Ask Mr. Know It All

Q. We still watch reruns of “The Crocodile Hunter,” starring Steve and Terri Irwin. What has become of Terri and their children, Bindi Sue and Robert Clarence?

J.L., Hyndman, Pa.

A. On Sept. 4, 2006, Steve Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. His wife, Terri Irwin, continues to be involved in animal conservation. She has received several awards for her service to promote tourism and wildlife conservation in Australia. A native of Oregon, Terri became an Australian citizen in 2009 to honor her husband. She speaks all over the world and is actively involved in the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve and the Australian Zoo.

Bindi Irwin, 14, is involved in numerous ventures, including designing a clothing line; starring in an award-winning TV show, “Bindi: The Jungle Girl”; writing books; singing; and acting. She had a lead role in the film “Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove.”

Robert Irwin, 8, is busy with his love of wildlife. He is a member of the Australian Zoo’s Croc Research trip, and he has acted alongside Bindi. He is co-writing his own book series, “Robert Irwin: Dinosaur Hunter,” which will be available in 2013.

Q. In the ’60s I enjoyed watching “Route 66” on TV. I loved it so much I even bought the series on DVD. I want to know what happened to Martin Milner and George Maharis?

P.L., Owosso, Mich.

A. Martin Milner continued with his acting career into the late 1990s, guest starring in many popular television shows. He also co-hosted the radio show “Let’s Talk Hook-up,” a program about fly-fishing — his passion. He retired from the show in 2004 due to health issues. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Judy. They married in 1957 and had four children. Milner is 80 years old.

George Maharis appeared in several movies and another TV series — “The Most Deadly Game” — after leaving “Route 66.” As a youth he wanted to be a singer, and he released several albums and made personal appearances as an adult. He later became a painter. Maharis is 84 years old.

Q. As I recall, the cartoon character Betty Boop was based on a real person. Is this true? Who was the real-life character?

W.L., Sedona, Ariz.

A. Max Fleischer created Betty Boop in 1930. In 1932, Helen Kane, known as the “Boop-Oop-A-Doop Girl,” filed a lawsuit claiming that Boop was a caricature of her that created unfair competition. She lost. Kane (1904-1966) was a popular singer whose signature song was “I Wanna Be Loved By You.”

Another inspiration for Betty Boop may have been it-girl Clara Bow.

Q. Who is or what is Mary Andrew? I think it’s the name of a circus performer.

Q.B., Bangor, Maine

A. I think you mean “merry-andrew,” which is a term for a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior, such as a clown. The term is believed to date to the late 1600s, but there is no identification with an individual to indicate how the term began.

Q. I saw the term “printer’s devil” in some old census logs I have been scanning. I assume this is referring to a printer’s assistant. Is this right? If so, how did it get such a fiendish name?

Y.L.U., Scranton, Pa.

A. You are right. “Printer’s devil” is another name for a printer’s apprentice — generally a young boy who worked in a printer’s office and performed many duties. In the shop he would probably be responsible for washing the black ink off the ink rollers. This was a dirty job that resulted in clothes and body parts becoming covered in ink, giving him a scary appearance that was associated with the devil. Some well-known printer’s devils are Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Warren Harding and Lyndon Johnson.

Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

2012 Gary Clothier

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