Question: I think that when M&M candies were first introduced they were only one color; when did multi-color candies make their debut? - M.J.M, York, Pennsylvania
Answer: Frank C. Mars came up with the idea of a hard-shelled candy in the 1930s; on March 3, 1941, he received a patent for his process. During World War II, the candies were exclusively sold to the military. The "M" was added in the 1950s. The first M&M candies came in brown, yellow, green, red and violet.
SUPER TRIVIA: What do the initials M&M represent? You probably figured out that one M is for Frank C. Mars, the inventor of the candy. The other is for Bruce Murrie, the son of the president of Hershey's Chocolate. Murrie owned a 20 percent share in the company, and the original candies were made with Hershey chocolate.
Q: Where did the expression "For Pete's sake" originate? - A.W., Sallisaw, Oklahoma
A: "For Pete's sake" is a minced oath - meaning the word "Pete" is inserted in place of another word. In this case, it's replacing the word "God." I've seen several "exact" dates for when the phrase originated, so let's say the phrase has been around since the early 1900s.
LET'S LEARN ENGLISH: In the U.K., they say "breakdown van"; in America, a "tow truck" helps us. People in the U.K. wear a "bumbag," while in America we say "fanny pack."
Q: Could you please tell me how many movies actor Royal Dano appeared in? - W.P., Cumberland, Maryland
A: Royal Dano appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows. I suspect that an overwhelming majority of viewers would recognize him, but have no idea what his name is. I must admit - I was one of those. Dano was born in 1922 in New York City; 71 years later, in 1994, he died in Los Angeles of a heart attack.
During his life, he became a familiar face on both the big and small screen. He was tall and lean, with a rangy build and a distinctive deep voice. Although he appeared mostly in Westerns, he played other roles as well.
Royal Dano is profiled in the book "Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget" by Justin Humphreys.
Q: How many episodes of "Gunsmoke" aired? How many times was Matt Dillon shot? How many bad men did he shoot and kill? - J.P., Secane, Pennsylvania
A: The show aired from 1955 to 1975, with a total of 635 episodes. Marshal Matt Dillon (played by James Arness) shot 138 men and 7 women; he himself was shot 56 times.
Q: I would like to find out where and how the expression "Hey" came about. - S.O., Manhattan Beach, California
A: "Hey" is used to attract someone's attention or to express surprise, joy or anger; it's also used to indicate that something is not important, or that you are not upset about something. "Hey" comes from Middle English "hei," from the 12th or 13th century.
Q: The elephant symbol of the Republican Party has stars that are upside down. Why? - J.L.C., Hereford, Arizona
A: The elephant is the traditional political symbol of the Republican Party; it was created by Thomas Nast and published in Harper's Weekly on Nov. 7, 1874. The emblem has gone through many changes over the years. Today, the symbol is a stylized image of an elephant in red, white and blue. The lower half is red, with a narrow white stripe and then the upper part is blue with three stars that are inverted. Some say this change occurred in 2000, but no one knows who did it, why it was done or if the stars will be changed so the points are up.
Q: Whatever happened to Lu Ann Simms and Julius La Rosa? They were on "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" in the 1950s. - L.A.S., North Mankato, Minnesota
A: Lu Ann Simms was born in 1933 as Lu Ann Ciminelli. She married Loring Bruce Buzzell in 1954 and remained with him until his death. She was a guest on "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" from 1952 through 1955, and she appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" four times. Simms died of cancer on Sept. 21, 2003, in Hollywood, California.
Julius La Rosa was born Jan. 2, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York. He was a popular singer who worked in radio and television beginning in the 1950s. After high school, La Rosa joined the Navy and sang in the choir and in area clubs. Friends arranged an audition with talent scout and radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey. Godfrey was impressed. La Rosa appeared on Godfrey's TV show; at the end of the spot, Godfrey announced that when La Rosa was out of the service, he'd be back - and he was. La Rosa was a regular on the show from 1951 to 1953.
As of this writing, Julius LaRosa is living in Westchester County, New York.
Q: On a newer Ford model, placing your foot under the bumper opens the tailgate. How does this work? - J.B., Clinton, Missouri
A: The kick-activated tailgate opener features a two-sensor system that recognizes movement of your foot and opens the tailgate. The system operates only when it recognizes the remote-entry key. The key does not need to be out of your pocket for the system to recognize it. According to Ford, the system is as secure as a regular remote entry.
Q: I'm watching reruns of "The Lawrence Welk Show." There is a female cello player. What is her name? What is she doing these days? - A.S. Bolivar, New York
A: Charlotte Harris, born April 29, 1931, in Oak Park, Illinois, took up the cello when she was only 5 years old. She played with both the Chicago and San Antonio symphony orchestras. In early 1961, Lawrence Welk hired her as the first and only female member of his orchestra; she left the show in 1978. She then retired to Palos Verdes, California, with her husband, Ed Deveny, where she taught at the Deveny School of Music, a school they founded together.
DID YOU KNOW? The infinity sign is called a lemniscate.
Q: After hearing the theme song for the TV program "Frasier," I am wondering what "tossed salad and scrambled eggs" means, and what is the relevance to Frasier?
A: The music was written by Bruce Miller, who called his friend Darryl Phinnesse to write the words. Phinnesse came up with the idea of "tossed salad and scrambled eggs" as representations of Frasier Crane's mixed-up patients.
Miller wanted Mel Torme to sing the vocals, but the show's producers insisted that Kelsey Grammer sing the theme.
Q: Several years ago, I was in Hollywood, California, and went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I was surprised and remain confused as to why Harrison Ford has two stars. What is the explanation? - H.L., Columbus, Ohio
A: It's quite simple: There are two Harrison Fords being honored. One is honoring the silent film actor, and the other is for the "Indiana Jones" star. There are two Michael Jacksons, too: One is a radio personality, and the other the incredibly talented singer, dancer and songwriter.
Q: What is the Hawaiian word for moon? - L.M., Lynn, Massachusetts
A: The Hawaiian word is "Mahina." In Hawaiian mythology, Mahina is a lunar deity and the mother of Hema. Mahina is pronounced mah-HEE-nah.
- Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.