The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 29, 2013

Studio drummer spends a day in the life of a Beatle


Q: Who was the first magician to saw a woman in half? -- L.Y.

A: Though there are claims that it happened earlier, most historians agree that the first magician to saw a woman in half was P.T. Selbit in January 1921.

By November 1921, the trick had become so popular that the Thayer Magic Co. started selling the illusion for $175. You could buy just the plans for $5.

Q: Who was Ragu spaghetti sauce named after? -- G.D., Tyler, Texas

A: Ragu spaghetti sauce was not named for a person. In fact, it was not named at all. Giovanni and Assunta Cantisano created the sauce in 1937 using recipes they brought over from Italy. They began to invite friends over for pasta and their homemade sauce. The guests raved about the sauce, which the Cantisanos jarred and distributed, though they never bothered to name the product. They just labeled it "ragu," which is Italian for "sauce."

In 1946, they opened a plant in Rochester, N.Y. In 1969, Chesebrough-Ponds bought the company for more than $43 million. Ragu has been the leader in sauce brands since 1971.

Q: I think Dizzy Gillespie was one of the finest trumpet players ever. What was his real name? How did he get the nickname "Dizzy"? -- M.B., Pittsburg, Kan.

A: John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born Oct. 21, 1917, in Cheraw, S.C. His trumpet playing is said to have earned him the role as a founding father of modern jazz. Dizzy died of pancreatic cancer in Englewood, N.J. in 1993. Gillespie was given the nickname "Dizzy" because of the crazy way he moved on stage.

Q: I turned 13 on Sept. 9, 1956. That was the night I saw Elvis Presley for the first time on television, during "The Ed Sullivan Show." That wasn't his first TV appearance. When was it? -- J.S., Alton, Ill.

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