Dear Inman: I don’t really want to get into how I know this, but I am positive that the girl who played Judy on “Family Matters” now does hardcore movies. No one believes me. Can you back me up on this? – T., via e-mail
Dear T.: Well, let’s put it this way – her most recent film credits include “The Jeffersons: A XXX Parody” and “My Baby Got Back 29.” In the immortal words of Steve Urkel, “Did I do thaaaaaat?”
Jaimee Foxworth, who is now known as Crave, has also appeared on “Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.”
Dear Incred-I: A group of friends were discussing what we think was a TV show where one of the characters would open up a medicine cabinet that looked into another bathroom and he would carry on conversations with the guy on that side. Several of us remember this, but no one remembers the name of the show. Can you help? – Failing Memory
Dear F.M.: That was no TV show, that was a commercial!
It was actually a series of commercials for Right Guard deodorant that ran in the early 1970s. Bill Fiore played a guy who shared a bathroom medicine cabinet with a jolly fellow played by Chuck McCann, who would sing the praises of Right Guard and say things like, “One shot and I’m good for the whole day!” He also greeted Fiore with the phrase, “Hi, Guy,” which became a kind of national mini-craze for about two weeks.
Dear Incredible David: I know you don’t usually do song lyrics, but this is kind of TV-related. Whenever I hear the song “Touch Me” by The Doors, the last three notes are the same as the ones in an old TV commercial with the words “stronger than dirt.” Here’s my question – what detergent commercial was that from? (Told you it was TV related!) – T.E., Louisville
Dear T.E.: Ajax laundry detergent. The commercial featured a white knight on horseback who rode around making everything white when he touched it with his magic lance.
Dear Inman: We are trying to find the real names of the Three Stooges. Please help! – C.R., Louisville
Dear C.R.: Thanks to exhaustive archeological research on this subject – and I must credit all those great men of science who have blazed the trail before me – we can conclusively, um, conclude that the stooge story goes like this:
The group was originally formed as comic relief for bandleader Ted Healy. They made their film debut in 1930’s “Soup to Nuts.” At that time the group consisted of Moe Howard, his brother Shemp, Larry Fine and a fellow named Fred Sanborn. Fred left the group soon after – legend has it he departed because he was tired of Moe ironing his tongue for 82 consecutive takes in the “Laundry Room” sketch.
Anyway, Shemp went out on his own and the trio acquired Moe’s other brother Jerome, aka Curly. Their first film short, “Nertsery Rhymes,” was produced in 1933.
Curly stayed with the Stooges until he suffered a stroke on the set of 1947’s “Half-Wits Holiday.” He retired soon thereafter and died in 1952. Shemp stepped back in to replace his brother and stayed with them until their last film short, 1956’s “Commotoion on the Ocean.”
Joe Besser then joined the group for a year or so, and was followed by Joe DeRita, who played Curly Joe and appeared in several Stooges films during the early 1960s, including “Have Rocket Will Travel” and “Snow White and the Three Stooges” (“A poisoned apple! Why, I oughta …“).
Dear Dave: Whenever I have a good laugh, I am reminded of a stand up comic (from the 1960s?) who did a hilarious routine with a large emu puppet that would beat him up. Would this be on video? – S.E., Louisville
Dear S.E.: Yes, in volume five of “When Fake Emus Attack People Who Are Operating Them with His Left Arm.”
The comic was named Rod Hull, and he, along with his emu puppet, were a long-running fixture of British TV. In the states, Hull made a splash on “The Hudson Brothers Razzle-Dazzle Show,” a Saturday-morning series that ran on CBS in the mid-1970s.
Hull died in 1999 after suffering a fall. He was 63. None of his appearances are on video – at least not yet.
Dear Sir: I was told that Captain Kangaroo was a decorated Marine who was tough as nails. Could you tell me if that is true? – Mike, via e-mail
Dear Mike: You know, my first clue about this was the memorable episode where the Captain made Mister Moose get a buzzsaw haircut. And then there was the time he pounded those medals into Mr. Green Jeans’ chest, and made Magic Drawing Board police the Treasure House until it was so clean you could eat off the floor.
This is one of those rumors that, as is the case with many rumors, have a small basis in truth. The rumormonger was the late actor Lee Marvin. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in the 1970s and talked about serving in the Marines during World War II and fighting in the battle for Iwo Jima alongside Bob Keeshan, aka the Captain.
But the reality is that Keeshan was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, and never saw combat. And Marvin wasn’t at Iwo Jima, either, although he was wounded at Saipan and received the Purple Heart.
Dear David Inman: When I was a kid about 50 years ago we used to watch a children’s show that had a guy called the Banana Man. He would come out and fill up small train cars with foam bananas he pulled from his oversize coat. I seem to be the only person who remembers him. Did he exist? – F.L.M., via e-mail
Dear F.L.M.: It’s hard to describe the Banana Man in print, but if you saw him you wouldn’t forget him. He was a mime-clown who would punctuate his tricks with a soft “aaahh” or “eeee.”
His real name was Adolph Proper, but he was known as A. Robins. He performed on stage and in circuses, and in a 1939 film short that featured a young Red Skelton. He died in 1950, and the act was taken over by a clown named Sammy Levine. That incarnation of the Banana Man appeared on episodes of “Captain Kangaroo,” “Super Circus” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Here’s the 1939 short with Robins:
Here’s Sammy Levine on “Captain Kangaroo” in 1969:
Mr. Inman: In the 1960s there was a famous commercial in which a woman was cooking something, and when her mother suggested that it could use more salt, the woman came completely unglued and screamed, “Mother, PLEASE! I’d rather do it myself!” What product was that commercial promoting? – R.M., via e-mail
Dear R.M.: You forgot what came after that – the daughter rubbing her head while her voiceover said, “Sure you’ve got a headache. You’re tense, irritable. But why take it out on her?” What a neatly encapsulated little drama of mother-daughter resentment.
The product was Anacin, which, as an animated graphic described it, fought your headache three ways – it got rid of the hammer in your head, the static in your cerebellum and the cracking steel balls in your cranium.
Dear Answer Man: “Saturday Night Live” and Kenan Thompson comes on my fiancée and I get into an argument. He says that Kel Mitchell, who used to be Kenan’s co-star on “Kenan and Kel,” died of a drug overdose. This can’t be true, can it? Can you set him straight? – P.W., Louisville
Dear P.W.: Kel Mitchell is alive and well. He’s been a semi-regular on the CW sitcom “One on One” and he has a couple of movies in the pipeline. And “Kenan and Kel” will forever be one of my guilty pleasures. So sue me.