Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quiz post-mortem, or If you want me, just whistle

Out of my vast potential readership of 7.2 billion people on planet earth and a few on Uranus, a grand total of two people entered yesterday’s quiz. Thank you, Mary Z in Tennessee and Reamus in Southern California. Well, at least it wasn’t a complete bust.

To review, the question was to identify who said the following, and when, and why:

1. “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.” The correct answer is Gerald R. Ford on taking the oath of office as President of August 9, 1974, after Richard Nixon resigned. 100% of male respondents answered correctly. 100% of female respondents didn’t answer at all.

o 2. “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” The correct answer is Ann Richards, then treasurer of the state of Texas and keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention (she would not become Governor of Texas until 1991) , referring to then Vice-President George H. W. Bush. Both respondents identified Ann Richards as the speaker but neither one got the occasion, although Mary thought it was in reference to George W. Bush (the son) .

3. “We’re going to take from the haves and give it to the have nots who need it so much.” Mary didn’t answer. Reamus said Dan Quayle (George H. W. Bush’s Vice-President) . The correct answer is President Lyndon B. Johnson speaking in 1964 of his Great Society programs.

4. “One, if by land, and two, if by sea; and I on the opposite shore will be, ready to ride and spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm.” Both respondents said Paul Revere, which may or may not be correct -- we don’t know exactly what he said. The answer I had in mind was poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote the lines in “Paul Revere’s Ride (The Landlord’s Tale)” in 1860, 85 years after the actual 1775 ride.

5. “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies!” Mary correctly identified the speaker as Prissy, in the movie Gone With the Wind. Reamus said Humphrey Bogart. Prissy was played by Butterfly McQueen. Humphrey Bogart wasn’t in Gone With the Wind but he was married to Lauren Bacall, which has to count for something.

6. “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” These words were correctly identified by 100% of our entrants as the final utterance of American Nathan Hale before he was hanged by the British during the American Revolution.

7. “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Both Mary and Reamus said Admiral Dewey (it was not) ; Reamus said the Battle of Mobile Bay (it was) . Admiral Dewey was at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War, where he said, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” At the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War, Admiral David Farragut uttered the lines in question.

8. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Both respondents correctly identified the speaker as FDR and the occasion as his first inaugural address in 1933.

9. “Nobody’s perfect.” Mary left no answer. Reamus said he and many others had said it. The answer I was looking for was actor Joe E. Brown to actor Jack Lemmon at the end of the movie Some Like It Hot.

10. “All right, Mr. Demille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Both contestants correctly identified actress Gloria Swanson. Reamus wasn’t sure which movie it was and Mary said the movie was the original A Star Is Born. Close, but no cigar. The movie was the original Sunset Boulevard.

Mary, Reamus, and I have had a wonderful time wasting time with this quiz. I only wish that more of you had chosen to do so. I’ll think about that tomorrow. After all, as Humphrey Bogart once said to Lauren Bacall, tomorrow is another day.


  1. Surely that quote was from Vivian Leigh playing Scarlett in Gone With the Wind.

  2. And I am in your tomorrow. It is mid morning Monday here.
    I did see your quiz, but knew I wasn't up to the challenge...

  3. I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms about the recent quiz. As I was in Darkest Lancashire where there is neither electricity nor internet connectivity, I was unable to participate in your Saturday quiz and it is my firm belief that much more time should have been allowed for dedicated RWP readers like myself to become involved. Heartless - that is what I call it sir - heartless!

  4. Sorry I wasn't fast enough ~ busy weekend! But I posted my answers without cheating, so hopefully that will make up for my late arrival to the trivia party!