Entertainment

There Was A ‘Willy Wonka’ Star On Jeopardy & He Looks SO Different Now

Paramount Pictures

Some people were child actors in their youth. Some people grow up to compete on Jeopardy. For one incredible guy, it's both: A Willy Wonka child star competed on Jeopardy on March 13, and fans went absolutely wild for it. Paris Themmen, best known as the cowboy-loving Mike Teevee from the 1971 film, finally got on TV. Regular-sized and everything. The actor was just 12 when he co-starred in the film. More than 40 years later, his work as the bratty American tween is not forgotten. Despite all this, Themmen did not reveal his identity on the show. Daily Mail reports that, during the Jeopardy Q&A portion, he only mentioned that he'd traveled extensively.

Now 58, the former child performer no longer work in the industry, though his IMDb page reveals he makes occasional guest appearances on programs as himself. The Jeopardy appearance isn't out of character, though: per IMDb, the Willy Wonka actor has also appeared on programs like Win Ben Stein's Money, and Trivial Pursuit: The Game Show. Predictably, fans of the 1971 classic absolutely loved Themmen's Jeopardy appearance. (Spoiler alert: He placed second and will not be moving forward in the competition.)

Even so, it was enough to make Twitter an over-the-top, Team Mike Teevee (originally spelled Teavee in Roald Dahl's book Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) place for one night. Here's how fans reacted when they realized a Willy Wonka star was a Jeopardy contestant:

1. "Is Nobody Realizing...?"

This fan was definitely not alone, even if it took a few minutes for everyone to get on their level.

2. "I'm Way More Excited About It Than I Should Be"

It's hard not to get excited about it. All Mike Teevee ever wanted was to be on TV, and it happened in a major way. The responses to this tweet are hilariously excited and profane, so definitely look at those if you're not on a work computer right now.

3. This Fan Couldn't Believe No One Mentioned It On TV

Right? Hey, at least the Paris Themmen hive was alive and well on Twitter to celebrate.

4. At Least One Person Was Prepared For Mike Teevee's Appearance

Either that, or they wanted to make sure the West Coast was ready. Very thoughtful. Willy Wonka himself would be impressed.

5. A Former Jeopardy Contestant Knew What Was Up

Leave it to a fellow trivia buff to catch that piece of information before anyone else.

6. This Fan Tweeted The Cutest Emojis About It

"Mike Teevee is on my TV!" It's kind of the greatest, most meta thing that could ever happen on television? Take that, live episode of 30 Rock.

7. Meg Could Not Play It Cool

TBH, no one should have expected her (or anyone else) to. It's Mike Freakin' Teevee! On the TV! How was everyone not talking about this?

8. One Person Knew Him By Name Alone & That's Real Fandom

The dig at this person's local station for interrupting the opening credits is also great.

9. "Wait, Did They Mention It?"

No, your ears did not deceive you. Mike Teevee was literally on Jeopardy and all he did was talk about his backpacking and travel. Real fans knew, though. Oh, they knew.

10. This Person Is Friends With Him IRL & You Will Have So Many Questions

How on Earth is the actor that played Mike Teevee this person's fourth friend to appear on the show? Let's hang out at that bar, or drink from that fountain, or whatever those folks are doing.

11. "I Missed It!?"

To be fair, it's not like anyone made enough of a deal about this. In fact, people were generally way too cool about the fact that Mike Teevee was competing on Jeopardy. It wasn't even a celebrity episode.

So, there you have it: The actor who played Mike Teevee in Willy Wonka finally made it onto TV, with name recognition and all. He did a pretty good job, too. Still, though, a cowboy outfit would have been so fun.