A (Mock) Court in Pittsburgh Just Put Luke Skywalker on Trial for Murder

Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved
Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved

A court in Pittsburgh has acquitted Luke Skywalker of 5999 murder charges for causing the destruction of the Death Star.

The trial put the two highest-ranking rulers of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, on the witness stand, along with the top leaders of the Rebel Alliance—Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Skywalker himself—to recount the events leading up to the explosion of the Galactic Empire star base.

While Skywalker (attorney Matthew Feinman) and his counsel did not deny the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s charge that “on or about May 25, 1977,” the Jedi fired a proton torpedo at a design flaw in the industrial celestial object, leading to its complete destruction and the deaths of most crew members, Skywalker claimed the action was justified, given the Death Star’s recent use as a weapon of planetary destruction.

“I destroyed it because the Empire was posing a threat to the entire Rebel Alliance and the galaxy as a whole,” Skywalker, waiving his Fifth Amendment right, told the courtroom. “The Death Star could destroy an entire planet. If I didn’t destroy it, millions or even billions of lives could have been lost. The dark forces have no regard for human life and would destroy everything in their path.”


Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

The jury believed it. Said jury was a made up of Pittsburgh-area grade-schoolers, many of whom were wearing Star Wars T-shirts for the occasion, so it was arguably a tainted jury pool. Still, the Tatooine farmhand-turned-political radical left the courtroom as free as an unsaddled Bantha.

The “trial,” which took place on April 13, 2019 at Dormont Public Library, was one in a series of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s annual “Fairy Tale Mock Trials,” meant to give kids an introduction to the legal system, via material they know, and also allow local lawyers to show off their cosplay skills. (Last year, the Bar Association tried Harry Potter for the death of Professor Quirrell. The kids let The Boy Who Lived walk, too.)

“When they deliberate, they can be so thoughtful that I think a few of them could become interested in law,” attorney Catherine S. Loeffler, one of the event's organizers, said.

The prosecution’s key witnesses emphasized the loss of life on the Death Star and in what Emperor Palpatine (attorney Casey Rankin, who specialized in toxic tort defense) characterized as an “unprovoked attack.”

“Without warning or provocation, Luke Skywalker and members of the Rebel Alliance attacked us and the Battle of Yavin ensued,” Palpatine/Rankin hissed. “Our men fought valiantly but they were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the Rebel Alliance.”

Under questioning from “prosecutor” John Ogden, Palpatine put the cost of the destroyed property at “a gazillion galactic credits.”

“It sounds like you have a civil suit on your hands,” Ogden retorted.

“The Empire has much to settle,” the hooded galactic overlord agreed.

A scene from the mock trial of Luke Skywalker at Pittsburgh's Dormont Public Library
Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

Darth Vader (attorney Stephen Elek) recounted the crack to his imposing sense of calm and control on day of the alleged crime. “I looked out the window and I saw the entire Rebel Alliance armada,” he said. “There must have been over 200 ships right outside the Death Star.”

However, Vader and Palpatine proved to be unsympathetic witnesses when, under questioning from Skywalker’s attorney, Brian Shepard, both admitted to using the Death Star in planet-wide massacres.

When Shepard asked if the Empire’s agenda consisted of "blowing up their planets, destroying cities, and killing thousands of people,” Vader angrily retorted: “Yes, but it was a greater purpose yooouuu wouldn’t understand.”

The testimony of Storm Trooper Number 12 (University of Pittsburgh postdoctoral associate Wynn Meyer) may have struck a few heartstrings. “They surrounded us from all sides with a strategically coordinated attack,” the servant of the Empire, who testified in uniform, said. “It was clear they had been planning this for a while, definitely premeditated. They were heavily armed and many of my best men were killed before my very eyes.” She admitted that as the rebels advanced, “it was hard to hit anyone.”

The defense’s strategy hit a snag when key witness Han Solo (attorney Adam Rosenthal) was offended that defense attorney Ogden had not heard of his smuggling vessel. “You haven’t heard of the Millennium Falcon?” Solo asked, perplexed, when Ogden asked him to describe the ship that took part in the attack. “That’s the ship that did the Kessel Run in [less than] 12 parsecs.”

Judge Amanda Kraft (a business attorney by day) interrupted proceedings to halt the cross-talk about the Millennium Falcon.

Princess Leia is sworn in to take part in the trial of Luke Skywalker
Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

The defense’s final witness, Princess Leia (attorney Lea Lach), returned to a point of moral clarity by mournfully describing the destruction of her home planet, Alderaan, via the Death Star.

“By destroying the Death Star, we saved lives,” her highness said. “Darth Vader and the Empire should be on trial. My home planet was a peaceful place with no places or military bases. They killed millions of people and we killed 5999 to stop them from killing millions more. This trial is an outrage. It’s unfortunate those lives were lost, but we were doing it for the greater good.”

After deliberating with a court officer, the 3-foot-tall jury spokesman agreed. “We find Luke Skywalker innocent and think Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader should be on trial.”

Somehow, Skywalker and his defense team managed to turn the prosecution’s star witnesses into the defendants—a Jedi mind trick if there ever was one.

The 35 Most Profitable Movies of All Time, Based on Return on Investment

Paramount Home Video
Paramount Home Video

When it comes to box office dollars, the recipe for a successful movie is pretty simple: small budget + massive ticket sales = huge profit. If done correctly, this means an enormous return on investment (ROI) for the clever minds behind the film. According to data from The Numbers, the 35 movies below have mastered that moneymaking recipe to become some of the most profitable films of all time, based on ROI.

1. Deep Throat (1972)

A theater marquee advertises the film 'Deep Throat', starring Linda Lovelace (1949 - 2002), directed by Gerard Damiano, 1972.
A theater marquee advertises the film Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace, in 1972.
Arnie Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

Budget: $25,000
Profit: $22,528,467

While studio executives have long labeled an X (or NC-17) rating a kiss of death for box office totals, this infamous Linda Lovelace flick proved differently. The movie ushered in an era of what became known as “porno chic”—dirty movies that featured real actors, bona fide plots, and notable production values in an attempt to lure a more mainstream moviegoing public. The idea worked: Deep Throat ended up earning an ROI of 90,014 percent—a number that has kept it in the top spot for nearly 50 years, with no indication it’s likely to lose its top ranking any time soon.

2. Facing the Giants (2006)

Tracy Goode and Alex Kendrick in Facing the Giants (2006)
Tracy Goode and Alex Kendrick in Facing the Giants (2006).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Budget: $100,000
Profit: $38,551,255

Sports movies have often led to major box office hits. But Alex Kendrick’s Facing the Giants had one additional plot point going for it: It’s a sports movie and a Christian drama, a sub-genre that has been turning modestly budgeted films into box office behemoths over the past several years. In this case, it meant an ROI of 38,451 percent.

3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat in Paranormal Activity (2007)
Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat in Paranormal Activity (2007).
Paramount Home Video

Budget: $450,000
Profit: $89,376,549

Written and directed by Oren Peli, this classic found footage horror film scared up nearly $90 million in theaters and ending up with an ROI of 19,761 percent.

4. Fireproof (2008)

Kirk Cameron in Fireproof (2008)
Kirk Cameron in Fireproof (2008).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Budget: $500,000
Profit: $57,096,178

Two years after directing Facing the Giants, Alex Kendrick directed Fireproof, another Christian drama—this one focused on the deterioration of the marriage between a fire captain (played by teen heartthrob-turned-Christian movie star Kirk Cameron) and his hospital administrator wife and how the threat of divorce turns him into a changed man. The film was largely savaged by critics, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a huge box office hit and the highest-grossing indie film of 2008. Its 11,319 percent ROI also made it one of the most profitable films of all time.

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

A scene from <em>The Texas Chainsaw Massacre</em> (1974).
A scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
New Line Cinema

Budget: $140,000
Profit: $14,164,858

Tobe Hooper’s classic 1974 horror film is about Leatherface, a chainsaw-wielding maniac, and his cannibalistic family who stalk and torture a group of teens who stumble upon their home while visiting the grave and former home of their grandfather. Though the no-budget film spawned a full-on franchise—complete with sequels, remakes, reboots, and more to come—the original, and its 10,018 percent ROI, still stand alone.

6. The Gallows (2015)

Cassidy Gifford and Jesse Cross in The Gallows (2015)
Cassidy Gifford and Jesse Cross in The Gallows (2015).
Warner Bros.

Budget: $100,000
Profit: $6,898,494

Though it’s hard to predict precisely which movies will become box office hits, it’s fairly safe to say that horror movies—and low-budget horror movies in particular—tend to fare the best in terms of profitability, partially because it’s a genre that can be made well even if it’s made cheaply. Which is certainly the case with Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff The Gallows, a found footage horror movie that sees a cursed play come back to haunt a small town 20 years after a high school tragedy. An abysmal 15 percent Rotten Tomatoes score hardly matters when you’ve got a 6798 percent ROI.

7. Eraserhead (1977)

Jack Nance in Eraserhead (1977)
Jack Nance in Eraserhead (1977).
The Criterion Collection

Budget: $100,000
Profit: $4,652,535

David Lynch announced his arrival in the most Lynchian way possible with this surreal and totally bizarre movie that deals with male paranoia in a surprisingly personal way. Though Lynch has said relatively little about the movie himself, preferring that people maintain their own ideas of what it’s about, it’s rumored that it was largely inspired by the birth of Lynch’s daughter Jennifer (also a director), who had clubbed feet that required corrective surgery. Whatever the case, the movie—and its 4553 percent ROI—launched Lynch as a major new talent, and led to his next film: 1980’s The Elephant Man, which earned eight Oscar nominations.

8. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth (2006).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Budget: $1,000,000
Profit: $46,416,400

Six years after former vice president Al Gore unsuccessfully made a run for president in 2000, he reemerged as an authority on climate change. It’s not often that a documentary has lured so many viewers to a theater—or inspired so many of those viewers to take action after the fact and create a whole new generation of environmental activists. Ultimately, the $1 million production saw a 4542 percent ROI.

9. The Big Parade (1925)

'The Big Parade' stars Renee Adoree and John Gilbert working with director King Vidor.
The Big Parade stars Renee Adoree and John Gilbert working with director King Vidor.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Budget: $245,000
Profit: $11,015,791

In 1992, nearly 70 years after its release, King Vidor’s The Big Parade—an acclaimed silent World War I film—was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The film, which was adapted from Laurence Stallings’s autobiographical book Plumes, was unique among the war films that came before it in that it didn’t shy away from addressing the loss of human life and the true cost of war. It paved the way for many war films that came after it, including Lewis Milestone’s Oscar-winning All Quiet on the Western Front, though none ever matched its 4396 percent ROI.

10. The Devil Inside (2012)

Suzan Crowley in The Devil Inside (2012)
Suzan Crowley stars in The Devil Inside (2012).
Toni Salabasev/Paramount Pictures

Budget: $1,000,000
Profit: $37,422,146

Hoping to replicate the success (and format) of Paranormal Activity, The Devil Inside—a similarly documentary-style film, directed and co-written by William Brent Bell—managed to achieve an ROI of 3642 percent. Though it was not nearly as supernatural of an outcome as Oren Peli managed with Paranormal Activity, it's enough to earn the movie a spot right below his film in terms of profit.

11. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A still from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'
A still from A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Budget: $150,000
Profit: $5,306,612

Though Charles Schulz wasn’t particularly excited about getting into animated movies with the Peanuts, and CBS reportedly hated the final result of A Charlie Brown Christmas, this beloved special has been delighting audiences for more than half-a-century—on television, home video, and via special theatrical screenings during the holiday season. All of which has led to its 3438 percent ROI.

12. Peter Pan (1953)

A still from Peter Pan (1953)
A still from Peter Pan (1953).
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Budget: $4,000,000
Profit: $139,757,67

This Walt Disney classic, with its widespread appeal to children and adults alike, had a total ROI of 3394 percent. Never growing up appears to be a profitable endeavor.

13. Cat People (1942)

Jane Randolph stars in Jacques Tourneur's 'Cat People' (1942).
Jane Randolph stars in Jacques Tourneur's Cat People (1942).
RKO Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images

Budget: $134,000
Profit: $4,596,853

Jacques Tourneur’s 1942 classic proves that horror films have long been a profitable endeavor. In this case, a young woman named Irena fears that she is descended from a mythical family of felines and that any feelings of passion could turn her into a blood-thirsty panther. None of this dissuades her boyfriend, Oliver, who asks her to marry him nonetheless. When Irena withholds her passion for her husband for his own sake, he falls in love with another woman—and all hell breaks loose. The quirky story was like catnip to audiences, who helped it drum up a 3330 percent ROI.

14. Waiting… (2005)

Justin Long and Ryan Reynolds in 'Waiting...' (2005)
Justin Long and Ryan Reynolds star in Waiting... (2005).
Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Budget: $1,125,000
Profit: $36,128,709

In 2005, filmmaker Rob McKittrick turned his years of experience waiting tables into a cult classic comedy, appropriately titled Waiting…, that featured a stellar cast of soon-to-be superstars including Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Justin Long, and David Koechner. The film developed a surprise following that led to a 3111 percent ROI on its $1.1 million budget—and a 2009 sequel, Still Waiting….

15. God’s Not Dead (2014)

Kevin Sorbo and Shane Harper in God's Not Dead (2014)
Kevin Sorbo and Shane Harper in God's Not Dead (2014).
Pure Flix Entertainment

Budget: $1,150,000
Profit: $36,693,952

A huge hit with Christian moviegoers, this Kevin Sorbo starrer scored an ROI of 3091 percent and managed to stick around in theaters for a whopping 20 weeks.

16. Grease (1978)

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 'Grease' (1978)
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease (1978).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Budget: $6,000,000
Profit: $184,126,016

An American classic that is still finding new audiences, Grease sang and danced its way to the near top of the list with an ROI of 2969 percent.

17. High School Musical (2006)

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in 'High School Musical' (2006)
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical (2006).
Walt Disney Television

Budget: $4,200,000
Profit: $123,587,394

A descendant of Grease, this Disney musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet introduced Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, and a host of new young actors to the world and kicked off a franchise that included three films in the original series, six spin-offs, and a Disney+ series that debuted in November 2019 and has already been renewed for a second season. It also earned a 2843 percent ROI.

18. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Mark Hamill stars in 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope' (1977)
Mark Hamill stars in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Budget: $11,000,000
Profit: $292,940,192

The Star Wars franchise has come a long way since its original entry was released more than 40 years ago. In addition to holding the top spot on the list of highest-grossing domestic movies adjusted for inflation, the film’s relatively low budget of $11 million and enormous 2563 percent ROI make it one of the most profitable films ever made, too.

19. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Brian Boland and Katie Featherston in Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Brian Boland and Katie Featherston in Paranormal Activity 2 (2010).
Paramount Pictures

Budget: $3,000,000
Profit: $77,221,343

The seventh horror movie on this list (and the second with "Paranormal Activity" in its title), Paranormal Activity 2 ended up with an ROI of 2474 percent, even though its $3 million budget dwarfed the original film's.

20. Insidious (2011)

Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson in Insidious (2010)
Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson in Insidious (2010).
FilmDistrict

Budget: $1,500,000
Profit: $35,196,552

Another horror film that managed to scare up a huge audience, Insidious possesses an ROI of 2246 percent.

21. Split (2011)

James McAvoy stars in 'Split' (2017).
James McAvoy stars in Split (2017).

John Baer/ © 2016 Universal Studios

Budget: $5,000,000
Profit: $108,837,000

M. Night Shyamalan went back to his indie roots for Split, the second film in his Unbreakable trilogy, by shooting the film—which starred James McAvoy in a captivating performance—for a mere $5 million. It’s box office total of more than $108 million meant an impressive 2077 percent ROI.

22. Intouchables (2012)

François Cluzet and Omar Sy in Intouchables (2011)
François Cluzet and Omar Sy in Intouchables (2011).
Thierry Valletoux/Gaumont - Quad

Budget: $10,800,000
Profit: $231,488,178

This French buddy comedy, directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, became the second highest-grossing film in France within a few weeks of its original release. The film, which earned eight César Award nominations—and won for Best Actor for Omar Sy—became a hit worldwide, earning more than $231 million and a 2043 percent ROI.

23. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Teri Garr, Gene Wilder, and Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein (1974)
Teri Garr, Gene Wilder, and Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein (1974).
20TH CENTURY FOX

Budget: $2,800,000
Profit: $57,510,448

This comedic reimagining of Frankenstein was a major hit for Mel Brooks and ended up with a total ROI of 1954 percent.

24. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Still from 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946)
Still from It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Paramount Pictures

Budget: $3,180,000
Profit: $60,536,880

Frank Capra's uplifting holiday classic is the oldest movie on this list, the source of the idea that every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings, and a major hit, with an ROI of 1804 percent.

25. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Edward Bunker, and Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Edward Bunker, and Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs (1992).
Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment

Budget: $1,200,000
Profit: $22,452,279

Earning a well-deserved ROI of 1771 percent, Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut gunned its way to becoming the tenth most profitable movie.

26. Jaws (1975)

Susan Backlinie in 'Jaws' (1975)
Susan Backlinie in Jaws (1975).
MCA/Universal Home Video

Budget: $12,000,000
Profit: $222,629,082

This classic film, with its abundance of blood, screaming, and somewhat-obvious shark props, racked up an ROI of 1755 percent and kept beachgoers out of the water for years.

27. Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle Wallis in Annabelle (2014)
Annabelle Wallis in Annabelle (2014).
Gregory Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Budget: $6,500,000
Profit: $98,033,662

Yes, another horror film! John R. Leonetti's Annabelle managed to creep its way up to more than $250 million in ticket sales worldwide, yielding an ROI of 1408 percent.

28. Beauty And The Beast (1991)

Robby Benson and Paige O'Hara in Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Robby Benson and Paige O'Hara in Beauty and the Beast (1991).
Walt Disney Productions

Budget: $20,000,000
Profit: $287,924,831

The second Disney movie appearing on this list, this classic love story earned the biggest profit and started out with the biggest budget. What does that mean? Well, in this case, an ROI of 1340 percent.

29. The King’s Speech (2010)

Colin Firth in The King's Speech (2010)
Colin Firth in The King's Speech (2010).
The Weinstein Company

Budget: $15,000,000
Profit: $196,296,922

Earning an ROI of 1209 percent, this historical drama was a major hit, starring Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, his speech therapist.

30. Magic Mike (2012)

Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Channing Tatum in Magic Mike (2012)
Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Channing Tatum in Magic Mike (2012).
Claudette Barius/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Budget: $7,000,000
Profit: $89,660,661

Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey didn't have to bare it all to drum up more than $170 million in ticket sales, leaving director Steven Soderbergh with an ROI of 1181 percent.

31. The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars (2014).
James Bridges/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Budget: $12,000,000
Profit: $146,328,566

Based on the incredibly popular book by John Green, the big screen adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars took our tears and turned them into a profit of nearly $150 million. That’s an ROI of 1119 percent for those keeping count.

32. The Purge (2013)

A still from 'The Purge' (2013).
A still from The Purge (2013).
Daniel McFadden/Universal Pictures

Budget: $3,000,000
Profit: $35,920,740

Writer/director James DeMonaco's innovative take on anarchy ended up scoring an ROI of 1097 percent—and launching a full franchise.

33. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Anil Kapoor and Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Budget: $14,000,000
Profit: $163,354,988

Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning romantic drama earned nearly $385 million worldwide for an ROI of 1067 percent.

34. Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel in Black Swan (2010)
Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel in Black Swan (2010).
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Budget: $13,000,000
Profit: $148,130,645

Full of hallucinations, ballet, and (of course) swans, Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller performed brilliantly, achieving an ROI of 1039 percent.

35. Unfriended (2015)

Shelley Hennig in Unfriended (2014)
Shelley Hennig in Unfriended (2014).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Budget: $1,000,000
Profit: $11,191,847

Shot on a $1 million budget, Unfriended—a found footage horror movie directed by relative newcomer Levan Gabriadze—took in more than $60 million worldwide, leaving it with an ROI of 1011 percent.

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

Boxes of cereal featuring Cap'n 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

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

A container of Quaker Oats
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

Several containers of 1970s-style Mrs. Butterworth's syrup
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

A still of The Simpsons's Comic Book Guy
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

Mom, aka Carol Miller, from 'Futurama'
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

An orange card that says "Go directly to jail" and shows an illustrated police officer dragging a mustachioed man away.
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

Jailbird Jake, the Monopoly inmate
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

The Monopoly Man on the game board
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 93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade rehearsals at Macy's Herald Square on November 25, 2019 in New York City
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 Street character Guy Smiley
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

Pettermint Patty Peanuts trading card
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

Box of Mr. 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

Barbie doll on a pink background
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

Barbie and Ken
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's 'Operation' game
Hasbro via Amazon

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

18. The Church Lady // Enid Strict

Dana Carvey as The Church Lady on Saturday Night Live
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

Cookie Monster is photographed during an appearance at the Midweek Morning Show at Children's Hospital Boston in Boston, Massachusetts in 2010
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

A still from 'Curious George'
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

Twitter logo on a smartphone
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

A large peanut wearing a suit and monocle is dabbing.
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

Michelin Man is seen during the Formula E New York City Race on July 14, 2018 in New York City
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

The Evil Queen in 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1937)
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

'Moose & Midge: Breakup Blues' comic book cover
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

A Charmin promotional display featuring Mr. 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

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

A still from Casper (1995)
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

geoffrey the giraffe on toys r us truck
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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

32. Shaggy // Norville Rogers

A still from 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You!'
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

Richard Dean Anderson starred in '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
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
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

Alan Hale Jr. and Tina Louise in Gilligan's Island (1964)
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 in Gilligan's Island
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'
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.

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