The Pryor Times

February 19, 2014

Churchill’s ‘iron curtain’ speech

Mr. Know It All- Gary Clothier

PRYOR, OK — 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.

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.   


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