PHOENIX – In the early days of television, every city with a station had a local kids show.
Phoenix had something special.
It was the “Wallace and Ladmo Show.” You can get a glimpse of what it was like with the play “The Wallace and Ladmo Show” with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.
“Wallace and Ladmo” graced Phoenix TV screens for 35 years, from 1954 to 1989. There was Wallace, played by Bill Thompson, who started the character on the “Goldust Charlie” show on KPHO-TV. He was joined by Ladmir Kwiatkowski, “Ladmo,” a tall guy with a big hat and a tie painted on his tee-shirt. He joined the show when he got a job at KPHO after playing baseball at ASU.
They were joined in 1960 by Pat McMahon, who played several characters, including Captain Super, Aunt Maude, and Gerald, the rich brat who every kid loved to hate.
There were lots of cartoons, like “Popeye” and “Roger Ramjet.” Wallace said that everyone in Phoenix wanted a Ladmo Bag, filled with sugary goodies.
“Ladmo told me at one time, he had given away 35,000 Ladmo bags over the course of 20 to 25 years or something,” he said.
The play about the show was originally performed 12 years ago. This production is at the request of the Arizona Centennial Commission, which felt that “Wallace and Ladmo” should be part of the state’s 100th birthday celebration.
Ben Tyler wrote the play.