Friday, August 27, 2010



Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip – that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailin’ man, The Skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that da—whoa, wait a minute … what kind of name is The Skipper? Were his parents named Mr. and Mrs. The Skipper Sr.? Was he listed in grade-school attendance books as “Skipper, The”? Surely, his mother didn’t stand on the porch yelling, “It’s suppertime, The Skipper!”

Or maybe it’s a title, like “The Queen” or “The Pope.” In that case, he’d have to have a real name. Surely, he must have revealed it to Gilligan, who was, after all, his “little buddy.” Well, wonder no more! Thanks to a top-secret, cutting-edge technological gadget that allows audio enhancement of even the most feathery of whispers (fine, I Googled it), I discovered that The Skipper sailed into existence as Jonas Grumby.

I also learned that The Professor’s real name was Roy Hinkley and that “Lovey” was merely Thurston Howell III’s pet name for his wife, Eunice. What’s with all the pseudonyms? Were they really castaways or participants in the Witness Protection Program? (Incidentally, it’s never been confirmed or disproven than Gilligan’s first name was Willie. In fact, speculation continues as to whether Gilligan was his first or last name.)

Here’s a roll call of several fictional characters whose real or full names aren’t known to many besides the most ardent fanboys or groupie girls:

On “The Simpsons” – Montgomery is actually Monty Burns’ middle name; his first name is Charles. Sideshow Bob’s birth certificate reads “Robert Underdunk Terwilliger,” while Krusty the Clown signs his checks as “Herschel Schmoikel Krustofsky.” The Comic Book Guy? He’s Jeff Albertson, though that wasn’t the name of choice for creator Matt Groening, who imagined the character as “Louis Lane.”

* It’s a lot easier to sing, “We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz,” than to tie your tongue around, “the wonderful Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs,” which is the Wizard’s given name.

* Mr. Clean has a seldom-used first name, and it ain’t “Mr.” It’s “Veritably,” which came from a “Give Mr. Clean a First Name” promotion in the early 60’s.

* Zorro is actually Don Diego de la Vega, which takes a lot longer to write with a sword and doesn’t look nearly as cool as that slashy “Z.”

* On “The A-Team,” Mr. T’s character, B.A. Baracus, let it be known that the initials stood for “Bad Attitude.” I pity the fool who dared to call him by his birth name: Bosco.

* If you didn’t know that the policeman in Monopoly is named Officer Edgar Mallory, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, go directly to jail!

* And who is Cap’n Crunch when the S.S. Guppy is in dock and he’s not protecting his cereal from Jean LaFoote the Barefoot Pirate? The other sea dogs know him simply as “Horatio.”

* Last but not least, Norville Rogers was better known as Shaggy of the “Scooby Doo” gang. Makes sense … “Rut-roh, Rorville!” would sound pretty silly.

* THIS JUST IN! Charles Montgomery Burns was actually born Happy Burns to penniless parents in middle America!