Saturday, February 27, 2010

#17: The Rockford Files and TV "Reboots"

The new Jim Rockford is...Dermot Mulroney.  Good choice?  Probably as good as any.  It's better to go with someone that has at least some name recognition as opposed to more of an unknown.  He's also the right age (46, same as James Garner when the original show started in 1974), and appears to have the right attitude. 

These 'reboots', especially the ones on network television, usually don't work very well.  It's like when a pro team hires a successful college of coach to turn around their team: yes, it fails at an incredibly high percentage and you always wonder why they do it, but you give it a chance because they could have found the next Jimmy Johnson.   

Here is a list of American remakes of American shows, so it doesn't include The Office or Coupling, which are American reboot of British shows.

TV Reboots, Remakes, Revivals and Reimaginings
  • The Twilight Zone 1985-1989
  • Mission Impossible 1988-1990 (Peter Graves)
  • The Outer Limits 1995-2002
  • Hawaii Five-0 1997 (unsold pilot-Gary Busey)
  • The Fugitive 2000-01 (Tim Daly)
  • The Twilight Zone 2002-03 (Forest Whitaker)
  • Dragnet 2003-04 (Ed O'Neill)
  • Battlestar Galactica 2004-2009 (Edward James Olmos)
  • Kojak 2005 (Ving Rhames)
  • Bionic Woman 2007-08 (Michelle Ryan)
  • 90210 2008-present
  • Knight Rider 2008-09 (Mike Traceur)
  • Cupid 2009 (Sarah Paulson)
  • Melrose Place 2009-present
  • The Rockford Files 2010-? (Dermot Mulroney)
  • Hawaii Five-0 2010-? (Alex O'Loughlin)
I did not include sequels, such as the new 80's version of Leave it to Beaver or the late 80's Brady Bunch revival because they had the same cast as before.  That's a different type of show than trying to redo a classic with different actors, such as they are going to with Rockford and Hawaii Five-0. 

Rumored:  Charlie's Angels, Nikita

Bionic Woman

Friday, February 26, 2010

#16 Political Debate Trivia: Lincoln-Douglas to Kennedy-Nixon

The first Presidential debate in a general election was in 1960, when JFK and Richard Nixon had four televised debates (the "Great Debates").  There were not any more debates until 1976, when Ford and Carter had three.  There has been at least one presidential debate in every election since 1976, and there are usually three.

The most famous political debates before 1960 were the Lincoln Douglas debates of 1858.  There were 7 Lincoln-Douglas debates, and the format was that one of the candidates (it alternated) had a one hour (!) opening speech, and then the other candidate had an hour and half (!!) to rebut, and the first speaker had a half hour to rebut.  At the time, Senators were not elected by popular vote (it was done by the state legislatures), so no one who travelled to the debate could vote in the race.

What about in between 1858 and 1960? 
  • Republican nominee Wendell Wilkie challenged FDR to a debate in 1940, but FDR declined.  The request was generally dismissed as a media stunt.
  • 1948: Primary debate between Republican candidates Tom Dewey and Harold Stassen
    • 1st recorded debate: May 17, 1948, held in Portland, Oregon and broadcast nationwide (at least 40 million people listened to it)
    • Entire debate was about outlawing communism
    • Dewey was considered to have won, which helped him win the Oregon primary the next day and eventually the nomination
  • 1956: Primary debate between Democratic hopefuls Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver
    • 1st televised presidential debate: May 21, 1956 in Miami
    • They agreed on many issues, except on the continued testing of the hydrogen bomb (Kefauver was for it, Stevenson against)
    • Debate was considered a flop, Stevenson ended up winning the nomination and Kefaver was selected as his running mate at the convention against some famous names ( JFK, Al Gore Sr., Hubert Humphrey, NYC Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr.)


Friday, February 19, 2010

#15 Presidential Trivia: One-Termers

In honor of Dick Cheney's stunning prediction that his cousin Barack Obama would not win re-election, here is a list of the one-term Presidents in American history.  A one termer is someone (to me at least) who (a) did not inherit the presidency and (b) served an entire term, so Harry Truman (only elected once but served nearly 8 years) and Gerald Ford (never elected, but served over two years before losing) and a bunch of others (such as Lyndon and Andrew Johnson) are not included :

One-Termers (Presidents who chose not to seek a 2nd term are bolded)
  • John Adams (1797-1801): lost to Thomas Jefferson (very close between Jefferson and Aaron Burr, Adams came in 3rd)
  • John Quincy Adams (1825-1829): lost to Andrew Jackson (mini-Electoral landslide, 178-83)
  • Martin Van Buren (1837-1841): lost to William Henry Harrison (landslide, 234-60)
  • James Polk (1845-1849): chose not to run due to declining health and lack of interest
  • Franklin Pierce (1853-1857): failed to receive Democratic Party nomination; Party's slogan was "Anybody but Pierce"
  • James Buchanan (1857-1861) incredibly unpopular and decided not to run again on the eve of the Civil War
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881): had pledged to only serve one term, and actually kept that pledge
  • Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893): lost to Grover Cleveland, the man he had defeated 4 years earlier (mini-landslide (277-145-22, Third Party Candidate James Weaver received 22 electoral votes)
  • William Howard Taft (1909-1913) came in 3rd behind Woodrow Wilson and former President Teddy Roosevelt, who was running as a Progressive (landslide, 435-88-8)
  • Herbert Hoover (1929-1933): lost to FDR (landslide, 472-59)
  • Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): lost to Ronald Reagan (landslide, 489-49)
  • George H.W. Bush (1989-1993): lost to Bill Clinton (mini-landslide, 370-168)
If Cheney had really wanted to slam Obama, he could have said he would be a 21st century Franklin Pierce.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

#14 Supreme Court Trivia: Chief Justices

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

John Marshall: 34 years (1801-1835)

Roger Taney: 28 years (1836-1864)

Melville Fuller: 21 years (1888-1910)

William Rehnquist: 19 years (1986-2005) Elevated - appointed in 1971

Warren Burger: 17 years (1969-1986)

Earl Warren: 16 years (1953-1969)

Morrison Waite: 14 years (1874-1888)

Charles Evans Hughes: 11 years (1930-1941) Quasi-elevated - previous served as Associate Justice 1910-16; also served as Governor of NY, Secretary of State and actually resigned from the Supreme Court in 1916 to become the Republican nominee for President.  He came agonizingly close to defeating the incumbent President, Woodrow Wilson (a 3800 vote Wilson victory in California prevented Hughes from winning the Presidency).

Edward Douglass White: 10 years (1910-1921) Elevated - appointed an Associate Justice in 1894

William Howard Taft: 9 years (1921-1930) Apparently, this was his true ambition, and once wrote, "I don't remember that I ever was President."  Strangely enough, he had appointed the previous Chief Justice in 1910, Edward Douglass White, a 65 year old with a weight problem. 

Salmon Chase: 9 years (1864-1873)

Frederick Vinson: 7 years (1946-1953)

John Jay: 6 years (1789-1795)

Oliver Ellsworth: 4 years (1796-1800)

Harlan Stone: 4 years (1941-1946) Elevated - appointed in 1925

John Roberts: 4 years (2005-present)

John Rutledge: 6 months (1795-1795) Attempted, quasi-elevation, previously served 1789-91(recess appointment as Chief Justice, rejected by Senate in December 1795)

Appointed by Republican: Roberts (George W. Bush), Rehnquist (Reagan), Burger (Nixon), Warren (Eisenhower), Hughes (Hoover), Taft (Harding), White (Taft), Waite (Grant), Chase (Lincoln)

Appointed by Democrat: Vinson (Truman), Stone (FDR), Fuller (Cleveland), Taney (Jackson)

Appointed by Federalist: Marshall (Adams)

Appointed by George Washington: Jay, Rutledge, Ellsworth


Monday, February 15, 2010

#13 Indiana Political Trivia: Notable U.S. Senators

In honor of Evan Bayh's retirement from the U.S. Senate, here is a sampling of U.S. Senators from Indiana who held other important offices or were otherwise notable.  Evan Bayh was in the running to be the vice-presidential selection of every Democratic presidential nominee at least since Harry Truman and was supposed to be the nominee at some point, but it looks like that's probably not going to happen:

Edward Hannegan (D) 1843-1849 - Minister to Prussia 1849-1850

Jesse Bright (D) 1845-1862 - President Pro Tempore 1854-1857 (14th, and final, U.S. Senator to be expelled from Senate during the Civil War for being a confederate sympathizer)

Joseph A. Wright (D) 1862-1863 - Minister to Prussia 1857-1861, 1865-1867

Thomas Hendricks (D) 1863-1869 - Vice President of the U.S. 1885 (Grover Cleveland)

Benjamin Harrison (R) 1881-1887 - President of the U.S. 1889-1893 

Charles W. Fairbanks (R) 1897-1905 - Vice President of the U.S. 1905-1909 (Teddy Roosevelt)

Harry Stewart New (R) 1917-1923 - Postmaster General 1923-1929

Sherman Minton (D) 1935-1941 - Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court 1949-1956

Birch Bayh (D) 1963-1981 - Candidate for Democratic nomination for President 1976

Richard Lugar (R) 1977-present - Candidate for Republican nomination for President 1996

Dan Quayle (R) 1981-1989 - Vice President of the U.S. 1989-1993

Dan Coats (R) 1989-1999 - U.S. Ambassador to Germany (2001-2005)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

#12 Razzies Trivia: Winners who have accepted their Razzies

The Golden Raspberry Awards ("Razzies") have been awarded for terrible filmmaking since 1980, but only a few people have actually claimed their awards:

1987: Bill Cosby (Worst Actor/Screenplay/Picture) - Leonard Part 6 (accepted on Fox's The Late Show)

1992: Tom Selleck (Worst Supporting Actor) - Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (accepted on The Chevy Chase Show)

1995: Paul Verhoeven (Worst Director/Picture) - Showgirls (1st to accept at the ceremony)

1997: Brian Helgeland (Worst Screenplay) - The Postman (accepted at his Warner Bros. office/won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for L.A. Confidential the same year)

2000: J. David Shapiro (Worst Screenplay) - Battlefield Earth (accepted the award from the Raspberry Foundation founder John Wilson on "Drastic Radio with Mark Ebner)

2001: Tom Green (Worst Actor/Director/Screenplay/Screen Couple/Picture) - Freddy Got Fingered (accepted at the ceremony, played the harmonica, dragged off the stage)

2003: Ben Affleck (Worst Actor) Daredevil, Paycheck, Gigli (accepted on Larry King Live so he could break it)

2004: Halle Berry (Worst Actress) - Catwoman (accepted at the ceremony while holding her Academy Award for Monster's Ball)

2004: Michael Ferris (Worst Screenplay) - Catwoman (accepted at the ceremony)

The 30th Golden Raspberry Awards will be held on March 6, 2010, and Sandra Bullock (who was also nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side) has indicated that she will be at the ceremony to accept if she should win a Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve.


Friday, February 12, 2010

#11 Olympics Trivia: North American Host Cities

North American Host Cities
1904 (Summer) St. Louis
1932 (Winter) Lake Placid, NY
1932 (Summer) Los Angeles
1960 (Winter) Squaw Valley, CA
1968 (Summer) Mexico City
1976 (Summer) Montreal
1980 (Winter) Lake Placid
1984 (Summer) Los Angeles
1988 (Winter) Calgary
1996 (Summer) Atlanta
2002 (Winter) Salt Lake City
2010 (Winter) Vancouver

Chicago won the bid to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the World's Fair was scheduled for the same time in St. Louis and the organizers of the World's Fair said they were going to have their own sporting events (and threatened to make them better than the Olympics!) unless the Olympics was moved to St. Louis.  This strategy worked, and Chicago is still waiting to host the Olympics.

Lake Placid

Thursday, February 11, 2010

#10 Corporations Trivia: Most Assets

U.S. Rankings: Assets (Fortune Magazine)

1. Exxon Mobil
2. General Motors
3. US Steel

1. Exxon Mobil
2. General Motors
3. Texaco

1. Exxon Mobil
2. General Motors
3. Mobil

1. General Motors
2. Ford
3. General Electric

1. Fannie Mae
2. Citicorp
3. Ford Motor

1. Citigroup
2. Bank of America
3. Fannie Mae

1. Citigroup
2. J.P. Morgan Chase
3. Bank of America

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#9 Andrew Jackson Trivia: King Mob

It's almost impossible to believe, but there was a time when Presidents weren't really guarded from the public.  What happened when the public was allowed into the White House on Inauguration Day? Probably what you would expect.  The White House became a frat house and the drunken mob only left when the alcohol was taken out to the lawn (John Steele Gordon - Wall Street Journal):

The postinaugural reception at the "President's House" had always been an invitation-only affair for the Washington elite. But by the time Jackson made his way there, the White House -- as it was just beginning to be called -- was packed. People, wrote Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, from the "highest and most polished down to the most vulgar and gross in the nation," were there. "I never saw such a mixture. The reign of KING MOB seemed triumphant."

The reception soon dissolved into a near riot when barrels of orange punch were brought out. The crowd collided with the waiters and glasses were smashed, liquor spilled as people pushed and shoved. Men in muddy boots stood on the sofas and chairs to get a better view.

Sen. James Hamilton Jr. wrote that "the mob broke in, in thousands -- Spirits black yellow and grey, poured in in one uninterrupted stream of mud and filth among the throngs many fit subjects for the penitentiary." He noticed one "stout black wench" sitting by herself, "eating in this free country a jelley with a gold spoon at the President's House."

The crowd grew so dense that there were fears for Jackson's safety. He soon escaped out a window and returned to his hotel. The crowd was finally lured out of the White House when the liquor was carried out onto the lawn. The place was a total shambles, with many thousands of dollars in damage due to broken glass and china and ruined upholstery and carpets.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#8 James Caan Trivia: Big 70's roles he could have had

James Caan has had a long and impressive Hollywood career, and appeared in some true classics such as The Godfather, but the number of extremely high-profile roles he either turned down or requested too much money for in the 1970's is staggering: 

MASH (Elliot Gould)
Superman (Christopher Reeve)
Kramer vs. Kramer (Dustin Hoffman)
The Goodbye Girl (Richard Dreyfuss)
The French Connection (Gene Hackman)
Apocalypse Now (Harrison Ford)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Jack Nicholson)

#7 Teddy Roosevelt Trivia: 1912 Republican Primaries

Teddy Roosevelt famously ran for President under the newly created Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party in 1912 and ended up receiving 88 electoral votes to only 8 for the incumbent President, William Howard Taft.  Roosevelt had run for the Republican nomination, and actually done quite well in the primaries, but failed to win the nomination at the convention.  There were 12 primaries in 1912, and he ran against both President Taft and Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin:

Primaries won
TR: California, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey (278 delegates)
Sen. LaFollette: North Dakota, Wisconsin (36)
President Taft: Massachusetts (48)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

#6 NHL Trivia: Original 6

Between 1942 and 1967, there were only 6 teams in the NHL.  Amazingly, the Bruins and Rangers didn't win a single championship the entire time.  The Rangers only made it to the finals once (1950), while the Bruins made it 5 times (1943, 1946, 1953, 1957-58) and the Blackhawks went 4 times, losing 3 (1944, 1962, 1965).  

Montreal Canadians (1944, 1946, 1953, 1956-60, 1965-66)
Toronto Maple Leafs (1942, 1945, 1947-49, 1951, 1962-64)
Detroit Red Wings (1943, 1950, 1952, 1954-55)
Chicago Blackhawks (1961)
Boston Bruins
New York Rangers


Friday, February 5, 2010

#5 Super Bowl Trivia: Super Bowl Broadcasting

This is an interesting tidbit about the first Super Bowl:

Both CBS (which televised NFL games) and NBC (which televised AFL games) demanded the right to broadcast the championship game; fearful of alienating either network, Rozelle allowed Super Bowl I to be televised on both. (On game day, the two networks would share the same video feed but each would use its own commentary team; never again would the Super Bowl be broadcast on more than one channel.)
CBS Broadcasters 1967
Play by Play: Ray Scott, Jack Whitaker
Color Commentator: Frank Gifford
Sideline Reporter: Pat Summerall

NBC Broadcasters 1967
Play by Play: Curt Gowdy
Color Commentator: Paul Cristman
Sideline Reporter: Charlie Jones

NBC and CBS alternated from 1968-1984, until ABC got into the mix, and those three alternated from 1985-1996.  Since Fox's first Super Bowl broadcast in 1997, all four have carried the Super Bowl, although NBC didn't broadcast a Super Bowl between 1998 and 2009 and ABC does not carry football anymore.  This week, it will be on CBS, and will then be on Fox in 2011, NBC in 2012 and CBS again in 2013.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

#4 Super Bowl Trivia: Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner won 1 Super Bowl (and the MVP) and lost 2 (but came very close to winning both).  His passing numbers were remarkable, and will probably stand in the record books for a while.

The most passing yards by a quarterback in a Super Bowl:
1. Kurt Warner 414 - SB XXXIV (1999-00)
2. Kurt Warner 377 - SB XLIII (2008-09)
3. Kurt Warner 365 - SB XXXVI (2001-02)
4. Donovan McNabb 357 - SB XXXIX (2004-05)
5. Joe Montana 357 - SB XXIII (1988-89)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

#3 Super Bowl Trivia: The Big One?

The Super Bowl was named by Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt after seeing his kids play with a SuperBall:

The one about the name Super Bowl evolving from a toy called the SuperBall? That one’s for real.

Lamar Hunt, who died in December, coined the term Super Bowl in the late1960s after watching his kids play with a Super Ball, the bouncy creation oficonic toy manufacturer Wham-O.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted to call it "The Big One", and fought for that name, but ended up losing to Hunt.


Monday, February 1, 2010

#2 Super Bowl Trivia: NFL and AFL World Championship 1966-1969

The first 4 Super Bowls were not between the NFC and the AFC, they were between the champions of the AFL and NFL.  It was actually the 4th incarnation of the AFL and lasted from 1960-1970 before it merged with the NFL.  The AFC would consist of the 10 AFL teams (Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders) and 3 NFL teams (Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts).

1966 Super Bowl: Packers over Chiefs 35-10
NFL Championship: Packers over Cowboys 34-27
AFL: Chiefs over Bills 31-7

1967 Super Bowl: Packers over Raiders 33-14
NFL: Packers over Cowboys 21-17
AFL: Raiders over Oilers 40-7

1968 Super Bowl: Jets over Colts 16-7
NFL: Colts over Browns 34-0
AFL: Jets over Raiders 27-23

1969 Super Bowl: Chiefs over Vikings 23-7
NFL: Vikings over Browns 27-7
AFL: Chiefs over Raiders 17-7