ARTIST OF THE MONTH: The Wallace and Ladmo Show – one of the longest running, locally produced children’s shows in U.S. broadcasting history – inspired Phoenix resident rock star Alice Cooper and director Steven Spielberg, who attended Hebrew school in Phoenix in the ‘50s. Now it’s the catalyst for the creation of a $300,000 sculpture that artist Neil Logan is laboring over.
Logan, 66, grew up with his eyes glued to the legendary show. And, like many, the Prescott-born native never snagged a signature Ladmo Bag. The sculpture is far more meaningful for him. Logan was selected from several artists to sculpt a life-size bronze of Wallace, Ladmo and Gerald (Bill Thompson, Ladimir Kwiatkowski and Pat McMahon) – the larger-than-life TV personalities who produced the shows on KPHO-TV (Channel 5) for 35 years.
The sculptor is working in a Downtown Phoenix windowfront studio at 50 N. Second Street, where fans can peek on his progress. In June, the walls of the studio were covered with sketches, drawn to scale, of the three men. A large, skeletal-like metal armature stood in the center of the studio.
When complete, the bronze will feature Wallace on a bench, Ladmo behind the bench handing over a Ladmo Bag, and Gerald posed pouting. The sculpture is privately funded by the Wallace and Ladmo Foundation, formed in April to support children interested in the performing arts. The bronze is aptly scheduled to be unveiled on April 1, 2016 – the day the show debuted in 1954. It will be placed in front of the Herberger Theater Center at 222 E. Monroe Street.
Logan attended Northern Arizona University and has built bronzes in every artistic style. The Vietnam veteran has made multiple memorials, including the “Williams Own Veterans Memorial,” a bronze sculpure and memorial wall in Williams, Ariz. that honors 14 residents who died while serving their country in war. But building the bronze has really been a blast.
“The first time I saw Wallace was on a small, round, black and white TV in 1954. I was five,” Logan recalls. “These guys made me laugh my whole life since then, and still do. You can’t imagine what an honor this is for me. This is, by far, the best project I have done yet.”
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