The Real Names of 42 Fictional Characters

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

You've known about most of these beloved characters for years, but how well do you really know them? Here's your chance to get better acquainted.

1. CAP'N CRUNCH // HORATIO MAGELLAN CRUNCH

The friendly captain of the S.S. Guppy—who was invented by Jay Ward Productions in the early 1960s and became the face of a cereal in 1963—is Horatio Magellan Crunch to his friends.

2. THE PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY // POPPIN' FRESH

The Pillsbury Doughboy balloon floating down the street between skyscrapers at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Andrew Burton, Getty Images

Invented by copywriter Rudy Perz in 1965, the Pillsbury Doughboy also goes by the name Poppin' Fresh, "a nod to the product’s quality and freshness," according to Pillsbury. Mr. Fresh has a wife, Poppie Fresh, and they're the proud parents to two kids, Popper and Bun Bun. The family cat and dog are named Biscuit and Flapjack.

3. THE QUAKER OATS GUY // LARRY

That’s not William Penn or Ben Franklin smirking at you from your container of oatmeal, as many people seem to believe. The good people at Quaker Oats refer to him as “Larry.” In 2012, Larry got a mini-makeover in the form of a logo refresh. His hair was trimmed, he lost a little weight, and, according to Quaker, he acquired “more radiant skin from daily oatmeal masks.”

4. MRS. BUTTERWORTH // JOY BUTTERWORTH

Thanks to a marketing campaign in 2009, Mrs. Butterworth was finally given a first name: Joy, just like the feeling you experience when you bite into a stack of warm, fluffy pancakes.

5. COMIC BOOK GUY // JEFF ALBERTSON

Though an episode revealed Comic Book Guy's real name to be Jeff, Matt Groening had a different moniker in mind. "In my mind, 'Louis Lane' was his name, and he was obsessed and tormented by Lois Lane," Groening told MTV in 2003.

6. MOM FROM FUTURAMA // CAROL MILLER

Though "Carol" is basically the mom-est name ever, Groening did a Reddit AMA earlier in 2017 where he admitted that writer Patric Verrone originally called the evil CEO of Momcorp Edna after his own mother.

7. THE MONOPOLY POLICEMAN // OFFICER EDGAR MALLORY

An orange card that says "Go directly to jail" and shows an illustrated police officer dragging a mustachioed man away.
iStock.com/duckycards

The next time you land on the “Go Directly to Jail” spot in Monopoly, you have Officer Edgar Mallory to blame. According to Hasbro, that's the name of the cop who inhabits the space.

8. THE MONOPOLY INMATE // JAKE THE JAILBIRD

You'll be getting out of jail if you roll doubles or cough up the bail money, but poor Jake the Jailbird isn't leaving anytime soon.

9. THE RICH MONOPOLY GUY // MILBURN PENNYBAGS

And when you get that unexpected $10 windfall from coming in second place in a beauty pageant, thank Rich Uncle Pennybags, who was originally named Milburn. According to former Parker Brothers executive Philip Orbanes, purchased Parker Brothers they renamed him Mr. Monopoly. Orbanes also says that the dapper gentleman once had a wife named Madge Pennybags.

10. MR. SNUFFLEUPAGUS // ALOYSIUS SNUFFLEUPAGUS

Big Bird’s not-so-imaginary friend Snuffleupagus has a not-so-imaginary first name: Aloysius.

11. GUY SMILEY // BERNIE LIEDERKRANTZ

If you ever thought "Guy Smiley" was too spot-on of a name for a game show host, you were on to something: His “real” name is Bernie Liederkrantz.

12. PEPPERMINT PATTY // PATRICIA REICHARDT

In a Peanuts comic strip from January 15, 1972, Peppermint Patty reveals that her real name is Patricia Reichardt.

13. MUTED TRUMPET TEACHER // MISS OTHMAR

And that annoying teacher who sounded suspiciously like a muted trumpet? Miss Othmar. She later got married and became Mrs. Hagemeyer, which poor Linus could never remember.

14. MR. CLEAN // VERITABLY CLEAN

Those lucky enough to be on a first name basis with the follicly challenged cleaner call him “Veritably.” The name was supposedly chosen during a "Give Mr. Clean a First Name" promotion in 1962. While that promotion did exist, there’s little evidence the name originated there—multiple newspapers in the following years noted that nothing seemed to have come from the contest. But by the 1980s, the company was claiming that the contest chose the moniker Veritably.

15. BARBIE // BARBARA MILLICENT ROBERTS

A gloved hand holding a vintage Barbie doll wearing a black and white knit bathing suit.
David Hecker, AFP/Getty Images

With a mouthful of a name like "Barbara Millicent Roberts," you can see why the perpetually popular doll is better known as Barbie. She was named after the daughter of co-creators Ruth and Elliot Handler.

16. KEN // KEN CARSON

Barbie’s longtime love and fellow fashionista is named Ken Carson, also after Handler’s offspring. The real-life Barbie and Ken didn’t appreciate the attention that came with being the doll namesakes. In fact, Barbara Handler Segal’s daughter, Cheryl, never owned a Barbie. Ken Handler has said that Barbie “should care more about going to the beach. I wish she would work in a soup kitchen, but then she would never sell.”

17. THE OPERATION PATIENT // CAVITY SAM

The perpetual patient in the game Operation is an unfortunate fellow named Cavity Sam.

18. THE CHURCH LADY // ENID STRICT

Dana Carvey’s judgmental, lip-pursing, holier-than-thou Church Lady has a name, which she occasionally referenced on Church Chat—it’s “Enid Strict.” Well isn’t that ... appropriate.

19. COOKIE MONSTER // SID

During a 2004 episode of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster admitted that before he became hooked on baked goods, his name was once Sid, and in 2010, he Tweeted that it may have been Sidney. Despite Sid’s focus on healthy foods in recent years, he’s not changing his name. In a 2012 episode he said, “We've got to stop this Veggie Monster rumor before me reputation ruined."

20. THE MAN WITH THE YELLOW HAT // TED SHACKELFORD

In a deleted scene from the 2006 Curious George movie, it was revealed that The Man With the Yellow Hat is named Ted Shackleford. It may not count since it was a deleted scene, but we thought you should know. Fun fact: Ted Shackelford is also the actor who played Gary Ewing on Knots Landing.

21. BIC PEN LOGO // BIC BOY

The little guy on the BIC logo hasn’t been impaled by a pen; he’s holding it behind his back. And he has a name: It’s BIC Boy. Sorry if that’s a letdown.

22. TWITTER LOGO // LARRY BIRD

The friendly blue bird over on Twitter goes by the name of Larry. Larry ... Bird.

23. PLANTER'S PEANUTS MASCOT // BARTHOLOMEW RICHARD FITZGERALD-SMYTHE

A large peanut wearing a suit and monocle is dabbing.
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

In 1916, 14-year-old Antonio Gentile entered Planter’s Peanuts contest to create a mascot. His winning entry was a version of the dapper legume we all know and love today. He also suggested a name for his character: Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe.

24. THE MICHELIN MAN // BIBENDUM

The Michelin Man’s real name, Bibendum, a href="http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2090074_2090076_2090089,00.html" target="_blank">comes from an early advertisement that showed the Michelin Man holding a questionable cocktail of nails and broken glass and saying "Nunc est bibendum!" The tagline on the ad read “Michelin tires drink up obstacles.”

25. EVIL QUEEN // GRIMHILDE

For most Disney fans, the evil queen from Snow White has simply been known as just that. But the comic strip adaptation released around the same time refers to the world’s worst stepmother as Queen Grimhilde. The same comic strip has the Queen say “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” as opposed to the film’s “Magic Mirror.”

26. JUGHEAD // FORSYTHE P. JONES III

You didn’t think Jughead’s parents actually named him Jughead, did you? Actually, what they named him isn’t really any less bizarre: Forsythe P. Jones III.

27. MOOSE // MARMADUKE MASON

And there’s a reason that that lughead, Moose, chose a short nickname—his real name is Marmaduke Mason.

28. MR. WHIPPLE // GEORGE WHIPPLE

Mr. Whipple, the poor grocer who so desperately wanted his customers to leave the Charmin alone, went by the name of George. Squeeze that.

29. WOODY FROM TOY STORY // WOODY PRIDE

A costumed character that of Woody from Toy Story smiles at the camera while a costumed Jessie stands in the background.
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO, Getty Images

According to Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, Woody from Toy Story has a last name: Pride.

30. CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST // CASPER MCFADDEN

Though the comic books never specified Casper's surname (nor addressed how—of even if—he died), the 1995 Casper movie claimed that the little ghost's family name was McFadden.

31. GEOFFREY THE TOYS "R" US MASCOT // DR. G. RAFFE

Before he was simply Geoffrey, the Toys "R" Us mascot was known as Dr. G. Raffe.

32. SHAGGY // NORVILLE ROGERS

Though “Shaggy” fits him better, the frightened ghost hunter’s real name is actually Norville Rogers.

33. SCOOBY DOO // SCOOBERT

Scooby has a more proper name as well: Scoobert—and that's Scoobert Doo, not Scoobert Doobert as has been rumored.

34. MACGYVER // ANGUS MACGYVER

Apparently an early press release proclaimed that MacGyver's first name was Stacey. His real name, Angus, was revealed during the final season, but the story behind it isn't too complex: Richard Dean Anderson saw it on a banner in Vancouver and suggested it.

35. B.A. BARACUS // BOSCO ALBERT BARACUS

This A-Team character may have claimed the "B.A." was for "bad attitude," but it was really for Bosco Albert.

36. TURTLE FROM ENTOURAGE // SALVATORE ASSANTE

Jeopardy! claimed it was Salvatore Vacara, but Turtle himself, Jerry Ferrara, Tweeted otherwise.

37. WILSON FROM HOME IMPROVEMENT // WILSON W. WILSON JR.

The alliteratively named neighbor also had a niece, Willow Wilson.

38. BULL SHANNON // NOSTRADAMUS SHANNON

Though "Nostradamus" lends itself to all kinds of interesting nicknames, Bull Shannon from Night Court was so-called because when his mother found out she was pregnant, she said, "Bull!"

39. BOOMHAUER FROM KING OF THE HILL // JEFFREY DEXTER BOOMHAUER III

Boomhauer's first name isn't the only shocking revelation about Hank Hill's perpetually indecipherable friend—he's also a Texas Ranger.

40. THE SKIPPER FROM GILLIGAN'S ISLAND // JONAS GRUMBY

The real name of the owner of the S.S. Minnow was Jonas Grumby.

41. THE PROFESSOR FROM GILLIGAN'S ISLAND // ROY HINKLEY

Likewise, the professor had a real name: Roy Hinkley.

42. LT. COLUMBO // FRANK COLUMBO

According to the name on his police badge, Lt. Columbo’s name was Frank. Though a few sources report that his name is Philip, that’s not true. The faux moniker appeared as a copyright trap in The Trivia Encyclopedia. When Trivial Pursuit later reprinted the false answer to the question, the author of The Trivia Encyclopedia knew they had used information from his book and sued. The court ruled in favor of Trivial Pursuit, saying that facts—even false ones—can’t be copyrighted.

How Many of These 15 General Knowledge Trivia Questions Can You Get Right?

Feeling Stressed? Playing Tetris Could Help Relieve Your Anxiety

iStock/Radachynskyi
iStock/Radachynskyi

When Nintendo released their handheld Game Boy system in the U.S. and Japan in 1989, the first game most users experimented with was Tetris. Bundled with the system, the clever puzzler—which prompts players to line up a descending array of tiles to create horizontal lines—was the video game equivalent of an addictive drug. Some players described seeing the shapes in their dreams. The game was in the hands of 35 million portable players; by 2010, it had sold 100 million smartphone downloads.

Now, there’s evidence that Tetris players may have a solution to anxiety in the palms of their hands. According to a paper published in the journal Emotion, Tetris has the capability to relieve stress and troubling thoughts by providing a form of distraction.

As part of a larger study about the benefits of distraction, researchers at the University of California, Riverside conducted an experiment on 309 college students who were told to expect some anxiety-provoking news: They were told someone would be offering an evaluation of their physical attractiveness. While they waited for their results, a third of the subjects played a slow-moving, beginner-level version of Tetris; another group played a high-speed variation; and a third played an adaptive version, which automatically adjusted the speed of the game based on the player’s abilities.

Tetris games that were too slow or too fast bored or frustrated players, respectively. But the game that provided a moderate challenge helped reduce the subjects’ perception of their stress levels. They reported a quarter-point higher level of positive emotions on a five-point scale and a half-point reduction of negative emotions. The students still worried about the results of the attractiveness evaluation, but they experienced fewer negative feelings about it.

The key, according to the study, is that the students were experiencing “flow,” a state of mind in which you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose your sense of self-awareness. While Tetris may be one of the best ways to quickly fall into flow, anything that consumes your attention—playing music, drawing, cooking—is likely to work.

The next time you have to wait for potentially life-altering news, you may find that a Tetris session will help you cope.

[h/t NPR]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER