No need to run away from marathon question

How many runners participated in the first Boston Marathon? – R.W., Peoria, Ill.

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon. It started in 1897. With only 18 men competing, 10 finished the race. The winner was John J. McDermott, who finished in two hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds. The current record was set in 2011 by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, who ran it in two hours, three minutes, two seconds – which is also the fastest marathon ever. In 2013, nearly 27,000 entered the race.

Is there a name for the piece of jewelry people insert into a piercing under their lips? – J.K., Brazoria, Texas

It’s a labret. It comes from the Latin word “labrum,” meaning “lip.”

Were show business personalities Henry Morgan and Harry Morgan brothers? – E.P., Mesa, Ariz.

I’ll let you figure out this one: Henry Morgan was born on March 31, 1915, in New York City. A few days later, on April 10, 1915, Harry Morgan was born in Detroit. At birth, Henry Morgan was known as Henry Lerner Von Ost Jr., while Harry Morgan was Harry Bratsburg.

Henry Morgan was a radio comedian and quiz show panelist. Harry Morgan, who originally billed himself as Henry Morgan but changed his name because of the other Henry Morgan, went on to star on television and the big screen.

I have three questions about one of America’s greatest playwrights, Tennessee Williams: Is Tennessee his given name? What college did he attend? When did he die? – F.L., Richmond, Ill.

Thomas Lanier Williams III was born in Columbus, Miss., on March 26, 1911. He attended the University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis; he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in 1938. He then moved to New Orleans, where he changed his name to Tennessee. Despite tremendous success in his life, he struggled with depression and drug and alcohol addiction. He choked to death on a pill bottle cap Feb. 24, 1983, at his residence at the Hotel Elysee in New York City.

Back in the 1950s, there was a puppet hound dog on TV that sang a chocolate commercial. What was the name of the dog? How about the chocolate? – H.C., Marion, Va.

Oh, I can still hear the jingle today, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best CH-A-A-A--KLUT,” and then there was the distinctive snapping of the jaws that every kid had to imitate to end the commercial. The dog’s name was Farfel.

The name “The Flying Graysons” keeps coming to mind. I assume they are from a circus act I saw as a kid. Do you know anything about them? – C.J.A., Sanford, Maine

The Flying Graysons died in a trapeze accident in the Haley Circus. Don’t worry, though, they are fictional – they were the parents of Dick Grayson, better known as Robin, the Boy Wonder, who is the sidekick to Batman.

• 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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