to hurt his feelings to send him home. For once. “Dick” knows that your husband, “Lozzie,” has just “unloaded,” in the commode and forgotten to flush. So “Dick” tells your “Wally,” if he does a good job of cleaning the commode, he will get two dollars and you will appreciate it. After an hour passes, “Dick” shares his plan with the rest of the family and you all look in the bathroom to find your “Wally” knee-deep in his work. Then he grins and says, “Wow! Someone accidentally dropped peanut butter in this commode. (horse laugh here) I even ate some. It just had to be Peter Pan, for it’s so smooth!” Can you spell “frustrated?”
- Your “Wally” goes with your family on all family vacations and all at your expense. Your “Wally” may look ignorant, but he is a master of the old “left my wallet at home” trick.
- “Nave,” your oldest, laid-back sweet son, one day just comes out and asks your “Wally,” “Hey, do you even have parents?” Your “Wally,” grins “that” grin and replies, “Sure, but they never miss me when I am gone.”
- One day your intuition kicks in and you confess to “Lozzie,” that you have had it with your “Wally,” and after you weep and unburden yourself of your irritations, good ol’ “Lozzie,” lets go a snappy quip and replies, “Awww, now. He (your “Wally) is a good egg and speaking of eggs, he ate the last six of our eggs this morning. Better put eggs on the grocery list.” “LOZZIE” INTIMATE SECRET: Sometimes “Lozzie,” simply does not grasp reality.
- Your “Wally” has his own sleeping area in your home. In your bedroom walk-in closet. He must be a master magician for nights when he stays over, he shows up for breakfast (naturally) wearing a different suit of clothes.
- Your “Wally,” is getting so annoying that even your pet dog, a St. Bernard, the most-patient of all canines, is getting edgy. He even barks and growls when “Wally” pops-in without notice—which is most of the time.
- Your “Wally” even has all of his phone calls forwarded to your home. Now is this getting a bit out of hand?
- NOTE: Now that we have established how you can spot a “Wally” in your life, let me just add that Skip Young, the “Wally” on “The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” was just following script to be so annoying. That’s it.
- “Wally” had no real talents. Nor did he contribute anything that significant to society. But what he did over time was use his skills to wear-down “The Nelsons” silent-resistance to his presence. And after he did that, “The Nelsons” would actually ask, “Where’s ‘Wally?’” when he would be doing something besides living at their home.
Fact is, “The Nelsons,” had a love for “Wally.”
And there was no harm in that at all.
The star of this piece: Skip Young a/k/a "Wally Plumstead"
Skip Young, at a Glance
- Skip Young (born Ronald Plumstead, March 14, 1930 - March 17, 1993) was an American actor best known for his decade-long role as Wally Plumstead in the ABC sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. When chosen to join Ozzie Nelson's television series, Young suggested that the last name of his character be "Plumstead".
- In 1958, he portrayed Sam the Bass Player in the picture Earth v. the Spider. In 1959, he was cast as Martin in the episode "Premonition" of the anthology series Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond. In 1960, he played George Allison in the episode "Bud Lives It Up" of NBC's Father Knows Best with Robert Young as Jim Anderson and Billy Gray as his son, Bud Anderson. In 1961, he played George Collingwood in the episode "Mike in a Rush" of ABC's My Three Sons, with Fred MacMurray as Steve Douglas and Tim Considine as oldest son, Mike Douglas.
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