A Man Changed His Name To George George, And Thought He Had A Good Reason
You've all heard of Rube Goldberg machines, right? They're those complicated setups of mechanical chain reactions to accomplish some simple task. Say, a ball rolls down a ramp, and it hits a second ball, which triggers a gun, which lights a candle, which bursts a balloon, and so on and so on, all to finally turn the TV on or something.
Rube Goldberg machines are named after the real man Rube Goldberg, who was an inventor and designed these machines as jokes in cartoons. He was an incredibly prolific cartoonist, when he wasn't inventing—the number of cartoons he produced stood somewhere around 50,000. A lot of this stuff was pure comedy, but he was also a political cartoonist. He won the 1948 Pulitzer for this cartoon here:
Okay, it might not look too brilliant to a modern eye, and we tend to mock political cartoonists nowadays who feel they need to identify every single symbol with a big label, but it was bold stuff at the time. His brave commentary on international affairs was even more controversial during World War II, when people would call you a traitor for any kind of criticism of the country's direction.
Rube received a bunch of hate mail at that time, and he decided it would be safest for his family if they changed their names, to distance themselves from him. He told his sons Thomas and George to pick new surnames for themselves. Thomas agreed, but he didn't want to abandon his family. So he changed his name to Thomas George, in honor of his brother.
Brother George also cared a lot about family. But instead of changing his name to George Thomas, he figured the best way to keep the family united was for both kids to pick the same surname. So he changed his name to George George.
And that was how George George got his name. He went on to become a producer of Broadway plays and movies, including the famous film My Dinner with Andre. Professionally, he referred to himself as "George W. George," which sounded marginally less ridiculous than George George.
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For more people's odd names, check out:
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Top image: Rube Goldberg