As fans of the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” will recall, one of the children to find a golden ticket and win a tour of the titular chocolate factory was a kid named Mike Teavee, who was obsessed with television (and cowboys).
That character was played by child actor Paris Themmen, who appeared in several memorable scenes in the film, including this one:
Themmen, now 58, made a TV comeback his character would be proud of when he appeared as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” this week.
Themmen, however, did not reveal his identity during Alex Trebek’s let’s-get-to-know-the-contestants chat before the game, and was introduced as an “entrepreneur” and “avid backpacker” who’s traveled to 61 countries.
However, it didn’t take long for viewers to recognize the name, and they quickly took to Twitter to share their amazement that they were watching Mike Teavee on TV (who, by the way, came in second with $6,800 in winnings).
One Thursday, Themmen chatted with TMZ about his “Jeopardy!” experience, and revealed the reason he didn’t reveal his “Willy Wonka” past was because Trebek never asked about it, even though he had the information in front of him during the interview, with the producers supplying the host with three “fun facts” about each contestant.
“He’s got at the top of the stack, right there, ‘Paris played Mike Teavee on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”,” said Themmen, adding that the other facts included Themmen having travelled to 61 countries and — even more mind-blowing — that Themmen’s wife is a former “Jeopardy!” contestant.
“Alex looks at it, he looks at what interests him, and that’s what he talks about,” explains Themmen of why Trebek glossed over his “Wonka” history. Watch: