American disc jockey and performer Gerald Joseph Blavat, better known by his stage names “The Geator with the Heater” and “The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce,” was instrumental in popularizing oldies radio broadcasts. He first rose to prominence in Philadelphia by putting on live dances, which led to the launch of his own radio program, where he popularized acts like the Four Seasons and the Isley Brothers in the 1960s. Several famous musicians, like Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren, who grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia have said that they were inspired to become musicians by Blavat.
Origins and Early Years
Jerry Blavat was born to a Jewish father and an Italian mother in South Philadelphia. His sister Roberta came into the world two years before he did. They met while she was working at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during World War II and he was the son of a bookmaker.
On WFIL-first TV’s Bandstand in 1953, Blavat made his television debut alongside Bob Horn and Lee Stewart. He was Don Rickles’ valet in the years 1958 and 1959, and he also oversaw Danny and the Juniors’ national tour in 1956. He began his radio career on January 15, 1961, at WCAU in Camden, New Jersey. Atlantic City, Trenton, Pottstown, Wilmington, and Allentown all began airing rebroadcasts of his show in 1963.
He claimed he wouldn’t be constrained by a set list, instead “performing music from the heart, not a research chart.” In the 1960s, Blavat co-founded two record labels, Lost Nite and Crimson, with Jared Weinstein and Jerry Greene (who later founded Collectables Records). Promo appearances by Blavat were held at Greene and Weinstein’s defunct Philadelphia record store chain, Record Museum.
Known as “the Geator with the Heater” and “the big boss with the hot sauce,” Blavat hosted and produced a dance show for “all my yon [sic] youngsters” in Philadelphia called The Discophonic Scene from 1965 to 1967. He made appearances on series like The Tonight Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Mod Squad, and The Monkees. Desperately Seeking Susan, Baby, It’s You, and Cookie all featured him in supporting roles. Blavat bought the “Memories” nightclub in Margate, New Jersey, in 1972.
Real-World Issues of Birth and Death
Blavat’s offspring included four daughters (Kathi Furia, Geraldine Blavat, Stacy Braglia, and Deserie Downey), five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He had been long-distance with Rosalie (Keely) Stahl since 1989, and he had been divorced from Patricia Blavat since 1976.
On January 20, 2023, at the age of 82, Blavat passed away in hospice care at Methodist Hospital in Lower Moyamensing due to complications from myasthenia gravis. The next morning, his longtime companion and best friend Keely Stahl broke the news to his family and friends that he had passed away.
Supposed Ties To The Mafia
When Philadelphia Greek Mob boss Chelsais “Steve” Bouras was killed in a contract killing in 1981, Blavat was eating dinner with Bouras and many other guests at a restaurant in South Philadelphia.
When the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation looked into the role of organized crime in the booze industry in the early 1990s, they uncovered Blavat’s ties to the Bruno-Scarfo family.
During the investigation, former Scarfo family capo Thomas A. DelGiorno said that Blavat paid a monthly “street tax” to the mob family, bought a $40,000 yacht for mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo, and was one of several people who bought a condo in Florida for Scarfo.
In return, Blavat’s nightclub was safe from union activists and he was given jobs by the criminal organization across the state. Moreover, Del Giorno said that Blavat frequently drove for mob boss Angelo Bruno. Blavat took the 5th and denied any misconduct on multiple occasions.