Mental Floss

Honoring the Service of Agent 86, The Professor & Other TV Vets

Kara Kovalchik
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As someone who has worn out more than one snooze alarm button, "better late than never" has become my motto, and in that spirit I'd like to add a TV twist to Stacy's wonderful Veteran's Day post. So even though Veteran's Day has come and gone, I say it's never too late to recognize those who have served our country.

1. Eddie Albert

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2. Don Adams

Missed premature death by "that much"

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Adams was born Donald Yarmy, but changed his last name when he got tired of being last in line in an alphabetical-order world. He wasn't much interested in academics, so when World War II broke out, he lied about his age and enlisted in the Marines when he was only 17. He was fighting in Guadalcanal when he became terribly ill. The diagnosis: Blackwater Fever, a usually fatal complication of malaria. Because men with Blackwater Fever always died, a sentry was posted beside Adams' hospital bed "“ not for security purposes, but because hospital space on Guadalcanal was so scarce, they wanted to know the minute he died so that his cot could be used for another patient. Four days later, for reasons no doctor could explain, Adams walked out of the hospital. Adams went home and spent the rest of his Marine tenure as a drill instructor, which is what helped him to develop his peculiar staccato way of speaking.

3. Johnny Carson

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4. Russell Johnson

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5. Montel Williams

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Step into Kara's TVHolic vault for many more TV tales.

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