Boston Marathon
Crowds line the street as runners compete in the 2010 Boston Marathon. The race is the world s oldest annual marathon. (Peter Farlow Creative Commons)

Question: How many runners participated in the first Boston Marathon? - R.W. Peoria, Ill.

Answer: The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon. It started in 1897, with only 18 men competing, 10 finished the race.

The winner was John J. McDermott, who finished in two hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds.

The current record was set in 2011 by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, who ran it in two hours, three minutes, two seconds - which is also the fastest marathon ever. In 2013, nearly 27,000 entered the race.

Q: Is there a name for the piece of jewelry people insert into a piercing under their lips? - J.K., Brazoria, Texas

A: It's a labret. It comes from the Latin word "labrum," meaning "lip."

Q: Were show business personalities Henry Morgan and Harry Morgan brothers? - E.P., Mesa, Ariz.

A: I'll let you figure out this one: Henry Morgan was born on March 31, 1915, in New York City. A few days later, on April 10, 1915, Harry Morgan was born in Detroit.

At birth, Henry Morgan was known as Henry Lerner Von Ost Jr., while Harry Morgan was Harry Bratsburg.

Henry Morgan was a radio comedian and quiz show panelist. Harry Morgan, who originally billed himself as Henry Morgan but changed his name because of the other Henry Morgan, went on to star on television and the big screen.

Q: I have three questions about one of America's greatest playwrights, Tennessee Williams: Is Tennessee his given name? What college did he attend? When did he die? - F.L., Richmond, Ill.

A: Thomas Lanier Williams III was born in Columbus, Miss., on March 26, 1911. He attended the University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis; he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in 1938. He then moved to New Orleans, where he changed his name to Tennessee.

Despite tremendous success in his life, he struggled with depression and drug and alcohol addiction. He choked to death on a pill bottle cap on Feb. 24, 1983, at his residence at the Hotel Elysee in New York City.

Q: Back in the 1950s, there was a puppet hound dog on TV that sang a chocolate commercial. What was the name of the dog? How about the chocolate? - H.C., Marion, Va.

A: Oh, I can still hear the jingle today, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle's makes the very best CH-A-A-A--KLUT," and then there was the distinctive snapping of the jaws that every kid had to imitate to end the commercial. The dog's name was Farfel.

Q: The name "The Flying Graysons" keeps coming to mind. I assume they are from a circus act I saw as a kid. Do you know anything about them? - C.J.A., Sanford, Maine

A: The Flying Graysons died in a trapeze accident in the Haley Circus. Don't worry, though, they are fictional -- they were the parents of Dick Grayson, better known as Robin, the Boy Wonder, who is the sidekick to Batman.

Q: I think it was English Prime Minister Winston Churchill who coined the phrase "Iron Curtain." When? - M.V., Atlantic City, N.J.

A: Churchill used the phrase publicly for the first time during a speech to a crowd of 40,000 on March 5, 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

The former prime minister was referring to the line dividing Europe into two separate political regions.

Though many consider this to be the first usage of the term, it had been around for decades.

Q: What do the initials B.F. stand for in the name B. F. Skinner? Skinner is a well-known psychologist. - Y.B., Brunside, Ill.

A: Burrhus Frederic. Born in 1904, Skinner became perhaps the most celebrated psychologist since Sigmund Freud. He died of leukemia in 1990.

Q: Every once in a while, I see offerings for litho prints. Some of the prints may be bought with a "remarque." Other than costing more money, I have never been able to figure out what a remarque is. - H.H., Leesport, Pa.

A: A remarque is a small pencil drawing or sketch, usually in the lower margin of the print.

Because of the extra attention, the remarque adds some extra cost to the print. However, the personal touch also adds extra value to the piece of art, and possibly, with time and some luck, a lot of value.

Q: Did Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, have a middle name? - E.K., Newton, Mass.

A: His full name was Jefferson Finis Davis. Davis was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, and a man his father deeply admired.

His middle name reflects his parents' decision that he would be their last child.

Q: How long has the Pillsbury Doughboy been around? - C.J.A., Exeter, Pa.

A: Poppin' Fresh - the real name of the Pillsbury Doughboy - was created in 1965 by an ad agency. Voice actor Paul Frees performed the original voice and giggle.

Q: One of my favorite quotes is "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." Who wrote it? - O.S., Pensacola, Fla.

A: Mark Twain wrote the sentiment in his 1897 nonfiction travelogue "Following the Equator."

Q: What was Lady Bird Johnson's real name? When did she and Lyndon Johnson get married? - I.J., Long Beach, Miss.

A: The future first lady was born Claudia Alta Taylor on Dec. 22, 1912, in Karnack, Texas. She met Johnson in 1934. They were married on November 17 of that year in San Antonio. She died in 2007 at age 94.

Q: How many Munchkins were in the cast of the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz"? - I.J., Fargo, Ga.

A: The number of Munchkins varies from 120 to 126, depending on the source.

Q: I have a question about the 3 Musketeers candy bar. In literature, there are four musketeers. Which one is not represented on my candy bar? - U.C., Hudson, N.Y.

A: The original musketeers in Alexandre Dumas' novel are Aramis, Parthos and Athos, with D'Artagnan joining later. However, the candy people at Mars (3 Musketeers' parent company) say Aramis is the musketeer missing on the candy wrappers.

The original 3 Musketeer candy bars came in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors.

Q: I remember hearing of an ancient city named Petra. Where was Petra located? - G.J., Rome, Ohio

A: Petra, from the Greek word meaning "rock," is located in what is now the southwest section of Jordan.

Petra was established around the 6th century B.C. and came into prominence in the latter part of the 1st century B.C. because of spice trading. Over time, its importance dwindled, and its inhabitants all but disappeared.

"The Lost City of Stone," as it is known, was rediscovered during the 19th century when a Swiss explorer visited the city and wrote of his find. Excavation has been going on at Petra for nearly 100 years, and according to the experts, only 15 percent of the city has been investigated. It is Jordan's most visited tourist attraction.

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