Question: When was Carnegie Hall in New York City opened? What was the first music played? -- K.N., White Plains, N.Y.
Answer: On the night of May 5, 1891, horse-drawn carriages lined up for a quarter mile outside Carnegie Hall. Inside, the Main Hall (now Isaac Stern Auditorium) was jammed to capacity with the cream of New York society who paid $1 or $2 to hear performances by the Symphony Society and the Oratorio Society. Walter Damrosch conducted a performance of Beethoven's "Leonore" overture No. 3. Famed Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky came to the podium to conduct his march "Solennelle." The concert ended with a performance of Berlioz's "Te Deum."
Q: What is the story behind my children's fa vorite toy, Play-Doh? -- W.L.N., Medford, Ore.
A: The story varies slightly from source to source; I'll share one version with you:
Credit for Play-Doh goes to father-and-son duo Noah and Joseph McVicker of Cincinnati, who developed the nontoxic product for cleaning wallpaper in the early 1950s. Around this time, Joseph McVicker's sister-in-law, a nursery school teacher, complained about the modeling clay she used in class -- it wasn't malleable. McVicker knew his product was safe for kids and that it was pliable, so he gave her some wallpaper cleaner to take to school. The kids loved it.
The school board bought some for the elementary classrooms, and soon after, a Washington, D.C., department store started selling off-white Play-Doh. The following year, in 1956, Play-Doh was produced in earnest. In 1957, Rainbow Crafts Co. -- the company the McVickers started -- came out with red, blue and yellow clays, with white being added in 1958. General Mills purchased the company in 1965. In 1970, Rainbow Crafts was merged into General Mills' Kenner Products. Tonka Co. purchased Kenner in 1987, and Play-Doh's current owner, Hasbro, purchased Tonka in 1991.
Q: From time to time, my parents accuse my husband and me of "trying to keep up with the Joneses." Well, maybe we do, but what I want to know: Who in the world are the Joneses? -- M.L.J., Appleton, Wis.
A: Cartoonist Arthur Momand created a comic strip called "Keeping Up With the Joneses" in 1913. He based the strip on his experiences while living in Cedarhurst in Long Island, N.Y. Momand claims that he attempted to maintain a lifestyle equal to the more affluent neighbors in his area. He eventually moved to New York City and into a modest apartment.
Q: How did my favorite candy bar, Snickers, get its name? -- L.N., Burling ton, Vt.
A: Frank Mars created the candy bar in 1930. He added chocolate to an existing snack and named it "Snickers" after one of his family's favorite horses.
SUPER TRIVIA: Each Snickers bar contains approximately 16 peanuts.
Q: I just went through my music library and found an old CD by Steve and Eydie. What hap pened to this talented couple? -- J.M., Preston, Md.
A: Steve and Eydie is the duo of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. While both performed successfully as soloists, they teamed up as a duo when they married in 1957, first performing together in 1960.
Steve and Eydie have continued to perform over the years, receiving many awards, including Grammys and an Emmy. Eydie retired in 2010 due to health issues.
Eydie was born Edith Gormezano in 1928; Steve was born Sidney Leibowitz in 1935.
Q: The locomotive Tom Thumb was beaten in a horse race. What was the name of the horse? -- G.Z., Mesa, Ariz.
A: The first steam locomotive built in America was, in fact, beaten by a popular racehorse named Nita in 1830 near Baltimore.
The locomotive was invented by Peter Cooper. Cooper wanted to convince the owners of the newly formed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that they should use locomotives rather than horses to pull cars along the tracks. Tom Thumb took the early lead until an engine belt slipped, giving Nita the opportunity to win the race.
Q: One of my favorite places to visit is the Adi rondack Mountains. I have never been able to find out what the name means or how they were so named. Can you help? -- Y.M., Dover, Del.
A: The name Adirondack comes from Mohawk Indians, who gave a name to the Algonquins who lived in the area now known as the Adirondack Mountains -- it has since been Anglicized to "Adirondack." The derogatory term means "bark eaters" or "they eat trees." When the Mohawks were speaking among the Dutch, they used the same name to refer to the French and English.
Q: Is noon a.m, p.m. or just noon? One radio sta tion in Chattanooga, Tenn., says, "The store opens at 12 p.m." They are talking about the middle of the day. I always thought 12 p.m. was midnight. What is correct? -- B.A.M., Dunlap, Tenn.
A: I answered this question not too long ago, but I'll do it again. You are asking a tricky question and one that there is much confusion about. In Latin, a.m. stands for "ante meridiem," which translates to "before midday," while p.m. means "post meridiem" or "after midday." As you can see by the Latin translations, 12 noon and 12 midnight are neither a.m. nor p.m. According to American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, "Strictly speaking, 12 a.m. denotes midnight, and 12 p.m. denotes noon, but there is sufficient confusion over these uses to make it advisable to use 12 noon and 12 midnight where clarity is required." Sounds like good advice.
Q: Who was the narra tor of the Discovery Chan nel's "What Sank Titanic"? -- P.M., Cum berland, Md.
A: "What Sank Titanic" was an episode of the Discovery Channel series "Curiosity." It was hosted and narrated by Bill Paxton. Paxton is a Hollywood actor, director and producer. He has appeared in many films, including "Titanic," "Tombstone," "Apollo 13" and "True Lies."
Q: I'm trying to remem ber where the following sentences came from: "When I was a child I spake as a child but when I was a man I spake as a man." Possibly it is from the Bible. -- E.J.F., Peoria, Ill.
A: The saying comes from 1 Corinthians 13:11. The wording is: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
Q: There was a movie around 1960 about a white horse; I believe the movie or the horse's name was "Snowfire." I really enjoyed the film and would love to turn my kids on to it. Can you find it? -- D.C., Alexandria, Va.
A: You are correct on both counts: The 1958 movie that you are referring to is called "Snowfire," as is the horse. The movie is about a young girl, Molly, who befriends a wild white stallion. Throw in some bad guys and a stubborn father, and you have a nice movie.
"Snowfire" stars Don Megowan, Molly McGowan and Claire Kelly. It is available on DVD.
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.