Posted by: Tendra | February 22, 2009

The Telling of Urban Legends by the Keeper of the Tales

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Urban legends – the unsolved mysteries of Hillwood City – have been passed down from kid generation to kid generation for as long as we can remember.  And it is Gerald Johanssen, the Keeper of the Tales, who tells them all… 

Big Caesar

Events Leading to the Telling of Urban Legends

So how are Gerald’s urban legends usually introduced?  There are many ways…

1. Have Gerald introduce the legend himself (e.g. Wheezin’ Ed).  Gerald will usually first drop a hint about the legend (e.g. “Elk Island is haunted”), leading to all nearby kids to ask him to expand on his hint and tell the story.

2. Have one person mention the legend and another ask what that legend is, because they’ve never heard of it before (e.g. Big Caesar).  The person who is clueless tends to be not popular, and therefore not always on top of things such as gossip/legends (e.g. Eugene or Phoebe).  The gang will then get Gerald to tell the legend to bring the clueless person up to date.

3. After the legend has been mentioned, have someone (e.g. Sid) invite Gerald to tell the tale, for those who haven’t heard it in a while (e.g. Monkeyman!).

4. Lead Gerald in, Babe.  I mean, Sid.  In many instances, it is Sid who introduces and invites Gerald to tell an urban legend (e.g. Pigeon man, Stoop kid, ect.).  Sid usually talks about how the legend is an old one (e.g. “the legend is as old as [something ancient]” or “the legend has been handed down from kid generation to kid generation for as long as I can remember”), then invites Gerald, the Keeper of the Tales, to “take it” and tell the legend. 

When someone invites Gerald, he may thank them first or jump right into the story.

Big Caesar

Telling the Urban Legend

Urban legends are great and all, but if you’re going to tell it, you’ve got to tell it well…

1. Gerald’s stories usually include:

  • A description of the legendary person’s reputation.  This can include what they do nowadays or what they have left behind in this world.
  • How that legendary person got his/her reputation and/or name.  In other words, a description of that person’s origins.  This can include where they came from or how they were discovered.

2. The most common phrase that Gerald uses to list common theories about a legendary person (e.g. who they are or where they came from) is the phrase, “some say”.  It usually involves two serious theories, then one lighthearted one (e.g. Some say Monkeyman is just some guy in pajamas living on stolen bananas).

3. Background music is heavily used to set the mood whenever an urban legend is told.  They tend to be spooky.  However, in all urban legends that are told by the Keeper of the Tales, there is at least one instance where jungle-like music (with drums/vocals) is used.  This “jungle music” gives you the feeling that you are entering into the heart of a jungle or, symbolically, that the gang’s conversation is heading into an unknown or mysterious topic.

4. Most of the scenes/pictures during the telling of an urban legend are of that legendary person.  In the middle of the urban legend, there can be occasional scenes of Gerald storytelling.  In addition to that, someone may or may not interupt Gerald for a brief second (e.g. Helga criticizes Gerald’s urban legend in “Big Caesar”). 

5. Gerald’s got some style!  He always tells his story in a dynamic manner.  For example, in “Stoop kid”, he starts his story by saing, “The legend… of Stoop kid,” as opposed to saying, “Stoop kid is a guy who is very protective of his stoop”.  Plus, he just might tell the legend in rhyme (e.g. Monkeyman)! 

Ghost bride

The Immediate Aftermath of Storytelling

Remember, Gerald always ends his urban legends with the classic “The end”.  (He sometimes even bows!)  And, as part of common courtesy, the listeners always clap and/or compliment Gerald after a nice story has been told by the Keeper of the Tales.

Urban legends told by the Keeper of the Tales

  • Stoop kid
  • Wheezin’ Ed
  • Pigeon man
  • Big Caesar
  • Monkeyman!
  • Ghost bride 
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Responses

  1. Okay, this is awesome. And super useful.

    The Urban Legends are one of the best parts of the show and the set up for them is always so much fun. This is a great collection of info and insight into how Gerald tells the tales.

  2. Thanks! It took me quite some time to write it, but I thought it was worth it in the end. :3

    – Tendra

  3. Also, I wanted to tell you that this whole entry actually got me to stick an Urban Legend into a HA! fic I’m working on. And it definitely enhanced the whole chapter so THANK YOU! I totally wouldn’t have written it in if it wasn’t for this post.

    Oh and it’s in this chapter, kind of towards the middle: http://users.livejournal.com/beyondheroism__/69612.html

    • (:D Expect me to head into your territory in the very near future. 😄

      I’m looking forward to reading it!

      – Tendra

  4. Tendra you’re genius. Well, I guess you already know that.

    I was thinking about urban legends myself. It would be cool to write down them…

    And maybe to propose new ones?

    Was Grandpa’s story about the Haunted Train an urban legend? If it is, then there is an alternative style of legend-telling.

    • If she puts down the Haunted Train, then you gotta add Four-Eyed Jack as well! 🙂

  5. Wow, what a detailed look at the urban legends! This is the first time I’ve visited your website, and I imagine I’m going to be spending quite a few hours poking around on it today! Thanks for featuring my story this week, and thanks for letting me know!

    • No problem! Always glad to feature great fanfics on the site!


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