Open Thread

Open Thread Update: I’ll Never Forget Whatshername

I guess some readers forgot to check the column last week, but thanks to the ones who did show up to play!

A special shout out to reader Richard H. who actually remembered where the original “whatshername” title came from!

“I’ll never forget old whatshername” is actually a classic line said by Snoopy…

Check out his comment for the complete backstory. Thanks, Richard!

And a special thanks to Marianne for a really neat memory trick!

“My memory trick is using the alphabet. It always seems to work- when I get stuck on a letter I try different vowels & the name comes to me.”

Reader Steve was kind enough to tell us that my memory missteps about names actually has a name itself.

….I was suffering from Lethonomia, the inability to remember a name when you need it.

Read his comments to learn about an article on this mysterious malady.

Meanwhile, readers Joanne and Mary Lou do their best to come up with some answers to the trivia questions I posted last week. Thanks, ladies!

And lastly, a heartfelt thank you to reader Katherine for her lovely compliment…

Virge …you are a great writer. Don’t forget that.

That means so much.

Your Turn

We’ll keep the comments open for a while so folks can add their memory tips, tricks and missteps.  And in case you forgot it, the original column is below.


Original Column

I blame it on Ida Lupino.

I watch a lot of old movies and TV series (Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, Gunsmoke). It was fun to spot the first appearance of a later famous movie star.  My favorite was picking up on one of Audrey Hepburn’s first screen appearances in the early moments of “Our Man in Havana.”

Photo: Courtesy NBC Radio

For the past year or so, I’ve not enjoyed the game so much.  It all started with Ida Lupino.  I can picture her in my mind, and describe the plots of the Columbo episodes she starred in*, the Twilight Zone episode she directed **, and the Twilight Zone episode she starred in***.  But for the life of me, when I think of her, I keep confusing her name with…

…Aldo Ray?

Really, if there are two polar opposites in every respect, it’s Ida Lupino and Aldo Ray, but when I think of her and picture her…I come up with Aldo Ray.

What’s his name..?

Worst of all, the contagion is spreading. Now I can’t summon Karl Urban’s name without prompting. I’m a fan of The Boys, and loved him in Star Trek, in the Marvel movies, and in Lord of the Rings, and I….just…can’t recall his name on my own.

Memory? What memory? 

Rhyming their names or picturing them wearing name tags doesn’t work. And since I’m a pub trivia fan, my unprompted memory skills are vital. I can recite poetry I learned in the seventh grade but it takes a while before I can summon up the name of the director of one of my favorite comedies, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.**** Or the title of a favorite movie of mine that I quote all the time *****(“”That rug really tied the room together!” “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”)

YOUR TURN-and a challenge!

What about you? What’s your particularly tricky memory pitfall? What memory tricks have helped you? Let us know in the comments…

…and also let us know if you know either of *Ida’s Columbo episodes, *the Twilight Zone episode she directed, ***and/or the Twilight Zone episode she starred in. Or that director****. Or that movie*****! No cheating now!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to


11 responses to “Open Thread Update: I’ll Never Forget Whatshername

  1. I forget names but my visual memory is fine. When I meet someone new, I look at them and say their names a few times. Then I create a mental name tag for them and pin it on them. It helps me, too to picture the surroundings when I later try to recall them.

  2. “I’ll never forget old whatshrername” is actually a classic line said by Snoopy after he has said for endless days he will never get over (forget) his last love by name and suddenly one day he says “I’ll never forget old whatshername” and he says “that’s it! I’ve done it!”

  3. My memory trick is using the alphabet. It always seems to work- when I get stuck on a letter I try different vowels & the name comes to me. Really tricky when you are in a group & mentally running through the alphabet.

  4. I don’t really remember watching too many of the Twilight zone shows, one that I do remember is the show where a man believes he is the last person alive in the world. But I do forget some actors, whom I used to recall quite easily.

      1. yes, I loved that movie, with that guy! You know, that guy! I loved the Mad etc. world movie and Terry Thomas was in it but it was directed by…..?

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