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National Editorials & Columns

Vivid circus memory lingers for one reader

Q: I recall visiting an aunt and uncle when I was a youngster. As a treat we went to a circus. As we entered the big tent, a woman was on the ground receiving medical assistance for a nasty cut on her ankle. Someone stopped to ask what happened; she said it was a “snake bite.” That was nearly 50 years ago, and I still wonder what type of snake would cause such a deep gash? — G.G., Hays, Kan.

A: The term is “stake bite,” and it is caused by the heads of the metal stakes used to hold up the tents. The tops of the stakes become flattened and flare out; some of them become razor-sharp and can inflict serious wounds on anyone close enough to touch them.

Q: I have long studied a map trying to figure out this riddle. Can you help me out? Here is the riddle: From this town, no matter which direction you travel — north, south, east or west — you will enter another state, but it will be the same state. Where are you? — P.L.T., Las Vegas, N.M.

A: Greenwich, Conn., works to solve your puzzle. To the north and west is Westchester County, N.Y. If you travel south and east you would be in Long Island, N.Y.

Q: I have a question about John Wayne, one of the best and most beloved actors in Hollywood. I’m puzzled about the secrecy of his burial location. Was it his wish for the location to stay a secret? — D.F., Reading, Pa.

A: John Wayne died June 11, 1979. He is buried at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, Calif. His grave was unmarked for 20 years, as there was some fear of it being disturbed. It now has a quotation from an interview he did with Playboy: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

Q: I saw a movie, “A Gathering of Eagles,” about the Strategic Air Command (SAC), starring Rock Hudson, Mary Peach, Barry Sullivan and Rod Taylor. In the movie, the SAC base was called Carmody. What is the actual name of the base where the movie was filmed? I’m a retired SAC man. — R.M., Easton, Md.

A: The 1963 movie was filmed mostly at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville, Calif. Other scenes were filmed at the Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb.

Q: I recently watched a movie I had not seen in at least 40 years. It was called “The Search,” starring Montgomery Clift. In it, a young Holocaust survivor is searching for his mother in war-ravaged Europe. The child is played by Ivan Jandl. What happened to him? — T.B., Pottsville, Pa.

A: Ivan Jandl was born Jan. 24, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic). When filming began for “The Search” in 1948, he spoke no English and had to learn his lines phonetically. For the role of Karel Malik, Jandl won an Academy Award for best child actor in 1949. Because the government would not allow him to leave the country, a delegation came to Czechoslovakia and presented him with his award. He was offered many film roles, but the government said no.

After high school, Jandl wanted to study film arts but was allegedly denied acceptance as punishment for accepting an American award. He tried several different jobs before ending up in radio in 1965, where he worked as an announcer. Jandl died from complications of diabetes in 1987. He was 50 years old.

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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