I recall watching the 2005 TV series Gerald McBoing-Boing.

He was a human child living with his parents and their dog. He also had several friends of his age.

But he was odd. He was communicating with people only by imitating sound effects (telephone ringing, etc.). Of course, his imitations were 100% perfect. They couldn't be differentiated from real sounds.

He could realize people's speakings. But he himself wasn't able to speak with words (or even to imitate them).

My Question: Is there any explanation (in- or out-of-universe) on why Gerald was able to imitate sound effects only and how he was so good at it?

Note: McBoing-Boing was his nickname given to him by his friends. His surname was McCloy, as you see in the title.

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    Why does this have a close vote on it? This question is perfectly acceptable for this site. Stop slapping close votes on acceptable questions, people! Oct 23, 2023 at 0:08
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    That was my close vote, and I VTCed because I believe it is opinion-based. The origin of Gerald's strange characteristic is not addressed in the series because it is not deemed important. It's like asking why Roadrunner always seems to be one step ahead of Wile E. Coyote, or how Finn is able to hide his beautiful hair under a small white hat: artistic license, used for its effect on a story, analysis of which won't affect the significance of the story.
    – Joachim
    Oct 23, 2023 at 9:30
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    "It's like asking why Roadrunner always seems to be one step ahead of Wile E. Coyote": nope! This is not opinion-based. According to Ian Frazier, it's because of gross negligence & product liability. Facts! ^^
    – OldPadawan
    Oct 23, 2023 at 11:41
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    @EtackSxchange - I know. Joachim said that they downvoted the question and they gave their reason why. I was pointing out that in their objection they were actually answering the first part of your question. Oct 23, 2023 at 14:22
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    @Joachim: Opinion-based should only be used when the response can only be opinion-based, without a priori-knowledge of the response itself. For example, someone asking the best movies of all times is necessarily opinion-based. If there are objective answers (such as "no in-universe reason was given") and answerers start speculating/giving their opinion, the problem is not with the question, but with the answers which speculate/opine. Oct 23, 2023 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: (as question was updated)

Is there any explanation (in- or out-of-univsrse) on why Gerald was able to imitate sound effects only and how he was so good at it?

Out of universe, and going back to 1950, no, there does not seem to be an explanation for him.

In-universe, unless there was an opportunity to expand and explain this in the 2005 remake that you missed (because I haven't watched any of them), then no.

  • Gerald McBoing-Boing is a Dr. Seuss script that was made into a record for release in 1950.

  • Dr. Seuss's script consisted almost entirely of voice-overs and sound effects

  • With the success of the record, it became an animation (but not in Dr. Seuss style) from studio UPA which incidentally would become known for the Mr. Magoo animations, which is why the animation style and look is similar.

  • Gerald McBoing-Boing later became a book in 1952 after the success of the animation.

  • Dr Seuss' artwork has been described as surrealist, and as such his subjects and stories are rarely relatable to the real world, but do take inspiration from it (often from where he lived).

  • the 2005 TV series was a remake, hoping to kick start a revival of the character which ultimately failed.

  • Note: In both the original artwork, and then the subsequent book artwork, he is depicted as a human boy, so he is unlikely to be thought of as anything but that, as likely intended by the author.

So, based on the above, and that the OP's question is about a remake, and given the origins of the original, it is very unlikely that the character would be explained in a satisfactory way for the OP. Gerald is simply a little human boy that started exhibiting this strange feature at age 2.

Whilst some of the characters might be human, the Sam-I-Am or The Lorax creatures, for example, are never explained.

enter image description here

1952 art, 1953 Dr Seuss art, 2005 remake






Recording, the origin of Gerald:

Comic book references:




All indicate that he is simply a human boy that is suddenly affected by this:

"UPA presents"; Illustrated script of a recording originally by Dr. Seuss. The Toon Treasury reprint credits the art to P.D. Eastman. Here's the script from the first two panels: "This is the story of Gerald McCloy... ...and the strange thing that happened to that little boy."

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    I removed that part about my thought from the question. Oct 23, 2023 at 0:18
  • edited to address the difference Oct 23, 2023 at 0:39
  • That quoted part was in the question from the start Oct 23, 2023 at 1:05
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    I included that to narrow down the response in my answer, as in OP asks this question, answer is yes or no, then i blah blah afterwards - i didnt have that part before. The response to the opinion i left in by mistake and is now removed. Oct 23, 2023 at 1:11
  • "..it is very unlikely that the character would be explained in a satisfactory way for the OP." Kind of my point :)
    – Joachim
    Oct 23, 2023 at 10:10

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