Know the SF 49ers?

If you would like a clue as to my age, I was in attendance at Kezar Stadium for the very first 49er game in 1946. Don’t worry. I am not going to ask questions about that game. But let’s look at the 49ers over the years.

1. In the 1950s, a very entertaining SF team featured QB Y.A. Tittle throwing the Alley Oop pass for touchdowns. It was a high arching pass to the end to a tall, agile receiver who out jumped their defenders and usually caught the ball. Who was that receiver?

2. SF did not win very often in the 60s. One Sunday afternoon, the fans were treated to an occurrence rarely seen. A Minnesota Viking defensive player, after turning around a few times trying to corral the 49er, picked up the fumble and proceeded to run the wrong way. He was followed by 49ers who protected him. He did not score a TD for SF because he spiked the ball and it went out of the end zone for SF safety. Who was this unfortunate Viking?

3. The 70s were another decade of small accomplishments for the 49ers. They got close to championships, but the pesky Dallas Cowboys beat them in the playoffs three seasons in a row. The SF quarterback battled bravely, but could not get the important win. He was a Stanford star, who had a fine career with SF. Who was he?

4. The 49ers made the grade in the 80s, with 4 Super Bowl titles led by QB Joe Montana. The most famous play was called “The Catch.” Montana completed this pass in the waning moments to finally beat Dallas in the NFC championship game. Here’s an easy one. Who caught it?

5. They won another one in the 90s behind QB Steve Young. The key player acquisition that year is when they picked up a dynamic defensive back who only played one season. He moved on to Dallas and, wouldn’t you know it, he won the Super Bowl with Dallas. Who was he?

6. In the new century, the 49ers are yet to win a Super Bowl, but it is still early. I have not mentioned Jimmy Garapallo yet, but maybe he will be an answer in 5 years. The 49ers did play in a Super Bowl a few years back, but lost. What team beat them?


Christmas Trivia

Earlier and earlier each year, we hear Christmas music on our radios. How many of us still listen to the radio? We know all of them, so let’s have a little fun with them.


  1. In what movie was Irving Berlin’s song White Christmas introduced?


  1. Silver Bells is another Christmas song introduced in a movie. What movie was it?


  1. Who composed the lyrics to The Christmas Song?


  1. Baby it’s Cold Outside is hardly a Christmas song, but it is still played during the Yuletide season. What movie was it from?


  1. He was a one hit wonder when he recorded I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus in the early 50s. Who was he?


  1. Montgomery Ward( remember them?) had a promotion at Christmas in the early 40s that featured a novelty song sung by a Western movie star. What was the tune and who sang it?


Play Ball!

As we watch another World Series, we have to adjust to not seeing either of our beloved teams, the Giants and the A’s watching from home , like we do. It was not always like this. The A’s in particular won consecutive World Series, 1972 to 1974, which is still very rare. Let’s see how well we remember those glorious days.


  1. The 1972 Most Valuable Player in the World Series was an Oakland Catcher, who only became a regular the last few weeks of the season. All of a sudden, in the Series, he became a Homerun hitter. Who was he?


  1. A defensive highlight of that Series occurred when Oakland’s left fielder snagged a Dennis Menke line drive off the left field wall and saved a win for the A’s.  Who was that left fielder? 


  1. In 1973, the A’s took on the New York Mets. The Mets center fielder was a long time great local player finishing a fabulous career. Who was he?


  1. The highlight of the series, unfortunately, occurred when A’s owner, Charles Finley fired the A’s second baseman after game 1 for making the error. The player’s teammates were upset and wore a patch on the uniforms in protest. The second baseman was reinstated, but did not play. Who was he?


  1. In 1974, the A’s met the LA Dodgers. The A’s won in 5, primarily because of their pitching. One of them was selected as the MVP of the series. Who was it?


  1. The A’s that year featured a Designated Runner. This fellow rarely batted. He was a pinch runner. His one time running the bases in that series resulted in being picked off first base by the Dodger pitcher. Who was this player?

Spooky but Trivial

None of us believe in spooks, do we? None of us believes the monsters, vampires, zombies or ghosts we see on the screen, do we? I have been watching horror movies for 80 years and have enjoyed many of them. In observance of Halloween, let’s see if you remember them as well as I do.


  1. Boris Karloff played the monster, but who played Doctor Frankenstein in the original Frankenstein movie, circa 1931, and one of the sequels?


  1. One of the best was the original “King King.” Who was the beautiful actress who played Ann Darrow, the object of the big fella’s affection?


  1. One of the best remakes of a horror classic was “The Fly.” Geena Davis played the girl who really knew how to pick ’em when she falls for a guy who turns into fly. Who played the Fly?


  1. In the 1940s, RKO Studios released a whole series of horror movies that were short on special effects, but heavy with atmosphere. One of them was an adaptation of Jane Eyre and took place on a Caribbean island. What was its name?


  1. There have been several vampire movies of varying quality. However, the original Dracula is the one we all remember. Who played him?


  1. Alfred Hitchcock will never be considered a director of horror movies. But the most unexpected reaction this old soul has ever experienced at a movie is Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho.” The shower scene in that movie was the all time movie shocker. Released in 1960, I have not taken a shower since. Who were the two performers killed supposedly by   Norman Bates mother in that film?

Competition Questions

The 37th annual Kings X Trivia Tournament was held July 23 at Magoos Restaurant in Pleasant Hill and a rollicking time was had by all. Darrel Garrison’s team beat John Prokop’s team by 2 points in the nail-biter finish. Rich Berkery, who did a masterful job in pulling the whole thing off, was also the moderator and did a great job as the host. No sense in letting all his material go to waste, so with Rich’s permission, here are some of his questions.

1. From the famous novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” what was Boo Radley’s first name?

2. What Major Leaguer hit the most home runs in the decade of the 1950s?

3. 1956 was the first year that songs were listed as the top song of the year. What was
the first song in a foreign language to make number one?

4. What was the first animated television series? It lasted from 1950. until the 60’s.

5. In the movie “Who Killed Roger Rabbit,” all of the cartoon characters were in color
except for one. Who was the only cartoon character in black and white?

6. In the classic Abbot and Costello routine “Who’s on First,” what

Ben’s Favorites

I have been asked which of the many trivial subjects that are in general use are my personal favorites. Most of them are favorites, but because of where I grew up, pre WWII, baseball and the movies seem to be what I gravitate to. So, with that in mind let’s deal with some baseball movies.

1.) My favorite baseball movie is “Bull Durham.” Kevin Costner played Crash Davis, who played the naive young pitcher Nuke Lelouch?

2.)  In “Field of Dreams”, who was the real life player of the 20s played by Ray Liotta who asked Costner to build a field so “they will come?”

3.) Who played Babe Ruth in the movie “Pride of the Yankees?”

4.) What was the name of the mysterious great hitter played by Robert Redford In “The Natural?

5.) Who played Branch Rickey, the man who introduced Jackie Robinson to Major League Baseball in the movie “42?”

6.) In the 1970’s film “The Bad News Bears,” who was the sponsor of Walter Matthau’s Little League team?    



Man it’s Hot!

On one of the hottest days of the year, our genial editor, Eric Johnson, has suggested we stay inside where it is cool and supply our monthly epic. So, here goes! Speaking of Heat…

  1. In which great Cole Porter musical did he produce the song “It’s Too Darn Hot?”


  1. A mystery writer in a recently canceled TV show wrote mystery novels about a female detective named Nikki Heat. What was the show?


  1. What position in baseball is known as the “hot corner?”


  1. Who won an acting Oscar for the movie “In the Heat of the Night?”


  1. What legendary singer was known as the “last of the red hot mamas?”


  1. Rated the funniest movie in history by the American Film Institute, “Some Like it Hot” was directed by which of the great Hollywood directors?

The Doctor is In

As most old people do, I spend an inordinate amount of time with doctors. You name it, I got it. While watching these amazing people doing wonderful work keeping us oldies alive, I thought about the wonderful doctors we saw in the movies, heard on radio and viewed on television. Let’s see if we remember these fictitious sawbones.

1. “Dr. Kildare was a popular movie series of the late 40s. Who played Dr. Jimmy Kildare

2. A prestigious Oscar is presented each year with his name attached, but we knew him as kindly Dr. Christian on our weekly radio. Who was the distinguished actor who played Dr. Christian?

3. Richard Chamberlain played Dr. Kildare on TV. What veteran actor played his mentor, Dr. Gillespie?

4. One of the most famous fictional doctors was Frankenstein. Dozens of movies have been made about him, but still the most famous is the original made in 1931. Who played Dr. Victor Frankenstein in that film?

5. What cartoon character always addressed people by asking “What’s Up Doc?”

6. Vince Edwards was a short term hit in the TV medical series”Ben Casey.” Who played his mentor, Dr. Zorba?


Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Because of annual TV showings during the holidays, “Wizard of Oz” is now ranked as the most watched movie of all time. New generations of children get to enjoy it, while old duffs like me, who saw it when it came out in 1939, get to enjoy it again and again and again (you get the idea).

1. Who was the author of the series of books about Oz?

2. What was the name of the group of little people who played the Munchkins?

3. The director of the movie won an Oscar that same year for directing “Gone with the Wind.” Who was he?

4. Frank Morgan was the wonderful Wizard. What was his name back in Kansas?

5. What was Dorothy’s last name?

6. Now a toughy and my favorite. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were based on farmhands on Auntie Em’s farm. What were the farmhands names?

The Golden Age of Radio

You have to be of a certain age to remember a time before there were television sets in every home in America and not the beloved radio. It is hard for my kids and grandkids to imagine a time when we sat around a floor model radio to listen to (not see) our nightly entertainment shows. Before it is much too late, let’s take a look at a few of the radio shows that provided us with nightly and weekly excitement.

1. Each week, our hero went to his closet to find something, always forgetting how over crammed it’s was with endless junk. When he opened the door, everything fell out with an endless roar of junk hitting the floor. What was this comedy classic?

2. Our hero and his trusty friend entered each week to the stirring music of Ferde Grofe’s “William Tell Overture.” What was this show?

3. He was the “All American Boy” and he attended Hudson High. Who was our college hero?

4. Jack Benny was a great radio star and was one of the rare ones who made a seamless transition to TV. Because of his unbelievable thrift, he drove a vehicle that was at least 50 years old that made a real racket on radio. What was the make of his car?

5. “Amos and Andy” was the most popular radio show of the early 1930s. Because of its popularity,, movie theaters would play it in theaters before the movie was played in an attempt to keep patrons from staying home. What mythical lodge were Amos and Andy members of?

6. “Christmas Story” has become one of the most popular movies shown every year at Yuletide. It captures the draw of old radio on families of that time. In the movie, the little boy desperately wants a BB gun for Christmas that is promoted by his radio hero. Who was that hero?