Professor Kapp has the Solution

The film Space Ball introduced one of Art Clokey’s most lovable characters, Professor Cap. With a shape like a brown fig topped by a halo of white hair over wide eyes, and a voice like Ed Gwynn, the professor was the ultimate doddering genius. In many episodes his only clothing is a Phi Beta Kappa key positioned to protect his modesty.

We asked Art where he got his idea for this character.

Professor Kapp with Dali melting clocks
Professor Kapp with Shrink-a-dink invention

“Yes, Professor Kapp! The only piece of clothing he has is a Phi Beta Kappa key. In the early episodes, I used my father’s gold Phi Beta Kappa key, which was just the right size for Kapp. But the idea for the character came from this teacher of music that was a friend of my father’s, and we were at a restaurant in Claremont, where Pomona College is located. My father was teaching there at Pomona College of Music, and I noticed this one guy. He always wore a vest and he had a Phi Beta Kappa key. That was his first thing he put on in the morning. I thought that was a good idea; a trademark for Professor Kapp.”