Bertram (Burt) Gummer is a fictional character, played by actor Michael Gross, from the Tremors film series and the short lived SciFi Channel TV program of the same name. Appearing in Tremors, Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, and several episodes of the TV series, Burt Gummer is a firearms enthusiast, and a paranoid survivalist. He and his (as of Tremors 2) former wife, Heather Gummer (played by Reba McEntire), were the first persons in the film series to directly kill a Graboid thanks to the large supply of weapons kept in their basement. He has an "overkill" approach to trouble and takes himself deadly seriously, much to the annoyance or amusement of others. According to Tyler Reed, he is the "Martha Stuart of whatever it is" he does. He has an exceptionally hard time making friends and trusting people, due to his self-preservation mind set, but is willing to help others should the need arise; though his ways of helping may seem unorthodox due to inexperience sometimes. At times he will try to give more "rational" explanations to bizarre goings-on in Perfection, only be met with stares of disbelief as his idea are just as or even more unbelievable. Although he is only the central character in Tremors 3 and the TV series, his eccentric personality has made him a favorite among Tremors fans and the de-facto star of the franchise, along with the vicious Graboid evolutions (and, later, Mixmaster monsters) that opposes him. His ancestor, Hiram Gummer (also played by Gross), appears in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. It is later revealed in Tremors 5 that, back during the 70s before he met Heather, Burt Gummer had a very brief, but intimate fling with a local woman (Jasmine), whom he unknowingly had a child with. It is revealed in Tremors 5 that his son is none other than Travis B. Welker (Bertram for middle name), a, in Travis' own words, "Charming sociopath whack-job".
Although very little is known about Burt's past, it is widely hinted that he was involved in the military, though the actual creators dispute about this. In the Tremors TV Series, Burt went to Teluca in an episode to uncover a government conspiracy for the townsfolk to prove it was a Graboid problem, rather than an alien conspiracy that the government won't let them visit the "mothership", according to Rosie (The diner co-owner next to Red). Burt proceeded to go on about how he was all too familiar with cover-ups, which would lead one to believe he was involved, again, in the military. It's possible he was in a secret branch, and witnessed something he didn't like.
What is known, however, is that during the cold war Burt settled in Perfection with his wife after checking several places that would fit their survivalist nature. He and Heather actually bought up the very land that Burt's great-grandfather had built his house on. This was all sometime before the Tremors movie series. It was later revealed in Tremors 4 that his ancestor Hiram Gummer, also played by Gross, settled in Rejection (Perfection's previous name), and married the local town-mistress. Stampede Entertainment's official website states that Hiram and his wife left in 1902 for San Francisco after a disagreement with Nevada bureaucrats over the date of the town's founding, and never returned. Hiram did leave Burt and his family with a large supply of silver bars which Burt has apparently been using to turn his home into a graboid proof fortress as well as acquiring weaponry which originally was for defense against the possibility of the Cold War heating up but now to fight against the Graboids. When Burt's house was destroyed in Tremors 3 it took out his weaponry stockpile as well as his stockpile of silver bars.
Burt has a strange affection with guns since middle-school, evidenced by him telling Desert Jack that he converted his BB gun to automatic by the eighth grade. One controversy is how he gets his weapons and ammo, despite all of his guns being legal (except a Sub Machine Gun he is seen to own), the bullets for the Grizzly Big Boar, and Barrett 82A1 .50 cal BMG are a topic that could be debated. Also how he got his hands on a minigun legally is also questionable. It's possible he gets them in illegally, but W.D. Twitchell, the Department of Interior representative after Tremors 3, has done nothing to stop Burt. It is also possible that he undertook the NFA process to purchase completely legal transferable title II weapons, which would include any of an array of sub-machine guns or even the minigun.
Burt was at first paranoid about surviving World War III, which was why he considered himself a survivalist. He spent all of his years preparing, believing it would happen sooner or later. After Tremors 1, Burt's focus on Graboids becomes greater as each movie goes on. After Tremors 2, Burt's paranoia has shifted to Graboids and Shriekers, rather than the world coming to an end and he is determined is to survive at all costs against El Blanco.
Prior to being called in to take care of the Graboid situation in Mexico by Earl in the second film, Burt was depressed since his wife, Heather, had left him and there was no imminent threat of a possible World War. Subsequently, Burt's passion for survival was reignited by the threat of the monsters.
Burt is known to have the first "actual" Graboid kill by using his own hands (guns actually), instead of the Graboid killing itself by ramming into a cement wall. As of Tremors 3, he's the only person to ever survive being eaten by a Graboid by hiding in a barrel. The Graboid was tricked into killing itself by running itself into a cement wall, after which it was cut open with a chainsaw rescuing Burt.
Reception among Tremors fans Edit
Burt began as a very popular character after the first Tremors movie, garnering enough popularity to be one of the only two original cast-characters to make a return in the movie, and the only character to make an appearance in every Tremors movie, as well as the TV-Series. Although, Burt himself wasn't in Tremors 4, Hiram, his grandfather, was a toned-down version of Burt, so it could be assumed among fans that it's just Burt. The similarities are there, just the look and different name separate the two.
He was known as the de-facto star of the franchise after Tremors 2, officially.
Another little favorite is his paranoia of the government, and his seriousness always being used as humor. And his hats, which are in each of his appearances. All of them are "Atlanta Hawks" hats, which changes appearances each movie and in the show.
- Jodi Chang takes Burt in stride and is even fond of him. She aided him in Tremors 3 in hunting Graboids and Assblasters and earned a measure of respect from him in the process.
- Tyler Reed rolls with Burt's eccentricities and acts as his backup on Graboid hunts.
- Rosalita Sanchez simply finds his overkill and paranoia odd.
- W D Twitchell gives Burt missions that needs his expertise and puts up with his sarcasm for his job.
- Ex-hippy Nancy Sterngood butts heads with Burt on almost every issue; she pokes holes in his arguments and tries to make him see reason. But for Burt there's always been "a little too much Summer of Love in that woman." However, they are still good friends with both affirming it at one point on the TV series and Burt comforting her when she blamed herself for some deaths. At one point she tried to spice up his bunker in exchange for the damage done to it during a battle with Shriekers, but he was amused and annoyed instead of accepting. Had the series continued he would have had an online romance with her without knowing who he was E-mailing until later.
- Burt unknowingly has a son in Travis Welker, who's middle name is 'Bertram', thanks to his mother. Initially unknowing of it, when Travis revealed he knew about Florida and then said, "I even know who you went with", Burt began to put pieces together by responding, "How much do you know about Jasmine?" and after Travis' response, Burt goes, "What is she to you?" and Travis confesses Jasmine is in reality Jasmine's son with Burt as his father. Burt, however, didn't wait for Travis to tell him that part, as Burt had already put it together. It was also the reason he sought out Burt, to get to know his own father. Burt, initially, was rejecting on the thought of it being possible, but began to open up about it. Near the course of the ending, Burt had begun to worry about his son when Travis ran decoy on a bike so a villager could save a girl holding a Graboid egg, and even began to warm up to Travis' presence. It could essentially be said that this is his most significant relationship out of any character in the franchise, except for maybe Heather. This is also evidenced by the fact that when Travis initially met Burt and offered to help him take his company places, Burt was rejecting on the notion. By the end of the movie, Burt asks Travis to stay before he could leave Burt's life, and the two become a 'monster hunting' duo, while both acknowledging their relationship on the 'television show' introduction.
Burt has a penchant for spouting that memorable line of dialogue that crystallizes the moment:
- "Broke into the wrong god damn rec room, didn't you, ya bastard?!"
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "I feel I was denied critical, need-to-know information."
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "(Angrily) I am completely OUT of ammo. (Calmly, as the realization sinks in) That's never happened to me before."
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "And that's why we're at the top of the food chain!"
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "Why is it... need to know... information never reaches Burt Gummer!!?"
- —Burt, angry about the lack of Intel about the African Graboids
- Has appeared on 60 minutes.
- One of his cars license plates reads UZI 4U. Another's is WRM N8R as seen on the tremors two poster, which, if read is, Uzi for you, and Worm-Nator.....The Uzi being a famous 9mm Israeli submachine-gun.
- The fact that his first name is Bertram is stated in the Tremors FAQ.
- The item that Burt covered up in Tremors 2 was a type of cannon shell that he was hoping to add to his collection.
- Prior to the Shriekers ambushing him in Tremors 2 Burt claims to have never run out of ammo.
- Burt has the highest number of confirmed Graboid kills by a single individual in the series.
- A running theme in Tremors 2 and 3 is that Burt will be completely prepared for the Graboids, only to be completely disarmed as a result of a previously uknown aspect of the Graboids biology:
- In Tremors 2, he arrives in Mexico with an army truck full of weapons and ammunition, only to subsequently exhaust it all fighting off the newly evolved Shriekers (save for his anti-tank gun).
- In Tremors 3, Burt's Graboid-proof home/bunker was completely defenseless against the new Ass Blasters. After he unnecessarily detonated it along with his amassed food stores and weapons (see below), he was stunned that after all his planning, he ended up as a refugee.
- Another running gag in the same two movies is that Burt's plans against the creatures would only end up aiding them:
- In Tremors 2, Burt lured a pack of Shriekers to a warehouse and trapped them inside, but moments later found out that it was filled with sweets for the Shriekers to eat and reproduce.
- In Tremors 3, after an Ass Blaster invaded his house, he detonated it, in order to destroy his food stores along with the creature and prevent the same from happening again; but shortly after Nancy informed him that eating too much would only make the Ass Blaster fall into a coma, and suggested that his food stores would be the best weapon against the creatures. This left him bemoaning the situation, asking "what kind of supreme being could condone such irony?".
- In Tremors 2, he was unable to understand Spanish, as he had to use a dictionary to translate the word "Dulces" (Sweets). By the time of Tremors 3, he had improved somewhat, as he was able to understand the Argentinian reporter's question and even partially responded in Spanish; although he actually used a mixture of English and a very deficient Spanish.
- Tremors (First appearance)
- Tremors 2: Aftershocks
- Tremors 3: Back to Perfection
- Tremors: The Series
- Tremors 5: Bloodlines