Human leprosy in armadillos provides trivia quiz material

by Sarah Bryant
The Hillsdale Collegian, February 24, 1977.

The 1976 Charles A. Griffith Award for animal laboratory scientists was awarded to a researcher named Dr. Stores for an experiment that she conducted. What was her contribution to science? Certainly you can't let an easy question like this stump you. Give up? She successfully transplanted human leprosy to an armadillo, of course!

That brain buster, and 406 more just like it, was asked of hundreds of trivia enthusiasts during the "Dozenth" Annual Midwest Trivia Contest, held in Appleton, Wisconsin on February 4, 5 and 6. Every year, station WLFM, on the Lawrence University campus, sponsors 50 straight hours of trivia madness to challenge young, old and burned out minds alike.

By the way, for 50 points, in the Springhill mine disaster last year, the first thing that the first man to be rescued said was, "I want a 7-Up." What was his name and body number? Try, Dougie Jukes, number 1107.

THE RULES OF the contest are simple. Competitors are divided into a division of on-campus teams, and one of off-campus teams, which includes everybody with a telephone who enjoys filling their brains full of pertinent facts like Beaver Cleaver's locker number, 37.

The first question is aired at 10:00 p.m. on the first Friday in February, it being the last question from the previous year's contest, just in case it takes you a few months to find the answer.

The mania continues until midnight Sunday when points are totaled and a winner for each division declared.

A question, accompanied by a point value, is asked by the station Trivia Master. Each team, using any resources it can get its hands on, has the duration of a song, usually about three minutes, to come up with an answer and call it in.

There are eight operators, at the station, manning phones and they give each caller two chances to give the correct answer. Participants discover that getting through to the operator can be more difficult than getting the answer though, and dialing 731-1324 hundreds of times only to get a busy signal is extremely frustrating.

Those fortunate souls that answer correctly are then announced and awarded their points.

Teams with members coming from a diversity of backgrounds, with lots of specialties are liable to fare best when playing this trivia game.

QUESTIONS are literally on every topic, and some even require a little talent to answer. For instance, try singing the Mighty Mouse theme song in its entirety.

Movies and television provide volumes of trivial material like, according to the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where was the Sundance Kid born? If you recall that it was New Jersey, you would have been eligible for some points. And while we're on place names, where did Herman Munster work?

Appropriately enough, he was employed by the Gateman, Goodbury and Graves Funeral Parlor. And finally, where was Ethel Mertz's home town on the I Love Lucy series? By jove, it was Albuquerque. New Mexico.

The Trivia Master doesn't want to leave any scholarly person devoid of an opportunity to impact his or her knowledge. For history fans, Karl Marx was working on a book about an author at the time of his death. Who was the author? Balzac is the 10-point response.

For English majors it might be good to remember that Dante's Divine Comedy began on Good Friday, 1300, and that the only English word with three consecutive sets of double letters is bookkeeper and sports enthusiasts might recall that the guy who streaked through 500 Catholic school girls during the closing ceremonies of the 1976 summer Olympics was Michael LeDuke.

QUICK, FOR 5 points, in what state is it illegal to shoot camels? Beep! Time's up. The answer is Arizona.

Just as interesting as the questions, is the competition. Have you ever thought about coming in second to group called Elephant Snot?

Team names get more original every year and this year's roster included: Banana Caboose, Armadillo's Revenge, Faggot Lodge, Piranha Lips, Things That Go Bump in the Night, Tuna Tower, Giant Fiber, Pubic Pickle, Turkey Ear Wax, Farmers of the Ukraine, Nanook of the North, Two in a Wet Suit, Buffalo Chips, and the Benevolent Pervert. And this list doesn't include the purely-obscene names.

Another addition to the enjoyment is the ingenuity of the sponsor each year. No legitimate concern would ever want to be identified with such craziness, so WLFM makes one up. Last year, it was Stan Cola, which happens to be a tuna flavored soft drink.

It had a pretty catchy slogan, "You like it. It's not so crazy about you," but the thought of such a product is mildly revolting.

THIS YEAR'S FOOD product was never precisely defined as far as content goes, but it was called Dufflecakes and was intended to be served with a generous amount of tree sap, so you can just imagine.

For your protection, and five points, how are werewolves distinguished from human beings when the moon isn't full? Check the hands, because the index finger will be longer than the middle finger on a werewolf.

And to keep participants on their toes, the Trivia Master periodically requires a little running in order to answer a question.

At some ungodly hour, like 3:00 a.m., you may be asked to measure the width of some major street, in centimeters, or identify what number is lit up on a certain pinball machine all the way across town.

The Midwest Trivia Contest is definitely an exciting and exhilarating event though, so if you happen to be in the Appleton vicinity during the first weekend in February next year, tune in.

And just to get you off to a good start, we'll give you the first question and answer.

In The Great Waldo Pepper, who was Robert Redford's partner, who was the German flying ace and what stunt were they trying to do? And the three answers are, Axel Olsen, Ernst Kesler, and an outside loop. Vive la Bagatelle!

Or in other words, Long Live Trivia!