Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can you trust GERALD?

I have been listening to so much Phoenix, Ariz. soul music that I find myself immersed in nostalgia.
I went to high school in Phoenix (Central Bobcats -- woo hoo!), and my sister and I visited my dad in the Valley of the Sun for years after our parents' divorce (during one memorably sweltering occasion, we attempted to play tennis at Encanto Park when the temperature approached 115 degrees).
This morning, my nostalgia prompted me to listen online to "News 92.3 KTAR," the top news-and-talk radio station in Phoenix.
In between weather reports that made me envious ("looking for a high of 72 today") and traffic reports that did not ("avoid the 202-Red Mountain Freeway"), I was shocked to hear a voice from the past.

"Gerald" was the ultimate villain every kid LOVED TO HATE on "The Wallace and Ladmo Show." Surely one of the pillars of television history, "The Wallace and Ladmo Show" aired on KPHO-TV from 1954-89, making it one of the longest-running children's television programs.
My sister and I watched it during our summer visits with my dad. It mixed cartoons with live action skits, including skits featuring the many characters of actor PAT McMAHON.
Gerald was the villainous foil for Wallace and Ladmo, the genial hosts of the show. Gerald always tried to ruin the happiness of the other characters on the show (although he always failed). Gerald's snotty, snobby and generally bad behavior caused the kids in the studio audience to boo with gusto. My sister and I booed as well, sitting in front of the television in my dad's apartment.
Imagine my surprise, then, to hear Pat McMahon deliver a radio commentary on KTAR this morning. He discussed his childhood and how "Lent police" were always around to ensure he upheld his promise to give something up until Easter.
McMahon is actually one of the talk-show hosts on KTAR. He helms the 1-4 p.m. shift on the station.
That fact made me wonder: How many listeners equate McMahon with his villainous Gerald character? Do people call up just to boo?
I am afraid I might call just to boo. I still hate Gerald!


Blogger Tom Dickson said...

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