Trivia Bowl 6 – and the winner is…

Trivia Bowl 6 marquee outside Wolf's 1-11.Wolf’s 1-11 was packed to the rafters with trivia teams.  Classic teams like Lynch’s Mob and Tres Hombres and Stern Fans.  New trivia teams like See You Next Tuesday and Send It In Jerome and Origami Swans.  And solid consistent squads like Clay Aiken’s Skidmarks, Brown Van Experience and Woo Hoo a Go Go.  The place was  pumping.

And I was ready.  My Street Academy team would be fortified for Trivia Bowl 6, as my wife Vicki (who plays trivia with me at Elbo Room) joined, along with Alexis Curry (from my Street Academy trivia team at Revolution Hall), as well as Revolution Hall trivia hosts Marc Pallozzi and Anthony Chiera, as well as Marc Palozzi’s father Dennis.

Now I could go into a goofy round of numerology on this – the game was played on February 6, it was Trivia Bowl 6, my high school Answers Please team back in 1981 won their games on Channel 6, we had 6 teammates tonight.  Of course, if I actually believed in all that numerology stuff, that would mean Street Academy might finish the night in sixth place.

But the Trivia Bowl, essentially the Stanley Cup of competitive team trivia in the Capital District, was up for grabs, and Wolf’s 1-11 added a $500 cash bonus to the winning team.

Wanna play?  Remember, you get points for getting the answers right, you lose points if you get them wrong, you’re allowed two skips, and you can use a “double chance” option on one question – write down two answers, if you’re right, you get the points, but if you’re wrong, you lose twice as many points. There are also double-bonus, triple-bonus and quadruple-bonus questions, where each answer correct can earn multiple points.

Here are the questions, along with point values, for Trivia Bowl 6.

  • 2 pts – What does the letter “A” stand for in ASPCA?
  • 4 pts – What is author J.K. Rowling’s first name?
  • 6 pts – What U.S. President served the military in the Spanish-American War?
  • 8 pts (double bonus, two answers, get ’em right, win 16 points) What two films, in 1991 and 1992, had both Jessica Lange and Robert DeNiro in the cast?
  • 10 pts – In what year was Michael Vick charged in connection with running a dogfighting operation?
  • 2 pts – What actor currently stars on the Fox TV series “Lie To Me”?
  • 4 pts – In the film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” what rock band’s song is playing during Judge Reinhold’s fantasy time by the pool with Phoebe Cates?
  • 6 pts – What cartoon character made his debut in the short film called “Hare Trigger?”
  • 8 pts (quadruple bonus) – The Yankees played in eight World Series in the 1950’s.  Name the four teams who played in the other two 1950’s World Series contests.
  • 10 pts – What is the only letter that does not appear anywhere on the Periodic Table of the Elements?
  • 2 pts – In what city will the 2010 NBA All-Star Game be played?
  • 4 pts – In what iflm is the lead character impregnated by Paulie Bleecker?
  • 6 pts – What film director once played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of Golden Girls?
  • 8 pts (quadruple bonus) Name the last films whose directors won the Academy Award for Best Director?
  • 10 pts – What South American country has English as its official language?
  • 4 pts – The island nation of Sri Lanka has its own time zone, but technically matches the time zone of what nearby larger country?
  • 6 pts – What comedian / TV personality was born in 1955 named Caryn Elaine Johnson?
  • 8 pts (triple bonus) – Of the last letters found at the end of states’ names, what three letters appear the least?
  • 10 pts – Who is the only Super Bowl MVP quarterback to NOT throw a touchdown pass in the big game?
  • FINAL QUESTION – US PRESIDENTS – What President survived an assassination attempt because both guns the would-be killer tried misfired?

First off, we arrived at Wolf’s 1-11 early, and Vicki and I played some air hockey in the adjoining arcade (for the record, she beat me 7-3).  For good luck, I had on my Vermont Frost Heaves game-worn jersey (I was going to wear my retro Rucker League Fly Williams Brooklyn High Flyers #8 jersey but I changed my mind at the last minute).  Other teams came in, and Jeremy the owner of Wolf’s 1-11 gave us our assigned table, a six-seater with the team name “Street Academy” indicating our location.

Baker handed each one of the trivia teams a lunch bag with our team names on it.  “What’s with the lunch bag?” I asked.

“Oh, we’re going to put candy in them later, so hold onto the bag,” said Baker.

Before the game started, we found out what “candy” meant.  It actually meant “cell phones” – as in, “Put your cell phones in the bag and close the bag.”  So there would be no accusations of anybody trying to get answers from outside the game.

As opposed to Street Academy’s crushing defeat at the Elbo Room trivia tournament, a week ago, in Trivia Bowl 6 we played our skips and double chances at judicious times – those times being when we had no clue to the answer and any guess we would have had wouldn’t have earned us any points anyways.  We skipped the first double bonus because we kept mixing up Jessica Lange films with Sharon Stone films, and it just wasn’t coming to us.  We skipped the 6-pointer about the Elvis Presley impersonator on the Golden Girls, because again we were bouncing between two directors (Francis Ford Coppolla and Garry Marshall) and neither one of them sounded right.  And as for the double-chance option, we used it on the Michael Vick question, as did probably half the teams in the restaurant.

And let me say this for the record.  My teammates were golden, they got questions I would never have known.  Alexis nailed the question about Sri Lanka’s time zone.  Marc got the question about the one letter not found on the Periodic Table of the Elements.  Anthony got the question about Whoopi Goldberg.  Dennis and Vicki helped out on various movie questions.

The question that swung the crowd one way or the other was the character that debuted in the cartoon “Hare Trigger.”

Half the teams said Bugs Bunny.

Half the teams said Elmer Fudd.

I thought waitaminnit – Elmer Fudd evolved from a Warner Bros. character called Egghead, and became Elmer Fudd in a cartoon called “Elmer’s Candid Camera.”  And Bugs Bunny was in Warner Bros. cartoons as early as films like “A Wild Hare” and “Porky’s Hare Hunt.”

Hare Trigger… hmm… who in the Warner Bros. cartoon canon would have a hair trigger…

Maybe it was…

And I put his name down…

And nailed it!  Yosemite Sam!!

After the Quadruple bonus came the Periodic Table of the Elements question, which Marc not only knew this instantly – by coincidence, he used that question at Revolution Hall for trivia a few weeks earlier!

Third and fourth quarters were kinda hairy.  On the movie about the character who got pregnant by Paulie Bleeker, I thought one of my teammates said it was “Junior.”  The Arnold Schwarzenneger movie where Schwarzenegger got pregnant.  My teammates looked at the answer, “No Chuck, it’s not ‘Junior,’ it’s ‘Juno.'”

Close call.

We skipped the Golden Girls Elvis impersonator question, which gave another team, Origami Swans, a slight lead.

Next bullet dodged came on the triple bonus about the states.  After we ran through every possible state in the Union, we came up with “H”, “K” and “D” for Utah, New York and Rhode Island.  I had our answer slip up on the podium and had placed it on the table – when all of a sudden, my teammates screamed, “CHUCK! CHUCK! GET BACK HERE!!”

I grabbed the slip and returned.  Apparently there were two states with a “D” – Rhode Island and Maryland.  We thought and thought, and then came up with the third letter “G” for Wyoming.  Handed it in with a few seconds to spare.  Earned 24 points.

With the final answer looming, Street Academy was in the lead with 160 points, followed by Elbo Room perennials Woo Hoo a Go Go with 142 points, and a team called My Wife the Tramp with 136.  Before we go to the questions, let me give you the answers in case you were playing along.

  • American
  • Joanne
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Cape Fear” and “Night and the City”
  • 2007
  • Tim Roth
  • the Cars
  • Yosemite Sam
  • Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians and New York Giants
  • “J”
  • Dallas
  • Juno
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • “No Country for Old Men”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Departed” and “Brokeback Mountain”
  • Guyana
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • India
  • “G”, “K” and “H”
  • Joe Namath

And now, the final question on U.S. Presidents.  I seemed to recall that Andrew Jackson might have been the person who survived two assassination attempts when the assailant’s guns misfired.  I said to my teammates, “I’m writing down Andrew Jackson.  I feel confident about it.  If I’m wrong… it’s on me.”

Before I handed up the slip, one of Baker’s other trivia hosts, Ben Hovey (who, by the way, is the only Trivia Bowl host to also have been part of a Trivia Bowl team, as he was on the Trivia Bowl II-winning Lynch’s Mob) said to me jokingly, “Chuck, at least three teams have suggested I hand you a cell phone and then say that you used it and then toss you out.  Good luck on the final answer,” he smiled, patting me on the back.

I handed up the slip.  Either one of two things was going to happen.  Street Academy would retain the Trivia Bowl championship… or we would have a crash-and-burn of epic proportions.

And it looked for a while as if the crash-and-burn would take effect.  Most of the teams either said Andrew Jackson or Gerald Ford.  A couple of teams said Theodore Roosevelt, one team said Abraham Lincoln.

Baker read the final answers from everyone, and mentioned that Street Academy wagered 125 of his 160 points, more than enough to lock out any other team … and said Andrew Jackson.  Half the teams in the bar groaned as if they knew what was happening.

For all I knew, though, the assassins could have been aiming at Millard Fillmore.

Baker read the answer.  And mentioned how tough the President must have been to not only take two misfired gunshots, but then probably beat the assassin to death with his own cane… and the answer… was Andrew Jackson.

Chuck Miller with Trivia Bowl Trophy. Photo from

At that point, I don’t remember much.  There are some alleged rumors of me apparently leaping around and screaming like a banshee in celebration, but unless I see photographic proof, I’m not believing it. 🙂

I do recall offering congratulations, over the microphone and the PA system, to my fellow trivia teams, a thank you to the hosts, the presentation of the championship chalice, and the ceremonial drinking of beverages from the giant trivia bowl (diet soda for me and Alexis; beer for Dennis, Marc, Anthony and Vicki).

Let me say this.  I said it at Trivia Bowl and I’ll repeat it here.  Street Academy would not have won without the assistance of all teammates, including Alexis, Marc, Anthony, Dennis and Vicki.  This was a team victory.  And special thanks to Baker, General James, Murray, Ben, Charley and all the rest of Baker’s trivia hosts, who made sure everybody had a good time.

And there were 29 other teams in that building, 29 teams who earned their spot to play in Trivia Bowl.  Every one of them were worthy competitors and I salute every one of you.

But for now… Street Academy will now bask in the glory of being a two-time, two-time Trivia Bowl champion!

And we’ll see all of you back… for Trivia Bowl 7.