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Ask the Geator

Ask the Geator

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ONCE AGAIN, GREETINGS and salutations. Wow, the stars really came out last weekend at Memories: the Honorable Senator Vince Fumo, Dr. Freddie Iezzi, Carmen Nasuti, Carl Poplar, and of course, Admiral Jim Eastwood and his lovely Linda, along with our favorite Eagle, Butchie Buchanico and his lovely Joanie. And a happy birthday to Wags. A reminder: just a week away from the big Fourth of July celebration at Memories -- we'll kick it off with the Geator's birthday bash on Friday, July 2. But now, time for your questions.

Hello, Jerry. I'm curious as to whether you're going to come out with an autobiography. You've certainly led a very interesting life and I think your story would have immense interest.

-- Bill

Dear Bill, That's been in the works now for a while. Many people have approached me, along with many publishers who are waiting for the book. Several months ago I had a breakfast meeting in New York with Nick Pileggi, who wrote Casino and Wise Guys and the screenplay for Goodfellas and is married to screenwriter Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle). He urged me to spend an hour a day writing the book, and I started writing the next day. After the book is written, he wants to develop a screenplay. Unfortunately, with all my other activities, I haven't had the time to devote my full attention to it, but whenever I get a chance to spend a few minutes on it, I write a little more.

Hi Jerry, I have always wondered how you got your nickname "The Geator with the Heater!" Can you please provide an explanation as to its origin? I'm a native Philadelphian who's been away from Philly for 30 years, but am still a big doo-wop/oldies fan and always enjoyed your shows when I was a kid. Thanks.

-- Barry, McLean, VA

Dear Barry, The advent of the Geator was when I had first gone on radio playing the music that I still play today and realized that even though many folks remembered me from Bandstand as a dancer, I couldn't use just my plain name, Jerry Blavat. Disc jockeys at that time had nicknames: the Rocking Bird; Jocko, the Ace from Outer Space; Georgie Woods, the Man with the Goods; and so on. One morning while shaving I thought, "Here I am, all the way at the end of the dial, really knowing nothing about radio, yet whatever my rap, whatever my music, kids are getting hooked." And I thought about an alligator -- depending upon your accent, 'gator or 'geator -- that lies in the mud, doesn't bother anybody, but if you go near it -- wham! It snatches you up. That's the way it was when kids first heard me. They were mesmerized. OK, now what rhymed with Geator? A car heater. When you were a kid on the corner, it could be freezing outside. Your buddy would come by with a car. Everybody would jump in the car and say, "Turn that heater on!" After 10 minutes it got so hot they'd say, "Turn that heater down!" After 10 minutes of listening to the Geator, you had to tone me down a little bit. Thus was born the Geator with the Heater, the Boss with the Hot Sauce.

Geator -- On Oldies 98.3 last weekend from Memories in Margate, I heard you play an instrumental that knocked me out. It sounded like a familiar song from the '60s but with a party in the background and people shouting and rapping. Do you know the song I mean?

-- Mel Helgeson

Dear Mel, the song you heard me play is a remix of the great 1961 instrumental rock hit by the Mar-Keys called "Last Night." As the first house band for the legendary Stax label out of Memphis -- the same label that gave the world Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and others -- the Mar-Keys appeared on some of the greatest records in soul history and helped establish the classic sound of Memphis soul music. Two of the Mar-Keys, Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn, later co-founded Booker T. and the MG's. The remix of "Last Night" that you heard me play at Memories is by Chris Anderson & DJ Robbie and is available at numerous places on line.

Got a question for Jerry? Send it to Remember, keep on rocking 'cause you only rock once.

You can hear Jerry Blavat weekdays from 2-4pm on WNJC 1360, 5-7pm on Cruisin' 92.1, 7-9pm on Slammin' Gold Oldies 94.3, and 5-7pm on Fridays for his Musical Encyclopedia on WPEN 950. And you can dance with the Geator at Bubba Mac's in Somers Point Sundays from 4 to 6pm, and at Trump Marina Thursdays from 5 to 7pm, both live on 94.3 FM.


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