Skip Navigation

“Pure Entertainment”

Wallace Horn and the Friendly Neighbor Show

By Carolyn Harmon
Photographs by Michael Keller

Wallace Horn at the microphone
Wallace Horn of Chapmanville, host and producer of the Friendly Neighbor Show for more than 40 years. Photograph by Michael Keller.


Wallace Horn, 88, slowly divulges his age. “You know, if you ask a woman that, she’d say it’s none of your business,” he says. Horn is a classic, much like the Friendly Neighbor Show he started back in 1967.

Across the street from Wallace’s residence in Chapmanville lies the empty building that once housed Horn’s Television Repair Shop. That’s where it all began. Horn’s shop was the recording place for the Friendly Neighbor Show up until a couple of years ago. Recordings now take place at the old Chapmanville High School.

“We tape it every week, just as regular as sheep doggone bare footed,” he jokes.

Wallace was raised in Mingo County, where he married his wife, Elsie, in 1947. In the mid 1950's, the couple moved to Chapmanville, where Wallace opened a shop.

“I had no money when I came to Chapmanville,” Wallace says. “My wife and I just got married. I always liked Chapmanville. I would come down here and loaf with some of the boys, and my sister once lived here.”

Wallace sold musical instruments, repaired radios, and eventually took in television sets. What began as a 15 minute radio program to advertise his repair business expanded into an hour-long show in 1970.

“The business came first. I started a 15 minute program to advertise my own merchandise and to let people know I was in the business,” Wallace recalls. “The lady who was my secretary, her brother was a good guitar player, and she sang. Billie Midkiff, one of the boys who helped me start the show, played the mandolin.

“So we all got together with a bunch of the boys, some of the people that worked for me, and did a 15 minute show. I oversaw the engineering and the quality of the show, and made sure all the advertisers were given their share of the time.”

Wallace must be true to his word, because most of the sponsors have been with the show for many years.

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.