While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes.
A neighbor of Riis, who was the city editor of the New-York Tribune, recommended Riis for a short-term contract. Riis did well, and was offered the job of police reporter. He was based in a press office across from police headquarters on Mulberry Street. "Nicknamed 'Death's Thoroughfare'", Riis's biographer Alexander Alland writes, "It was here, where the street crooks its elbow at the Five Points, that the streets and numerous alleys radiated in all directions, forming the foul core of the New York slums."
During these stints as a police reporter, Riis worked the most crime-ridden and impoverished slums of the city. Through his own experiences in the poorhouses, and witnessing the conditions of the poor in the city slums, he decided to make a difference for them. Working night-shift duty in the immigrant communities of Manhattan's Lower East Side, Riis developed a tersely melodramatic writing style and he became one of the earliest reformist journalists.
Riis accumulated a supply of photography and attempted to submit illustrated essays to magazines. But when an editor at Harper's New Monthly Magazine said that he liked the photographs but not the writing, and would find another writer, Riis was despondent about magazine publication and instead thought of speaking directly to the public.
This was not easy. The obvious venue would be a church, but several churchesincluding Riis's owndemurred, fearing either that the talks would offend the churchgoers' sensibilities or that they would offend rich and powerful landlords. However, Adolph Schauffler (of the City Mission Society) and Josiah Strong arranged to sponsor Riis's lecture at the Broadway Tabernacle church. Lacking money, Riis partnered with W. L. Craig, a Health Department clerk.
Riis and Craig's lectures, illustrated with lantern slides, made little money for the pair, but they both greatly increased the number of people exposed to what Riis had to say and also enabled him to meet people who had the power to affect change, notably Charles Henry Parkhurst and an editor of Scribner's Magazine, who invited him to submit an illustrated article.
Gyro made his first animated appearance in a 1980s full-length movie. On the Sport Goofy Soccermania television special with only one line of dialogue, voiced by Will Ryan: "Scrooge parting with a million dollars?", in the subsequent 1987 animated series DuckTales, Gyro became a regular character, with Hal Smith supplying his voice while Barry Gordon records it in several episodes. Among Gyro's noteworthy inventions in the series was the creation of the GizmoDuck suit, intended to be worn by a security guard for Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. Although Gyro's shop and house are on the south side of Duckburg, he was born on the north side a sign marks his birthplace and mentions one of his inventions topless hats.
In high school, young Gyro was a baseball pitcher with his "madball" pitch actually only a straight-ball pitch. When Gyro is forced to pitch for the Northside, pitting an "unhittable" baseball against another of his inventions, an "unmissable" baseball bat made for the Southside team, the result is total chaos.
Gyro is a classic eccentric genius-once he actually persuaded Duckburg citizens to rebuild it into a climate controlled City of the Future! Unfortunately for Gyro, his ideas worked too well-Donald Duck only worked 1 hour a day and spent 23 hours sleeping which left him more grouchy than normal, while Uncle Scrooge McDuck robot made him so much money that it actually filled up his money bin to the point where McDuck could not even burrow into his money! The final straw came when Gyro Robot helper makes a robot to replace Gyro as an inventor! Realizing Duckburg isn't ready for the future, Gyro turns Duckburg back to its old self.
Contrary to his entry in Don Markstein's Toonopedia, Gyro never appeared on House of Mouse. Gyro's usual role as an inventor is replaced with Ludwig Von Drake in both House of Mouse and many other cartoons.
In the Toontown universe, Gyro created a robot that, when Scrooge accidentally wired it incorrectly, made the Cogs, the main antagonists of the game. They are grim businessmen-like robots who can't take a joke, so to take care of the infestation, the Toons (the main protagonists of the game), destroy them with gags, such as squirting seltzer water and throwing pies at them.