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John Herbert is an elderly pedophile who lives on Spooner Street with his old, crippled dog, Jesse. He has a high-pitched, very soft, effeminate voice and with a slight whistle lisp. He is often seen wearing a light blue robe and slippers and uses a zimmer-frame walker to get around. He is a retired United States Army veteran. He becomes fixated on Chris in "To Love and Die in Dixie" when Chris took up a paper route and developed an unhealthy obsession with him. When the family returned from the South, he left 113 messages asking what had happened to the paper boy. Herbert frequently seems to make inappropriate, sexually-tinged comments to teenage boys. It is revealed later on that he is the eldest member of the Skull and Bones secret society. John is shown to be Roman Catholic and goes to the same church as the Griffins in "Boys Do Cry". Despite being a hero, he can also be an antagonist at times.
Originally stated in the DVD commentary for "To Love and Die in Dixie" in Family Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection, he was going to be a creepy driver of a school bus that Chris was afraid to go near.
Herbert has a high voice and speaks with a whistle. According to Seth MacFarlane, Herbert was created when Mike Henry would use his voice to scold the writers when they had trouble coming up with new ideas for episodes. He admitted that it made him laugh every time and decided to adapt him as a character. Mike Henry had also said that the inspiration was a senior citizen that used to work with him at a grocery store.
Herbert is a retired United States Army veteran. He is seen in "Padre de Familia" at a Veteran's Day festival in Quahog Park in his dress uniform singing the song "God Bless the USA". In "German Guy" it is revealed that he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, but was captured by the Germans, and sent to a concentration camp, because he was believed to be gay and was given hard labor by Franz Gutentag.
In "To Love and Die in Dixie", Chris is delivering newspapers to his house, and he tries to persuade Chris to come inside. At the end, he leaves 113 messages on the phone, and they are all about Chris.
In "From Method to Madness", he sees Jeff Campbell, a teenage nudist, and says "Holy moly, it must be my birthday!"
In the album "Family Guy: Live in Vegas", he sings the Broadway song "One Boy" from Bye Bye Birdie, and is sung by a female character about her boyfriend.
In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, he is heard during the intermission asking, "Chris do you have a shower scene? Or do I have to keep dreamin'?"
In "North by North Quahog", he disguises himself as an eighth-grader and asks two boys to dance. Brian points out that he is "one ugly eighth-grader".
When they are singing the song after Peter is tested and found to be retarded in the DVD cut of "Petarded", you can see him dancing towards the end.
When Chris takes his shirt off in the bathroom in "Brian the Bachelor", he climbs up a ladder and spies on him, mimicking a scene in National Lampoon's Animal House.
In "The Perfect Castaway", he asks Brian for an ice-cream truck with which to entice children, which would later appear in "And Then There Were Fewer".
In "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", Chris breaks his window with a baseball, and Lois decides to pay for the broken window out of Chris's allowance. At Herbert's suggestion, Peter makes Chris do chores for Herbert. He later takes Chris out to dinner. At that point, he fantasizes about life with Chris. In his fantasy family, he and Chris have two children, a boy who resembles Chris, and a girl who resembles Herbert. In the last scene of the episode, he turns on the TV to an announcement of the Little League World Series. He perks up and responds: "Jackpot!"
In "You May Now Kiss the...Uh...Guy Who Receives", he does not sign Brian's petition for gay marriage.
in "Petergeist", he saves Chris from being eaten by a giant evil tree.
When Chris loses his paper route due to Superstore U.S.A. in "Hell Comes to Quahog", Herbert gets shot by the truck that's launching newspapers. He lays there moaning in pain along with Jesse, then proceeds to passing out snoring with the usual whistling.
After Lois and Peter come down to stop Chris from rehearsing loudly in the garage in "Saving Private Brian", he gets angry at them and leaves to loiter in the park. To get to the park, he jumps on a motorcycle driven by Herbert.
In "Whistle While Your Wife Works", he sends his dog Jesse out for a walk, and the dog attempts to eat Peter's finger, which was previously blown off.
In "Prick Up Your Ears", he is lined up to shake Stewie after he is shaken by Chris and Brian. Later in the episode, Stewie steals his dentures in the night while he is sleeping and dreaming about Fred Savage.
With no police in Quahog in "Barely Legal", Peter states that he had hired some homeless boys to pickpocket old, rich people. When they begin to shuffle through Herbert's pockets and clothes he takes pleasure.
Herbert can be seen in line at the Griffin's garage sale in "Road to Rupert". Approaching Chris, Herbert asks him if he is selling any clothes from the summer. Chris then tells Herbert that all he has fitting that description is a pair of shorts, to which Herbert replies "Sweet Jesus!".
After Stewie takes over Chris' paper route in "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)", Herbert noticed the new paper boy in which Stewie tells him to piss off and Herbert takes it as a challenge.
Herbert made an appearance in "Play It Again, Brian" in which Peter and Lois hire him to babysit the Griffin children because he's "watched" several children. While doing so he makes several attempts to seduce Chris, at one point trying to get Chris to bathe him; Meg does it instead, and Herbert exclaims "Rats!". Later he reads Peter and the Wolf to Chris as a bedtime story, changing the moral to suit his own means, and Chris asks Herbert if he's a pedophile... the reaction to this is not seen. During the closing credits, he is shown sleeping at the foot of Chris' bed, where the Evil Monkey tries but fails to threaten him.
In "Family Gay", he confused a jockey for a child; and "420" he attempts to snare children in a butterfly net.
In "Road to the Multiverse", he appeared in the Disney universe parodying the Evil Queen from Snow White.
In "Hannah Banana," Herbert sneaks into Chris' room at night to paint his portrait; this is shown in a fast-forward playback of a surveillance video set up to prove or disprove the existence of the Evil Monkey.
In "Big Man on Hippocampus," Chris believes he's invisible, running down the street naked as Herbert sees him off-screen.
Herbert also appeared in "Dial Meg for Murder", when he was buying popsicles, roofies, and a mallet at Mort's Pharmacy.
In "April in Quahog", the world was going to an end. He said to Chris "My time of waiting is almost over" wearing only underwear.
Herbert heard a dirty joke in "The Splendid Source".
In "And Then There Were Fewer", he appears in his formal suit driving his ice cream truck both call backs to previous episodes. When they find the laundry room, Herbert says, "Mine is smaller", after Stewie says, "My secret room is bigger". He reveals that James Woods once replaced his medication with methamphetamine.
Herbert has an epic battle with his Nazi tormentor as a POW in "German Guy", after unsuccessfully attempting to warn Chris about him. The DVD animatic unofficially gives Herbert the first name of "John".
Herbert stares in shock as Chris swallows hot dogs in "Killer Queen".
Ernie The Giant Chicken takes Herbert's ice cream truck with the intention of running down Peter in "Internal Affairs".
In the uncensored version of "Brian's Play", Herbert arrives at the Quahog Playhouse in a carriage pulled by a team of boys.
Herbert's first name is revealed officially as "John" in "Valentine's Day in Quahog". Herbert also helps Sandy, his grand-niece, score a date with Chris.
Herbert chases Chris around in circles on his bike during the King of the Hill opening to "Bigfat".
Herbert lurks in the shadows of Chris' room in "Grimm Job".
An African version of Herbert appears in "Scammed Yankees". He appears dressed as Tom Tucker in "A Lot Going On Upstairs" when Brian tries to fool Stewie by dressing the family and neighbors as each other.
Acts of Heroism
- A giant tree was attacking Chris Griffin, but Herbert had fought that tree to the death.
- Franz Gutentag was revealed to be a former Nazi, but Chris Griffin was hanging out with him. Chris had then discovered that he was a Nazi, and Gutentag locked him in the basement. Herbert eventually freed Chris and fought Gutantag to the death.