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death, grief, memories, TV, yutes

The Death Of Small Town TV With A Big Heart

Bill Thompson RIP

When my family moved to The Valley of The Sun (on the hottest day of the year in 1956),  I was 3 1/2 years old.  We had just missed Elvis’ June 9 concert at the Rodeo Grounds – something my then 12 year old sister bemoaned for years.

We had ONE black & white television, with an aerial on the roof.  There were FOUR television channels – NBC, CBS, ABC affiliates and the local channel, 5  (then KPHO).

KPHO had lots of schlocky TV of the period – mid-day movies to entertain the long-suffering housewives while they were doing laundry in the sweltering weather, game shows, and ONE show of particular interest to the children, like me.

IT’S WALLACE? was a spin-off of the earlier Gold Dust Charlie local kid’s show, starring Wallace Sneed (Bill Thompson).  He did vaudevillian schtick between running cartoons like Popeye and Bugs Bunny.  Soon, the college-kid cameraman (Ladimir Kwaitakowski) came to the front of the camera to act with Bill in skits and they performed topical humor for the kids between cartoons.

Eventually IT’S WALLACE became WALLACE & LADMO.  And a legendary television show was born.

You can have your BOZOs, UNCLE ALs and SOUPY SALES.  WALLACE & LADMO (in it’s various incarnations) was the longest-running children’s variety and cartoon show, from 1954 to 1989.

And Bill Thompson WALLACE was the head writer.  They mugged for charities, performed live shows on weekends, marched in parades and supported local police and fire departments, and hospitals.

And made us laugh.

In his private life (what little he had), Bill was a Civil War reenactor.

We lost Ladmo in 1994.

And they essentially gave their entire adult lives to entertaining children in Arizona.

You will be missed, Bill.  Hope you and Lad are yucking it up and getting the rest you both so richly deserve!  😦

Bill Thompson, known as Wallace Snead from the "Wallace and Ladmo Show" has died. (Source: KPHO-TV)

About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


10 thoughts on “The Death Of Small Town TV With A Big Heart

  1. So very sad! Like you said, I hope they’re having a wonderful reunion in the great beyond.
    The Wallace and Ladmo show was just about the only thing that kept my sanity when my parents dragged me here from my beloved home of Seattle.
    I went from a summer of cool, long days with complete freedom to hang out with friends and ride our bikes to Greenlake whenever we wanted to a furnace of hell where playing outside was misery.
    Not that there was anything to actually DO outside, with no other children in the neighborhood and the nearest destinations a punishing slog of torture away.

    So TV it was. EVERY kid in the greater Phoenix area watched that show and loved the characters.

    To this day, I can’t hear somebody say, “Did you know….” without interrupting with something silly.
    (Claustrophobia is the fear of Santa Claus?)

    RIP Bill. You and Ladmo are prime examples of lives well-lived, because you will be forever loved and missed.

    Posted by Tomi | July 24, 2014, 8:28 am
  2. It’s those ‘little’ people that sometimes fill the greatest voids… May they RIP.

    Posted by Old NFO | July 24, 2014, 9:12 am
  3. Such a wonderful legacy!

    Posted by Rev. Paul | July 24, 2014, 11:12 am
  4. Mentioning Wallace & Ladmo brings up so many childhood memories….like almost all of them.
    The characters they played and the ones they introduced were very special to AZ kids.

    Rest in Peace Bill, you earned it.

    Posted by KM | July 24, 2014, 12:23 pm
  5. Elvis’ June 9 concert

    Never saw a live one unfortunately.

    Posted by brocktownsend | July 26, 2014, 8:12 am

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