Pledge of Allegiance Mr. Know-It-All
The Pledge of Allegiance was first published in 1892 in The Youth s Companion, the Reader s Digest of its day, as part of a patriotic program for schools around the country. (Creative Commons)

Question: When was the Pledge of Allegiance written? By whom? - Y.C., Cottonwood, Calif.

Answer: Thirty-seven-year-old Baptist minister Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. It was first published in The Youth's Companion, the Reader's Digest of its day.

The poem was part of a patriotic program for schools around the county to coincide with the opening ceremonies for the Columbian Exposition in October 1892.

Q: Have you ever heard of the term "still hunt"? What is it? - T.W., White Castle, La.

A: According to my American Heritage dictionary, still-hunting is the hunting of game by stalking or ambushing.

There is also a statue named "Still Hunt" in Central Park in New York City. The bronze sculpture, by Edward Kemeys, depicts a panther getting ready to strike.

Q: Was England's many-time-married King Henry VIII buried with one of his wives? - O.W., Salisbury, Md.

A: King Henry VIII (1491-1547) was buried with wife No. 3, Jane Seymour, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Jane (c. 1509-1537) died of natural causes a year after her marriage to the king. She was the only wife of Henry to get a proper queen's burial.

Q: In the 1970s, there was a Major League Baseball player nicknamed "The Bird." Who was he, and why the nickname? - R.P., Green Creek, Ind.

A: Some said that 6-foot-3-inch pitcher Mark Fidrych had a strong resemblance to "Sesame Street" Muppet Big Bird. In 1976, while with the Detroit Tigers, Fidrych won the American League Rookie of the Year award.

A knee injury the following year followed by arm problems severely limited his ability. He was released by the Tigers after the 1980 season after a five-year career. His record was 29 wins and 19 losses.

Fidrych was born Aug. 14, 1954, and died April 13, 2009, at age 54.

Q: Hey, Mr. Know-It-All! I have another riddle for you: How many of each animal did Moses take on the Ark? - A.B., Redding, Calif.

A: None. Moses had the Ark of the Covenant; Noah had the ark with the animals.

Q: In a grocery store museum, I recall seeing a package of Kool-Ade. Is this the same thing as the Kool-Aid that is currently available? - M.B., Bay Minette, Ala.

A: In 1914, 25-year-old Edwin Perkins started a small mail-order business called Perkins Products Company. The company sold small bottles of perfume and calling cards through magazine advertisements. By 1920, he and his wife, Kitty, were offering more than 125 products, including extracts, spices, medicines and toiletries. One of the bestsellers was a 4-ounce bottle of soft drink syrup called Fruit Smack.

By the mid-1920s, Perkins had the idea of turning the syrup into a powder concentrate. He named the new product Kool-Ade, but later changed it to Kool-Aid. In mid-1953, Perkins Products was taken over by General Foods.

DID YOU KNOW? The lead role of President of the United States in the movie "Air Force One" (1997) was written with Kevin Costner in mind, but he had to turn down the role because of other commitments; the role went to Harrison Ford.

Q: The name Ryman Auditorium keeps coming to mind, but I can't recall why. Do you know what it is? - H.G., DeQuincy, La.

A: Starting in 1943, the Ryman Auditorium was the site of the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry remained there until the new Opry House was built in Opryland in 1975. Ryman Auditorium is in Nashville, Tenn., and is now a museum and small concert venue.

Q: What and when was Marilyn Monroe's last film? Any idea what her last line was? - C.V., Albany, N.Y.

A: Monroe's last film was "The Misfits" in 1961. Her last line was spoken to Clark Gable, "How do you find your way back in the dark?" Clark Gable's response, "Just head for that big star straight on. The highway's under it, and it'll take us right home."

She died the following year at age 36. Gable suffered a heart attack a few days after filming was complete and died at age 59.

Q: A group discussion about food led to the days of TV dinners. The only thing we agreed on was that the first dinner was turkey and it was made by Swanson Co. Can you tell us when TV dinners were introduced? What else made up the dinner? Is there any way of finding out the price? The price is important to us. - B.W., Brownsville, Tenn.

A: It was in 1953 in Omaha, Neb., when the first TV dinner came off the production line. Along with the turkey and gravy was cornbread stuffing, buttered peas and sweet potatoes in orange and butter sauce, all packaged in a three-compartment tray. The meal sold for 98 cents at the time, which is equivalent to nearly $9 today.

Q: What can you tell me about actor Louis Hayward? He would have been a perfect James Bond had the movies been filmed back in the 1940s or early 1950s. - L.C., Albany, N.Y.

A: Born Louis Charles Hayward in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 19, 1909, he was educated in England and the European continent. He appeared in the London theater and then moved across the pond to tackle Broadway and Hollywood in the mid-1930s. Hayward played both heroes and cads. He has been best described as a "roguishly handsome leading man."

Hayward was married three times, to Ida Lupino (1938-1945), Peggy Field Morrow (1946-1950) and June Hanson (1953-1985). Hayward died in Palm Springs, Calif., on Feb. 21, 1985, of lung cancer.

Q: Whatever happened to Italy's greatest bobsled driver, Eugenio Monti? - J.G.L., Rensselear, N.Y.

A: Eugenio Monti was born Jan. 23, 1928, in Toblach, Italy. By age 22, "the flying redhead" was one of the most promising skiers on the Italian team, until a tragic fall in 1951, which tore ligaments in his knee. While the accident may have ended his skiing career, it marked the beginning of a career as the greatest pilot in bobsledding history.

He would go on to win world championships in two-man and four-man bobsledding as well as gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals. He retired after the 1968 Olympics. He died in December 2003.

Q: Someone at work was car shopping, and he claims the salesperson was falling all over him to please him. He referred to him as being "obsee-something." I know this is a long shot, but can you tell me what the word is? This person is not someone you would ask to explain. - J.W., Alpine, Calif.

A: The word is probably "obsequious." An obsequious person is overly attentive.

Q: While in London, I saw a classified ad for an antique "valve radio." What kind of radio is this? - R.R., Medora, Ind.

A: "Valve radio" is what the British call tube radio.

Q: Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together for many years. Has either been married? Do they have any children? - G.H., Houston, Texas

A: Goldie Hawn was born Nov. 21, 1945, and was married twice, to Gus Trikonis from 1969 to 1976 and to Bill Hudson from 1976 to 1980. She's been with Kurt Russell since 1983. She has three children, Oliver Hudson, Kate Hudson and Wyatt Russell.

Kurt Russell was born March 17, 1952, and she was married once to Season Hubley from 1979 to 1983, with whom he had one son, Boston Oliver Grant Russell.

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