The Wallace & Ladmo Show had its share of regular
characters, ones who were featured on either a daily or weekly
basis. There were others that were either not as regular or only
appeared for a short period of time.
As Pat McMahon explains:
Some characters just didn’t last because of limitations.
Some characters were intended to be one-shots where the bit would
carry it and you’d have to just make up a guy off the street.
Other characters we thought would have a longer life, but we found
then that they simply were not dimensional enough to carry a long-term
relationship with the audience. It’s getting very analytical,
but when you’re on every day, you’ll notice that there
are some characters that are on every day, if you watch the show.
Gerald, Captain Super. Marshall Good, usually. Aunt Maud, often.
Boffo the Clown, often because there are a lot of things that you
can do with them. When you did an east Indian seer like Nuru the
Guru, well, there’s only so much that you can do. Bobby Jo
Trouble was relatively limited. The characters were on relative
to how much writing you could do for them.
With that in mind, here are but a few of the limited
or non-regular characters from the 35 year run of the show.
was the magician whose tricks always failed to amaze. Amazo (played
by Pat McMahon) was introduced in the early 1970s and appeared
on the show on and off for the next 10 years. Amazo sported a mystical-looking
turban and robe, looking somewhat like Johnny Carson’s “Carnac
the Magnificent” character made popular on The Tonight
Amazo: Amazo the Magician here to dazzle you with sleight
of hand and witty patter. But first . . . Wallace, it didn’t
look for me last week.
Wallace: What do you mean?
Amazo: Everyone else on the show got nominated
for a Henry except me.
Wallace: Listen, we’ve got a bigger
problem on the show this week than the Henry Awards were last
Wallace: Yes. Management says we have too many people on
the show. We’ve got to cut down the size of the cast.
Amazo: Sound economic move. I’ve always felt that clown,
cowboys and heroes have had it on kids’ shows.
Wallace: Well, to tell you the truth, if anybody has to go
it may be you. The boss mentioned to me “Hey, how come
the magician was the only one on the show who wasn’t nominated
for a Henry?”
Amazo: I said the same thing myself.
Wallace: I remember . . . at the beginning of the bit. But
you know, Amazo, maybe the problem is not you personally, but
magic in general. Maybe the kids just don’t care about
Amazo: They will tomorrow when I return to perform the greatest
trick of all. I’ll make the stage, the curtains, and the
first row of seats disappear.
Wallace: Wow, that’s some trick. What’s it called?
Amazo: Repossession! See you tomorrow.
Betcha’ didn’t know that Arizona had a Kid’s
Show Inspector, or that Wallace and Ladmo had to be sure to have
a current and legal kid’s show license. Well, law enforcement
of that type was left to Inspector Blitz. Blitz appeared in 1965
after Pat McMahon was fired from Channel 5 (see “The 1960s”).
Blitz was first played by Red McIlvane, who had his own talk
show on the station. Blitz would interrupt the show with a whistle
blast and demand a halt to the proceedings. He was essentially
a replacement for the Gerald character.
Even after McMahon’s return, Inspector Blitz would show
up occasionally. He was later played by Channel 5 newscaster Sandy
Gibbons, also the host of Dialing forDollars. Here,
in a 1999 interview, Sandy Gibbons describes a typical Blitz routine:
Whenever Pat [McMahon] was out or on vacation, then he
[Wallace] would need a third character and so I’d go
out and do the kid show inspector [Inspector Blitz]. The kid
show inspector was:
Wallace: Let’s see what’s coming up on the show
now, Ladmo. We’ve got a . . .
Inspector: Excuse me, pardon me. If I may interrupt. .
Wallace: Oh my God! It’s the kid show inspector.
What is it?
Inspector: You’ve been giving away entirely too many
Ladmo Bags and these things are very costly and I’m
afraid you’re spoiling the children with these Ladmo
Wallace: What do you mean?
Inspector: They have sweet things in them that are bad
for their teeth. You can’t give away any more
Ladmo Bags. I have a court order here that says you
cannot give away any more Ladmo Bags from this station.
Wallace: Let me see that. Wow, we can’t give away
any more Ladmo Bags!
Ladmo would be behind and would reach over and grab it and tear
it all up.
Inspector: What are you doing? That’s my authorization,
my court order!
Ladmo: Not any more it isn’t.
Inspector Blitz would also appear at live stage shows. He was
brought back for the Park Central Mall’s 30 Anniversary Show
in 1987, where Sandy Gibbons once again blew the whistle. For the
35 th Anniversary Wallace & Ladmo Stage Show at Encanto Park
in April 1989, Red McIlvane delighted long-time Wallace Watchers
with his final Blitz appearance.
Channel 5 camera man Brian Donohue was tapped by Wallace and
Ladmo to begin appearing in skits in 1961. Donohue would go on
for the next three years playing Ladmo’s pal in the park,
Harvey Trundel. Known simply as “The Harv”, Trundel
was actually a bum who lived on a park bench. Donohue was also
a part of the “Ladmo Trio” singing group and appears
on the cover of their 45 rpm album, Blubber Soul. He
also was a member of the Ladmo Jets sports team (see “Personal
Appearances”). Donohue’s other “regular” character
was the flowery singing hillbilly Clifton Flowers.
wants to be a ventriloquist . . . Such was the premise of Ladmo
and his ventriloquist “dummy”, Spunky (played
by Pat McMahon). The routine of Ladmo with a “dummy” with
which to recite corny old jokes first began in the early 60's with
the dummy’s name being Oscar. This character later morphed
into the Spunky character, with it’s trademark oversized
years, Grudgemeyer-like glasses and eyes and a red plastic beanie
with a red light on top.
Ladmo: Spunky, wake up! They’re all out there watching
you. Staring at you. They’re ready.
Spunky: Big deal.
Ladmo: Ready for the pancake routine?
Spunky: OK, Lad . . . Say Ladmo, do you like pancakes?
Ladmo: Oh sure!
Spunky: Well, come over to my place. I got a whole trunk
full of them in the attic. Been saving them for years.
Ladmo: Yuck! I don’t want stale pancakes.
Spunky: All right. Come over and I’ll fix you some
Ladmo: Are you sure they’re fresh?
Spunky: I just caught ‘em last night.
Ladmo: Hold it just a second! What do you mean ‘caught ‘em’?
Spunky: At night. When it’s dark. I wait for them to
sneak into my yard then WHACK! I smack ‘em over the head
with a baseball bat.
Ladmo: Just a second. If it’s dark, how can you tell
if they’re pancakes?
Spunky: By the sound they make.
Spunky: Meow . . .meow.
Craig Dingle joined the show in 1978 as a writer, performer and
artist. The multi-talented Dingle’s first character was a
bossy-type named Balzac Quagmire. Then he did a stint as the ukulele-playing
He began appearing more regularly in the early 1980s as both “Dingle” then
later “Dudley Dingle.” He was touted as the show’s
producer, wearing a characteristic red and white checkered suit
In the mid-80s, Dingle began appearing as Mr. Mime in white face
and black shirt and pants.
Dingle explains the background to the character:
Wallace thought it would be funny to have a mime character
who spoke and to do limericks. That’s what that was.
But again, the character was rather limiting. A lot of my characters
were limited. Not really fully fleshed out. Mr. Mime was pretty
much like the Wizard. You just come on, it’s a gag, and
then you get off. No depth to the character. It was a one-shot
-from an interview in 2000
Dingle also appeared in numerous other sketches, such as their
home-grown soap opera “The Edge of Lunch” and Time
Machine bits. He also appeared in a few sketches as Genericman,
a generic superhero who wore black and off-white.
One of the last characters that Dingle played was Tubbo the Clown.
Tubbo was the arch-enemy of Boffo. There were several on-going
battles (mostly physical) between the two to be the official clown
on the show.
Apart from his own characters, Dingle contributed bits for the
other characters on the show as well, including Marshall Good,
Boffo the Clown and the Wizard.
The character of Carney Barker was added in 1974 to announce the
gang’s upcoming appearances. Looking a lot like Muck n’ Mire,
Carney would use his pointed stick to guide the camera for a close-up
on the bulletin board. Carney Barker was played by Pat McMahon.
An attempt to bring back vaudeville. Well, that was the on-air
explanation for Muck n’ Mire. Actually, it was another excuse
for Wallace to spout corny old jokes on the show. Muck (Pat McMahon)
and Mire (Ladmo) wore red and white striped shirts, straw hats
and used bamboo canes to make their points and jab each other with
punch lines. Their attempts at a comeback usually resulted in their
hats being smashed by Wallace and their being escorted out.
(Knocking on door)
Wallace: Who’s there?
(Open door. Arm hands Wallace note).
Wallace: Here they are, bringing back memories of yesteryear,
the hilarious Muck and Mire.
Muck: I’m Muck.
Mire: And I’m Mire. Tell me, Muck, how’s your
younger brother Henry doing in school?
Muck: Just great. He was promoted from the fifth grade to
Mire: Three cheers.
Muck: He was so thrilled, he could hardly shave without cutting
Mire: Say, how old is he?
Muck: He’s not old, he
just a little shaver.But
he got one hundred on his last exams.
Mire: Hey, that’s good.
Muck: 25 in English, 25 in History, 25 in Math, and 25 in
Mire: Oh, that’s bad. Say Muck, why does a Model T
Ford remind you of a noisy classroom?
Muck: I don’t know. Why?
Mire: Because it has a crank up front.
Muck: Say Mr. Mire.
Mire: Yes, Mr. Muck.
Muck: If you’re so smart, use the word geometry in
Muck: That’s what I said, geometry.
Mire: The little acorn grew and grew and one day it awoke
and said “Gee-ahm-a-tree.” Ha, ha. That’s an
Muck: It’s important to have a large vocabulary. I
assure you, if you repeat a word ten or twelve times, it will
be yours forever.
Mire: Sally, Sally, Sally . . .
Wallace: Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye (hustles them out door).
Muck n' Mire (1980's)
Ventriloquist Dan Horn began appearing on the show in 1980 as
a City of Phoenix employee to talk about traffic safety. Wallace
was so impressed by Horn’s talents that he soon became a
permanent member of the show. His puppets Orson, Cassandra, Polly
Esther and the alien creature Augie from the planet Zoggy. Horn
also wrote for “The Edge of Lunch” routines as well
as appearing in a few Time Machine bits.
Dan: Orson, what was the most unusual movie
you ever made?
Orson: Back in the ‘50s I made a German western.
Dan: A German western?
Orson: Yes . . . it was one of those American made foreign
films . . .
Dan: What was it called?
Orson: Das Boot Hill. It had some interesting characters.
Billy die Kind . . . Wyatt Ürp . . . and Fledermaus Masterson!
Dan: What was the plot?
Orson: The bad guy had to get out of town before Oktoberfest!
Dan: How did the movie turn out?
Orson: With the good guy getting the girl at the end.
Dan: No, I mean, was it a success?
Orson: Sure! They got married.
Dan: No! Was the movie popular?
Orson: Oh, not really. Audiences couldn’t accept Tombstone on
the banks of the Danube !
Dan Horn (1985)
Dresbach started on the show in the early 1980s as a member of
the Ajo Repertory Company. This was a comedy group formed by
her and several friends at Phoenix College. They performed at
various places around Phoenix but were a staple at the NFL Club
(Nineteenth Avenue Food & Liquor).
Eventually, Dresbach would play a daily character, Jodi of
the Pink Berets. The Pink Berets was an organization that Dresbach
created in a play called Mega Xma$ that she co-wrote
for Theater Works. Jodi was a smart, hip “tom boy” who
was a feminist foil for the likes of Captain Super and Gerald.
Dresbach also played the annoying Perky the Clown. One day,
a sponsor of the show delivered a bunch of Halloween costumes
to be given away to lucky seat winners. Among the costumes was
a clown suit. Wallace asked if she could do an obnoxious clown,
a hyperactive irritant. Perky’s screeching laugh bothered
everyone, especially Boffo.
Among Dresbach’s other characters were Dottie Flube,
an Aunt Maud-type with enormous Coke-bottle glasses and Penny
Dauberfall, her homage to Open House with Rita Davenport.
Dauberfall hosted a show called Broilin’ Bastin’ and
Other characters included:
- Science Lady
- Nadine Nalga the fitness instructor
- Edna Furbish the reporter
Wallace once called it “one of the most
fun things I like doing on the television show. Turning on the
Beginning in the mid-1960s, the Time Machine was used to bring
important people out of the past to talk to Wallace. The machine
was a sophisticated piece of cutting-edge hardware, made from a
full-size gym locker with an assortment of dials and switches attached.
The year was simply indicated on a large, round wheel with a movable
In the 1970s the format changed somewhat. On the new set at the
new Channel 5 studio at the I-10 Freeway and Indian School Road,
Wallace and Ladmo would be sent back in time to meet
the historical figures on their own turf.
On the last set in the 1980s, the Time Machine set was supplemented
by a TV monitor that showed Wallace or Ladmo twirling around a
hypnotic eye display, accompanied by a “twirling” sound
Wallace: Back to the year 1805 . . . Your name, sir?
Phipps: William Phipps.
Wallace: Never heard of you.
We usually get famous people
out of the Time Machine.
Phipps: Want me to go back?
Wallace: No, that’s OK. As long as you’re
here, what did you do?
Phipps: I was the press agent
for the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Wallace: What was your job on the trip?
Phipps: I’d wire ahead and confirm hotel reservations.
Wallace: How did the expedition get started anyway?
Phipps: Lewis and Clark won a boat on a quiz show and they
both had five months vacation coming, anyway. So what the heck,
they decided to discover the northwest.
Wallace: Which one was Lewis
and which one was Clark?
was the fat one that wore the derby. Clark was the thin one
who wore the top hat. And they had a little guy along with
them that wore glasses and was always getting Clark in trouble.
Wallace: The Lewis and Clarkmo Show. One of
Phipps: I never cared for it. Too many commercials and the
Time Machine bits were really dumb. I’m leaving.
Wallace: Where are you going?
Phipps: Back to 1805. I’ve got a new job as PR man for
Land Grab, the new daytime quiz show. Last week Thomas Jefferson
won the Louisiana Purchase. This week our
contestants will be going for Kansas and Nebraska.
Nuru was introduced in the late 1960s at the height of the
Hippie movement. Nuru, played by Pat McMahon, dispensed pearls
of “wisdom”, satirizing the guru movement that was sweeping the
youth in America at the time.
The character of Nuru the Guru lasted only
a few years. He reappeared briefly in 1982. He was basically a
one-dimensional character like the Wizard or Mr. Mime.
Bwana Bruce was a “fearless” explorer who would rather stay in
his high-rise condo than venture out into the wild. Looking
somewhat like the cartoon character Commander McBragg, Bwana
(Pat McMahon) appeared in the mid 70s and appeared sporadically
until the early 1980s.