Question: Where does the herb cilantro come from? -- V.C., Jackson, Tenn.

Answer: Cilantro, sometimes called Chinese parsley, is the leaves of the coriander plant. The seeds of the coriander plant are used to make the herb coriander. The seeds are used as a spice or an added ingredient in other foods.

Q: If you live in Ameri ca, you're an American; if you live in England, you're English. What about Monaco? -- I.B., Cape May, N.J.

A: Naturalized citizens of Monaco are called Monacans. The proper term for describing someone born in Monaco is Monegasque.

Q: What was Shirley Temple's birth name? When and where was she born? I once read that her hairstyle always had the same number of curls. Is that true? -- D.B.C., Ham burg, Pa.

A: Shirley Jane Temple was born April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, Calif. Her mother, Gertrude, styled her hair in 52 pin curls for each film.

Q: I heard that the number 42 has been re tired from Major League Baseball. If that's true, why was Yankee Mariano Rivera, who retired in September 2013, still wearing the number? -- P.D., Lubbock, Texas

A: Number 42 was retired in the MLB in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This is the first and only time a player's uniform number has been retired from Major League Baseball. Under the terms of the retirement, a grandfather clause allowed the few players who wore number 42 to continue doing so in tribute to Robinson. The Yankees' Mariano Rivera was the last player in Major League Baseball to wear jersey number 42.


Q: On a movie set, the head electrician is called a "gaffer." Why that name? -- P.W., Chinco teague, Va.

A: There are several explanations -- here's one: In the 19th century, a "gaffer" was the name of the boss of any organized labor group. A gaffer on-set is the head of the electrical department.

Q: In the late 1950s, there was a movie gim mick in which all patrons received a free $1,000 life insurance policy in case they died during the show. I went, and -- lucki ly -- my heirs did not col lect. Do you know what the name of the movie was and whether it is available for purchase? -- T.J., Wilmington, Vt.

A: The movie was "Macabre" (1958), directed by the king of gimmick promotions, William Castle (1914-1977). Some movie theaters hired models dressed as nurses to stand near a medicine chest, while others posted a sign asking that doctors inform management where they were sitting in case their professional services were needed.

The movie is available on DVD or to stream on your computer.

Q: I was paging through a book about World War II and saw some political cartoons drawn by a Dr. Seuss. I know of only one such person -- the author of "The Cat in the Hat." Is this the same Dr. Seuss? -- C.C., Victoria, Texas

A: I don't think of Dr. Seuss -- Theodor Seuss Geisel -- as a political cartoonist either, but from 1941 to 1943, he drew more than 400 such cartoons for the New York newspaper PM in support of the American effort in World War II. He also drew a set of war bond cartoons for many newspapers.

If you are interested, Richard H. Minear released a book, "Dr. Seuss Goes to War," in 1999. About 200 of Seuss' drawings have been reproduced there.

Q: When was OPEC founded? What do the ini tials stand for? Who are its members? -- G.H., Roseburg, Ore.

A: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was founded in 1960 in Bagdad by five countries: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. These countries were later joined by Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Gabon and Angola. From December 1992 until October 2007, Ecuador suspended its membership. Gabon terminated its membership in 1995. Indonesia suspended its membership effective January 2009.

The 12 OPEC member countries own about two-thirds of the world's petroleum reserves and account for two-fifths of world oil production. OPEC was headquartered in Geneva before moving to Vienna on Sept. 1, 1965.

Q: I was surprised to read that Margaret Mitch ell, the author of "Gone With the Wind," died at a young age. What was the cause?

A: Mitchell's cause of death was a speeding car. In August 1949, Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh, were crossing a street in Atlanta when a speeding off-duty taxi driver in a private car struck the author. She died five days later from the injuries. She was only 49.

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

A: Henry VIII (1491-1547) was buried with wife No. 3, Jane Seymour, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Jane (1509-1537) who was queen from 1536 to 1537, died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who reigned as Edward VI. Jane was the only of Henry's six wives to receive a queen's funeral.

Q: I overheard a con versation in which the guy was saying he's a "chalk player" at the racetrack. What is a chalk player? -- R.Z., Sego, Ohio

A: A favorite horse is known as a "chalk horse." Chalk players mostly bet on favorites.

Q: Recently, an adver tising slogan from the 1950s came to mind -- "Just what the doctor or dered." I can't recall the product. I've asked few friends, but all they say is that they've heard the slogan but can't help me. Can you? -- R.P., Elmira, N.Y.

A: "Just what the doctor ordered" was the slogan for L&M cigarettes, which stood for Liggett and Myers.

Dr Pepper uses the slogan today.

Q: Many years ago I saw a silent movie called "The Wizard of Oz." No one believes me; I'm be ginning to doubt that I really did see the movie. Does this movie exist? -- Y.J., Cherry Hill, N.J.

A: It does! "The Wizard of Oz" was released in 1925. In the silent movie, Larry Semon played the scarecrow and Oliver Hardy played the Tin Woodsman. The movie received good reviews, although not nearly as good as the 1939 classic. The two films have drastically different plots.

It is available for purchase.

Q: True or false: Actor Alan Ladd ran a hot dog/hamburger stand called Tiny's Patio. -- R.J., Fay etteville, N.C.

A: True: Before the diminutive actor hit it big, he did.

After Ladd graduated from North Hollywood High in 1934, he borrowed $150 and opened a small hamburger and malt shop in North Hollywood across from the local pool, hoping his reputation as a former swimming star would help business. He called it Tiny's Patio. His reputation didn't help, and he closed the business within a year.

Q: Who co-starred with Gerald McRaney on the TV show "Simon & Simon"? -- D.D., Ashland, Pa.

A: Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney played brothers A.J. and Rick Simon, two San Diego private detectives, on "Simon & Simon." The show was a giant hit for most of the '80s, but in the closing years of the decade, its ratings declined. It was finally canceled in January 1989.

Q: In Mary Shelley's novel, what was Dr. Frankenstein's first name? -- G.S., Pottsville, Pa.

A: The character's full name is Victor Frankenstein.

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