By Jim Heffernan
Many people have inquired – well, one has – in utter confusion about this latest incarnation of “Answer Man” being used by the City of Duluth to promote the Twin Ports’ effort to become some super-duper fiberoptics global Google experimental headquarters, or something like that.
“I thought YOU were the Answer Man,” wrote the lone inquisitor.
I can see where there would be confusion. In the city’s current effort, U.S. Sen. Al Franken introduces a series Duluth-sponsored promotional ads from the mid-1980s in which he appeared as “Duluth Answer Man” in amusing skits answering goofy questions about Duluth. (click HERE)
This needs blog clarification if anything ever did. Yes, I was the Answer Man proxy for the Duluth News Tribune long before the then Duluth Convention and Tourist Trap Bureau (now Visit Duluth) produced Duluth Answer Man tourist promotion ads with then comedian Franken. (A whole lot of “thens” have transpired over the years.)
My Answer Man columns began running a good decade earlier and were printed in the paper several times a year for several years. I was Answer Man’s proxy because Answer Man was described as “really a woman” writing as a man. She answered the questions people were asking about the important issues of the day, most of which were of maximum unimportance to the human race or any other race you want to cite, including the Indianapolis 500 and the Belmont Stakes.
So, clearing up this mystery, yes, there was an Answer Man a long time ago in a kingdom far away and by the inland sea; long before Franken’s Duluth Answer Man reared up in the mid-80s and has been raised from the dead in 2010, a miracle of biblical proportions.
Thanks for asking, though.
Note: Al Franken gives the green light to use his Answer Man from the eighties to give our area a boost in the contest for Google Fiber Twin Ports. If you haven't seen it, here's the link to see the You Tube video: Al Franken: On Google Fiber for Twin Ports Also check out Googletwinports.com.