The Pryor Times


October 23, 2013

Old tractor holds fond memories

PRYOR, OK — Q: My father has been watching reruns of the TV show "Green Acres." He would like to know details of the old tractor that always broke down when used by Mr. Douglas. The tractor is similar to one my father used many years ago. -- F.W., Waynesboro, Pa.

A: "Green Acres," staring Eddie Albert as Oliver Douglas and Eva Gabor as his fashionable wife, Lisa, aired from 1965 to 1971. On the show, the temperamental tractor was a fictional Hoyt-Clagwell. In reality, it was a Fordson model F, the first tractor built and sold by Henry Ford.

Q: I would like to read all the novels by the Bronte sisters. Where can I get a list? -- F.L., Mesa, Ariz.

A: All together, the literary sisters wrote seven novels. Emily wrote "Wuthering Heights"; Anne wrote "Agnes Grey" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"; and Charlotte wrote "Jane Eyre," "The Professor," "Villette" and "Shirley."  

There were six Bronte children -- five girls and one boy, though the two oldest sisters died as children.

For many years, the sisters wrote under the pen names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, retaining their actual initials.  

Q: Jackie Gleason played a bartender on his TV show, "The Jackie Gleason Show." Was his name Joe or Mr. Dennehy? -- K.G., Stuart, Fla.

A: One of the many characters introduced by Gleason was Joe the Bartender. Mr. (Thomas "Pop") Dennehy was the unseen customer. Gleason said he modeled him after the superintendent of the building he grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Gleason later revealed that the name Dennehy is a tribute to his first love, Julie Dennehy.

Q: Who was the first known person born in Antarctica? -- C.B., Mansfield, Ohio

A: Emilio Marco Palma became the first known person born on the icy continent in 1978. Palma was born in an Argentine military base.

Q: How many Aesop's fables are there? -- J.L., Brattleboro, Vt.

A: That all depends on who you ask. The number varies from zero to hundreds. Some say Aesop, who was a slave who lived between 620 and 565 B.C., wrote down folk tales he heard, which always contained a moral. His master was so impressed that he gave Aesop his freedom. Others argue that Aesop was as much a fable as, well, Aesop's fables. They argue the works are mostly by two poets, the Greek Valerius Babrius and the Roman Phaedrus, who translated the works of Babrius.

Popular fables include "The Ant and the Grasshopper," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and "Town Mouse and Country Mouse."

Q: While still king, Edward VIII attempted to find a compromise so he could remain on the throne and still marry American Wallis Simpson. One of his suggestions was that he and Simpson would agree that their offspring would renounce any claim to the throne, as would their offspring. The agreement was not unusual between the marriage of a man or woman of royal or noble birth with a partner of lower rank. There is a name for this type of marriage. Do you know what it is? -- E.H., New York City

A: This is called a morganatic marriage. The word comes from Medieval Latin, "matrimonium ad morganaticam," meaning "marriage with a morning gift."  

Edward and Simpson did not enter into this type of marriage; instead, he abdicated the throne for the woman he loved.


(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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