Comeback Kids

If you experienced a sugar high between the years of 1956 and 1989 from Twinkies and candy stuffed into a Ladmo bag, it's time to give back. The Arizona Historical Society Museum's Wallace & Ladmo Fan Convention is your chance to relive the days of The Wallace & Ladmo Show and feel like a kid again.

Wallace and Ladmo are as much a part of Arizona as cactuses and cookouts. They appeared almost every summer weekend at the legendarily cheesy Legend City amusement park in Phoenix, and greeted hordes of kids on the verge of heatstroke with their much-coveted bags of candy. If you were one of those kids whose parents gave up on the endeavor, now's your chance to get your hands on the goods.

Events include a costume contest, Ladmo bag giveaways, film clips and guest appearances by Bill Thompson (a.k.a. Wallace or Wall-Boy) and Pat McMahon (a.k.a. Gerald, Aunt Maud, Captain Super and many others). In addition, the museum will hold a silent auction of items such as original drawings by Thompson, custom tee shirts, and autographed photos. Proceeds benefit the Wallace & Ladmo collection at the museum. Steve Hoza, conservator at the museum, says the collection includes the show's last two sets, all of the costumes, all of the props and all of the surviving tapes of the show.

The cutting-edge ingenuity of Thompson, coupled with the childlike charm of Ladimir Kwiatkowski (Ladmo), embodied something of the heart of Arizona at the time. The loss of Kwiatkowski in 1994 to lung cancer was not only the end of a 35-year partnership in television, it was the end of an era for Arizonans. Thanks to conservators like Steve Hoza, we have a chance to relive it all again, and learn something about the spirit of Arizona at the same time.

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Maidi Terry