The Pryor Times


January 8, 2014

What was Dell Computer’s first name?

PRYOR, OK — Q: When Dell Computer Corp. first started, it was known by a different name. Do you know what it was? When did the company start? -- G.K., Joplin, Mo.

A: In 1984, Michael Dell started PC's Limited in his University of Texas dormitory room. At age 19, he dropped out of college to run his business full time. In 1987, the company name was changed to Dell Computer Corp. In 2003, the name was changed to Dell Inc.

Q: Before Diane Keaton became an actress, her name was Diane Hall. Did she act under that name? I recall an actress named Dianne Hall. Keaton and Woody Allen were a couple for a while -- did her last name have any influence on the movie "Annie Hall"? -- J.L.B., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

A: Diane Hall took her mother's maiden name, Keaton, to avoid confusion with the already-established actress Dianne Hall. Woody Allen did adopt her given last name and nickname for the 1977 movie in which Diane Keaton had the title role. According to several sources, one of her childhood nicknames was Annie.

Q: My husband and I recall a TV show in the 1980s that was about life aboard an aircraft carrier. Do you recall the show? -- D.W., Pueblo West, Colo.

A: "Supercarrier" ran for about six months in 1988. The hourlong drama depicted life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Georgetown. The series was based on a book of the same name written by George Wilson. The aircraft carrier USS Kennedy was used in the filming of the show.

Q: What were Thomas Edison's first and last patents? -- E.L., Albany, Ga.

A: Edison applied for his first patent on Oct. 28, 1868. It was for an Electrographic Vote-Recorder, which he unsuccessfully attempted to market to the Massachusetts Legislature. On Jan. 9, 1931, he applied for his final U.S. patent -- his 1,093rd -- which was a Holder for Article to be Electroplated. Edison died later in 1931; the patent was issued in 1933.

Q: Years ago, my grandmother often talked of having "freedom steak" when she was a kid. I have often wondered what she was eating. I can't ask her, but I'll ask you if you know. -- A.L.B., Reading, Pa.

A: In the philosophy of having "freedom fries" and "freedom toast," during World War I, many Americans had "freedom cabbage" (sauerkraut) or "freedom steak (hamburger) -- or even owned a liberty dog (dachshund).  

Q: I saw a drawing of John Rolfe and his wife Rebecca. This is John Rolfe of the Jamestown, Va., colony who married Pocahontas. Who is Rebecca? -- C.L., Woburn, Mass.

A: John Rolfe and Pocahontas married on April 5, 1614. Earlier, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and took the name Rebecca for her baptism. Pocahontas, who was born Matoaka, was the daughter of Indian chief Powhatan.  

Q: I recently purchased a Jack Russell terrier. How did the breed get its name? -- D.J., Lima, Ohio

A: It was named after English clergyman John Russell (1795-1883), who developed the dog through breeding.

Q: From time to time I see the phrase "six flags over Texas." What are the six flags? -- M.S., Bristol, Conn.

A: From 1519 to the present day, six different flags have flown over at least a part of the second-largest state.  

From 1519 to 1685, that flag was Spanish. In 1685 to 1690, the flag was French. The Spanish flag flew again from 1690 until 1821, when the Mexican flag replaced it -- that's flag No. 3, if you're keeping track. From 1836 to 1845, it was the flag for the Republic of Texas. In 1845, Texas became part of the United States, flying the Stars and Stripes. From 1861 to 1865, the sixth flag was the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy. Since 1865, the Stars and Stripes flies atop flag poles in Texas.


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

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