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Updated Aug 9, 2013 - 6:57 am

KTAR's Pat McMahon revives 'Gerald' to promote education

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PHOENIX -- One of the Valley's all-time most popular local television characters has been revived.

Gerald was the spoiled rich brat who antagonized audiences on the "Wallace and Ladmo" show for over 30 years.

He was played by KTAR's Pat McMahon, who has brought Gerald back to life for a new video by a group called Expect More Arizona, which is trying to improve education in the state.

In the video, Gerald explained that he "went to an Ivy League preschool, where I learned calculus, world geography, lordshipping, and how to oppress the masses for fun and profit."

Gerald doesn't want Arizona's education system to change. "Let's face it, your kid will never amount to anything," the character said in the video. "So what's all the fuss about?"

"The fuss," said Expect More Arizona CEO Pearl Chang Esau, is that Arizona's education system must improve, and it's got a long way to go.

"Half of Arizona's high school graduates don't qualify to enroll directly into any of our three state universities," Esau said. "Sixty percent of them have to remediate when they're in the community college. We know that's just not good enough. We have to help all of our students reach their potential. We owe that to them."

The group's idea is to use the videos featuring Gerald to encourage people to get more involved in making Arizona schools better. And it's offering an incentive to get people online to watch the videos.

"The show and Gerald have issued us five Ladmo Bags to give away," said Esau. "If people go on our website, watch the video, write a message to Gerald, and give us their e-mail address, we will enter them into a raffle to receive one Ladmo Bag."

Beginning Aug. 16, the group will give away one Ladmo Bag every Friday for five weeks. The group will announce more details on the Ladmo bag drawing Aug. 12.

As of Friday morning, the website does have an area for messages to Gerald, but makes no mention of the Ladmo Bag giveaway.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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