Gerald Charles Kunz, known as Gerry, has died aged 84.
He was the son of well known pianist and entertainer Charlie Kunz (“Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie” his signature tune). As Manager of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ Exhibition Dept., he was the architect and brains behind the success of the Motor Show, Commercial Motor Show and the Smithfield Livestock Show. He was awarded the OBE for services to agriculture.
A genial and likeable character he nevertheless did not suffer fools gladly and at the Motor Show his word was law. It was he who collaborated with the fledgling Motor Industry Public Affairs Association, then a much less sophisticated group called The Spoke ‘n’ Wheel, in setting up a pre-Motor Show Press Reception and get-together for visiting foreign journalists at Forbes House, headquarters of the SMMT.
He also oversaw the successful move of the Motor Show from Earls Court to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s.
On one notable occasion he allowed a Motor Show exhibitor to march a German “Ooompah” band through Earls Court and to play on their stand, much to the chagrin of other exhibitors. Despite their protests, he presciently realised that the event would attract widespread Press attention and TV coverage which it did before he prudently shut it down.
He leaves a widow, Annie and two sons, Simon and Jem.
Gerry Kunz was born on 24 March 1927 and died 24 October 2011.
By Erik Johnson