October 1986 was an end of an era for Disneyland. One of the longest running stage shows in theme park history, the “Golden Horseshoe Revue” gave its final bow after running over 30 years since Disneyland opened in 1955. A salute to vaudeville featuring some of the most talented performers to ever grace a stage.
Wally Boag, who played Pecos Bill in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue” was a comedic genius who managed to make the same jokes funny five times a day for decades. Hired by Walt Disney himself, Boag brought his own unique brand of comedy to Disneyland in the form of balloon animals, silly dancing, and spitting out lima beans. Boag was a comedic superhero for dozens, including Steve Martin who recalled watching the show as a kid and being inspired to get into show business himself.
When Boag retired in 1982, several actors took over his gig as Pecos Bill. Each new actor paid tribute to him in their own way by recycling some of his signature gags, while adding in their own unique comedy and talents to the show. One of Boag’s predecessors is my personal favorite comedy magician of all time, Dana Daniels.
After performing in the “Golden Horseshoe Revue,” Daniels continued his career in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon at Disneyland and performed a one man show for years beyond. Since then, Daniels has been performing all over the world, including the infamous Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
Recently Dana Daniels was cast as The Charlatan in “The Illusionists: Turn of the Century,” bringing his carefully crafted comedy magic routines to Broadway along with his psychic bird, Luigi. Since this Broadway production is a tip of the hat to vaudeville, Daniels felt it was an appropriate time to bring back one of Boag’s signature bits from “The Golden Horseshoe Revue.”
Fans of the Disneyland classic show will remember a point where Slue Foot Sue throws a punch to Pecos Bill which knocks all his “teeth” out in the form of lima beans all over the stage. Daniels now uses an assistant from the audience to give him the same punch to spit out lima beans in “The Illusionist: Turn of the Century” every night on Broadway. Check out this video Daniels posted recently comparing how the gag was done for the “Golden Horseshoe Revue” and how he uses it on Broadway today!
Images Copyright: Dana Daniels, The Illusionists, The Walt Disney Company