Ask Mr. Know It All

Q. I read a story that someone was a Beatle for a day. Were they considering making the Fab Four the Fab Five?

J.A.Z., Palmyra, Va.

A. Hardly. On Sept. 11, 1962, the Beatles underperformed on their first two attempts to record their debut single, “Love Me Do.” Studio manager George Martin brought in drummer Andrew White for a third, successful try. This cut made it onto The Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me.” Ringo Starr played the drums on the version that was released as the single. Scotland-born White was paid 5 pounds, or about $8, for his role as Beatle for a day.

As a studio drummer, White played with Jimmy Page, Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits and Burt Bacharach.

Q. The Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field. Who is the field named after?

W.L., Bangor, Maine

A. The stadium is named after Earl Louis “Curly” Lambeau, who co-founded the Green Pay Packers. Originally known as City Stadium, it was rededicated as Lambeau Field on Sept. 11, 1965, following its namesake’s death.

Lambeau was not only one of the founders of the team, he was also a player and the club’s first coach. He coached his team to six NFL championships, equaled only by George Halas of the Chicago Bears.


A “copoclephile” or “copoclephilist” is a collector of key rings.

Q. Who were Colgate and Palmolive?

R.L., Palatka, Fla.

A. William Colgate opened a soap factory in New York City in 1806. In 1872, Colgate introduced a perfumed soap, Cashmere Bouquet.

You might think Palmolive was named after its founder, but it wasn’t. In 1864, Caleb Johnson founded a soap company called B.J. Johnson Soap Co. in Milwaukee. The soap was made from palm oil and olive oil, along with some cocoa butter. Palmolive soap became so popular the company was renamed Palmolive.

We now shift our attention to Kansas City, Mo., where the Peet Brothers merged with Palmolive to become Palmolive-Peet. This company merged with the Colgate Co. in 1928 and became the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co. In 1953, Peet was dropped from the name, forming the Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Q. Who was the first magician to saw a woman in half?


A. Most historians agree that the first magician to saw a woman in half was P.T. Selbit in January 1921.

By November 1921, the trick had become so popular that the Thayer Magic Co. started selling the illusion for $175. You could buy just the plans for $5.

Q. I think Dizzy Gillespie was one of the finest trumpet players ever. What was his real name? How did he get his nickname?

M.B., Pittsburg, Kan.

A. John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born Oct. 21, 1917, in Cheraw, S.C. His trumpet playing is said to have earned him the role as a founding father of modern jazz. He died of pancreatic cancer in Englewood, N.J., in 1993. Gillespie was given the nickname “Dizzy” because of the crazy way he moved on stage.

Q. I turned 13 on Sept. 9, 1956. That was the night I saw Elvis Presley for the first time on TV, during “The Ed Sullivan Show.” That wasn’t his first TV appearance. When was it?

J.S., Alton, Ill.

A. Elvis Presley first appeared on CBS’ “Stage Show” on Jan. 28, 1956. “Stage Show” was produced by Jackie Gleason and hosted by big band leaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. Presley made a total of six appearances on the show by the end of March. Next came two appearances on “The Milton Berle Show” and one appearance on “The Steve Allen Show.” On your birthday, he appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show. He made two more appearances on that show, the last being Jan. 6, 1957.

Q. One of my favorite movies was “Mister Roberts.” What was the name of the ship?

K.S.Z., Concord, Calif.

A. “Mister Roberts” was released in 1955. The name of the cargo ship was the USS Reluctant, which was called “the Bucket.”

The film, which takes place in the Pacific theater during World War II, starred Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon, Betsy Palmer and Ward Bond.


The “techy” name for a person who studies fleas is a “pullicologist.”

Q. I have a silly question for you: How many last names of U.S. presidents can be typed with one hand only? Which state can you type using only one hand?

K.L.C., Peoria, Ill.

A. With your left hand, you can type Taft, the 27th president and Carter, the 39th president. Using your right hand, you can type Polk, the 11th president. With your right hand, you can type Ohio; with your left hand, you can type Texas. There is only one state capital that can be typed with one hand: Honolulu.

Q. Does Dr Pepper contain prune juice?

R.E., Bedford, Ill.

A. In a word: No. According to the company, the unique taste comes from 23 flavors, none of which are prunes. The prune juice rumor is an old one — it’s been around since the 1930s.

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

2013 Gary Clothier

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