The Wallace and Ladmo Show was broadcast on KPHO-TV Channel 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. During the entire run of the show from 1954 to 1989, Channel 5 was an independent station, the first television station in Arizona.
The station was located in a small, two-story building located next to the Hotel Westward Ho on 1st Avenue in downtown Phoenix.
Meredith Broadcasting purchased KPHO in 1952. Channel 5 broadcast shows from CBS, ABC and the DuMont network. They lost NBC to Channel 12. In the 1950s, they broadcast many local live shows such as the Lew King Luncheon and the Lew King Rangers. Lew King was a talent scout who showcased local singers. Ken Kennedy hosted a cartoon show as Golddust Charlie. Saturday mornings featured art lesson shows. Contest shows like Treasure Chest and A Pig in a Poke gave away premium prizes when you collected Laura Scudders potato chip bags.
KPHO TV 5 became a CBS affiliate in 1995, but they will probably be best remembered as the home of the Wallace and Ladmo Show.
For more information on the history of KPHO TV 5, visit the KPHO History page.
Wallace (2007): The Show
Cast Behind The Scenes, 1971 Ladmo and Director Sharon Kelley Ladmo with Camera Late 50's
It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Wallace and Ladmo must have been doing something right, because there were at least two local kids shows, one in Hawaii and the other in Utah, that were based on Arizona’s beloved icons.
Checkers and Pogo
In the late 1960s, station KGMB in Honolulu, Hawaii was looking for a kid’s show of their own. One of the station’s producers had lived Phoenix and was well aware of The Wallace and Ladmo Show. KGMB set out to replicate the show with the same format but with new characters. In 1967, Checkers and Pogo debuted, starring station personalities Jim Hawthorne and Morgan White.
After three months on the air, Hawthorne left the show and radio announcer Dave Donnelly took his place. Donnelly lasted a year and was replaced with the third and final Mr. Checkers, Jim Demarest. Cast member Jerry Cox played “Sylvester Heftel, the spoiled-brat nephew of the station owner (a clone of Wallace and Ladmo’s “Gerald” character).
Checkers and Pogo was the longest-running and most successful kid’s show in Hawaii. The show aired its final episode in August 1982.
This show that originated in Salt Lake City, Utah, was the brainchild of Larry John and Charles LeSueur. Both LeSueur and John had been given the idea for the show from Wallace himself. John had known Bill (“Wallace”) Thompson from the time that John had been a co-host on the Phoenix talent contest show, Lew King Rangers. Wallace had given them the format idea of a hotel lobby and having the guests as the regular characters.
Hotel Balderdash debuted on KCPX-TV in Salt Lake City on September 11, 1972. Larry John played “Cannonball” which was basically the Wallace character, Randy Lovoi played Harvey (who was based on Ladmo), and Charles LaSueur played most of the other characters. His most famous character was a Gerald-clone named Raymond, the spoiled brat nephew of the hotel’s owner (sound familiar?) The outfits for the three main characters were almost directly copied from Wallace and Ladmo.
The cast made numerous public appearances and had “Harvey Bags” that they gave away to the kids, no doubt heavily inspired by the Ladmo Bag. The show was immensely popular in Utah, and went off the air in the early 1980s due to a change in station management.