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14 Ways to Spot The "Wally's" Hanging Around in Your Life

Updated on December 5, 2014
The Nelsons: Dave, in back; Harriet, second row, left; Rick and Ozzie, sitting
The Nelsons: Dave, in back; Harriet, second row, left; Rick and Ozzie, sitting

"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.

(From left), younger Dave, Ozzie, Harriet and Rick Nelson
(From left), younger Dave, Ozzie, Harriet and Rick Nelson

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".

Source: Wikipedia


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.

Dave Nelson
Dave Nelson
The Nelsons color photo: Standing, Harriet, from left, older Rick, Dave, Ozzie in front
The Nelsons color photo: Standing, Harriet, from left, older Rick, Dave, Ozzie in front
Rocky and Bullwinkle, iconic-duo. Although Bullwinkle was offbeat and didn't think things through, Rocky needed him in their adventures
Rocky and Bullwinkle, iconic-duo. Although Bullwinkle was offbeat and didn't think things through, Rocky needed him in their adventures
America's couple: Harriet and Ozzie
America's couple: Harriet and Ozzie
Rick Nelson, teen heartthrob, singing one of his many hits on the show
Rick Nelson, teen heartthrob, singing one of his many hits on the show
James Burton, background, one of the finest guitarists in the world was in Rick Nelson's show band
James Burton, background, one of the finest guitarists in the world was in Rick Nelson's show band

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.

Source: Wikipedia


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Hi, Ann1Az2,

      Thank you, sweet friend, for your sweet comments. I liked Rick's singng as well. I was shocked in the 90's by Dave's expose' about how tough Ozzie was on the set and how much mental torment he, Dave, went though trying to be The PERFECT son.

      Hi, Hawaiian Scribe,

      Thank you kindly for your nice comments. God bless you. Also thanks for your vote and pinning. Aloha, Stephanie.


      Me too. I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I got a kick from Ozzie and Harriett. Have a great evening.


      I agree with you agreeing with Catherine. You are both special girls.

      And you respecting the Wally's in life is admirable. I envy your patience.

      Hi, Beth,

      LOL. Sealing the doors and windows was hilarious. Thank you so much for coming by.


    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I remember watching Ozzie and Harriet with my parents every week. I was in love with Ricky and was always disappointed when he didn't sing. Love your satire, as usual!

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 

      3 years ago from Hawai'i

      Thanks for this funny and winsome hub on a show I watched all the time while growing up. Thanks also for taking a look back on a simpler time, and for helping us to take an analytical, humorous view of it all. Voted up, funny, interesting and pinned. Aloha, Stephanie

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      3 years ago from Hawaii

      Except for Rocky and Bullwinkle, all those shows were way before my time.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      Good for you-kindness is the best way

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I didn't watch much TV as a kid, so I don't remember Wally. Since I just wrote a hub on kindness, I'm inclined to be kind to Wally. Perhaps he had a very unhappy home life, and he hung around the Nelson house because they were the ideal family he wished he had. When my son was young, he had a friend who lived in a trailer. He always wanted to play at our house. He always stayed for dinner. He needed to escape his home life and he needed a good meal. There is always room at my table for one more. After about a year, the family moved away.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I was mostly a fan of the show when it was on radio and the kids were very young. I did see the tv version but don't remember it much. I can see how the character you describe could get on one's nerves after awhile.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      3 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      I enjoyed this hub more than any other I have seen in a long time Kenneth-so well written,full of wisdom and common sense. The bit about silly Wally using his/her skills to wear you down is so true but it is worth adding that (s)he has no other skills so at the end of the day (s)he is easy to deal with-just forget about giving him/her courtesy and respect and do what you have to do to get rid of a wally for once and for all. The world is full of decent people anyway. Thank God Wally is a rare breed lol. Cheers for sharing your wisdom.


    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      3 years ago from Tennesee

      I haven't seen many episodes of this show (though my Mama was a huge fan!), and am glad to report I have not noticed any doofuses like this hanging around. Good grief, if someone like this shaded our doorstep, I'd be very tempted to seal the doors and windows.

      Very funny hub!


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