PDA

View Full Version : The Curious Case of Herbert Nenninger [bunny's name on Curious George animated show]


CuriousCrittle
02-17-2013, 10:26 AM
Dear Straight Dope,

In several episodes of the PBS animated series, Curious George, George's friend Bill's bunnies all have simple pet-compatible names like fuzzy or whitey -- except for the 7th bunny. His name is Herbert Nenninger. (Blank stare).

There has to be some significance to that name. After all, one doesn't just pull a name like Herbert Nenninger out of some sort of random, magical naming hat. This has been driving me crazy since I noticed it a few months ago. Do you know if the name is a reference to someone famous, or perhaps someone with personal connection to author H.A. Rey?

Seriously. It's going to drive me nuts. :smack:

~Curious Crittle

Ace309
02-17-2013, 10:45 PM
Bumping. It's obviously a joke based on the incongruity, but who was Herbert Nenninger? The world may never know.

Colibri
02-17-2013, 11:13 PM
Moved to Cafe Society, and title edited.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Amateur Barbarian
02-18-2013, 10:14 AM
Bumping. It's obviously a joke based on the incongruity...
Not sure why a thread needed bumping after 20 minutes... :confused:

I'd concur it's humor, an unexpected break in sequence, meant to be absurd - like the names of the "Mosquitoes" in a Gilligan's Island episode: Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Irving.

Irving being an inherently funny name like Bob.

It may have been a friend of a friend of the crew, thrown in for inside amusement.

Czarcasm
02-18-2013, 10:17 AM
Going through a cursory examination of Rey's background, I've found no "Nenninger" connection yet. I wonder if it's a shout-out to somebody who helped them escape Nazi-occupied France in 1940?

Cheshire Human
02-18-2013, 01:53 PM
Not sure why a thread needed bumping after 20 minutes... :confused:

12 hours and 20 minutes. Still a bit premature, though.

Amateur Barbarian
02-18-2013, 03:04 PM
12 hours and 20 minutes. Still a bit premature, though.
Oh. Heh.

Oreo
02-22-2013, 04:37 PM
I've got another Bill-related question. He seems a bright enough kid, but does he really not realize George is a monkey? He seems to think George is an example of some species called "city-kid."

And what kind of job does the Man With The Yellow Hat have that he can afford a nice apartment in the city plus a country house with a cool yellow convertible? And that qualifies him to work both in a museum and as an astronaut?

And what happened to Allie's parents? Why is she living with her grandparents? Actually, same for Steve and Betsy, who live with their Aunt.

I really need to go talk to some grownups now...

RisingZan
09-21-2013, 11:04 AM
I still have to personally verify it, but I have heard that in the Curious George : A Halloween Boo Fest feature that was released this month, they explain that Herbert Nenninger is Bill's great-uncle. However that was obviously added now just because people kept asking, and previously it was just a joke.

As for Oreo's question, Bill does generally seem bright, but also a bit of a know-it-all. I get the impression he's never actually been to the city. There's an episode where Steve and Betsy come out to the country house and Bill decides that they must of grown up in the country because they don't talk and act like George.

Its not entirely clear if Allie actually lives with her grandparents, or is just visiting. at first it seems like she's visiting, but then she leaves from their farm for kindergarten with George. I don't think its that important why Allie, Steve and Betsy live without their parents; its more just the inclusion of families where kids are being raised by someone else and not making a deal out of it that's important; after all, George is generally handled like a pre-schooler and doesn't live with his parents either.

As for the man's apparent wealth, I always just assumed he had an inheritance that allowed him to live comfortably.

WGBHDigital
09-26-2013, 01:10 PM
Herbert Nenninger is actually Bill's great-great-uncle. RisingZan is correct that it is clarified in the Halloween special airing the 28th.

Have a nice day!

WGBHDigital
09-26-2013, 03:52 PM
*28th of October.

Sorry of any confusion we may have caused.

beavercartoon
01-14-2014, 02:32 AM
Sorry for bumping this topic. The Halloween special answers this. Herbert Nenninger was Bill's great great uncle and so he named the bunny after an old relative. (George is surprised when he learns this, while Bill thought everyone knew already.)

(Another interesting thing: unless it's an animation error, Bill's ancestor was white so Bill is mixed-race. I bet he assumes everyone knew that too. I've yet to see an episode where Bill realizes George is not a city kid but maybe it'll happen someday. I think it's a funny running gag that someone who seems so smart and mature for his age can't figure out that George is a monkey.)

TieItAllTogether
02-28-2019, 10:25 PM
Dear Straight Dope,

In several episodes of the PBS animated series, Curious George, George's friend Bill's bunnies all have simple pet-compatible names like fuzzy or whitey -- except for the 7th bunny. His name is Herbert Nenninger. (Blank stare).

There has to be some significance to that name. After all, one doesn't just pull a name like Herbert Nenninger out of some sort of random, magical naming hat. This has been driving me crazy since I noticed it a few months ago. Do you know if the name is a reference to someone famous, or perhaps someone with personal connection to author H.A. Rey?

Seriously. It's going to drive me nuts. :smack:

~Curious Crittle



Itís also funny that thereís a Character in The Stand named Herbert Denninger. Maybe itís a subtle kind between artists.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.