In an effort to bring order to a disordered childhood, I spent a lot of time doing two things: watching television and memorizing trivia. You’d think the latter would be useful, if it encompassed things like the elements in the periodic table. Nah, I used to memorize things like Oscar winners. It was both easy and useless at the same time, which actually describes my adolescence pretty well.
Today, in one of those stark examples of how different my life is, I never go to movie theatres. My movie-going can be summed up in the initials TCM and DVD. I was once so passionate about the Oscars, I lugged a portable TV set to an evening class held that same night. Last year I TiVoed through the Academy Awards ceremony as if I were late for a plane.
The fact is, I can’t even keep some of the current actors straight. Which one is Amy Adams and which one is Rachel McAdams? If I figured out who Rachel McAdams was, would I be able to tell her from Rachel Weisz? And it’s not just the women – between Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds, I couldn’t tell you which one of them married Scarlett Johansen. The only one I could pick out of a lineup is next week’s co-host Anne Hathaway, but only because I can’t believe she looks so good so long after marrying William Shakespeare.
Because being a boomer involves sometimes wallowing in nostalgia, this week I am harkening back to my early days (which also included nine years of being a movie reviewer). In honor of Boomers, television, and next week’s ceremony, here’s an Oscar quiz with a television spin. I will post the answers on Tuesday, and I promise never to waste your time with such drivel again.
1. Who was the 1981 Best Director winner who got his start acting on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis?
2. Among the cast of I Love Lucy (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, and Vivian Vance), who was the only one nominated for an Oscar?
3. Who was the only member of the Laugh-In cast to win an Oscar?
4. What Oscar distinction does TV actress Sally Field share with Helen Hayes and Hilary Swank?
5. Last year’s Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges made his debut in what television series?
6. Who were the 1975 Best Actor and Best Actress winners who were regulars on The Jackie Gleason Show? (The actor is easy, the actress is hard.)
7. Pat Weaver was the NBC executive who called television “a vast wasteland” in 1961. His daughter is the only woman who was ever nominated for two acting Oscars in one evening without winning either. Who is she?
8. Match these Academy Award winners with the companies whose TV commercials they appeared in (two of them are easy).
- Robert De Niro
- Jodie Foster
- Dustin Hoffman
- Laurence Olivier
- Orson Welles
- American Motors
- Paul Masson
9. TV actress Stefanie Powers lived for nine years with which Oscar-winning actor?
10. Long before Irwin Allen produced The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, he won an Oscar for the 1952 documentary The Sea Around Us. What three 1960s television series did he produce?