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In a work set in the past, there's a twist at the end revealing that one of the supporting characters, whose identity has been hidden from the audience, is actually a famous historical figure.

Can overlap with Young Future Famous People and In the Past Everyone Will Be Famous. The Gump may be especially prone to having this kind of supporting character.

Not to be confused with You Will Be Beethoven, in which a time-travelling character becomes a famous historical figure.

Examples of Historical Person Punchline include:


  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is rife with famous historical persons, but their identities generally get revealed right away. There are exceptions though:
    • In The Buckaroo of the Badlands, Scrooge befriends a young man who chose to become a cowboy instead of continuing his political career. Scrooge inspires him to go back into politics. The story's last panel reveals this fellow's initials to be T. R..
    • In The Vigilante of Pizen Bluff, Scrooge meets a lot of legends of The Wild West: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, P. T. Barnum, and the Daltons. And a Native American who escaped from his reservation and now performs in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He is in the end revealed to be no other than Geronimo, the famous Apache leader. (He does mention his name well before the reveal though. But it is not the name he became famous with, and therefore a Genius Bonus. Scrooge, by the way, recognizes this name immediately.)
  • In the 1987 Mickey Mouse story Topolino e il ritorno al passato, Mickey and Goofy time travel to 16th century Saint-Rémy where they meet a young boy named Michel who accidentally follows them on their return to the present. Michel, who only speaks in rhyme, spends a day in the modern world. Before he is sent back to the past he secretly rips out random pages from history books and hides them in his pants, leaving Mickey and co. to wonder what he'd to with these fragments of knowledge. It turns out that Michel is Michel de Nostredame - Nostradamus.



Live-Action TV

  • In the Doctor Who serial Timelash, a young man named Herbert gets caught up in one of the Doctor's adventures, which involves a war between worlds, an invisible man, a time machine, and Morlox -- and in the end, of course, we learn that he's Herbert George Wells.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Time's Arrow": Jack the bellboy turns out to be Jack London.
    • Interestingly, it's Mark Twain who tells him to go to Alaska, mostly to get rid of him.
  • New Amsterdam, "Soldier's Heart": Walt the orderly turns out to be Walt Whitman.
  • A few Quantum Leap episodes:
    • "How the Tess Was Won": The main plot of the episode is a Shaggy Dog Story. The real reason for the leap is that the guitar-playing kid whose name Sam doesn't know, and who he's been calling "buddy", turns out to be Buddy Holly, who needs a push on the lyrics to "Peggy Sue".
    • "The Boogieman": the kid to whom Sam keeps making Stephen King allusions (or, at least, to whom he presumably narrates these allusions after the All Just a Dream reveal) turns out to be "Stevie" King himself.
    • This also shows up as the punchline to a few brief jokes: Sam gives real estate advice to Donald Trump, shows dance moves to Michael Jackson, and performs the Heimlich Maneuver on the doctor it's named after.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Comes the Inquisitor", the Vorlons send a human named Sebastian to act as their Inquisitor. He acts, sounds, and dresses like a late 19th century upper-class Englishman, and claims he was taken by the Vorlons to do their bidding and is kept in suspended animation when he is not needed. He explains at the end that he thought he was chosen for a special destiny, but was wrong. And history was not kind:

 Sebastian: Good luck to you in your holy cause, Captain Sheridan. May your choices have better results than mine -- remembered not as a messenger. Remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero, not even as Sebastian. Remembered only... as Jack.

  • In the short-lived show The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne, the protagonists meet a young American boy named Al, deaf in one ear, who makes amazing inventions and is able to reverse-engineer a hovering machine from the future (or the past; not sure about this one). When leaving, he reveals that Al is a shortened form of his middle name - Alva. Yep, that's Thomas Alva Edison.
  • In Boardwalk Empire one of the main characters, Jimmy, meets a young up-and-coming bootlegger from Chicago. The two become acquaintances, have several conversations together, rub elbows committing crime, and after all of this, Jimmy finally asks his mysterious new friend his name. To which he casually reponds, "Al. Al Capone."

Western Animation

  • A time-travel episode of The Fairly Odd Parents had a little boy called Billy talking about computers and being called crazy. At one point, somebody goes "Oh, that Billy Gates!"
  • More "Person From Historical Fiction Punchline", but works in the same manner: In one episode of Back to The Future the animated series, the characters are in Ancient Rome and get some help from a slave named Judah who turns out to be a damn good charioteer. At the end he reveals his full name: Judah Ben-Hur.
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