Ed Walker and Willard Scott first teamed up in 1952 at the American University campus radio station that would evolve into WAMU. As The Joy Boys, they entertained listeners for nearly 20 years with their comic gags and high-profile interviews.
Washingtonian included the duo in its roster of newsmakers over the last half-century—longer, in their case—for the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue last month, with Scott recalling their broadcast glory days: “We did things that made people happy. That made us happy. It was a good bit.”
Walker died Monday at 83 after a fight with cancer, just a few hours following his final episode of The Big Broadcast, WAMU’s anthology series of golden-age radio serials he had hosted since 1990. Of his former partner’s passing, Scott told Washingtonian, “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. We were with him yesterday for a few hours and the day before.” But to Scott, he and Walker were like brothers. Here’s what he said about Walker:
He loved radio more than anything. No one could have been more perfect to work in radio. It was a great job for a blind person. He was a really great talent. Everywhere he went, people loved him. I learned humility from him, because of the way he was in his life and the way he conducted himself.
We were like brothers. I never had a brother; he didn’t have a brother either. We’ve known each other since 1952, so it was quite a relationship. He was an incredible man. I said to myself, I had the pleasure of working with two of the greatest geniuses of this century. One was Eddie and one was Jim Henson, and a little of them rubbed off on me and I am very appreciative.
I could talk for two hours about Eddie. The funniest thing I remember, we were spending New Years Eve at my mother and father’s house. I was standing across the room from Eddie and looking at him; we’d both had a few. And I yelled across at him—he was about 20 feet away—”Eddie catch my shoe.” And he caught it. Eddie always loved that story. I let him drive my car down Connecticut Avenue one night; he loved that because he couldn’t drive it. I also let him drive my Gator on the farm one time. I was hanging on the back crossing myself.
We never had a fight in all the 50 years we worked together. We respected each other. That’s a wonderful thing to have. Not everybody has that. It’s a great loss, it really is.