Wally Walrus is a fictional animated cartoon character who appeared in several films produced by Walter Lantz Productions in the 1940s and ’50s.
Wally is an anthropomorphic walrus who, in most of his appearances, speaks with a pronounced Swedish accent. Wally is rather slow-witted at times, and prone to anger when provoked. For many years, Wally was the primary foil for Woody Woodpecker, bearing roughly the same relationship to that character as Elmer Fudd had to Bugs Bunny in Warner Brothers’ animated shorts from the same era. Wally is often heard humming or singing the popular song My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.
Wally’s first appearance was opposite Woody in 1944’s The Beach Nut and was voiced by Jack Mather, better known as the title character on The Cisco Kid on radio. Lantz stock player Will Wright gave him a growly, non-Swedish voice in The Reckless Driver. Wally continued to be featured in Lantz cartoons through 1948’s Wacky-Bye Baby, at which time he was more or less replaced by Buzz Buzzard as Woody Woodpecker’s primary foil. He would then make a few brief appearances in some 1950s cartoons like Puny Express, Sleep Happy, The Woody Woodpecker Polka, What’s Sweepin’ and Buccaneer Woodpecker. Wally also appeared, opposite Chilly Willy, in a pair of 1961 shorts (voiced by Paul Frees); as well as in a Woody TV special, Spook-a-Nanny (voiced by Daws Butler). Wally would years later reappear as a regular character on The New Woody Woodpecker Show in 1999 voiced by Billy West (who also played Woody). However, his classic period was 1944-1948.
Wally continued to make appearances in Lantz comic books and on other licensed merchandise. Wally also made a cameo appearance amongst the crowd of Toons in a brief headshot during the final scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
The character’s appearance changed somewhat over the years, with a complexion that ranged from dark to light flesh-tone and tusks that got variously smaller, larger, disappeared entirely, and reappeared. A frequent animation goof in The New Woody Woodpecker Show was to draw the mouth separate from the tusks, so it appeared they were protruding from Wally’s nostrils.