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.

Why is Winnie the Pooh Called a Pooh?

iStock.com/CatLane
iStock.com/CatLane

Since A.A. Milne published the first official Winnie the Pooh story in 1926, the character has become beloved by children across many generations. Milne’s writing clearly struck a chord, and the character’s many subsequent TV and film adaptations have endeared him to an even wider audience.

But why is Winnie called a Pooh rather than a bear? Given that most children (and grown-ups, for that matter) have a different idea of what a Pooh is, how has the name stuck?

The answer lies back in the 1920s.

In fact, when first introduced by Milne, Winnie wasn’t even Winnie. Initially, he went by the name of Edward Bear, before changing to Winnie in time for that aforementioned official 1926 debut. The "Winnie" part of the name came from a visit to the London Zoo, where Milne saw a black bear who had been named after the city of Winnipeg, Canada.

As for Pooh? Well, originally Pooh was a swan, a different character entirely.

In the book When We Were Very Young (the same book that introduced Edward Bear), Milne wrote a poem, telling how Christopher Robin would feed the swan in the mornings.

He told how Christopher Robin had given the swan the name "Pooh," explaining that “this is a very fine name for a swan, because if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him."

Milne indeed knew what he was doing by using such a word. The names "Winnie" and "Pooh" were soon brought together, and Winnie the Pooh was born. Milne still took a little time out to explain why Winnie was a Pooh, though.

As he would write in the first chapter of the first Winnie the Pooh book, “But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that is why he is always called Pooh."

It's not the most convincing explanation, but it's a formal explanation nonetheless.

Not that the reasoning ultimately mattered too much. The name stuck, having never seen a focus group in its life. A much loved childhood character, with a vaguely funny name, would go on to superstardom. And even be honored with his own holiday, Winnie the Pooh Day, which occurs annually on January 18th.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

These Custom-Made Slippers Are Designed to Look Exactly Like Your Pet

Cuddle Clones
Cuddle Clones

What gift do you get for the friend who’s completely obsessed with their cat or dog? Fluffy slippers that look just like their pet, of course. As Delish reports, Louisville, Kentucky-based company Cuddle Clones lets you upload photos of your pet and decide how you want them to appear—whether it’s in the form of a plush “clone” or furry footwear that you can sport around the house.

Many of the slippers are eerily lifelike and bear an uncanny resemblance to the animal they’re modeled after. “We do our very best to ensure that your Cuddle Clone captures the characteristics and likeness of your pet to the absolute best of our abilities,” the company writes on its website. “We are very proud of our products and how much they resemble the actual pets.”

A woman wears personalized dog slippers
Cuddle Clones

If customers aren’t completely satisfied with their order, Cuddle Clones offers a money-back guarantee. The process of ordering a pair of slippers is simple but takes some time. First, customers are prompted to enter their pet’s name and select its species—dog, cat, horse, and “other” are listed—as well as its breed.

From there, they will be asked to upload multiple photos of their pet’s face, chest, tail, fur color, and physique from various angles (including their right side, left side, and even their backside). They can then choose the eye color, list any distinguishing characteristics, and decide if they want the plush version of their pet to appear in any particular position.

The slippers, which are made in China, take eight weeks to make and ship to the U.S. However, customers can pay extra for expedited orders. They’re a bit pricey at $199, but then again, you’re paying for a handcrafted, personalized product.

Personalized cat slippers
Cuddle Clones

In addition to the “clones” and slippers, Cuddle Clones will also make personalized golf club covers, purses, and holiday stockings with your pet’s face on them. That way, you can take your fur baby with you anywhere, whether you’re on the golf course or out on the town.

[h/t Delish]

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