Wallace and Ladmo: Remembering an Arizona Legend

Wallace and Ladmo

Wallace, Ladmo, and the hated Gerald (portrayed by Jim McMahon).

Bill “Wallace” Thompson died today. If you aren’t from around these parts, you might not recognize the significance of that name. Bill Thompson? Who was he? But for Arizona natives and longtime residents, we know the magic in that name. Bill Thompson created the cherished children’s show Wallace and Ladmo which ran in Arizona from 1954-1989. It was a truly unique show with a small cast that endeared itself to children (and adults) across this state.

Wallace and Ladmo included comedy sketches, live music, contests, and of course cartoons. Most kids I knew did exactly what my sisters and I did in the mornngs. We watched Wallace and Ladmo while we ate our cereal and got ready for school. We eagerly awaited the next cartoon, jeered everyone’s least favorite character Gerald, and watched to see if we knew the person who won the Ladmo Bag. Ah, the Ladmo bag – every Arizona kid’s dream. These were paper bags stuffed to the gills with goodies such as candy, soda, chips, cookies, and local coupons. I won a Ladmo Bag at a carnival and was overjoyed when it was handed to me. For an Arizona kid, winning a Ladmo Bag was better than winning the lottery. My mom told me that when she was a kid, the Ladmo Bag was a grocery-sized paper bag, but by the time I watched the show they were paper lunch bags. Smaller, but still awesome.

Wallace and Ladmo

Ladmo (Ladimir Kwiatkowski) died in 1994 and today his creative counterpart Wallace joined him on that big stage in the sky. Thank you, Wallace and Ladmo, for helping make our childhoods more creative and full of laughter. Thank you for introducing us to Steven Spielberg and Alice Cooper. Thank you for dedicating your lives to children. You really did make a difference.

If you want to learn more about Wallace and Ladmo, you can visit KPHO’s history of the show here

About Janice

Janice is an Arizona native, a soldier's girl, daughter of the King, and mother to two. She shares family activity ideas, recipes, crafts, and product reviews at Celebrating Family. Read more about Janice here!