or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Reference Question of the Week – 7/6/14

   July 12th, 2014

hrpufnstufQuestions like this are the reason I keep coming to work. The phone rings...

Me: Reference Desk, can I help you?
Patron: Can you ask Wicked Peter what his real name is?
Me: Who?
Patron: H.R. Pufnstuf
Me: What?
Patron: What is H.R. Pufnstuf's real name? What does the H.R. stand for?

Holy smokes. I search Google for just "h.r. pufnstuf" and the first first result was a Wikipedia entry (ah-ha, Wicked Peter = Wikipedia, so that's one mystery solved).

That article, along with a few other websites I checked, said the H.R. stands for "Royal Highness" (backwards - or "His Royalness"), according to the shows creator, or "hand rolled" (a pot reference), according to its fans.

I never watched this show, so I don't know about the pot reference. But since this was about the same time as Puff the Magic Dragon, I guess people making that sort of connection isn't surprising.

Anyway, I told the patron that it stood for His Royalness, but other people thought it stood for other things. That must have been enough, and the patron said thanks and hung up.




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4 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 7/6/14”

  1. Nancy Says:

    I can still sing the H.R. Pufnstuff theme song! ;-)

  2. Chris Says:

    It shall now and henceforth only be known as Wicked Peter for me. Hilarious.

  3. Joyce Says:

    Oh wow, completely forgot about that show, and now that theme song is looping through my brain. Argh!

  4. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    Opening a phone conversation with “Ask Wicked Peter what his real name is” sounds like a challenge phrase from a cheesy Cold War spy novel. Or possibly the beginning of a horror story.


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