ASK MR KNOW IT ALL: Old Blue Eyes
Question: When did Frank Sinatra begin singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra? — I.C., Union City, N.J.
Answer: Sinatra made his first recording with the band in February 1940. After that, he was their top singer.
Question: I remember an actor named Duke K-something. He played a Polynesian chief in several movies. Do you know his name? — D.N., Flagstaff, Ariz.
Answer: You’re thinking of Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku. He was born on Aug. 24, 1890, and he gained worldwide recognition for his Olympic swimming medals in 1912, 1920 and 1924.
Kahanamoku appeared in several films as an extra and a character actor. However, water was his passion. He left Hollywood to promote the new sport of surfing. Duke Kahanamoku is in the Swimming Hall of Fame, the Surfing Hall of Fame and the Olympics Hall of Fame. He served as sheriff of Honolulu from 1932 to 1961. He died Jan. 22, 1968.
Question: What was Peter Sellers’ birth name? — J.Z., Stuart, Fla.
Answer: The name listed on Sellers’ birth certificate is Richard Henry Sellers. However, his parents called him Peter from the very beginning in memory of his older brother, who was stillborn.
Question: A sportscaster once referred to Cy Young Award-winner Orel Hershiser as Eagle Hershiser. Why “Eagle”? — J.T., Butler, Pa.
Answer: “Orel” is Russian for “eagle.”
DID YOU KNOW: The pitching great is descended from Hessian mercenaries. Hessian mercenaries fought for the British during the American Revolution.
Question: Who gave The Beatles their name? Why “Beatles”? — E.N.W., Crestview, Fla.
Answer: One of the original band members, Stuart Sutcliffe, came up with the name Beetles as an homage to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The band liked the name, but not the spelling.
By the way, it was Stu’s girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr who is credited for The Beatles’ mop top hairstyle. She cut Stu’s and George’s hair, and the others quickly adopted the distinctive coif. Sutcliffe left the band before they became famous. He died in 1962 at age 21 due to a brain hemorrhage.
Question: I’ve always believed that the Great Wall of China was the only man-made structure visible from the moon. I’ve since been told it’s not true. What do you say? — Y.R.N., Portland, Maine
Answer: The myth was given support by the game Trivial Pursuit, which said the wall could be seen from the moon. In truth, nothing man-made can be seen from the moon.
Question: Supposedly there are two towns named after Lewis and Clark that are side by side. I can’t find them on the map. Can you help? — H.T., Dover, Del.
Answer: Get out your map and locate the Snake River, which separates Idaho and Washington.
Move along it, and you will come across Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash. Lewiston was one of the many campsites of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Question: Who starred in the1968 movie “The Producers”? — B.F., Santa Clarita, Calif.
Answer: Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder starred in “The Producers,” which was written and directed by Mel Brooks.
Question: One of my heroes is Frank Oz, puppeteer of “The Muppet Show.” I understand he was in the movie “The Empire Strikes Back.” What role did he play? — C.J.L., Lubbock, Texas
Answer: Oz, creator of Miss Piggy and Fozzi Bear, played Yoda in both “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “The Return of the Jedi” (1983). Oz was also in “An American Werewolf in London” (1981) and “Spies Like Us” (1985).
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.