See how you do on these trivial questions, which range from, “Boy, that was easy!” to, “Gee, I haven’t got a clue!” (answers are at the end of the column).
1. What was Rembrandt’s last name?
2. True or false? Lemmings are small rodents that inhabit Sweden and Norway. In some years, migrating on a straight-line course, they march to the sea, swim out and drown.
3. Who was the first American movie director to be paid $1 million to direct a single film and what was the movie?
4. What occurrence prompted Ron Popeil to invent the Popeil Pocket Fisherman?
5. What was the name of the cat that Alice left behind when she fell down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?
6. Who were the “Chindits?” And if you need a clue on this one, too bad.
7. What famous movie star as a toddler had his picture on packages of baby food? Hint: this is not a current movie star. So, think way back.
8. Why did baseball manager Hal Lanier remove all the TV sets from the Houston Astros’ clubhouse in 1986?
9. When the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in Britain in 1938, how did its showing differ from the American opening?
10. How many possible hands can a player be dealt in a game of bridge?
11. In the movie, The Caine Mutiny, what is the USS Caine? Is it a battleship, minesweeper, destroyer, submarine, aircraft carrier, or a British actor whose first name is Michael?
12. Where does the expression, “Out of the mouths of babes,” come from?
1. There are at least two versions of Rembrandt’s last name — van Ryn and van Rijn.
2. True. I thought maybe I could fool you into thinking that this was one of those “urban legend” things — something everyone believes but something that’s actually not true. In this case, the lemming story is true, but only to a point. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit. But it’s not intentional mass-suicide as popularized in Disney films.
3. Mike Nichols got the million in 1967 for directing, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. Remember when that was the “hot” movie that everyone absolutely had to see? Makes you feel old to realize that it was way back in 1967, eh?
4. His father was poked in the eye with a fishing rod and Ron thought: “There must be a better, safer way to fish!” So, of course, he invented something that was like fishing with an electric drill.
Do you remember any of his other dazzling Ronco products? Well, there was: Mr. Microphone, Hula Hoe (weed-eater with a wiggle), Cellutrol Plus (makes dimpled thighs disappear), Mr. Dentist (clean your own teeth, the professional way), Inside the egg scrambler and the classic Veg-O-Matic.
5. The cat was Dinah.
6. This would probably be one of those “haven’t got a clue” questions, right? The Chindits were a British unit that fought behind the Japanese lines in Burma during the Second World War.
7. It was Humphrey Bogart. Who was a cute baby, I guess. His mother was a commercial artist, and used him as a model for a picture that was used on packages of Mellins Baby Food.
8. The players were skipping infield practice to watch Wheel of Fortune.
9. Amazingly, British censors restricted the movie. They said anyone under 16 had to be accompanied by an adult. Apparently, they thought British youngsters were more susceptible to nightmares than American children. There were no such restrictions in the U.S.
10. Over 600 billion.
11. A minesweeper.
12. It’s from the Bible. Psalms 8.2 begins, “Out of the mouth of babes ...”