CLOSE
Original image

The Original Names of 7 Famous TV Characters

Original image

The names of some of our favorite TV characters have undergone behind-the-scenes changes for a variety of reasons, from politics to legal issues to shows on competing networks. Here are seven such examples.

1. "The Mash"

fonz
When Garry Marshall was first assembling the show that eventually became Happy Days, he envisioned the local hoodlum as a tall Italian guy named Marsciarelli whose nickname would be "Mash." By the time the show was cast, what he ended up with was a short Jewish guy (because Henry Winkler tested so well) called Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (because CBS now had their own series called M*A*S*H).

2. Archie Justice

archie-justiceNorman Lear purchased the American rights to the hit British sitcom Till Death Do Us Part in 1968 and wrote a pilot script called And Justice for All. The lead character's name was Archie Justice. He filmed the pilot presented it to the executives at ABC. They hated it. Lear re-cast the parts of Meathead and Gloria and filmed a second pilot. ABC passed yet again. When CBS showed interest in the pilot two years later, Lear had to change the name of the show and settled on All in the Family. With a new title in place, the "Justice" pun was lost, so Archie's last name was changed to "Bunker."

3. Lucy Lopez

lucy
The original concept for I Love Lucy centered around Larry Lopez, a wealthy, internationally famous bandleader, and his actress wife, Lucy. When the pilot was filmed, the concept had been tweaked a bit so that Larry was now a moderately successful orchestra leader with a local following, and Lucy was a housewife with show biz aspirations. When CBS purchased the show, Larry Lopez became Ricky Ricardo, and Lucy Ricardo spent most of the episode in pajamas and a bathrobe to conceal Lucille Ball's real-life pregnancy.

4. Hoffman/Kessler

kesslerCosmo Kramer of Seinfeld fame was based on Larry David's neighbor Kenny Kramer. But naming a TV character after a real live human can be a legal minefield, so in the first draft of the pilot script the wacky neighbor was named "Hoffman." In between the time the script was written, press releases were sent out and the episode was actually filmed, his name was changed to "Kessler." (The TV Guide listing and early reviews of this episode refer to "Hoffman," while Jerry himself calls the character "Kessler" in the episode.) An agreement of sorts was eventually worked out so that Kramer could revert to using his rightful name.

5. Barnaby Cobb

barnaby
Quinn Martin pitched a series idea to CBS in 1973 that starred Buddy Ebsen as a retired private investigator who started working again after his son was murdered. CBS liked the idea, but hated the name Martin had given his title character "“ Barnaby Cobb. They thought it sounded too "cornpone" (remember, this was the network which had recently cancelled most of their "rural" hits, such as Green Acres and Petticoat Junction), so the P.I.'s name was changed to Barnaby Jones and the series ran for an impressive eight seasons.

6. Zoe Stewart

miley
Hannah Montana was launched as a backdoor pilot on an episode of That's So Raven. The character's name at that time was Zoe Stewart, but by the time the pilot for the spin-off series was finished, Nickelodeon a series of their own called Zoey 101. "Zoe" became "Miley Stewart" when Miley Cyrus was hired to play the character.

7. Ralph Hinckley

greatest-american-heroThe hapless teacher-turned-superhero featured on The Greatest American Hero was named Ralph Hinckley. Just 12 days after the pilot episode aired, a deranged man named John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Producers quickly changed their title character's last name to "Hanley" wherever possible for the remainder of the first season episodes. However, so fleeting is the memory of the American public that by Season Two of the series, Reagan was fully recovered and back on the job, John Hinckley was just a small blip on the pop culture radar, and William Katt was once again known as Ralph Hinckley.

Original image
HBO
arrow
entertainment
Neil deGrasse Tyson Just Answered the Game of Thrones Question That Everyone's Asking
Original image
HBO

Serial debunker of movies and TV Neil deGrasse Tyson took on Game of Thrones on Sunday evening, analyzing everything from the chains the army of the dead used to pull up dead dragon Viserion (wrong angle) to the dragons themselves (good wing span, though experts we spoke with say they're still too heavy to fly). And then he dropped an intriguing tweet that just might explain Ice Viserion's blue fire, which easily cut through the Wall:

Inverse's Yasmin Tayag took a deep dive into the physics of dragon fire after the season finale and concluded that, according to science, blue flames are the hottest of them all. Typical Game of Thrones dragon fire—the red, yellow, and orange kind—is the result of incomplete combustion. The color is caused by the fuel in the dragon's gut (likely carbon) releasing chemicals as gas in a process known as pyrolysis. Blue flames, though, mean complete combustion, which, according to Tayag, "can only occur when there’s plenty of oxygen available to allow a flame to get super hot, and the fuel being burned doesn’t release too many additional chemicals during pyrolysis that might lead to a different colored flame."

In August, Game of Thrones sound designer Paula Fairfield—perhaps in an attempt to answer viewers’ nagging question about whether Viserion was blowing fire or ice—told Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson that, “He’s just going at it and slicing with this. It's kind of like liquid nitrogen. It’s so, so cold. So imagine if that’s what it was, but it’s so cold it’s hot. That kind of thing.”

This could have big consequences if Ice Viserion and Drogon face off. "If the HBO series decides to follow these particular laws of thermal physics (and why should it when Thrones so flagrantly disregarded chain physics?!?), then Viserion will surely be at an advantage if and when he ever goes talon-to-talon with his brother Drogon," wrote Robinson in response to deGrasse Tyson’s tweet.

Game of Thrones's final season won't debut until late 2018 or 2019, so we have a long time to wait before we see which dragon's fire comes out on top. 

[h/t: Vanity Fair]

Original image
John Gooch/Keystone/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
The Time Douglas Adams Met Jim Henson
Original image
John Gooch/Keystone/Getty Images

On September 13, 1983, Jim Henson and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams had dinner for the first time. Henson, who was born on this day in 1936, noted the event in his "Red Book" journal, in characteristic short-form style: "Dinner with Douglas Adams – 1st met." Over the next few years the men discussed how they might work together—they shared interests in technology, entertainment, and education, and ended up collaborating on several projects (including a Labyrinth video game). They also came up with the idea for a "Muppet Institute of Technology" project, a computer literacy TV special that was never produced. Henson historians described the project as follows:

Adams had been working with the Henson team that year on the Muppet Institute of Technology project. Collaborating with Digital Productions (the computer animation people), Chris Cerf, Jon Stone, Joe Bailey, Mark Salzman and Douglas Adams, Jim’s goal was to raise awareness about the potential for personal computer use and dispel fears about their complexity. In a one-hour television special, the familiar Muppets would (according to the pitch material), “spark the public’s interest in computing,” in an entertaining fashion, highlighting all sorts of hardware and software being used in special effects, digital animation, and robotics. Viewers would get a tour of the fictional institute – a series of computer-generated rooms manipulated by the dean, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and stumble on various characters taking advantage of computers’ capabilities. Fozzie, for example, would be hard at work in the “Department of Artificial Stupidity,” proving that computers are only as funny as the bears that program them. Hinting at what would come in The Jim Henson Hour, viewers, “…might even see Jim Henson himself using an input device called a ‘Waldo’ to manipulate a digitally-controlled puppet.”

While the show was never produced, the development process gave Jim and Douglas Adams a chance to get to know each other and explore a shared passion. It seems fitting that when production started on the 2005 film of Adams’s classic Hitchhiker’s Guide, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would create animatronic creatures like the slovenly Vogons, the Babel Fish, and Marvin the robot, perhaps a relative of the robot designed by Michael Frith for the MIT project.

You can read a bit on the project more from Muppet Wiki, largely based on the same article.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios