Today is Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mark Hamill continues joking around in cartoons

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Dear Ken: What has Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker of  “Star Wars” fame, been up to lately?

Hamill, 57, keeps busy mainly as a voice actor for animated TV shows and cartoons. He’s the voice of the Joker on “Batman: The Animated Series” and in the animated “Batman” films. His voice has also been heard on such cartoons as “Spider-Man,” “The New Woody Woodpecker Show,” “Codename: Kids Next Door,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Metalocalypse” and “Robot Chicken.” Born in California, the son of a Navy captain grew up there and in Virginia, New York and Japan. He has three grown children.

Dear Ken: Who sang the “Gilligan’s Island” TV theme song? Who wrote it?

The music and lyrics were co-written by George Wyle and Sherwood Schwartz. The latter created and produced the series and was also the mastermind behind TV’s “The Brady Bunch.” The lyrics changed after the first season to mention the Professor and Mary Ann rather than them being referred to as “and the rest.”

The theme was recorded for the first season by the folk trio The Wellingtons, and they actually appeared as a mock band, The Mosquitoes (Bingo, Bongo, Bango and Irving), in an episode of the series titled “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes.” The group called The Eligibles recorded the theme for the final two seasons, but who can tell the diff?

Dear Ken: What can you tell us about “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek? How many languages can he speak?

The 69-year-old Canadian-American was originally a news broadcast, until he began to host game shows in his native land in the mid-1960s. His “Jeopardy” gig began in 1984 and is still going strong. I believe he still owns a thoroughbred horse ranch in Creston, Calif. (called Creston Farms), and he did have a winery called Creston Vineyards.The game show master is fluent in English and French and speaks some German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.

Dear Ken: How many hit songs did Dianna Ross have?

If you don’t include her many smashes as a member of The Supremes, Ross, 65, has about 10 Top-10 singles between 1970 and 1995. Among them are “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Theme From Mahogany,” “Upside Down,” “Endless Love” and “Love Hangover.”

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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