Lincoln's namesake cars returning to roots

Sunday, December 16, 2012

By Gary Clothier

Question: I have been admiring the 2013 Lincoln Motor Co. lineup. Who was the company named after?

Chester, Va.

Answer: In August 1917, Henry M. Leland formed Lincoln Motor Co. He named it after his hero, Abraham Lincoln. The company's mission was to build aircraft engines with cylinders supplied by Ford, not to build cars.

In 1922, Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's son, signed an agreement to buy Lincoln Motor Co. In 1940, it became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Co. Earlier this month, Ford announced it was taking the luxury brand back to its roots by returning to its original name, Lincoln Motor Co.

Question: I recently visited my sister. She has a dog similar to the one used in "The Wizard of Oz." What became of Toto after the movie?

S.R., Dawson, Ala.

Answer: In the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," Toto was played by a female cairn terrier named Terry. She was owned and trained by Carl Spitz. Terry earned $125 per week for her role in the movie -- more than many of the human actors. During the filming of the movie, a co-star stepped on and broke one of her feet. While she was healing, another dog was used.

Terry appeared in more than a dozen other movies, but she was most famous for her role in the Oz film. Her owner changed her name to Toto due to her immense popularity. She was 10 or 11 when she died in 1945. Spitz buried her at his ranch in Studio City, Calif.; however, when the Ventura Freeway was constructed in 1958, her grave was destroyed. In 2011, a permanent memorial was erected in her honor at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Question: James Cagney is famous for his line "You dirty rat, you!" What movie is that line from?

L.H., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Answer: The phrase is often misquoted. The actual line is "Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I'll give it to you through the door!" Cagney's character, Matt Nolan, says it in the 1932 film "Taxi!" The film also starred Loretta Young.

Question: When I was a kid, soda was not available in cans, but you could buy it in bottles. I enjoyed Mountain Dew in the green bottle with the image of the mountaineer toting a rifle with an outhouse in the background. Did the mountaineer have a name?

T.W.L., Sedalia, Mo.

Answer: Willy the Hillbilly is the old mascot of Mountain Dew soda. The character was created in 1948, and it was retired in 1973. It was replaced when Pepsi came up with a new logo to attract a younger generation. In 2008, Willy was brought back for a limited time. Willy the Hillbilly is now on the packaging for Mountain Dew Throwback sodas.

Question: I'm reading a novel set in the English countryside. The main character visits the home of friends, where a spirited game of draughts was going on in the family room. What is the game of draughts?

T.U., Bally, Pa.

Answer: On this side of the ocean, we call it checkers.

Question: How many Finger Lakes are there in central New York state?

V.H., Covington, La.

Answer: The Finger Lakes consist of 11 long, narrow bodies of water formed by the grinding action of glaciers during the Ice Age. However, according to Native Americans, the lakes were formed when the Great Spirit blessed the area, leaving behind the imprint of his hand.

Question: What nationality was actor Anthony Quinn?

Y.D., Rochester, Minn.

Answer: Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca was born April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to an Irish-Mexican father and a Mexican-Indian mother. Besides being a talented actor, he was also a painter, sculptor and writer. Quinn's signature role was Zorba in the musical "Zorba the Greek" (1964). He died June 3, 2001.

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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