The Real Names of 42 Fictional Characters

TD Dolci/Stock via Getty Images
TD Dolci/Stock via Getty Images

From the familiar faces that grace your morning cereal boxes to those recurring television characters whose full names we never seem to learn, the world is full of fictional characters whose visages are all too familiar—but whose names might be less well-known. You've known many 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

Roadside Pictures via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

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

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

smartstock/iStock via Getty Images

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

Roadsidepictures via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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

Fox

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

Fox

Though "Carol" is basically the mom-est name ever, Groening did a Reddit AMA 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

duckycards/iStock via Getty Images

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

martince2/iStock via Getty Images

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

urbanbuzz/iStock via Getty Images

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, after Hasbro purchased Parker Brothers they renamed him Mr. Monopoly. Orbanes also said that the dapper gentleman once had a wife named Madge Pennybags.

10. Mr. Snuffleupagus // Aloysius Snuffleupagus

Mr. Snuffleupagus and the National Dance Institute during the 2019 annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade rehearsals.John Lamparski/Getty Images

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

11. Guy Smiley // Bernie Liederkrantz

Sesame Workshop

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

Mark Anderson via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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? Her name was Miss Othmar. She later got married and became Mrs. Hagemeyer, which poor Linus could never remember.

14. Mr. Clean // Veritably Clean

Roadsidepictures via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Those lucky enough to be on a first name basis with the follicle-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

ivanastar/iStock via 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

kaisphoto/iStock via Getty Images

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

Hasbro via Amazon

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

18. The Church Lady // Enid Strict

NBC

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

Gail Oskin, Getty Images for Children's Hospital Boston

During a 2004 episode of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster admitted that before he became hooked on baked goods, his name known as Sid; in 2010, he tweeted that it may have been Sidney.

20. The Man With The Yellow Hat // Ted Shackelford

PBS

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

Chesnot/Getty Images

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

23. Mr. Peanut // Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

In 1916, 14-year-old Antonio Gentile entered a 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

John Lamparski/Getty Images

The Michelin Man’s real name, Bibendum, 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

Walt Disney Home Entertainment

For most Disney fans, the evil queen from Snow White has simply been known as just that. But the comic strip adaptation 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

Archie Comics via Amazon

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

Archie Comics via Amazon

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

28. Mr. Whipple // George Whipple

Roadsidepictures via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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

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

Universal Pictures

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

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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

32. Shaggy // Norville Rogers

Warner Home Video

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

33. Scooby Doo // Scoobert

Warner Home Video

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

CBS

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

NBC

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

Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Jerry Ferrara in Entourage.HBO

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

37. Wilson from Home Improvement // Wilson W. Wilson Jr.

Tim Allen and Earl Hindman in Home Improvement.The Walt Disney Co.

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

38. Bull Shannon // Nostradamus Shannon

Warner Bros. Entertainment

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

Warner Home Video

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

41. The Professor From Gilligan's Island // Roy Hinkley

Russell Johnson as The Professor in Gilligan's Island.Warner Home Video

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

42. Lt. Columbo // Frank Columbo

Peter Falk and Harvey Gold in Columbo.Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

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.

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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15 Fascinating Facts About Coffee for National Coffee Day

iStock
iStock

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but on National Coffee Day (today!) there is such a thing as a free cup of joe (here are just a few of the places where you can get one). So why not repay the freebie favor by regaling your barista with any one of these fascinating coffee facts.

1. Coffee was originally chewed.

Sipping may be your preferred method of java consumption, but coffee has not always been a liquid treat. According to a number of historians, the first African tribes to consume coffee did so by grinding the berries together, adding in some animal fat, and rolling these caffeinated treats into tiny edible energy balls.

2. Drinking decaf coffee fuels the soda industry.

After coffee beans are decaffeinated, several coffee manufacturers sell the caffeine to soda and pharmaceutical companies.

3. Instant coffee has been around for nearly 250 years.

iStock

Instant coffee has been around for a while, making its first appearance in England in 1771. But it would take another 139 years for the first mass-produced instant coffee to be introduced (and patented) in the U.S. in 1910.

4. The average American spends about $1100 on coffee each year.

You’d think that spending an average of $1100 on coffee each year would be enough to make America the world’s most caffeinated nation. You would be wrong.

5. Finland is the world’s coffee capital.

Though Finland does not produce any beans of its own, its citizens drink a lot of the brown stuff—the most of any country in the world.

6. Beethoven was a barista’s worst nightmare.

iStock via Getty Images

Beethoven enjoyed a cup of coffee, and was extremely particular about its preparation; he insisted that each cup he consumed be made with exactly 60 beans.

7. Coffee beans sent Brazilian athletes to the Olympics in 1932.

In 1932, Brazil couldn't afford to send its athletes to the Olympics in Los Angeles. So they loaded their ship with coffee and sold it along the way.

8. There have been several attempts to ban coffee entirely.

As recently as the 18th century, governments were trying to eradicate coffee. Among the many reasons for outlawing the beverage were its tendency to stimulate “radical thinking.” In 1746 Sweden took things to an extreme when it banned both coffee and coffee paraphernalia (i.e. cups and saucers).

9. Coffee could extend your cat’s life.

iStock

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the Guinness World Record holder for “Oldest Cat Ever”—a 38-year-old kitty named Creme Puff—drank coffee every morning of her furry little life (plus enjoying bacon, eggs, and broccoli). Before you dismiss that outright, consider this: The cat that Creme Puff beat out for the record (a 34-year-old cat, appropriately named Grandpa Rex Allen) had the same owner, and was fed the exact same diet.

10. 17th-century women thought coffee was turning their men into “useless corpses.”

In 1674, the Women's Petition Against Coffee claimed the beverage was turning British men into "useless corpses" and proposed a ban on it for anyone under the age of 60.

11. Chock Full o'Nuts coffee contains no nuts.

It's named for a chain of nut stores the founder converted into coffee shops.

12. The world’s most expensive coffee comes from animal poop.

iStock

Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee, earns its pricey distinction thanks to a surprising step in its production: digestion. In Indonesia, a wild animal known as the Asian palm civet (a small critter similar to the weasel) cannot resist the bright red coffee cherries that abound, even though they can’t digest the actual coffee beans. The beans pass through the civets' systems without being fully digested. At which point, some brave coffee farmer collects the beans from the civets’ droppings, (hopefully) thoroughly washes them, and sells them for up to $600 per pound.

13. The world’s first webcam watched a coffee pot.

Though it was hardly what one might described as “action-packed,” it allowed researchers at Cambridge to monitor the coffee situation in the Trojan Room without ever leaving their desks. After the webcam portion of the Trojan Room coffee pot experiment was pulled, the pot itself—a non-working Krups ProAroma pot that would normally retail for about $50—was put up for auction on eBay, where it sold for just under $5000.

14. It would take 70 cups of coffee to kill a 150-pound person.

Too much of anything can be a bad thing—yes, even your favorite customized coffee beverage. A video from AsapSCIENCE determined that it would take 70 cups of coffee to kill a roughly 150-pound person.

15. There’s a Starbucks at CIA headquarters.

iStock

Some officers at the Central Intelligence Agency call it “Stealthy Starbucks,” but employees at the Langley, Virginia location definitely aren’t your typical Starbucks employees. For one, they must undergo extensive background checks and they cannot leave their post without a CIA escort. On the positive side: They don’t have to write down or shout out their customers’ names!