The Pryor Times


August 28, 2012

More explanations than you can shake a stick at

Q: I've always heard the saying, "He has more money than you can shake a stick at." Shake a stick at what? -- J.K.

A: There are several explanations of the phrase. Most sources say it was first used in print in the early 1800s. Shaking a stick could be considered a hostile action. Shaking a stick at foes who outnumber you could lead to this phrase. Or a stick might be used in counting: An overwhelming number of things to count might be "more than you can shake a stick at."

Q: About the TV series "Ballykissangel" -- is there a town in Ireland with this name? If so, where is it? -- E.R., Chester, Pa.

A: There is no town in Ireland with the name Ballykissangel; however, the name is taken from a town near County Kerry, Ireland, named Ballykissane. Kieran Prendiville, the creator of the show, vacationed in Ballykissane when he was a boy. In Gaelic, Ballykissangel is "Baile Coisc Aingeal," which translates to "the town of the fallen angel."  

The BBC series aired on PBS from February 1996 through April 2001. The series is available on DVD.

Q: Sometime in late 1976 or early 1977, I was watching a movie on TV and had to leave before the end of it. I'm not certain of the name of the movie, but I think it was "Raging Bull." I believe the story was about Buford Pusser being booted out of professional wrestling and returning to Tennessee before he became a sheriff. If this is enough information, I would like to know if there is anywhere I can get a copy. -- D.W.B., Dallas, N.C.

A: The movie "Raging Bull," starring Robert De Niro, wasn't released until 1980. It is about Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight boxer.  

    I think the movie you watched is 1973's "Walking Tall," starring Joe Don Baker as Buford Pusser. The DVD is available at

DID YOU KNOW? Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role of President James Marshall in "Air Force One" (1997). The role went to Harrison Ford.

Q: My favorite actress of the '50s and '60s was Mari Blanchard. Could you tell me about her career and what has become of her? -- J.F., Eldorado, Ill.

A: Mari Blanchard was born April 13, 1927, in Long Beach, Calif. At age 9 she contracted polio, which forced her to give up her dream of becoming a dancer. She spent years working to regain the full use of her limbs. She attended the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in international law.  

Blanchard began her show business career as a model and film extra in the 1940s. After being noticed by a producer in the early '50s, she was signed by Universal-International, where she got better roles. From 1960 to '61, she starred in the television show "Klondike." Her last film was with John Wayne in "McLintock!" in 1963. She died May 10, 1970, after a long battle with cancer. She was 43 years old.

Q: When did white go-go boots come into fashion? Will they be making a comeback in today's fashion world? -- M.M., Van Buren, Ark.

A: The original go-go boot came into fashion in the 1960s. It was a low-heeled boot meant to accentuate the leg. Today, any boot that comes to the knee can and is frequently called a go-go boot. You'll find them everywhere.


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

Text Only | Photo Reprints