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.

11 Fun Facts About Them!

Joan Weldon and James Arness star in Them! (1954).
Joan Weldon and James Arness star in Them! (1954).
Warner Home Video

In the 1950s, Elvis was king, hula hooping was all the rage, and movie screens across America were overrun with giant arthropods. Back then, Tarantula (1955), The Deadly Mantis (1957), and other “big bug” films starring colossal insects or arachnids enjoyed a surprising amount of popularity. What kicked off this creepy-crawly craze? An eerie blockbuster whose impossible premise reflected widespread anxieties about the emerging atomic age. Grab a Geiger counter and let’s explore 1954's Them!.

1. Them!'s primary scriptwriter once worked for General Douglas MacArthur.

When World War II broke out, the knowledge Ted Sherdeman had gained from his career as a radio producer was put to good use by Uncle Sam, landing him a position as a radio communications advisor to General MacArthur. However, the fiery conclusion of the war left Sherdeman with a lifelong disdain for nuclear weapons. In an interview he revealed that upon hearing about the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, he “just went over to the curb and started to throw up."

Shifting his focus from radio to motion pictures, Sherdeman later joined Warned Bros. as a staff producer. One day he was given a screenplay that really made his eyes bug out. George Worthing Yates, best known for his work on the Lone Ranger serials, had decided to take a stab at science fiction and penned an original script about giant, irradiated ants attacking New York City. "The idea appealed to me very much,” Sherdeman told Cinefantastique, "because, aside from man, ants are the only creatures in the world that plan to wage war, and nobody trusted the atomic bomb at that time.” (His statement about animal combat is debatable: chimpanzee gangs will also take organized, warlike measures in order to annex their rivals’ territories.)

Although he loved the basic concept, Sherdeman felt that the script needed something more. Screenwriter Russell S. Hughes was asked to punch up the script, but died of a heart attack after completing the first 50 pages. With some help from director Gordon Douglas, Sherdeman took it upon himself to finish the screenplay. Thus, Them! was born.

2. Two main ants were built for the movie.

Them! brought its spineless villains to life using a combination of animatronics and puppetry, courtesy of an effects artist by the name of Dick Smith. He constructed two fully functional mechanical ants for the production, with the first of these being a 12-foot monster filled with gears, levers, motors, and pulleys. Operating the big bug was a job that required a small army of technicians who’d pull sophisticated cables to control the ant’s limbs off-camera. These guys worked in close proximity and often crashed into each other as a result, prompting Douglas to call them “a comedy team.”

The big insect mainly appears in long shots, and for close-ups, Smith built the front three quarters of a second large-scale ant and mounted it onto a camera crane. During scenes that required swarms of ants, smaller, non-motorized models were used. Blowing wind machines moved the little units’ heads around in a lifelike manner.

3. Them! features the Wilhelm Scream.

Fifty-nine minutes in, the ants board a ship and one of them grabs a sailor, who unleashes the so-called "Wilhelm Scream." You can also hear it when James Whitmore’s character is killed, and the sound bite rings out once again during the movie’s climax. Them! was among the first movies to reuse this distinctive holler, which was originally recorded three years earlier for the 1951 western Distant Drums. Since then, it’s become something of an inside joke for sound recording specialists. The scream has appeared in Titanic (1997), Toy Story (1995), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Batman Returns (1992), the Star Wars saga (1977-present), all three The Lord of the Rings movies (2001-2003), and countless other films.

4. Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance.

In one brief scene, future Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy plays an Army man who receives a message about an alleged “ant-shaped UFO” sighting over Texas. He then proceeds to poke fun at the Lone Star State, because, as everybody knows, insectile space vessels are highly illogical.

5. Many different sounds were combined to produce the screeching ant cries.

Throughout the movie, the monsters announce their presence with a haunting wail. Douglas’s team created this unforgettable shriek by mixing assorted noises, including bird whistles, which were artificially pitched up by sound technicians.

6. Sandy Descher had to sniff a mystery liquid during her signature scene.

Like Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, Them! has a deliberate pace and the massive insects don’t make an onscreen appearance until the half hour mark. Douglas took credit for this restrained approach, saying, “I told Ted, let’s tease [the audience] a little bit before you see the ant. Let’s build up to it."

So instead of showing off the big bugs, the opening scene follows a little girl as she wanders through the New Mexican desert, listlessly clutching her favorite doll. That stunning performance was delivered by child actress Sandy Descher. Later, in one of the most effective title drop scenes ever orchestrated, a vial of formic acid is held under her character’s nose. Suddenly recognizing the aroma, the traumatized youngster screams “Them! Them!” Descher never found out what sort of liquid was really sloshing around in that container.

“They used something that did smell quite strange. It wasn’t ammonia, it was something else,” she told an interviewer. Still, the mysterious brew had a beneficial effect on her performance. “They tried to create something different and it helped me a lot with that particular scene,” Descher said.

7. Them! was originally going to be filmed in 3D and in color.

To hear Douglas tell it, the insect models looked a lot scarier in person. “I put green and red soap bubbles in the eyes,” he once stated. “The ants were purple, slimy things. Their bodies were wet down with Vaseline. They scared the bejeezus out of you.” For better or for worse, though, audiences never got the chance to savor the bugs’ color scheme.

At first, Warner Bros. had planned on shooting the movie in color. Furthermore, to help Them! compete with Universal’s brand-new, three-dimensional monster movie, Creature From the Black Lagoon, the studio strongly considered using 3D cameras. But in the end, the higher-ups at Warner Bros. didn’t supply Douglas with the money he’d need to shoot it in this manner. Shortly before production started on Them!, the budget was greatly reduced, forcing the use of two-dimensional, black and white film.

8. The setting of the climactic scene was changes—twice.

Yates envisioned the final battle playing out in New York City’s world-famous subway tunnels. Hughes moved the action westward, conjuring up an epic showdown between human soldiers and the last surviving ants at a Santa Monica amusement park. Finally, for both artistic and budgetary reasons, Sherdeman set the big finale in the sewers of Los Angeles.

9. Warner Bros. encouraged theaters to use Them! as a military recruitment tool.

The film’s official pressbook advised theater managers who were screening Them!& to contact their nearest Armed Forces recruitment offices. “Since civil defense in the face of an emergency figures in the picture, make the most of it by inviting [a] local agency to set up a recruiting booth in the lobby,” the filmmakers advised. Also, the document suggested that movie houses post signs reading: “What would you do if (name of city) were attacked by THEM?! Prepare for any danger by enlisting in Civil Defense today!”

10. The movie was a surprise hit.

Studio head Jack L. Warner predicted that Them!, with its far-fetched plot, wouldn’t fare well at the box office. So imagine his surprise when it raked in more than $2.2 million—enough to make the picture one of the studio's highest-grossing films of 1954.

11. Them! landed Fess Parker the role of TV's Davy Crockett.

When Walt Disney went to see Them!, he had a specific objective in mind: Scout a potential Davy Crockett. At the time, Disney was developing a new television series that would chronicle the life and times of the iconic frontiersman, and James Arness, who plays an FBI agent in Them!, was on the short list of candidates for the role. Yet as the sci-fi thriller unfolded, it was actor Fess Parker who grabbed Disney’s attention. Director Gordon Douglas had hired Parker to portray the pilot who ends up in a psych ward after an aerial encounter with a gargantuan flying ant. And while his character only appears in one scene, the performance impressed Disney so much that the struggling actor was soon cast as Crockett.

By the Texan’s own admission, his good fortune may’ve been the product of bargain hunting. “Walt probably asked, ‘How much would Arness cost?’ and then ‘This fellow [Parker], we ought to be able to get him real economical,” Parker once said.

Watch Alexei From Stranger Things Drink a Slurpee For 12 Hours Straight

Netflix
Netflix

*Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 3.*

As if we needed a reminder of how much we miss a certain late Stranger Things character, Netflix just went and drilled it into our hearts again.

As reported by CNET, the streaming service recently released a video tribute to the Russian scientist Alexei (Alec Utgoff), showing him sipping his Slurpee on a loop for 12 hours. Yep, you read that right: 12 hours of nonstop Slurpee-sipping.

The video is captioned: "To honor our Slurpee sipping hero, we are pouring one out for our pal. Sip along!"

In season 3 of the Netflix hit, Alexei opens the portal between Hawkins and the Upside Down to help the Soviets in their research. When the fan-favorite character gets kidnapped by Jim Hopper, his request is a cherry Slurpee in exchange for information ... and he won't compromise on the flavor.

Tragically, Alexei doesn't make it to the end of the season. And in true Stranger Things fashion, his death was totally unexpected and left fans shocked.

While you're still mourning the fallen character, just try and enjoy the oddly mesmerizing video of Alexei sipping away.

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