DR. JOEL FLEISCHMAN, Johns Hopkins will never...


DR. JOEL FLEISCHMAN, Johns Hopkins will never take you now. On the CBS television show "Northern Exposure" last Monday, lead actor Rob Morrow, who plays the role of a young New York doctor transplanted to Alaska, repeatedly tTC mispronounced the name of the renowned Johns Hopkins Medical School as "John Hopkins."

It's not an uncommon mistake. So prevalent is the error that the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University produced a brochure several years ago, entitled "All about Johns," to explain the origin of the name of the institution's founder.

Johns Hopkins, quite simply, was given his great-grandmother's last name as his first name. She was Margaret Johns, daughter of Richard Johns, who owned a 4,000-acre estate in Calvert County. In 1700, she married Gerard Hopkins. Their great-grandson amassed a fortune. In 1873, he bequeathed $7 million to establish Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The media -- alas, even the local press at times -- butchers the name enough that Johns Hopkins may be the only university with its own correct-spelling listing in the Associated Press stylebook. ("No apostrophes," the guidebook admonishes.)

Ironically, Hopkins officials were sent the "Northern Exposure" script to proofread before the show was filmed; the script spelled "Johns Hopkins" correctly. The director apparently never caught the actor mispronouncing it.

The other irony is that a central point of the episode was the lamenting by Mr. Morrow's character that "John Hopkins" wouldn't take him seriously because an experiment he was conducting for the medical school got fouled up.

An official with the show indicates it's some kind of mental block for the actor. In fact, Mr. Morrow's lines have been redubbed in the past when he's botched references to Johns Hopkins; because this particular episode included so many references during close-up shots, it was too time-consuming to fix the slips.

Poor Dr. Fleishman, now he'll never get in to Hopkins.

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Such network TV indignities to Charm City may be partly atoned in the week of Nov. 6, when ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" hosts segments from venues around the Chesapeake Bay.

The show's co-hosts are slated to hopscotch by boat and bus to Annapolis and St. Michaels, as well as to Virginia, Washington and Delaware.

While hosts Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson broadcast from St. Michaels Nov. 7, weatherman Spencer Christian will be at Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Fells Point. Plus, the show will report on research at Johns, not John, Hopkins.

Later that week, the show heads to Kennett Square, Pa., and Philadelphia, although if the Good Morning America folks are telling us that Philly identifies with the Chesapeake, we'll eat a cheesesteak.

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