In my last entry, I explained the structure of the trivia bowl, and talked about its history at CU. Before I continue, let me provide some answers to the questions I posed there:

Q: James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt MacDermot were the writers behind what song medley, which won Record Of The Year, topped the charts for six weeks in 1969, and was the biggest hit in the 5th Dimension’s career?
Answer: “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”

I’ll name a fictional computer from a movie, you name the movie, for ten points each.
1. MU-TH-R 182 model 2, the ship-board computer on the space ship Nostromo, known by the crew as ‘mother.’

Answer: Alien
2. Deep Thought, a computer created by a pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings who look to us exactly like white mice.
Answer: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
3. EMERAC, a room-sized computer recently acquired by the Federal Broadcasting Network, whose worth is advocated by inventor Richard Sumner and doubted by reference librarian Bunny Watson.
Answer: Desk Set
4. WOPR, or War Operations Plan Response, a military simulator housed at NORAD.
Answer: Wargames

Now for my trivia autobiography (a redundant phrase, perhaps.) I grew up loving music, movies, and to a lesser extent, TV, as well as comics, theater, and the other sorts of topics that show up in the trivia bowl… except for sports. I was always a casual Bronco fan, but never somebody who could quote statistics or even name all the players. I enjoy seeing the games, but I never mind missing them either. I had a fling with baseball fandom for a couple of years, but then they went on strike and I got thoroughly disgusted with the whole thing. As for basketball, hockey, NASCAR, golf, etc… don’t care. Never cared. I don’t mind watching tennis, and a bit of Olympics, but I only know the most surface facts about any of this stuff, if that. I do know a little about the WNBA and women’s soccer, thanks to Laura, but now that we have the Dante Distraction, soccer has left the limelight, and many of the WNBA games have moved over to some silly premium cable channel, so even that knowledge is pretty patchy.

Anyway, when I came to CU, I was only dimly aware of the trivia bowl, pretty much as “that thing that sounds kind of interesting but that I’m way too busy to do.” Finally, in 1993 my friend Robby told me that he knew a couple of teachers from our high school who wanted to field a team for the bowl, and asked me if I’d be interested. Robby was/is a total sports guy, as well as music and movies. Our mutual friend James covered TV, as well as some knowledge in all the other areas, and one of the teachers, Ron Hoover, was an absolute monster on old movies. So I said sure, and when we played our first game, wow. I still remember a visceral thrill from buzzing in on toss-ups before the question was finished, because I had such a strong feeling about the answer:

HOST: “Enya has had multiplatinum success with albums like Watermark, but before she–”
ME: BUZZ! “Clannad.”
HOST: “Clannad is correct.”

Whoo! Man, it was exciting. The other thing I remember is the fun of guessing on answers after the question had been read, if nobody else was buzzing in. Sometimes it even worked out:

HOST: “Who has the record for most guest appearances on The Love Boat?”
ME: [After a long pause in which it becomes clear that nobody is going to attempt this.] BUZZ. “Uh… Charo?”
HOST: “Yes, it is Charo!”

Our team actually won a game or two, but got blown out in the later rounds by more experienced and knowledgeable teams. There was a ceremony after the final game, and I was named Rookie Of The Year! Sadly, I had to work, so wasn’t able to accept in person. Even more sadly, 1993 was the final year of the trivia bowl. It is really a bummer to be Rookie Of The Year in the final year of something.

The whole event was dormant for a number of years, but when the CU Program Council brought it back in 2001, I knew I wanted to play. I got together a team of me, Robby, our mutual friend May from high school, and my friend Trish from work. Again, we did well in the early rounds and got stomped later, but that year I had an epiphany: these are my people. I attended every game I could (which was a lot — the tournament went all week, starting with 64 teams and narrowing down to two) and soaked the whole thing in. That was the year I officially fell in love with the trivia bowl.

Unfortunately, I was in the minority. The revival lasted one more year, in which our loss came to the team who went on to win the whole thing… a team led by Ed Toutant, the second biggest winner in the history of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. But attendance was anemic, and while the whole thing was super DUPER fun for me, it was a losing proposition for the Program Council, who pulled the plug in 2002.

After that, the event was held for a number of years in a much, much more scaled down form every fall. It was little conference rooms rather than the Glenn Miller Ballroom, with maybe 6-10 teams competing, no audio/video questions, and a more regimented quiz-bowly format which values strategy over entertainment. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I made sure to play every year, and it was one of my favorite things, but it was a far cry from the heyday of it all. Now even that is gone, or at least it hasn’t been held for the last couple of years.

That smaller scale, though, enabled me to forge some relationships with trivia bowl “royalty” — the various Hall Of Famers who now moderate games and form a coterie whose history stretches back 30 or 40 years. One of these people, David Gatch, sort of took me under his wing a few years ago and got me invited to a very kooky event called the “Basement Bowl.”

…and that’s where part 3 will begin. But just to keep the trivia power flowing, here’s another toss-up and bonus.

Following in the footsteps of Anthony Michael Hall and Jason Lively, he played Rusty Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. More famously, he appeared as David Healey, Darlene’s boyfriend and eventual husband, in 92 episodes of Roseanne. Name this actor who currently stars as Dr. Leonard Hofstader on The Big Bang Theory.

In the 1960s, Marvel Comics loved to liven up its titles by throwing in an extra adjective. I’ll give you a comic book title, you fill in the missing adjective, for five points each.
1. The _____ Hulk
2. The _____ Spider-Man
3. The _____ Iron Man
4. The _____ X-Men
5. The _____ Thor
6. The _____ Ant-Man

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