PHOENIX — People took to social media to express both their condolences and memories of Bill Thompson, who passed away Thursday at the age of 82.
He played Wallace on the iconic Valley children’s television program the “Wallace and Ladmo Show.”
Some, including Dave Burns of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, remembered watching Thompson as a child.
— Dave Burns (@Burnsy987) July 24, 2014
— Randy Cordova (@Randy_Cordova) July 24, 2014
The condolences continued in emails we received.
I am very sad to learn of “Wallace’s” passing. Just in the last week I have been relaying my memories of being on the Wallace and Ladmo show with my youngest daughter. They were quite legendary and very caring men. – Stacy Kvale
Normally the news of a celebrity’s passing leaves me a little melancholy but the news of Wallace’s death truly makes me sad.
My condolences to his family and the thousands of “Wallace and Ladmo” fans for whom Wallace and Ladmo are a part of their fondest childhood memories. – Sharlene K. Yabe
While some were certainly saddened, a great many more people expressed thanks and fond memories of growing up in Phoenix. The KTAR Facebook page was inundated with people who wanted to share.
Martin Trinidad: Every Morning before school with a bowl of cereal. R.I.P Wallace! May you and Ladmo make the angels laugh with joy!
Chris Rohe: Couldn’t have had a great childhood with out you ! Rest in peace.
Mikki Gastelum: So sad!! I loved watching that show growing up, we need reruns shown so our kids know what we enjoyed as kids. RIP Wally Boy
As far as we can tell, one poster summed it up perfectly:
Christa Kay Clarke: Childhood lost.
And of course, many remembered the show’s coveted symbol, the Ladmo Bag.
The show was such a huge part of my childhood. Ladmo and Wallboy are together again. Thanks for the memories. I always wanted that Ladmo bag. – Belen Vasquez
David Hernandez: God bless him watched the show every day growing up. Even got to be on the show won a ladmo bag
I am so sad. My outlook and attitude toward life was formed by watching his show every day after school in the ’60’s. Positive and Progressive lessons were learned through comedy. He will be missed. There will never be another Wallace & Ladmo. – Mike Thoennes, Kalispell, MT
Rest in Peace and tell Ladmo “hello”, we miss you and THANK YOU. **weeps** – pfeichens
So sad to hear of Bill Thompson’s passing today. Two years ago I won tickets from KTAR for dinner and a play with Wallace and Pat, and my wife and I enjoyed every minute of the evening. And I finally got a Ladmo Bag!
I was a fan of “It’s Wallace?” since we moved to Arizona in July of 1962 when I was 13. I tuned in faithfully almost every day for the next seven years and then left the valley to serve in the Navy for 20 years. When we returned in 1989, Wallace, Ladmo and Pat were still on TV!
Thank you Bill, for your creativity, sense of humor, and friendship.
Our prayers and best wishes to the family and friends of Wallace Snead. – David Hofmann
You will not be forgotten. You influenced more people than can be counted. Thank you for touching the hearts and souls of so many of us. – Sandie
I have vivid memories of sitting on a metal chair watching cartoons on a console TV. Wallace off camera ‘coaching’ us to boo and cheer. Fond memories. This is a very sad day for the State of Arizona. Like the Grand Canyon, Wallace, Ladmo, Gerald and the rest are true Arizona wonders. You will be missed but I never forgotten. – Mark J. Redmond, Phoenix, AZ
Wallace & Ladmo is a big part of my childhood…Never missed an episode…thank you for your talent, the laughter, and everlasting memories. :’-( – Sean McCormick
Wallace and Ladmo conducted many, many shopping center fundraisers and supported education and youth development in the Valley. They were a great influence on my life and I’m a cut-up to this very day. – Dr. Bill Farrell, Houston, TX
I lived in the Glendale/Phoenix area from mid-1973 and the first thing I was told to do was
“You gotta watch this show called Wallace & Ladmo. It is hilarious!” and I did…Wall-boy and Lad (yes, and Gerald, too) became like
uncles that made me laugh when I needed to and cracked wise about stuff the kids in the
audience hadn’t a clue. When the show ended, I was sad. When Ladmo passed away,
I cried. And now Wallace has joined his buddy…all I can say is there’s a new STAR
in heaven tonight and his name is Bill “Wallace” Thompson. – Carol Kriesel, Michigan City, IN
Such a sad day! So many wonderful memories of Wallace and Ladmo, watching them after school all the way into high school.
Two darling gentlemen with an amazing ability to share joy and laughter. Thank heavens for the archive films!
Mr. Thompson will be sorely missed. — Kathy Keim
Dear Pat, so sorry for the loss of Wallace, I know what he meant to you, and thousands of others. I loved the Wallace and Ladmo show, even got a few Ladmo bags back in the day, for you, you were my favorite, well, at least as The Wizard, my deepest sympathy to you — Ed Meringer
My condolences to the family of Wallace. I would like to tell you that his show, along with Ladmo’s character brought much joy to my difficult childhood. I hope this comforts you. May God bless your family at this time. — Darlene Rodriguez
My Condolences To The Family Of Bill Thompson We Will Never Forget You Wallace I Grew Up With You And Ladmo In Phoenix Rest In Peace My Friend!!!!!! — Elexis Griggs Lewisburg Tennessee!!!!
So sorry to hear of his passing. The show had huge impact on my life. I was on the show when I was little. I think I still have that brown paper bag with “Ladmo Bag” hand written on it. I Had the Ladmo t-shirt with the tie painted on. Then after college, I got a job at ch 5. I got to run the boom mic occasionally in the afternoons for the show. Then, the last day of taping, I was back in the audience with my newborn son. — Denise Kerlikowske
It is a sad day for many of us who grew up watching the Wallace and Ladmo show he will truly be missed. — Matt Wilson
I came late to the story of Wallace & Ladmo; I only saw them for the last decade they were on the air, when my grandparents moved back to Phoenix in 1983 after living in Missouri for many years. I would spend my summers in the Valley, and every morning my poor grandfather would forego his coffee and breakfast at the old Smitty’s Restaurant on 35th & Peoria so I could watch the show. Although he would feign protests, I could many times hear him attempting to stifle a chuckle while the show was on.
Years later I discovered that Wallace/Bill Thompson was like me, a Civil War aficionado and reenactor. I was working at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, and so I sent Bill a ‘care package’ of items related to that park — and to my joy, he sent me an autographed copy of “Thanks for Tuning In”, as well as a very nice letter and a picture of himself in Civil War kit.
The book was signed “Lots of Memories”. How true — what I wouldn’t give to have breakfast with my grandfather one more time at Smitty’s after watching the show. I have two kids now, and this weekend I’ll pop in my DVD of the old shows and introduce them to Wall-boy and Lad.
Be thou at peace, Bill — and thank you. — Todd Wilkinson
Sending prayers thoughts and love to his family! We sure loved you Wallace!! — Cindy Ayres
I’m 62. I rushed home from school so I wouldn’t miss a second of the show. He, Ladmo and Pat were and are my heroes. — Richard
I was very, very sad to hear yesterday of the passing of Wallace (Bill Thompson). I know I am getting older and nearer my own death when all of these beloved people from my youth are dying. Wallace and Ladmo were a staple in my home when I was growing up. We watched, laughed, and were comforted every morning by the thought that such good (and goofy!) people existed in our world. It’s too bad that this kind of TV no longer exists. —
Salt Lake City, Utah
*Note: Edited for length* It was said on television that Bill Thompson had three children. That is incorrect. Bill had “thousands” of children. We, who were fortunate enough to grow up with “Wallace and Ladmo” never felt we were NOT a part of their family. We were the protectors of Wallace and Ladmo against “Gerald.” We laughed at Marshall Good, Aunt Maude, Boffo the Clown, Mr. Grudgemier, and Captain Super. Today, we still jokingly say, “Feed the Birds.” When we said our prayers at night, we always asked GOD to please tell Wallace or Ladmo to send us a “Ladmo Bag.” My husband, Ron Harkins, at the age of 35, wrote a letter to the show, telling them how he had followed them to Flagstaff in the winter, to every show at Encanto Park, to every grand opening they sponsored, to the Legand City shows, every parade, Ladmo’s Drive In, and how he never got a Ladmo Bag. Wallace read his letter on the show, and stated, “I have never been so touched. It’s in the mail.” To this day, Ron carries that bag where ever we move. … — Linda Harkins, Payson, Arizona
Editor’s note: All emails received were passed along to Pat McMahon so he could share them with the family of Bill Thompson.