Today is Saturday, April 19, 2014

Conan OBrien truly is a big goofball

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Dear Ken: How old is Conan O’Brien? Where was he born? How tall is he? Is he married?

O’Brien, 46, was born in Boston and grew up in a large Catholic family in Brookline, Mass. The 6-foot-4 comedian-writer and his wife Liza have a son and daughter both under the age of 6. A magna cum laude grad from Harvard University and two-time editor of “The National Lampoon,” he is a cousin of Denis Leary, the star of the TV series “Rescue Me.” As host of “The Tonight Show,” he makes about $14 million a year.

Dear Ken: How many people played the Three Stooges over the years?

There were six Three Stooges. The original three were Moe and Curly Howard and Larry Fine. Shemp Howard, brother to Moe and Curly, was the fourth Stooge. Later came Joe Besser, then Curley Joe DeRita. For more details and yucks, go online to www.threestooges.com but watch out for flying pies. 

Dear Ken: How old was country crooner Jim Reeves when he died? Where did the fatal plane crash occur?

Reeves was only 40 when he perished in a plane crash on July 31, 1964, near Brentwood, Tenn., not far from Interstate 65. The wreckage lay undiscovered for 42 hours.

Dear Ken: What child actors have received Academy Awards?

Three child actors won competitive Oscars for best supporting actress: Patty Duke for “The Miracle Worker” at age 16; Anna Paquin for “The Piano” at age 11; and Tatum O’Neal for “Paper Moon” at age 10.

But years ago, from 1934 to 1960, the academy sporadically handed out special juvenile Academy Awards. Twelve youngsters took home the half-sized Oscar, including Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin, Mickey Rooney, Peggy Ann Garner, Margaret O’Brien, Bobby Driscoll, Claude Harmon Jr., Hayley Mills, Ivan Jandl, Vincent Winter and Jon Whiteley.

Dear Ken: I remember a horror flick about giant grasshoppers or locust climbing up the sides of skyscrapers. Can you help me find the title? Who were the stars?

That was 1957’s “It Conquered the World,” starring Peter Graves and Peggie Castle. It seems a little radioactive mistake took place at the Illinois State experimental farm, resulting in a horde of gigantic grasshoppers bent on devouring Chicago.

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via www.sherlocksbooks.com where you can also find classic films and TV shows on DVD or visit Sherlock’s Book Emporium in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Ask Ken Beck

Journalist Ken Beck, a longtime resident of Wilson  County, has recently become a contributing writer for Main Street Media and its local newspaper, "The Wilson Post."

Earlier this year Beck concluded a 31-year career with "The Tennessean" where he edited the Nashville paper’s “Sunday Showcase” entertainment magazine for 25 years. Besides interviewing stars of film and television, Beck wrote Tennessee travel and feature stories and a popular Q&A entertainment column.

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