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Old 01-08-2019, 11:31 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Fictional characters who met actual famous people

Excluding the genre of alternative history, actors and actresses playing famous people, and famous people doing cameos in movies or TV shows (like Stephen Hawking's appearances on The Big Bang Theory).

What I'm thinking of is more like:

I just watched Misery with James Caan and Kathy Bates, based on the Stephen King novel. It's pretty good. I noticed that Bates's character had a little shrine set up to Paul Sheldon, the famous author played by Caan. It included a framed picture of Sheldon in a tux, meeting Queen Elizabeth II (presumably taken when the Queen attended some premiere of a Caan movie IRL).

Harry Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman, as shown on the front page of the Bedford Falls newspaper.

Jack Aubrey in the Napoleonic naval adventures of Patrick O'Brian is proud to have once shared a meal with Lord Nelson (who at the time uttered that deathless phrase, "May I trouble you for the salt, sir?").

In "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans," Sherlock Holmes was given an emerald tie pin by "a certain gracious lady," strongly implied to be Queen Victoria, for services rendered to the Royal Family.

Johnny Smith in Stephen King's novel The Dead Zone meets Jimmy Carter, at the time a near-unknown candidate campaigning in New Hampshire before the 1976 Democratic primary.

Flashman rubs shoulders with lots of famous people, obviously. And there are all the VIPs shown, thanks to CGI and manipulation of historical footage, in Zelig and Forrest Gump.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:38 AM
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Doctor Who-The Doctor has met scores of historical people but my favorite episode of that type is "Vincent and the Doctor", in which Matt Smith's Doctor has an encounter with Vincent Van Gogh.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:44 AM
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There was an episode of Bonanza featuring Mark Twain.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:47 AM
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Forrest Gump, everywhere he went.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:56 AM
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Well ANY story where a fictional character meets a real historical person is technically an alternate history.

Forrest Gump with multiple historical figures.

Robert Angier and Nikolai Tesla in The Prestige.

The team from Timeless meeting a historical figure almost every episode.

Indiana Jones meets Hitler.

That's just off the top of my head, I'll think a little more.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:59 AM
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Mr. O'Malley, Barnaby's fairy Godfather, would often ramble on about meeting famous people, usually resulting in disaster. For example, he'd talk about meeting Captain Smith of the Titanic and telling him they should go faster.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:03 PM
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Wait a minute, famous people played by an actor doesn't count?? Just some oblique reference in like a newspaper (invariably photoshopped) or a character name dropping that he met soandso? Is that right?
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:17 PM
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The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was one giant exercise in name-dropping. Take just about any important person in the early or middle 20th Century. Indy either worked for them, worked with them, went to school with them, lived next door to them, fought with or against them in World War I, dated their sister, (or, if a female, he had a passionate but doomed romance with them).
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:38 PM
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Unusual example; the recent independent movie The House of Tomorrow, based on a 2010 novel, was about an elderly woman and her grandson who live in a geodesic dome house, built by Buckminster Fuller. They also give tours of the house and talk about the architect. In one scene in the movie, the grandmother, played by Ellen Burstyn, is shown on videotape talking to Buckminster Fuller and on a sailboat with him. The footage is real, because Ellen Burstyn really knew the architect and spent time with him. So the fictional character is shown with the actual famous person, because the actress spent time with the actual famous person.

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Old 01-08-2019, 12:40 PM
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Horatio Hornblower and Richard Sharp encounter a lot of Napoleonic-era celebrities in their novels.

Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe meets Robin Hood and King Richard. (I am giving Robin Hood the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that he was based on real outlaws.)

In War and Peace, characters interact with Napoleon, Tsar Alexander, Dowager Empress Maria, and Prince Kutuzov.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:41 PM
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Another example, in the Tom Clancy novel Patriot Games, Jack Ryan saves the lives of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (in the book, they're still happily married). Later in the book the prince and princess visit the Ryans' home in America. (The movie version changed the character to a fictional royal.)
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Forrest Gump, everywhere he went.
Yeah, when I read the thread title, I thought this was going to be the OP's first example.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:56 PM
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There are scads of books, TV shows, and movies in which fictional characters interact with real people. I think it'd be hopeless to try to list them all.

One interesting case is James Hogan's science fiction novel the Proteus Operation. It's a time travel novel. To the best of my knowledge, Hogan is the only person to write such a novel where he got permission from the real characters (at least those still alive) to use them in his story, such as Isaac Asimov.

It's sort of the opposite of W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, where he included the real-life author J.D. Salinger as a character without his permission*' Salinger was reportedly furious, and threatened legal action if they used his real name in adaptations. So when they turned the book into the movie Field of Dreams, they changed his character to the wholly made-up Terence Mann (played by james Earl Jones).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoeless_Joe_(novel)


*Kinsella sort of thought he was repaying Salinger for using a character named Kinsella in one of his stories. He said that he wrote Salinger's character (he never met the man) as a real good guy "so he wouldn't get sued."
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:08 PM
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Another example, Isaac Asimov's novel Murder at the ABA, in which Asimov himself and others appeared in the novel.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:10 PM
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D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers work for King Louis XIII, and in the sequels, King Louis XIV. In one of the sequels, Dumas implies that a Moliere based a character in The Misanthrope on Porthos.

In just about any novel by Alexandre Dumas, Rafael Sabatini, or Baroness Orczy, the characters will encounter a number of historical figures.

Robert Downey Jr.'s character in Restoration works for King Charles II.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:19 PM
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I recall a movie review of a historical biography, and the reviewer said something along the lines of how it reminded him in an awkward way of a clutzy old-fashioned movie biography made in the past. Where a group would be discussing something and one of them would say, 'oh, wait, here comes Beethoven now, let's ask him what he thinks'. I thought that was kind of hilarious.
  #17  
Old 01-08-2019, 01:20 PM
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Damon and Pythias were fictional, but the villain of the story was the real-life Dionysius I of Syracuse.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:22 PM
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IMO Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean could work, as in the original live version (15 episodes over 5 years - don't know about the movies or the specials) he met Queen Elizabeth in a receiving line at a theatre (and knocked her over when bowing), and in the following cartoon series (oh yes, there is a pretty decent cartoon series, 100+ episodes and more planned to be made) he meets or interacts with Queen Elizabeth at least 4 times, probably more, including washing her limo and winning a garden show prize from her. Mr. Bean probably met other real world people as well, I just don't recall them.

Speaking of fictional Rowan Atkinson characters who met 'real world' people, two words - 'Black Adder'. Enough said (although I don't recall if he met any real world characters in Black Adder goes forth - the Red Baron maybe?)

Last edited by SirRay; 01-08-2019 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:24 PM
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The gang on Murdoch Mysteries has met Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini, H.G. Wells, Jack London, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell,
Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison.

In my favorite book, If I Never Get Back, the protagonist meets Mark Twain, and travels with the entire 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings team. Not long after I read the book for the first time my family and I went to the Baseball HOF and it was a real treat to see all the guys from the book in the Hall!!
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:28 PM
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There are a few Bret Easton Ellis novels in which a fictional character meets an actual person, but Glamorama has to have the most. I think Skeet Ulrich has a full chapter. It's been about 15 years since I read it though, so I can't remember the specifics. There may have even been a scene where Patrick Bateman is at the same party as Christian Bale.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:30 PM
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Harry Flashman. For the win.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:37 PM
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Then there was the fine documentary film, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
I still catch myself mentally pronouncing Socrates as "so crates"
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:41 PM
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In The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyers, Sherlock & Watson meet Sigmund Freud. In the sequel The West End Horrors they meet George Bernard Shaw (who is amazed that Holmes can tell where someone is from just by talking to them), Bram Stoker & Oscar Wilde.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:44 PM
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In "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans," Sherlock Holmes was given an emerald tie pin by "a certain gracious lady," strongly implied to be Queen Victoria, for services rendered to the Royal Family.
Holmes also mentions, in The Hound of the Baskervilles, "the little affair of the Vatican cameos," and refers to his "anxiety to oblige the Pope." The Pope at that time would have been Leo XIII.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:58 PM
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There was an episode of Bonanza featuring Mark Twain.
Twain also was a guest on the Enterprise D.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:01 PM
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Harry Flashman. For the win.
I think Dumas could give Fraser a run for his money.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:02 PM
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A significant proportion of historical novels would fit the bill, if I understand the criteria right. Thinking just about the works of Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe met the future Duke of Wellington, Napoleon, and various other historical personages. In the Saxon Chronicles, Uhtred met Alfred the Great and other English kings.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:09 PM
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Then there was the fine documentary film, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
I still catch myself mentally pronouncing Socrates as "so crates"
Sounds good, Mr. The Kid.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:12 PM
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Phil Farmer's Riverworld series of books-Everybody is a character in those stories.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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You can add a couple hundred muppets to your list, as the entire roster regularly met celebrities on The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and their various spin-off TV shows and movies.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:37 PM
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The characters of M*A*S*H once had a drive-through encounter with General Douglas McArthur. And Charles Winchester in particular had a date with Audrey Hepburn, his family was neighbors with the Kennedy family on Martha's Vineyard (which cause the old-money Winchesters to flee those unsophisticated nouveau riche) and his father knew Harry Truman (he didn't like him, but he knew him).
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:37 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Doctor Who-The Doctor has met scores of historical people but my favorite episode of that type is "Vincent and the Doctor", in which Matt Smith's Doctor has an encounter with Vincent Van Gogh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
There was an episode of Bonanza featuring Mark Twain.
See the first sentence of the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Forrest Gump, everywhere he went.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Harry Flashman. For the win.
Both mentioned in the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Wait a minute, famous people played by an actor doesn't count?? Just some oblique reference in like a newspaper (invariably photoshopped) or a character name dropping that he met soandso? Is that right?
Yes, that's the kind of thing I'm going for.

Thanks, all.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
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Phil Farmer's Riverworld series of books-Everybody is a character in those stories.
There are also two collections of Riverworld stories written by other writers, not to mentio lots of Riverworld fan fiction, some on Farmer's site.


One of the more interesting characters meeting historical characters is Cyrus Spitama in Gore Vidal's novel Creation. He gets to meet Zoroaster, Socrates, Anaxagoras, Gautama Siddhartha, Mahavira, Lao Tze, and Confucius. Vidal takes some liberties (like the fact that a lot of people don't think Lao Tze even existed), but it is remarkable that so many of these influential philosophers lived at bout the same time.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:41 PM
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In a weird reversal of this, you have series where real life people are characters in the show; Baa Baa Black Sheep (Pappy Boyington), Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David), Dave's World (Dave Barry), Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (James Van Der Beek), Mike Tyson Mysteries (Mike Tyson), Scorpion (Walter O'Brien), Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld), The Untouchables (Eliot Ness), and others. On these shows, all of the fictional characters in the series have met a famous real life person.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:59 PM
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Harry Flashman. For the win.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbh View Post
I think Dumas could give Fraser a run for his money.
How about the Simpsons? How many real life people have they met in the last thirty years?
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:08 PM
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Going really really obscure, in The Great Brain series, the character Tom brags a few times that he took boxing lessons from John L Sullivan
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:08 PM
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A significant proportion of historical novels would fit the bill, if I understand the criteria right. Thinking just about the works of Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe met the future Duke of Wellington, Napoleon, and various other historical personages. In the Saxon Chronicles, Uhtred met Alfred the Great and other English kings.
First thing I thought of- Uhtred has met pretty much every notable in England during the latter half of the 9th century.

I had to admit that Cornwell's device for explaining Uhtred's lack of historicity was clever- he made enemies with Bishop Asser, the guy whose chronicle of the time period around Alfred the Great's reign is the main source. So Asser basically wrote Uhtred out of history.
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:14 PM
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Parks and rec has had a huge number of Cameo, including a number of prominent politicians such a Newt Gingrich, Madeleine Albright, Michelle Obama, and John McCaine.
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:19 PM
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Daisy Moses ("Granny") meets John Wayne on the Beverly Hillbillies, Season 5, Episode 20, The Indians are Coming.
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:35 PM
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Many episodes of I Love Lucy.

Silent Movie (1976)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Zombieland (2009)
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:16 PM
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Read the first sentence of the OP, please, folks.
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:20 PM
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Read the first sentence of the OP, please, folks.
Forget it Islidur, it's Doperville.
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:21 PM
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Well ANY story where a fictional character meets a real historical person is technically an alternate history.
Captain Kirk et al met Abraham Lincoln, and possibly members of the Clanton/McLaury gang on alien planets, which aren't really alternate history.....
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:28 PM
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First thing I thought of- Uhtred has met pretty much every notable in England during the latter half of the 9th century.

I had to admit that Cornwell's device for explaining Uhtred's lack of historicity was clever- he made enemies with Bishop Asser, the guy whose chronicle of the time period around Alfred the Great's reign is the main source. So Asser basically wrote Uhtred out of history.
Uhtred seems to make enemies with the pretty big majority of the Christians with whom he has dealings... I find rather delightful, Cornwell's having him stubbornly sticking with the old religion of the Norse gods, at a time when militant Christianity is greatly in the ascendant in Britain -- he certainly doesn't make things easy for himself.
  #45  
Old 01-08-2019, 04:29 PM
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In the Dancing Gods series the protagonists at one point visit an evil magical kingdom ruled over by someone known as "The King of Horror". When they meet him, it turns out the King of Horror is Stephen King. "Where do you think I get my ideas?"


The Defenders from Marvel Comics appeared on the David Letterman show in-universe. Letterman got to bonk a supervillain on the head.


In the Time Wars series the protagonists meet a number of famous people. One I recall was when they ran into Jules Verne, who caused problems when he figured out that they were time travelers. Then he also with them was captured and taken aboard a submarine captained by a fanatic...you might say Verne got some inspiration fuel.


Time travel fiction in general has plenty of that sort of thing.
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:48 PM
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President Obama met Spider-Man once: http://comicseater.o.c.f.unblog.fr/f...aracomics1.jpg
  #47  
Old 01-08-2019, 05:53 PM
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Dickens's Mr. Turveydrop in Bleak House talks about having met the Prince Regent (or at least having been noticed by him) but the encounter isn't actually shown.

There are gazillions of British fictional characters who get presented to the current monarch(s) at court, such as Mrs. Poppit in E. F. Benson's Miss Mapp.

Actually, I think it's more difficult to come up with examples of a realistic novel that has absolutely no fictional character ever crossing paths with a real-life famous person.

Last edited by Kimstu; 01-08-2019 at 05:53 PM.
  #48  
Old 01-08-2019, 07:03 PM
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In The In-Laws, John F. Kennedy apparently summed things up for Vince Ricardo with a quick “Well, At Least We Tried.”

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“You were involved with the Bay of Pigs?”
“Involved? That was my idea!”

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Old 01-08-2019, 07:10 PM
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Der Trihs:

Quote:
The Defenders from Marvel Comics appeared on the David Letterman show in-universe. Letterman got to bonk a supervillain on the head.
The Avengers, actually.
  #50  
Old 01-08-2019, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xizor View Post
Going really really obscure, in The Great Brain series, the character Tom brags a few times that he took boxing lessons from John L Sullivan
I don't think he means that he actually met Sullivan, but that he learned through some sort of Sullivan correspondence course, like the Charles Atlas body-building ones from comic book ads.
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