Today is Sunday, March 26, 2017

WKRP DJs Fever, Flytrap had other names

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Dear Ken: I used to love watching “WKRP in Cincinnati” because of its zany characters at a rock ’n’ roll radio station. I recollect Howard Hesseman as Dr. Johnny Fever and Tim Reid as Venus Flytrap. Did the characters of these two DJs have other names?

You bet they did. Fever’s name was Johnny Caravella and Flytrap was Gordon Sims.

Dear Ken: In Disney’s classic comedy “The Shaggy Dog,” starring Fred MacMurray and Tommy Kirk, what was the means by which Kirk’s boy turned into a mutt?

Kirk’s character, Wilby Daniels, morphed into a dog after he spoke the words “in canis corpore transmuto”  over an enchanted ring. The 1959 flick also featured Annette Funicello, Tim Considine and Kevin Corcoran.

Dear Ken: I know that Freddie Prinz created a catchphrase when he starred in the 1970s sitcom “Chico and the Man” with Jack Albertson but for the life of me I can’t remember what the line was. Can you refresh my memory? Did Prinz takes his own life?

Chico said, “Loo-king good!” when something impressed him.

Born Frederick Karl Pruetzel, Prinz, who had a Puerto Rican mother and Hungarian father, shot himself in the head with a pistol in 1977. He was only 22.

Dear Ken: I think “Shane” may be the best western movie ever made. Tell me how tall star Alan Ladd really was, and I have heard that he was born a Southerner.

Various sources list Ladd’s height from 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6, so maybe he stood 5-foot-8 in Shane’s boots. He was born in Hot Springs, Ark., to an Englishwoman who came to the States when she was 19.

His teen years were spent in N. Hollywood, Calif., where he ran track and was a swimming champion but also got stuck with the nickname Tiny.Before he became a movie star, he worked a variety of odd jobs and even had a hamburger stand named Tiny’s Patio. He died in 1964 at only 50 years of age.

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via 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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