|“||You and I are gonna have a lot of good times together.||„|
|~ Mr. Horton to Arnold|
Mr. Horton is the main antagonist in the two-part Diff'rent Strokes episode "The Bicycle Man".
He was portrayed by the late Gordon Jump.
The Drummond family have been friends with Mr. Horton for over a year and would always rent bikes from him to go for weekly bike rides. Mr. Drummond and Mr. Horton talked about getting Arnold a bike for his birthday coming up and Mr. Horton makes a deal with Arnold that if he passes out fliers at his school advertising a special sale at the shop, he will give Arnold a free radio for his bike. The next day, Arnold and his friend Dudley passed out fliers at school and Mr. Horton told Arnold it's all right to have Dudley get a free radio as well. He treats Arnold with a banana split and tells Arnold not to tell his family he was at the bicycle shop, claiming that it might "Ruin the surprise" of Arnold getting his bike and possibly get himself in trouble. The following day when Arnold and Dudley came to the bicycle shop, Mr. Horton sneaks a pornographic magazine in his pile of comic books. He then invites Arnold and Dudley to his house in the back of the store for pizza and shows them his pile of comic books. Arnold and Dudley see the pornographic magazine while Mr. Horton was taking care of business in the store. When Mr. Horton returns, he catches them and tells them it's okay to be naked and he gives them wine to drink with their pizza, saying that people in France drink wine as children. Mr. Horton then shows them pictures of himself skinny dipping with other boys and tells Arnold and Dudley it's okay to be naked. He then has them play Tarzan and has Dudley take off his shirt.
When Mr. Drummond arrives at the bicycle shop to pay for the bike from Mr. Horton, Arnold and Dudley get a glance at Mr. Drummond and then escape through the back door. Arnold comes home chewing a log of gum (Mr. Horton had given it to him and Dudley in an attempt to cover up the scent of wine on their breath), then Willis and Kimberly smell alcohol on his breath telling him not to do it again and keeping it secret. Arnold keeps the secret from Mr. Horton and says that Mr. Ramsey (Dudley's father) gave them wine. The following day Arnold and Dudley go back to the bicycle shop and Arnold feels funny about sneaking around and lying to his family. He initially has thoughts of leaving, when Mr. Horton says he has Boston Cream Pie for them to eat and cartoons for them to watch, making them stay. When Arnold and Dudley watch the cartoon "Murphy the Mouse", Arnold decides he's had enough after realizing it's an X-rated cartoon (Mr. Horton justifies it by saying it's merely "Adult" in nature), and leaves Dudley behind. Mr. Horton tells Dudley they can play the game "Neptune: King of the Sea" and says it involves a bathtub and lots of water. Later on Mr. Ramsey comes over to the Drummond's house and talks with Mr. Drummond about telling him not to have Dudley drink wine and confused Mr. Drummond, since Dudley said Mr. Drummond gave him wine. Willis and Kimberly told them that Arnold also had wine on his breath and that Mr. Ramsey gave it to him and Mr. Ramsey denied giving Arnold wine, Mr. Drummond and Mr. Ramsey threaten to punish the two.
When Arnold comes home Mr. Drummond asks him about who really gave him the wine. Arnold says he's not supposed to tell, but when Mr. Drummond sternly said his name, a scared Arnold blurted out "Mr. Horton" and Arnold tells his family the whole story about him. Realizing what Mr. Horton truly is and that Dudley was still over there at his house, Mr. Drummond quickly calls the police and Mr. Ramsey and fills him in on the situation. Then Detective Simpson, Mr. Drummond, Mr. Ramsey and the police show up at the bicycle shop, Mr. Horton is immediately arrested, then Simpson, Mr. Drummond and Mr. Ramsey go to the back where they find a shirtless Dudley, he tells them that Mr. Horton went to do a bad touch on him by giving him a pill. Mr. Drummond and Mr. Ramsey decide that they won't punish Arnold and Dudley for the wine and that they did the right thing by telling them what Mr. Horton did. Mr. Drummond returned to the apartment with Simpson. Mr. Drummond tells Arnold, Willis and Kimberly that he did the right thing by calling Simpson, because if Drummond went to the bicycle shop by himself, Mr. Horton would have gotten rid of the photos and the X-rated video of the mice and Simpson also tells them about what pedophiles do. Willis thinks that Mr. Horton was gay because of what he was doing to Arnold and Dudley. Simpson tells Willis that pedophiles aren't gay; they are deeply disturbed people who are obsessed with abusing children, regardless of gender. After Simpson leaves, Mr. Drummond, Willis and Kimberly tell Arnold to be careful about some people who might want to touch him in a bad way and also Arnold is still awarded a bicycle and radio for his birthday.
It can be implied that Mr. Horton had been sent to jail for a long time after his crimes had been exposed, and his store is most likely under new ownership.
- At the beginning of both episodes, Conrad Bain (The actor who played Mr. Drummond) delivers a message about the episode's subject of pedophilia being a deep concern for everyone. At the end of the concluding episode, Conrad Bain makes a PSA saying, "If you know of a problem with child sexual abuse, please contact your local law enforcement or social service agency." He would do the same for "The Hitchhikers", which featured a rapist.
- Due to the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, Todd Bridges, who portrayed Willis on the show, stated in the film An Open Secret that this episode made him increasingly uncomfortable.
- Shavar Ross, who portrayed Dudley, later revealed in 2006 that he had been sexually abused by a family member.
- Though intended to be educational, the episodes are considered among the most disturbing of the entire series, due to such a serious subject being featured in a normally family- friendly sitcom- especially since the audience laugh/laugh track was still heard throughout, making some spots very uncomfortable.