Wally is an anthropomorphic walrus who, in most of his appearances, speaks with a pronounced Swedish accent (voiced by Hans Conried). In other appearances, such as The Reckless Driver, he sports a New York accent (voiced courtesy of William Demarest). Wally is rather slow and dim-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. Character actors Hans Conried, William Demarest, and Paul Frees provided his voice alternately in the 40’s while Dal McKennon, Frees, and Daws Butler took on the role from 1951 onward. He 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 Frees); as well as in a Woody TV special, Spook-a-Nanny (voiced by 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. An unidentified background character resembling Wally also made a cameo appearance amongst the crowd of Toons 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, or from under his mustache.