Friday, January 1, 2016

Quiz: Who Didn't Start the Fire?

     When Billy Joel was a kid he wanted to grow up to be a history teacher. Of course, as we all know, he instead became a hugely popular singer/songwriter.

     Joel had just turned 40 when young Sean Lennon was in his recording studio with a friend. The friend, for whatever reason, complained that "it was a terrible time to be 21." That made Joel, who was born in 1949, reflect on the time that he was 21, when the Vietnam War was going on, there were drug problems and civil rights issues and "everything seemed to be awful."

     The kid responded that Joel had grown up in the 1950s and "everybody knows that nothing happened in the 50s."

     The singer/songwriter started thinking about the people and events that had populated his life, starting in the year of his birth. He went on to write and record "We Didn't Start the Fire," a signature song which became a No. 1 hit and was nominated for the Grammy Award Record of the Year.

     Joel refers to more than a hundred people and events that had affected his younger days. Did they have any influence on yours? See if you can identify these references from Billy Joel's hit song by choosing the correct answer . . .

     1. Doris Day
a)  Recorded her hit song "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window" in 1950
b)  Married Eddie Fisher in 1950
c)  Was voted favorite female star by U. S. soldiers in Korea in 1950
d)  Went bankrupt in 1951

     2. Johnny Ray
a)  Bolted to the top of the charts with "Cry"
b)  Was Milton Berle's sidekick on "The Milton Berle Show"
c)  Played Davey Crockett's sidekick on TV
d)  Was convicted in the murder of Jack Ruby

     3. Roy Cohn
a)  Was an aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy
b)  Defended Richard Nixon
c)  Played Perry Mason on TV
d)  Was Ray Kroc's original partner in McDonald's

     4. Juan Peron
a)  Starred in the hit TV series I love Lucy
b)  Sang the hit song "Lemon Tree"
c)  Was president of Argentina in the 1940s and '50s
d)  Captured Adolf Eichmann in 1960

     5. Princess Grace
a)  Was Princess Di's older sister
b)  Later became Queen of Luxembourg
c)  Was the mother of rock star Prince
d)  Married Prince Rainier of Monaco

     6. Peyton Place
a)  Was a book and TV show
b)  Sits near Boardwalk in the game Monopoly
c)  Is a Louisiana town named for Peyton Manning
d)  Is the title of Katharine Hepburn's autobiography

     7. Chou en-Lai
a)  Was George H. W. Bush's favorite presidential meal
b)  Was elected the first Asian-born mayor of San Francisco
c)  Was the leader of the communist North Vietnamese
d)  Served as premier of the People's Republic of China

     8. The Bridge on the River Kwai
a)  Starred Alan Alda
b)  Won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1958
c)  Dramatized the cruel practices of the British in colonial India
d)  Was based on an actual event that occurred during the Vietnam war

     9. Starkweather homocide
a)  Took place at the book depository in Dallas
b)  Took place at the clock tower of the University of Texas in Austin
c)  Was the title of Huey Newton's autobiography
d)  Was the name of a killing spree in Nebraska in the 1950s

     10. Children of Thalidomide
a)  Suffered birth defects because of the drug
b)  Died from the defoliant used in Vietnam
c)  Were babies born after a scandal involving Trojan condoms
d)  Were children saved by the smallpox vaccine

     11. Psycho
a)  Won Best Picture Academy Award in 1961
b)  Starred Tippi Hedren
c)  Featured a cameo appearance by director Alfred Hitchcock
d)  Was filmed on location in Lewiston, Maine

     12. Belgians in the Congo
a)  Was a brand of candy popular in the late 1950s
b)  Was the name of a hit record by the British invasion group The Hollies
c)  Helped free the African nation from colonial rule by Germany
d)  Tried to mediate a civil war after the Congo gained independence in 1960

     13. Stranger in a Strange Land
a)  Was a science fiction book by Robert Heinlein
b)  Was the autobiography of James Baldwin
c)  Formed the tag line in an advertisement for the ill-fated Edsel
d)  Was a TV sit-com about two unlikely cousins living together in Chicago

     14. Bay of Pigs Invasion
a)  Occurred in 1964
b)  Was JFK's first step involving us in Vietnam
c)  Was a CIA misadventure set in motion by President Eisenhower
d)  Saved Guantanamo from falling into Castro's hands

    15. Malcolm X
a)  Was a notorious Civil Rights leader
b)  Was a notorious New York gang leader
c)  Was a notorious 1970s rap star
d)  Played Will Smith's father in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

     16. British Politician Sex
a)  Refers to a sex scandal involving a British government official
b)  Was a new sexual position popularized by the movie "I Am Curious Yellow"
c)  Was a 1980s reference to gay sex
d)  Was the CIA code name for Margaret Thatcher's husband

     17. Sally Ride
a)  Debuted in 1976 as a new ride at Disney World in Orlando
b)  Flew as the first American woman in space
c)  Climbed the charts as a hit record by The Rascals
d)  Was a slang word for cocaine

     18. Heavy metal suicide
a)  Was the name of a Punk Rock band
b)  Was the name of a film by Andy Warhol
c)  Refers to the suicide of Nirvana star Kurt Cobain
d)  Refers to lyrics from Ozzie Osborne and Judas Priest allegedly glorifying suicide

     19. Homeless Vets
a)  Was the name of a movie starring John Voight
b)  Refers to the number of Vietnam vets who were poor and homeless
c)  Was a NY Post headline about New York's homeless problem
d)  Was Donald Trump's plan to register the homeless in Atlantic City

     20. Bernie Goetz
a)  Manufactured Guess jeans
b)  Was a character actor in the first Star Wars movie
c)  Shot four people in the New York subway
d)  Was the last person killed at the Berlin Wall in 1988

     So do you still think you know a lot about the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s? Check out my next post for the answers, and a few little-known Baby Boomer facts from singer-songwriter-historian Billy Joel.


Anonymous said...

Not too fond of Billy Joel, but Happy New Year, Tom.
Aloha from Hawaii.

Olga Hebert said...

Wow--those are things I SHOULD know...and I am not sure I do.
Happy New Year!

Barbara said...

Great post. It's going to cause me to do some research on those things I only thought I knew!!

Meryl Baer said...

What a way to start the new year - a nostalgic look back. I remember most of these events and individuals. Can't believe how many years ago these things occurred...

Pam said...

Doggone it, Tom. Here I was all set to relax, but since I failed the quiz, I've started researching for answers. In a strange way, it's comforting to realize there have always been crazy events, scattered throughout history. Maybe today's headlines are so bizarre, after all.

Pam said...

Correction: Meant to say, "Maybe today's headlines are NOT so bizarre, after all."

Sally Wessely said...

This was a great post. I think I did pretty well on the quiz. Do we get a grade or a prize? This was a fun walk down memory lane.

Wisewebwoman said...

I did well on the quiz and yeah if the planet is around in 50 years it will be worse off (Arctic icecap melting as I write) I honestly don't want to be around for the Beginning of the End once it gets really serious. How long ago was the flooding in the British Isles predicted? And water shortage in California. And on.

Jury still out on your baldness - need a top pic from your newly found Canon.


Anonymous said...

I knew many of these from the earlier years because I used to read Photoplay, the precursor to People's Mag. Interesting post, Tom.

Jono said...

I remember Life magazine's coverage of Thalidomide. I'll never forget that. I just saw Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time in many years about two weeks ago. I'll have to listen more carefully to Billy Joel's lyrics now.