Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bad Names


  
Sometimes having the same or a similar name to someone or something else can be unfortunate.

Anyone remember a candy designed for weight loss called Ayds? Its origins went as far back as the 1930s, but their sales really took off in the '70s and '80s... but increasing publicity about AIDS  (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) as the 1980s progressed eventually torpedoed the dietetic product's sales.

There is a finite number of given names and surnames in this world, although there are a lot of both, and even a finite (though huge) number of combinations.

Sometimes, it's unavoidable to have the same name as one or more famous people. I've known a man named Robert Klein, no relation to the comedian, and met a man named John Lennon, no relation to the well-known musician. My own name, David Lynch (although I always include my middle initial, "M"), is shared with a famous film and TV director and a former baseball player, among others.

Hollywood is filled with actors who've had to change their real names because someone with the same name was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild. Actors Stewart Granger and Michael Keaton were actually born James Stewart and Michael Douglas, respectively.

Sometimes people have a little fun with it. Radio and TV comedian Harry Einstein finally gave his fourth son, born in 1947, the name of Albert. When young Albert Einstein became a professional comedian, he took the name Albert Brooks.

Even similar names can evoke confusion. Whenever I hear the name of the white supremacist and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (shown below in both an old and a more recent photo), I'm reminded of someone else.




That "someone else" is an actor named David Dukes, not Duke, a character actor who unfortunately passed away in 2000. And I'm apparently not the only one who associates the two (although I never actually confused one for the other). The Wikipedia entry for David Dukes advises "For the white supremacist leader, see David Duke."

I first encountered David Dukes in a short-lived 1975 CBS television series called Beacon Hill. David Dukes is pictured first on the left in the back row. Beacon Hill also featured Stephen Elliott, Nancy Marchand, Edward Herrmann, Linda Purl, and many others.


Here's a better look at Dukes (far right), Stephen Elliott (middle), and Paul Rudd (far left):


Now, when I say "Paul Rudd," maybe you're thinking of this actor, who plays Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


I've seen the Beacon Hill Paul Rudd (who died in 2010) also listed online as Paul Ryan Rudd, but I honestly don't recall his using his middle name when he was on Beacon Hill.

Anyway, back to David Dukes. One of his best-known roles was as the man who attempted to rape Edith Bunker on an All in the Family episode called "Edith's 50th Birthday."


The scene where Edith turns the tables on her tormentor by thrusting a burnt cake into his face received the loudest audience applause and cheers of any other episode in the series.


I also saw Dukes in The Men's Club, an underrated 1986 film featuring an impressive ensemble cast, including Richard Jordan, Harvey Keitel, Frank Langella, Roy Scheider, Craig Wasson, Treat Williams, Stockard Channing, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and others!


It was while researching this article that I found out that David Dukes had suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack at the age of fifty-five.

As an almost-final note, there's a slight connection between the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Paul Rudd is a part of, and the white supremacist David Duke. It involves actor Chris Evans (shown below).


Of course, you may be more familiar with Evans in his Marvel Cinematic Universe role, that of Captain America!


Well, about a year ago, Chris Evans and none other than David Duke himself got into a little "war" on Twitter. You can read about it here. (And by the way, the article says Captain America was created by Joe Siegel and Jack Kirby. Uhhh, not quite. It was Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Jerry Siegel co-created Superman with artist Joe Shuster!)

And finally, just to prove my point about various people having the same name, if you go to the Wikipedia page for "Christopher Evans," you'll find it's the name of sixteen different celebrities!

Thanks for your time.

16 comments:

  1. Egad! Someone besides me remembers Beacon Hill! They just don't make TV drama like that any more. Well, okay, the British still do. But Hollywood seems to have abandoned the style!

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    1. Not only do you and I remember Beacon Hill, Roy, but I think we may be the only two who ever watched it. It didn't do too well in the ratings, as I recall, but I liked it.

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  2. haha sure can give one the run around unless they truly look. Never knew Keaton changed his name. I heard Brooks did a while back. I remember that All in the Family episode. I had to be fingerprinted for clearance for a few jobs just in case someone out there with my name was a criminal.

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    1. I mentioned the background on Albert Brooks' name in a post I did on his birthday. Maybe you read it there?

      I never was fingerprinted for a job before. What were these jobs?

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  3. I'm never going to be mistaken for any film director or celebrity. Probably a good thing :)

    You put a serious amount of research into all your posts. Kudos!

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    1. And I'm glad to see the issue re the publish button is finally sorted, phew! that went through on the first hit.

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    2. Believe it or not, I do less research for these posts than you might think I do. Most of the details come from a mind that's loaded with trivia about various subjects. And sometimes, the research that I actually do is confined to spot-checking little details, i.e. "Did that film come out in 1980 or 1982?" That kind of thing.

      And yes, I too am glad the comment publishing button finally works right away!

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  4. I remember Ayds. I don't remember Beacon Hill. I've been fingerprinted for some jobs. I've heard about actors who changed their names because someone was already in the Screen Actors Guild with that person's name but I can't think of any other examples. I can't think period. Too tired, but I like the job.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I can only think of one similar example at the moment. There was an American actor named Michael Fox (since deceased) already registered with SAG when a Canadian named Michael Fox began acting in the USA. He had to alter his name, and although his middle initial was "A," he thought "Michael A. Fox" sounded too much like "Michael's a fox," plus there was the fact that "A" sounded like the "eh?" that people always stereotype Canadians as using excessively. So instead, he took the middle initial of actor Michael J. Pollard (whom you'll remember from Bonnie and Clyde, and no doubt elsewhere). So that's how we got Michael J. Fox.

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    2. I remember when Fox became so popular on Family Ties. I saw him on a talk show and he said his name was Michael A. Fox. Everyone laughed. He was a fox.

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    3. Yep. That reaction was something he wanted to avoid getting on a regular basis.

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  5. The man who attempted to rape Edith Bunker... There are so many things wrong with sentence, I wouldn't know where to start. (smile)

    I once had a student from somewhere in the Middle East and her name was Shadap. To be pronounced as shudup.

    That's right.

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    1. Maybe I will change my name to Shudup.

      Love,
      Janie

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    2. "Shadap" is certainly an unusual name. Certain things don't always sound good to other cultures.

      And Norman Lear picked Edith Bunker as the attempted rape victim -- the original story idea had been developed for another Lear series, One Day at a Time -- to show that rape could happen to anyone, even someone innocent and naive like Edith.

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    3. I remember an earlier episode when Gloria was harassed by a man or some men and roughed up a bit. She called the police and they showed her how she would be treated in court if the case went to trial. She decided not to proceed. Norman Lear was such a ground breaker.

      Delete

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