Gerald Did It!!
The character that drew the strongest reaction from the viewers
was Gerald (played by Pat McMahon), the perpetual 12-year old spoiled
rich kid who wanted to take over the show (the station manager, whoever
it was at the time, was his uncle).
His mere appearance would invite a torrent of BOOs from studio
and stage audiences. His function was to get Ladmo in trouble and
disrupt the show. As Ladmo was everything that kids loved, Gerald
was everything kids hated. He was arrogant, pompous and he bored
the audience with poetry recitals and dances. His hairstyle and dress
may have changed over the 30 years he was on the show (and remember,
he was only 12),
but his hatred of everything fun was a constant.
Gerald despised the “middle-class” kids in the audience,
calling them “public school brats” and “tract home-buying
twerps.” He used his personal monster to threaten the kids
and carry away guests, even though it often turned on his master.
Pat McMahon talks about Gerald:
I love variety. I love the idea of going in and having no idea
what characters had been written for that day, and sometimes created
for me because Wall would sometimes say ‘Look, I have this
great idea. Ladmo is the good guy, we really need a bad guy’ and
then we would kick around, just things. Wallace came up with the
name Gerald Springer and thought it would be a good idea that it
was a rich kid because there’s a certain logic. You don’t
want it to be an authority figure, you want it something that the
kids can really strike out at. We didn’t know that they were
going to strike out quite as viciously as they did against Gerald.
-from an interview in 1992
Wallace: Gerald, Remember a couple of weeks ago when we asked
the kids to vote on whether you should stay or go on the show?
Gerald: Yeah, I didn’t think that was very funny.
Wallace: Well, the voter turnout was light, but conclusive.
About 15 cards ‘n letters came in saying that you
should STAY on the show.
Gerald: Good. Now that that’s over, we can move
on to more important things.
Wallace: Such as . . .?
Gerald: My uncle wants to see you right now in his
office. He’s the boss so you better go now!
Gerald: [To the audience] Is he gone? Good. Now, let me explain:
for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting to the mail
before Fats and I ripped up the eight thousand letters from kids
that wanted me kicked off the show. But before I ripped ‘em
up, I made a list of names and addresses. And now, I’m going
to get you, each and every one of you little twerps. You wanna
know how? I’m gonna have my monster stop by for a little
Wallace: Hey Ger, the boss isn’t in yet. What were you
telling the kids?
Gerald: Ah . . . er . . . uh . . . that I was very delighted
that 15 of the little children voted to keep me on the show. Bless
you, boys ‘n girls. I feel so humble.
Wallace: You see, gang, Gerald is really a very nice person.