The Gerald Collection - You know that Green Troll Flipping you the Bird
In order to understand Gerald, we need to tell you a little story.... you see, we really don't know where Gerald came from... like most great friends he is just there and you can't remember a time in your life without them. So here is Bill and Gerald's orgin story...
Back in 1972, my family and I moved to Walteria, Ca. It was a small suburb of Torrance, Ca, in between Torrance and Redondo Beach and was in the armpit of Hawthorne and PCH blvd.
It was in this little suburb that I first met “Gerald” although I didn’t know his name at the time and was frankly probably too scared to ask as I was a 5 year old kid running the streets on my makeshift “bmx” bike that I had built out of my Flying O Schwinn Stingray copy. I knew Gerald and I were going to become friends fast as he was a fun little troll, and his hair was a shaggy green, it matched our apartment's shag carpet and it was also metallic matching the paint on my Flying O.
The first time I found “Gerald” I was 5 in 1973, the local speed shop that was on the corner of Hawthorne and PCH had a sticker board where they would sell stickers. I would take bottles back to the liquor store and get my nickel or dime and save up to get my stickers. Most of them had no meaning to me, they were just frickin' cool, Woody Woodpecker smoking a cigar, which I'm pretty sure was the Thrush logo, Centerline wheels. I needed these stickers. I used them to cover up my ugly bright yellow dresser. My dad and I found it next to the dumpster in our apartment complex. It was pretty beat up, so my dad painted it with the leftover paint from when my mom painted the dashboard of his Ford Econoline Van. It was the only piece of furniture in my room, other than my mattress on the floor. I hated that yellow dresser with a passion, and the stickers would cover up that hideous yellow.
I started off getting the free ones that the Speedshop would hand out, but eventually that led to me looking at the book they had on the counter. It was a big Flipping Picture book, and the Stickers were under a clear static cling mylar stuck to the photo page. Some of them were a quarter, some fifty cents, all I knew is that they were cool, and it would get some of that yellow out of my room. But, there was a special page, one that said 18 and over… I didn’t know why, but I wanted to see what that page was hiding. The first time I was looking in the sticker book I saw that page and left. I didn’t know what was on that special page, but I knew not to look.
The next time I went back, I stared at that page for what felt like an eternity. My eyes zeroed in on the 18 and over while the guys behind the counter were busy telling people why they should buy a new 4 barrel Carb, or why one intake was better than another, or how to put cutouts on their exhausts or to grab some glasspacks. The music and chatter became muffled as I stared at that damn forbidden page. I don’t know if it was Lou Reed, or Alice Cooper that inspired what happened next, but I just wanted to take a peek, to take a walk on the wild side, to see if these special stickers were just as cool as all of the other ones. Why did you have to be 18? What was so special about 18? That’s another 13 years, and I can’t wait that long. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I grabbed my bike and hit the local jumps that we called the Pits. The whole time all I could think about was what was on the other side of that page.
The next day, I grabbed my bike and ripped out the apartment door, riding back to that Speedshop. I slowly, but confidently walked over to the sticker book on the glass counter. The Guys in the Speed Shop were already talking up the latest and greatest from Edelbrock or whatever. When I knew they weren’t looking, I opened that book to the 18 and over page. I knew I shouldn’t, but I had to know. I was itching to see what was on the other side of that page.
The page was filled with strange decals that I’d already seen on all the cars parked out back. The metallic green pot leaves, hand drawn pictures of girls with no tops on, a picture of a rabbit's head from the magazine with all the naked girls, they weren’t special. But there he was. I found Gerald, or maybe Gerald found me, and I had to have him. He was more expensive than the others, his buck-toothed smile, the glittering fur that I later learned was holographic. He smiled at me, he was green, and he became my friend.
I didn’t know exactly what his hand gesture meant, but I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it, so I knew that I couldn't have it on my dresser, but I needed Gerald. I knew I had to convince one of the older kids from the Pits to buy him for me. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but I knew I had to have him. Once I convinced a few of the older guys to buy him for me, I stuck him on the back of my number plate.Gerald rode with me every day, always with a smile. The whole time, respectfully telling anyone that gave us any problems to go F themselves.
The perfect amount of aggression for a 5 - 6 year old kid running the South Bay streets on his BMX bike. At the dirt jumps there were always some older kids getting high or drunk, and we knew not to do it. Gerald always, respectfully, told them to F off… with his happy bucktooth smile.
Every time I got a new #plate I had to get a new Gerald to go on there, then I started putting Gerald on my bottom bracket shell since plates would break or get lost, and I never wanted to be without my friend. I couldn’t ride without Gerald.
Eventually we had to move because my mom remarried, and I searched high and low for Gerald stickers. I could find people that remembered the Little Green Troll, but didn’t know where to find them. So Gerald and I lost touch for years…. Then a few years back as I was restoring one of my old bikes I realized that something was missing. I knew I needed to find a Gerald sticker. I couldn’t find them anywhere, so we redrew Gerald and made a few decals, just for ourselves for our own bikes. Just for Gerald to live again.
I gave some out to a few people who would come by the shop and they would laugh and smile. That’s what Gerald was supposed to do, keep you laughing, keep you smiling, help protect you from everything wrong in the world while politely telling everything that bothers you to respectfully F off….
Then one of the guys said they would buy a few from us, and I told him I couldn’t because it's not our design, it’s the “green troll” from when I was a kid. And I couldn’t find the owner or designer anywhere. Eventually I did sell a few, I put a couple on Facebook marketplace to see if anyone knew or remembered, and we sold 10 decals in less than 2 minutes.
People remember Gerald, he was on sticker boards all around the country in the 70’s and the early 80’s 100’s of thousands of BMX and Skater kids, Speedshop kids, the 70’s and 80’s era remember Gerald.
So now, we have brought Gerald into the Supercross BMX family, a mascot of sorts for the retro crowd. My son Tucker convinced me that we should add Gerald to the website to see if people want to buy the decals, and wow, they have sold! We made a pin for your backpack, your jacket, your camera bag, etc…. Randy Roberts raced DirtyFest with Gerald on his plate to show the world who is #1 …. Gerald is all about keeping things fun!
Now we have made a stuffed animal version of Gerald and that’s how Gerald got its name when we threw it from upstairs down to Fin and said “Fin, what’s his name”, “Gerald of course” she replied. And yes, he is from the 70’s, he embodies the remembrance of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, he is green shag carpeting, of course he is Gerald….
Now in 2023, after we have made Gerald stickers, magnets, pins, T shirts, bobble heads and stuffed animals, we see that Supreme, yes that “Supreme” is claiming ownership of Gerald. They’re naming him Camacho. I don’t think anyone technically knows who owns Gerald, the little green troll, I just know he popped into my life and gave me a lot of smiles and confidence. And I would be honored to meet who originally drew the little green troll, but until then we will continue to try to honor him by bringing you the best Gerald’s the world could ever have…
Gerald’s perspective So here I am hanging out in the Speedshop, they gave me a special place between the playboy bunny decals and the “Cash Ass or Grass, no one rides for free” decals. There would always be cheeseburgers and fries to munch on, people were always coming and going talking about how to make their cars go faster, great rock music going on. Everyone always had the latest Rock Albums to share, No More Mr Nice Guy, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the place was rockin’ Sometimes this guy Mr. Mojo Risin’ would stop in, that always made for a fun day… Some days I would venture out and mess with the customers. It was a good place to be, but I was getting bored doing the same thing every day.
One day these little dirt monkey rat kids started showing up. Man, they were just like me. They knew how to have fun and could sense my need for adventure. All I could do was smile. They wanted to put me on their bikes, their skateboards, and take me out of the smokey old Speedshop, and out into the California sunshine. Wow, I couldn’t wait. First we started going to these dirt jumps, those were cool, the wind blowing in my long lustrous hair. The sun on my face, warming up my green fur. Everytime we jumped I felt like I was flying, catching air and a sweet view of everything below.
All of a sudden I had friends, I had people that wanted me, they introduced me to new things. I learned about BMX, I learned about Punk Rock, who knew that the Stooges wanted to be my dog, I learned about skating, and I learned about Burritos!!! Oh do I love a good Burrito…. California Style if you will let me. If it wasn’t for those little dirt monkey rat kids that I now call my friends, I would still be stuck in that speedshop. Now I was everywhere and anywhere, this was life! I wasn’t about to let anyone mess with my kids. Not anyone… and oh by the way… Have a Nice Day!