If I ask native Phoenicians, or long-time residents, about Wallace & Ladmo, the first thing I get are smiles, and then remarks like “I miss them”, “They were funny”, and “I saw them at the Fair.” Wallace & Ladmo are obviously Arizona legends.
The story begins, ironically (or perhaps, not so ironically) on April 1, 1954 when the show, called “It’s Wallace?”, debuted on KPHO. It featured one character, Wallace Snead, played by Bill Thompson. Initially, the program consisted of a few “bits” dreamed up by Thompson and two or three cartoons. In a few months Thompson was joined by Ladmir Kwiatkowski (Ladmo), who had been the cameraman for the show. In 1960 they were joined by Pat McMahon. McMahon, who had a background as a performer, created a host of odd-ball characters (among them, Marshal Good, Aunt Maud, Boffo the Clown, Captain Super, Hub Kapp, and GERALD). While they had local performers on the show over the years (the best known were Mike Condello and Kathy Dresbach), the trio stayed with the show through its final performance, on December 29, 1989.
The show, which became “Wallace & Company” in 1968, and “Wallace & Ladmo” in 1970, won numerous awards over the years, including a number of regional EMMY’S. It reputedly holds the record for the longest-running kid’s program, using the same cast, in TV history. While the show still showed cartoons, it now also had “skits and bits” created by the trio, that appealed to the kids in its studio audience (and watching at home), but were often “snarkey” enough to amuse the many adults who also watched the show.
In addition to its five days a week schedule, the show would occasionally go “on the road” to various places in the area, including Legend City, the State Fairgrounds, various shopping malls, AND (by now some of you are wondering how I’m going to tie this all in) the Paramount (formerly the Orpheum). At 9:30 every Wednesday – from June 17 to September 2, 1964 – Wallace, Ladmo, and yes, Gerald, would appear on stage for a half-hour of fun. They also came back (presumably with a Ladmo Bag or two) on October 16, 1965.
THE NICOLE PESCE TRIO
TUESDAY, MAY 8TH
DOWNSTAIRS AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
$5 DONATION - DOORS OPEN AT 6:15P - MUSIC AT 6:30P
The Nicole Pesce Trio featuring Renee Grant Patrick and Jerry Donato. Pianist, keyboardist, composer, and arranger Nicole Pesce The Nicole Pesce Trio entertains audiences with their unique blend of virtuosity, humor, and pizzazz.
Presented by the Friends of the Orpheum Theater with Aventura Catering
What’s Coming Up at the Orpheum
May 4 Dance Motion: The Screen 7:00p
May 5 Dance Motion: The Screen 2:00p
May 8 The Nicole Pesce Trio - Downstairs at the Orpheum 6:30p
May 11 Las Arpias 9:00p
May 15 Free Public Tours 12:00p, 1:00p
May 30 AZ School for the Arts: Showcase 2018 7:00p
May 31 AZ School for the Arts: Showcase 2018 7:00p
Jun 5 Free Public Tours 12:00p, 1:00p
Jun 8 Anthony Jeselnick: Funny Games 8:00p, 10:00p
Jun 19 Free Public Tours 12:00p, 1:00p
Jun 23 Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan with William Shatner Live 7:00p
Support the Friends
Attention Fry’s Shoppers – Donate to the Friends every time you shop at Fry’s, and it’s free. Fry’s is donating $2 million a year ($500,000/quarter) to Arizona non-profits. To participate, go to www.FrysCommunityRewards.com and register your Fry’s VIP card, and select Friends of the Orpheum Theatre as your non-profit of choice. Remember: your donation is free, and this program is separate from the gas program. Last year, the Friends received nearly $700 from Fry’s. Also: if you are already a member of the Program you have to re-register in August. Just go to the e-mail location shown above and follow the directions to re-enroll.
Attention Amazon Shoppers - Now you can donate to the Friends when you order from Amazon! AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Click smile.amazon.com , sign in, and shop! It’s that easy!
Support the Friends, Become a “Star” – A unique way to support FOTOT. For $100 you can purchase a brick which will be placed in the “Avenue of Stars” located just east of the Theatre in the City Hall Plaza. You can purchase a brick to honor your family, a friend, someone you admire, or to celebrate an event (graduation, birthday, etc.). For more information, visit our website.
Become a Member of the Friends – Join us as we preserve and illuminate the heritage of the glorious Orpheum Theatre. Visit our website at fototphx.org to learn more.
Visit the Theatre
Did You Know – The light rail has two stops that are less than a 10 minute walk from the Orpheum. Whether you’re coming from the East Valley or from Northwest Phoenix, taking the train allows you to avoid traffic as well as the cost of parking your car.
Friends of the Orpheum Theatre
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose Mission is:
To support the art, culture, and history of the Orpheum Theatre through outreach, education, and volunteerism.