Dear Ken: Who invented Icees? I love them and drink more than my own kids.
A fellow by the name of Omar Knedlik, who owned a Dairy Queen in Coffeyville, Kansas, concocted the cool, sweet drink in the late 1950s. It took him five years to devise a machine that could deliver a frozen, carbonated beverage, but he finally made one from an old soft ice cream machine. Later he found the Johnny Mitchell Company in Dallas that manufactured cotton gin machinery, Mark IV air conditioners for cars, LP gas vaporizers, Central Vacuum Cleaners and car washes, and they perfected the machine, so that billions of Icees have been served to fanatics like you and me. Sweet!
Dear Ken: The name of a movie is driving me crazy. Well, OK, crazier. These four cowboys from Texas leave the state and join up in the Civil War with great energy and high hopes. After a few years, only one comes back, scarred by the horrors of war.
That is 1968’s “Journey to Shiloh,” not a great flick but not bad either. It’s most definitely watchable for its young cast of seven Rebels that includes James Caan (wearing a really bad wig if I recollect correctly), Michael Sarrazin, Don Stroud, Paul Petersen, Michael Burns, Jan-Michael Vincent and Harrison Ford.
Dear Ken: Cameron Diaz, who stars with Tom Cruise in “Night and Day,” where was she born? What are her next movies coming up?
Diaz, who turns 38 on Aug. 30, was born in San Diego, Calif., to an Anglo-German mom and Cuban-American dad. She was a model when she auditioned for and got the lead opposite Jim Carrey in “The Mask” in 1994. Her career has rocketed along ever since in such films as “There’s Something About Mary,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Gangs of New York,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “The Holiday.” Up next in 2011, she stars in “Bad Teacher” and “The Green Hornet.” Diaz, who loves to knit, has reportedly broken her nose four times.
Dear Ken: My mom was a big fan of movie star Victor Mature. What were some of his biggest films?
The actor nicknamed “The Hunk” was born in Louisville, Ky., and made about 50 flicks. He first made a splash as Tumak, a caveman, in 1940’s “One Million B.C.” After serving in the Coast Guard during WWII, he became one of the most popular stars of the 1950, particularly in biblical epics where he could show off his beefcake build. Other credits include “My Darling Clementine,” “Kiss of Death,” “Samson and Delilah,” “The Robe” and “Demetrius and the Gladiator.” Mature could have easily have passed as the father of Sylvester Stallone as the two bore strong facial similarities, and there was talk at one point of the pair co-starring in a western. The golfing fanatic died at age 86 in 1999.