The Rich Are Different

The 10 richest fictional characters, as judged by Forbes magazine in 2006:

  1. Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks
  2. Charles Montgomery Burns
  3. Scrooge McDuck
  4. Richie Rich
  5. Jed Clampett
  6. Rich Uncle Pennybags (the Monopoly mascot)
  7. Bruce Wayne
  8. Anthony Stark (Marvel Comics’ Iron Man)
  9. Prince Abakaliki
  10. Thurston Howell III

Abakaliki, new to the Forbes list, is the fictional Nigerian “entrepreneur” mentioned in millions of fraudulent spam messages.

Substitute Players

You can’t always rely on baseball’s record books — they’re haunted by “phantom” players. According to one box score, a player named Lou Proctor walked as a pinch hitter for the St. Louis Browns against the Boston Red Sox on May 13, 1912. It turns out that Lou Proctor was really a Cleveland telegraph operator who had inserted his own name in place of Pete Compton’s. More than two dozen such errors have been uncovered; this one wasn’t found until the mid-1980s.

Perfect Casting

In the 1970s, Anthony Hopkins won a role in the film The Girl From Petrovka. The story was based on a novel by George Feifer, and Hopkins sought it out in several bookstores, without success. He was waiting at the Leicester Square underground station when he noticed a discarded book on a bench nearby. It was The Girl from Petrovka, with notes written in the margins.

Two years later, while shooting the project in Vienna, Hopkins met Feifer, and during their conversation he learned that the novelist had no copy of the book. He had lent his to a friend, who had lost it somewhere in London.

Incredulous, Hopkins handed him the book he had found two years earlier. “Is this the one?” he asked. “With the notes scribbled in the margins?” It was Feifer’s book.

Elmer McCurdy

In December 1976, the television program The Six Million Dollar Man was shooting an episode at California’s Long Beach Pike amusement park when a crew member discovered a wax dummy hanging in a funhouse gallows. When he tried to move it, its arm broke off — it wasn’t a dummy, but in fact a mummified human body. Stranger still, its mouth contained a 1924 penny and a ticket from the Museum of Crime in Los Angeles.

After much investigation, it turned out to be the body of Elmer McCurdy, an inept outlaw who had been killed in an Oklahoma gunfight in 1911. When no one claimed his body, an unscrupulous undertaker had embalmed it and charged a nickel to see “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up,” and for 60 years thereafter McCurdy’s corpse was traded among wax museums, carnivals, and haunted houses.

Elmer was finally buried, fittingly, in the Boot Hill section of Oklahoma’s Summit View Cemetery under two cubic yards of concrete. Ironically, his last words had been “You’ll never take me alive!”

Tee Time

The last golf shots on the moon were taken by Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard in February 1971.

When the crew returned to Earth, they received the following telegram from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland:

Warmest congratulations to all of you on your great achievement and safe return. Please refer to the Rules of Golf section on etiquette, paragraph 6, quote – before leaving a bunker a player should carefully fill up all holes made by him therein, unquote.