Can you name the iconic radio host who voiced Shaggy in the old Scooby Doo cartoons?
We're all in our early 20s, so we couldn't, but that was one of the brain busters thrown our way at Mario's South Side Saloon trivia night Wednesday. Five of the other interns and went to test our freshly-minted, and in some cases not yet complete, college educations/collection of random facts in our head.
The bar is great. They have massive burgers and great fries and instead of pitchers, you can order "Das Boot," a 64-ounce glass boot full of beer. Heaven. To order Das Boot, you must give them your credit card in case you somehow drop and shatter it, which was conceivable considering there was no good way to hold it and pour into small plastic cups. It was worth it.
The basic idea behind trivia is to correctly answer questions announced over the soundsystem before the current song ends. You can wager points based on your confidence level: for example, the lowest possible on Scooby Doo and the highest possible on "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Most points wins.
So back to the voice of Shaggy, one of the first questions we received. None of us knew. I know two iconic radio hosts, Howard Stern and Don Imus, and I didn't think either one voiced Shaggy. We put John Tesh just for laughs. It was, in fact, Casey Kasem.
Here are some other things we didn't know about Casey Kasem. His real name is Kamal Amin and he made two cameos on "Saved By The Bell." He's a vegan who supported Ralph Nader and was born to Lebanese parents in Detroit. Learn something new every day.
The place was jammed, and at least 11 teams participated in the competition. Some had been there before and knew everything, some hadn't a clue, but the event energized the place. Putting the guy who ran the event upstairs, meaning I had to walk up and down stairs every round to hand in our answer, was the only mistake.
Among other things we learned: The Aleutian Islands near Alaska used to be known as the Catherine Archipelago before the U.S. bought them from Russia in 1867. Prime real estate, if you ask me. Sure, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the country, but what type of country would we be without snow-covered volcano-filled islands near the tip of the arctic circle? We actually conducted underground nuclear tests up there in the 1950s, underground rather than above ground so as to preserve the pristine landscape and not impinge on tourism, I'm sure.
Bubble wrap isn't called bubble wrap. "The Dark Side of the Moon" was Pink Floyd's first No. 1 album. And the Spanish-American war took place after the Mexican-American war (I was thrilled -- people said my American History major wouldn't get me anywhere in life and here I was, getting us closer to that bar tab we were all playing for).
At the halfway point we were only five points back. Some obnoxious people at the bar had a perfect score going. We suspect foul play. Using an iPhone or smart phone disqualifies you for the round.
Movie scenes question: What type of economics, also knowns as Reaganomics, does Ben Stein discuss in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off?"
Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
I knew watching that movie many, many times as a kid had some benefit. Voodoo economics. Four points. Ben Stein actually graduated with a degree in Economics from Columbia in 1966 and was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As a result, his lecture in the film was ad-libbed from memory and discussed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930. And Charlie Sheen, who appears in the movie for all of five minutes, stayed up for 48 hours to appear drugged out in the scene in the police station. That's dedication.
None of this came up at trivia, but that's the great thing about it: it inspires further thinking.
Our team worked well together and was in contention during the final round. The last question asked us to pick a person who was born in Englewood, N.J., in 1954, became a hit on the big screen in 1977 after being popular on TV, switched religion and made his comeback in 1994. Go.
Five of us stared blankly at each other and attempted to pick movies from 1977. "Airport '77?" "Annie Hall?" "The Spy Who Loved Me?" We didn't get any of these, of course, I found them on Google just a minute ago, but I'd like to believe if we weren't in the heat of competition we could have dug them up.
Not Lindsay, however, who dropped John Travolta for the correct answer and 15 points. TV Star (Vinny Barbarino in "Welcome Back, Kotter"), "Saturday Night Fever" in 1977, resurgence in "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. Well done, Lindsay.
We didn't place in the money. A bunch of meatheads flexing at the bar and yelling obscenities at the trivia organizer came away with first prize (again, cheating may have been involved) but had a great time and left with new knowledge of the world around us. Other interns who went, what were your impressions of trivia?