Glory of The Answer Man is gone with the Web
Updated: June 28, 2012 11:30AM
There is something about each of us that makes us welcome at get-togethers or parties.
Some of us are excellent conversationalists. Some are good-looking. Others know a lot of jokes. Some of us are wealthy, others are wise. Some are masters at flattery. Some are experts. Some are doctors or lawyers and can be hit up for free advice. A few can press 300 pounds.
Whatever that talent or ability is, all of us — or almost all — have something of interest to other people.
No, I have none of the above-mentioned qualities.
But there is something about me that made me welcome, or at least tolerated, at gatherings.
I am The Answer Man.
Not about quantum mechanics, I don’t have those kinds of answers.
What I have is answers about old movies and TV shows. And since people like to talk about old movies and TV shows at parties, I served a function.
“Oh,’’ someone would ask, “What’s the name of that actor who always played a scientist in movies and TV shows in the ’50s? You know, he was the scientist the cops would go to to analyze clues? A little, skinny guy with glasses ... ’’
They would turn to The Answer Man who would calmly, if somewhat smugly, reply, “Oh, you must be talking about Olan Soule.”
The actors who played the gunmen waiting at the train station in “High Noon’’? Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley and Lee Van Cleef.
Who played Kevin McCarthy’s best friend and soon-to-be pod person in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers’’? King Donovan.
Who played the title role in the TV series “Yancy Derringer’’? Jock Mahoney.
In how many movies did Herbert Marshall play Bette Davis’s husband? Two, “The Letter’’ and “The Little Foxes.’’
But the last few years, fewer and fewer people have come to The Answer Man for movie and TV trivia. I was reminded of that the other day while I was flipping through a magazine. There was a cartoon headlined “Before the Internet.’’ Three guys were sitting at a table. One asked who played some role in a sitcom. The second guy said he didn’t know. The third guy, with a look of horror on his face, said “And we may never know!’’
How true. Now there is no need to ask The Answer Man. Just look it up yourself on the Internet.
The Answer Man doesn’t get around much anymore.