Posted in tv

TV Commercial Slogans

Well, we just checked another Super Bowl off the list and for a lot of people, the game isn’t the only thing they tune in for. It’s the commercials. So what did you think of the commercials during this year’s Super Bowl?

How about that one for Frito-Lay. I loved the whole “Twas the Night Before Super Bowl.” My favorite probably was the Doritos commercial featuring everybody’s favorite nice guy, Matthew McConaughey, as a flat 2-D version of himself. That was genius.

Then there was the Cheetos #ItWasn’tMe commercial featuring Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Shaggy. Good stuff there. It seems like the chip companies were on top of their game this year.

In the week preceding up to the Super Bowl the talk was all about John Travolta and his daughter Ella dancing together in the Scott’s Miracle Grow commercial. Was that one all you hoped it would be?

This is the one time of year I love watching commercials. You may or may not have noticed, but during this year’s 2021 Super Bowl, some of the usual big spenders on Super Bowl ads opted out, instead donating money to COVID-19 relief efforts. One advertiser to do this was Anheuser-Busch. For the first time in 37 years, there was not a Super Bowl commercial about Budweiser. No clydesdales or chirping frogs this year.
According to NASDAQ, even though Budweiser was dropped from the roster Anheuser-Busch did plug several other brands during the game. For those ads, they purchased four minutes of advertising time.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi also chose not to run ads for their flagship products according to NASDAQ. Pepsi did however sponsor the halftime show. Companies like Coca-Cola have been hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to US News and World Report, “Coca-Cola has been hit hard since half of its sales come from stadiums, movie theaters and other usually crowded places that have been closed during the pandemic. It announced layoffs in December and said it wouldn’t advertise this year to ensure it’s investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.”

One company made its Super Bowl debut this year. That was Chipotle Mexican Grill and its ad titled “Can a Burrito Change the World.” This ad focused on the role of farmers. A few other smaller brands made their debut at this year’s big game as well.


Have you ever wondered how much a 30 second ad costs to run during the Super Bowl? Well, this year that price tag was around $5.5 million. Anheuser-Busch donated part of what they would have spent on a 30 second ad instead on Coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts.


So do you know what the very first television commercial was? Well, this year marks the 80 year anniversary of the very first television commercial. It all happened on July 1st, 1941 on NBC’s WNBT TV and the ad only lasted 10 seconds. The ad aired before the beginning of a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The ad was for the watch brand Bulova and the ad only costs $9. $4 of that went to the airtime charges and the remaining $5 went to station charges. Wow have time’s changed in 80 years.

On this week’s episode of the Trivia Rewind podcast, it’s all about television commercials.  I’ll give you ten slogans or taglines and you will have to guess which product it goes with. As I promised in the podcast, I’m going to list the taglines here with links to videos of each of the commercials.

SLOGAN 1. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?Watch the commercial

SLOGAN 2. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ITWatch the commercial

SLOGAN 3: THINK DIFFERENTWatch the commercial

SLOGAN 4:  BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH ITWatch the commercial/History about it

SLOGAN 5: THE BEST PART OF WAKING UPWatch the commercial

SLOGAN 6: I CAN’T BELIEVE I ATE THE WHOLE THINGWatch the commercial

SLOGAN 7: YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAYWatch the Behind the Scenes story

SLOGAN 8: GREAT TASTE, LESS FILLINGWatch the commercial

SLOGAN 9: 15 MINUTES CAN SAVE YOU 15% OR MOREWatch the commercial

QUESTION 10: THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINEWatch the commercial

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind!  You can find Trivia Rewind on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Trivia Rewind – Episode 35 – Super Bowl and TV Commercial Slogans

[00:00:00] Debi Jenkins : [00:00:00] Hey Trivia Rewind listeners. It’s Debi here with another new episode. Well, we just checked another Super Bowl off the list and for a lot of people, the game isn’t the only thing they tune in for. It’s the commercials. So what did you think of the commercials this year?

[00:00:29] How about that one for Frito-Lay. I loved the whole “Twas the Night Before Super Bowl.” Another one I loved was the Doritos commercial featuring everybody’s favorite nice guy, Matthew McConaughey, as a flat 2-D version of himself. That was genius. Then there was the Cheetos #ItWasn’tMe commercial featuring Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Shaggy. Good stuff there. It seems like the chip companies were on [00:01:00] top of their game this year.

[00:01:02] In the week preceeding up to the Super Bowl the talk was all about John Travolta and his daughter Ella dancing together in the Scott’s Miracle Grow commercial. This is the one time of year I love watching commercials. You may or may not have noticed, but during this year’s 2021 Super Bowl, some of the usual big spenders on Super Bowl ads opted out, instead donating money to COVID-19 relief efforts.

[00:01:30] One advertiser to do this was Anheuser-Busch. For the first time in 37 years, there was not a Super Bowl commercial about Budweiser. No clydesdales or chirping frogs this year. According to NASDAQ, even though Budweiser has been dropped from the roster Anheuser-Busch will continue to plug several other brands during the game. For those ads, they purchased four minutes of advertising time.

[00:02:00] [00:01:59] Coca-Cola and Pepsi also chose not to run ads for their flagship products, according to NASDAQ. Pepsi did however sponsor the halftime show. Companies like Coca-Cola have been hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to US News and World Report, Coca-Cola has been hit hard since half of it’s sales come from stadiums, movie theaters, and other usually crowded places that have been closed during the pandemic. It announced layoffs in December and said it wouldn’t advertise this year to ensure it’s investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.

[00:02:40] One company made its Super Bowl debut this year. That was Chipotle Mexican Grill and its ad titled “Can a Burrito Change the World.” This ad focused on the role of farmers. A few other smaller brands made their debut at this year’s big game as well.

[00:03:00] [00:02:59] Have you ever wondered how much a 30 second ad costs to run during the Super Bowl? Well, this year that price tag was around $5.5 million. Anheuser-Busch donated part of what they would have spent on a 30 second ad, instead on Coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts.

[00:03:22] So do you know what the very first television commercial was? Well, this year marks the 80 year anniversary of the very first television commercial. It all happened on July 1st, 1941 on NBC’s WNBT  TV and the ad only lasted 10 seconds. The ad aired before the beginning of a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The ad was for the watch brand Bulova and the ad only costs $9. $4 of that went to the airtime charges and the remaining [00:04:00] $5 went to station charges. Wow have time’s changed in 80 years.

[00:04:06] Well, on this episode of Trivia Rewind, it’s all about television commercials. I’ll give you 10 slogans or taglines and you will have to guess which product it goes with. After each slogan I’ll pause a few seconds and then give you the answer and some fun facts. After you listen to this episode, head over to triviarewind.com, where I will post links to videos for each of the commercials.

[00:04:34] So are you ready? Let’s get started with slogan one. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

[00:04:43] This line comes from a 2001 Verizon advertising campaign. You may remember actor Paul Marcarelli saying the, “can you hear me now” line in the Verizon commercials. In these commercials, he was known as the [00:05:00] “test man.” Due to this commercial, he became an instant pop culture sensation.  He was the face of this advertising campaign for nine years, until Verizon decided to take their advertising in a different direction.

[00:05:15] While this was quite the gig to get, he said it did come with a price. A Hollywood Reporter article says, “He tells The Atlantic how at his grandmother’s funeral, a family friend whispered, ‘can you hear me now’ as her body was being lowered into the ground?” Ouch.

[00:05:35] Supposedly Marcarelli was paid up to $6,000 per commercial when working with Verizon. After his time with Verizon, he then became the spokesman for Verizon competitor Sprint. His debut with Sprint was during the 2011 NBA Finals when Sprint launched its “Paul Switched” ad campaign.

[00:06:00] [00:06:00] Slogan two. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT 

[00:06:05] This was an advertising slogan for American Express. It all started in the mid 1970s. When the commercial first aired the ad starred Karl Malden known from his role in The Streets of San Francisco TV drama that aired in the 70s. In the commercial, he talked about American Express traveler’s checks.

[00:06:29] Some of my listeners will have no idea what a traveler’s check is. Back in the day, if you were going to go on vacation, mainly out of the country, you’d go to the bank and get what were called traveler’s checks instead of taking a stack of cash with you. If you lost traveler’s checks or they were stolen, they could be easily replaced. Obviously you can’t replace cash. The tagline initially was “Don’t Leave Home Without Them,” [00:07:00] meaning the traveler’s checks. Later, the American Express credit card took precedence over traveler’s checks and the tagline changed to “Don’t Leave Home Without It.”

[00:07:13] Slogan three. THINK DIFFERENT

[00:07:18] This slogan goes with Apple computers. At the time the computer company IBM had a slogan that just said, “THINK.”  Many say this Apple computer tagline was used in response to IBM’s. Pretty smart if you ask me. On August 8th, 1997 the “Think Different” slogan was announced by Steve Jobs at the Mac World Expo. In 1998, the “Think Different” commercial won a Prime Time, Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding commercial.

[00:07:55] Slogan four. BECAUSE YOU’RE [00:08:00] WORTH IT

[00:08:01] This tagline goes with L’Oreal Paris. This slogan has evolved over the years. Way back in the early seventies, the slogan started out as “Because I’m Worth It” and it coincided with the women’s rights movement. Then came the, “Because You’re Worth It” tagline sometime in the nineties. Most recently they’ve changed it too, “Because We’re Worth It.” L’Oreal  has a video out about the history of this commercial. I’ll post a link to it on triviarewind.com.

[00:08:36] Slogan five. THE BEST PART OF WAKING UP

[00:08:41] Well, for some people, the best part of waking up is Folgers in their cup. While the coffee itself has been around since the early 1900s, “The Best Part of Waking Up” tagline was in Folgers commercials starting in 1984. Over the [00:09:00] years, there have been a lot of parodies for this jingle as well as memes. I have never been a coffee drinker, but if I hear this slogan, I definitely know what product it goes with.

[00:09:13] Slogan six. I CAN’T BELIEVE I ATE THE WHOLE THING

[00:09:20] If you did eat the whole thing, you would want Alka Seltzer. This antacid product came to the market in 1931. Their advertising campaign containing this tagline is considered a classic when it comes to television commercials. The commercial with the, “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing” tagline first aired in the 1970s.

[00:09:45] Ad man Howie Cohen explains how this commercial tagline came about in a Los Angeles Times article. “He says the crew was celebrating the wrap of a commercial shoot in London. There were 20 of us around the table [00:10:00] and director Milos Forman ordered for everyone – chicken, steaks, lobster. I’m a nice Jewish kid from the Bronx so I ate everything until I couldn’t fit one more thing in my body. I leaned back in my chair and said, ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.’ And my wife said, ‘there’s your next Alka seltzer commercial.'” And there you have it.

[00:10:25] Slogan seven.  YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY

[00:10:30] If you feel you deserve a break today, then maybe you’ll head on over to your nearest McDonald’s. This catchy slogan was first used in 1971. This commercial was so popular that Ad Age Magazine rated at the top advertising jingle of the 20th century.

[00:10:49] The slogan was used in commercials all the way through the 1980s. In the mid nineties, they tweaked it a little and made it “Have You Had Your Break Today?” [00:11:00] Some say that this tagline mentally gave people permission to indulge in McDonald’s fast food. Not everyone was happy with the message in the jingle. An article in ChildhoodObesityNews.com titled “Did McDonald’s Invent the Most Lethal Slogan Ever,”  they say “The underlying message is, the universe recognizes what an exemplary human being you are and wonderful people like you must be rewarded. Food is a reward so go eat some.” Well, whatever you believe about McDonald’s and their food, that slogan worked well for the fast food giant. If you want a great behind the scenes look on the story of this commercial, I’ll post a link on triviarewind.com.

[00:11:45] Slogan eight. GREAT TASTE, LESS FILLING

[00:11:51] This slogan goes with Miller Light beer. The advertising campaign featuring this tagline began in [00:12:00] 1974 and went on to be one of the best campaigns in advertising history according to Advertising Age Magazine. At one time Ad Age ranked this as the eighth best campaign in advertising history. This campaign featured many celebrities and athletes over the years where one person would say “great taste” and the other would chime back with “less filling.”

[00:12:27] Slogan nine.  15 MINUTES CAN SAVE YOU 15% OR MORE

[00:12:35] Well, we all know that this goes with Geico. I’m sure you’ve heard this slogan a million times. Over the years, Geico has made great use of their advertising. The “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance” tagline is just one of the many they’ve had success with. In 2010 the Direct Marketing Association honored Geico at the annual Marketer of the [00:13:00] Year award ceremony. Geico spends a lot of money on advertising. That’s one reason this tagline is so ingrained in our minds. In 2018, 27.9% of the money spent on television auto industry ads was spent by Geico.

[00:13:20] And slogan 10. THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE

[00:13:26] This slogan is for BMW and first started being used in the early 1970s. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, BMW went with a new advertising campaign, titled “Joy” and used a new slogan, “Sheer Driving Pleasure.” Surprisingly, this caused quite the uproar with people thinking they were dropping their tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Some called that advertising campaign a complete failure.

[00:13:57] So by 2012, the original [00:14:00] loved slogan was back. Well, the COVID-19 pandemic took a strike on BMW sales. BMW said it saw an 8.4% drop in vehicle sales in 2020.

[00:14:15] I hope you enjoyed a look back at some of television’s most memorable television commercial slogans. What’s your favorite commercial slogan?  You can share with me on Instagram at trivia_rewind. Don’t forget to visit triviarewind.com to see video clips of all the commercials I discussed. Thanks for listening and I will be back next week with another new episode of Trivia Rewind. [00:15:00]

Posted in film

Denzel Washington Movies

On this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, the topic is Denzel Washington and ten of his movies. Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was named after his father, Denzel Hayes Washington and his father was named after the doctor that delivered him, Dr. Denzel. 

Growing up, Denzel Washington has said that as a child, he was not allowed to watch movies. In a Hollywood Reporter article, he says “My father was a minister in the Church of God and Christ,” said Washington. “My mother was a singer in church, so we weren’t allowed to watch movies.” The actor was only allowed to watch certain Christian films. “King of Kings, Ten Commandments and that’s about it,” Washington added. “I never went to the movies as a child, ever.“

In a GQ article from 2012 Denzel says that his first job was as a paper boy around the age of 9 years old. When he was 11, he started working in a barbershop.  In the article he says, “Working in that barbershop, learning how to tell stories…I learned how to act.”   

There was another time in Denzel’s life that he will always remember and look back on. In a Parade Magazine article from 1999, Denzel Washington is quoted as saying “I’ve felt the hand of God on my life, no doubt about it. I remember sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on March 27, 1975, and in the mirror I kept seeing this woman looking at me.” Washington was then 20, a student at Fordham University in the Bronx. “I was doing so bad in school, and this woman said, ‘Somebody give me a piece of stationery! I’m having a prophecy!’ I still have that piece of paper. ‘You’re going to speak to millions of people,’ she said to me. ‘You’re going to do great things!’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, right. When’s that going to start? On Monday? I’m flunking out of school. Later on, I asked my mother, ‘Who was that woman?’ She said, ‘It’s Ruth Green, one of the elder sisters in the church, who’s been known to have the gift of prophecy.’” He paused, then added, “That fall I started acting.”

Washington graduated from Fordham University in 1977 where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in drama and journalism. While in his junior year at Fordham, he played the leads in a few university productions. It was there that he developed a love for acting.  His first professional on-screen acting job was in 1977 when he starred in a TV movie called The Wilma Rudolph Story.  It was during the filming of this movie that he met his future wife, actress Pauletta Pearson. 

After graduating from Fordham University, he spent a year training at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, California.  After that, he moved to New York City and worked off-Broadway. In 1982, he was part of the cast to win a Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for his role in A Soldier’s Play. Then he headed back to California and had his breakout role as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the hit television series St. Elsewhere. That role lasted for 6 years.  His career only went up from there. 

In the Parade Magazine article, Denzel says “I’ve been fortunate as an actor,” he said. “I’ve made some interesting films, and I think some of the work I’ve done has touched people. Maybe it sounds corny, but I try to do things for goodness’ sake—to send a good message. I think we did that with Glory, with Philadelphia, and we do that with The Hurricane, a movie which says it sometimes takes suffering—unfortunately, even prison—for some people to realize that hate, hatred for yourself, for other people, will confine you, but love can set you free.”

In 1991, Denzel Washington was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from his alma mater, Fordham University. In 2007, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Morehouse College. And In 2011 he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2016, the Golden Globe Awards honored him with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”

In November of 2020, Denzel Washington ranked number one on The New York Times’ prestigious “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century” list.  A touching moment can be seen in an Access Hollywood interview when Denzel is told what his son said about his father being named the number one actor on that New York Times list.  Denzel’s son said “”It’s about time….I think he is one of the greatest to ever do it, so it was a very proud moment for our entire family.”  When told this, Denzel teared up and said he was speechless. You can tell how important family is in the Washington household. 

What’s up next for Denzel? Recently, I was at the movie theater and saw a preview for his upcoming film called The Little Things where he stars alongside Oscar winners Rami Malek and Jared Leto. The movie will be released on January 29, 2021 in theaters and will temporarily stream on HBO Max.  And let me tell you, if you haven’t been to the movie theatre since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, I can tell you that it was so great being back in a real theater seeing a movie. There’s nothing like movie theater surround sound. I look forward to  seeing Denzel’s new movie IN the theater. 

Now that I’ve given you a little background on this amazing actor, head on over to your favorite place to listen to podcasts where I’ll give you ten trivia questions about some of Denzel Washington’s movie roles?  After I give you the ten questions,  I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie.  

On this episode, you’ll hear me mention a link to a few videos. Here’s the link where Oprah talks with Denzel and his wife Pauletta. I also mention a link where you can watch Denzel on Jimmy Kimmel where he talks about Pauletta and their first date.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 33 Denzel Washington

[00:00:00] Hey Trivia Rewind listeners. This is Debi Jenkins and I’m back with another new episode. This week, our topic is Denzel Washington. I’ll be talking about 10 of his movies. But first let’s talk a little bit about Denzel.  Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born on December 28th, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York.

[00:00:36] He was named after his father, Denzel Hayes Washington and his father was named after the doctor that delivered him. Dr. Denzel.  Growing up, Denzel Washington has said that as a child, he was not allowed to watch movies. In a Hollywood Reporter article he says, “My father was a minister in the Church of God in Christ” said [00:01:00] Washington. “My mother was a singer in the church, so we weren’t allowed to watch movies.” The actor was only allowed to watch certain Christian films:  King of Kings,  Ten Commandments and that’s about it, Washington added. I never went to the movies as a child.”

[00:01:17] In a GQ article from 2012, Denzel says that his first job was as a paper boy around the age of nine years old. When he was 11, he started working in a barber shop. In the article he says, “Working in that barber shop, learning how to tell stories…I learned how to act.” There was another time in Denzel’s life that he will always remember and look back on.

[00:01:44] In a Parade Magazine article from 1999, Denzel Washington is quoted as saying,  “I’ve felt the hand of God on my life, no doubt about it. I remember sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor in Mount Vernon, New York on [00:02:00] March 27th, 1975 and in the mirror, I kept seeing this woman looking at me.” Washington was then 20, a student at Fordham University in the Bronx. “I was doing so bad in school  and this woman said, somebody give me a piece of stationary, I’m having a prophecy. I still have that piece of paper. You are going to speak to millions of people, she said to me, you are going to do great things. And I thought, yeah, right. When’s that going to start, on Monday? I’m flunking out of school. Later on, I asked my mother, who was that woman? She said it’s Ruth Green, one of the elder sisters in the church who’s been known to have the gift of prophecy.” He paused then added, “That fall. I started acting.”

[00:02:49] Denzel Washington graduated from Fordham University in 1977, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in drama and journalism. [00:03:00] While in his junior year at Fordham, he played the leads in a few university productions. It was there that he developed a love for acting. His first professional on-screen acting job was in 1977 when he starred in a TV movie called The Wilma Rudolph Story. It was during the filming of this movie that he met his future wife, actress Pauletta Pearson.

[00:03:26] After graduating from Fordham University, he spent a year training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California. After that he moved to New York City and worked off-Broadway.  In 1982 he was part of the cast to win a Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for his role in A Soldier’s Play. Well, then he headed back to California and had his breakout role as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the hit television series St.  [00:04:00] Elsewhere. That role lasted for six years. His career only went up from there.

[00:04:08] In the Parade Magazine article, Denzel says, “I’ve been fortunate as an actor.” He said “I’ve made some interesting films and I think some of the work I’ve done has touched people. Maybe it sounds corny, but I try to do things for goodness’ sake, to send a good message.  I think we did that with Glory, with Philadelphia and we do that with The Hurricane, a movie, which says it sometimes take suffering, unfortunately, even prison for some people to realize that hate, hatred for yourself, for other people will confine you, but love can set you free.”

[00:04:46] In 1991, Denzel Washington was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Fordham University.  In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Morehouse [00:05:00] College. And in 2011, he received an honorary doctor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, the Golden Globe Awards honored him with the Cecil B DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

[00:05:25] This past November of 2020 Denzel Washington ranked number one on the New York Times, prestigious “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century” list. A touching moment can be seen in an Access Hollywood interview when Denzel is told what his son said about his father being named the number one actor on that list. Denzel’s son said, “It’s about time. I think he is one of the greatest to ever do it. So it was a very proud moment for our entire family.” When told this, [00:06:00] Denzel teared up and said he was speechless. You can tell how important family is in the Washington household.

[00:06:07] So what’s up next for Denzel? Well, just a few nights ago, I was at the movie theater and saw a preview for his upcoming film called, The Little Things, where he stars alongside Oscar winners, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.  The movie will be released on January 29th in theaters and will temporarily stream on HBO Max as well. And let me tell you, if you haven’t been to the movie theater since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I can tell you that it was so great being back in a real theater seeing a movie. There’s nothing like movie theater surround sound.  I look forward to seeing Denzel’s new movie in the theater.

[00:06:50] Now that I’ve given you a little background on this amazing actor are you ready to get into the 10 trivia questions about some of his movie roles? [00:07:00] After I give you the 10 questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie. So are you ready?

[00:07:10] Here’s question one. In what 1995 film does Denzel Washington star alongside Gene Hackman as Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, Executive Officer of the USS Alabama?

[00:07:28] Question two. In the 1993 film The Pelican Brief, Denzel Washington’s character Gray Grantham does what for a living?

[00:07:42] Question three. In the 2014 film The Equalizer, what condition does Denzel Washington’s character suffer from?

[00:07:54] Question four. In the 2010 post-apocalyptic [00:08:00] western film, The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington’s character is in possession of what book?

[00:08:08] Question five. In the 2001 crime thriller Training Day, who kills Denzel Washington’s character Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris?

[00:08:21] Question six. In what 2000 film does Denzel Washington play a high school football coach at a newly integrated high school?

[00:08:34] Question seven. In what 1987 film does Denzel Washington’s character play black activist Steve Biko?

[00:08:46] Question eight. In the 2016 film Fences, Denzel Washington’s character Troy Maxson is promoted in his job and gets to do what? In doing this job he becomes the [00:09:00] first African-American to do this in Pittsburgh.

[00:09:04] Question nine. In the 1989 film Glory starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, what reason does Denzel Washington’s character Private Trip give for going AWOL?

[00:09:21] And question 10. In what 1999 film does Denzel Washington play a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder?

[00:09:35] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:09:41] Question one. In what 1995 film does Denzel Washington star alongside Gene Hackman as Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, Executive Officer of the USS Alabama?  That movie was Crimson Tide. This film reunites the [00:10:00] production team from Top Gun. It was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and it was directed by Tony Scott. This film was produced without the assistance of the U.S. Navy. The production team was hoping for their involvement, but there were a few reasons the Navy didn’t want to be a part of it. One was that the Navy didn’t like that in the story, there was mutiny on the ship. They also didn’t want it suggested that the Navy could ever make a mistake about firing a nuclear weapon.

[00:10:31] So director Tony Scott had to get creative when shooting one particular scene for the movie. In order to get one of the shots he wanted for the film, Tony Scott and his crew waited at Pearl Harbor for a submarine to go out to sea. When one left port, they basically chased it with boats and helicopters to get the footage they needed for the film. Since they were in open water, there was no law against what they were doing. This shot was the only shot in the movie that [00:11:00] featured a real submarine. This scene is at the beginning of the film when you see the USS Alabama submerging.

[00:11:08] While the Navy wouldn’t help, Retired Navy Captain Skip Beard, former Commanding Officer of the Alabama Blue Crew was a technical advisor. In a Deseret News article from 1995 it says “Beard spent five months teaching Hackman, Washington, and the rest of the actors to salute, operate technical controls, and generally look like submariners.” He did admit that his Navy buddies would probably spot errors because if you were to make a real movie about submarining, people would walk out of the theater. A lot of liberties were taken with Navy regulations and realities. Another technical advisor was Captain Mal Wright, Retired Former Commanding Officer of the Alabama Gold Crew  and he worked with the screenwriter.

[00:11:58] The article also pointed out [00:12:00] that Tony Scott, the director of the film was surprised at the Navy’s lack of cooperation. His movie Top Gun was such a hit with the Navy that he thought he had his foot in the door, but I guess not. The ship in the movie, the USS Alabama was created on two Hollywood sound stages at Culver studios in Los Angeles.

[00:12:21] In a Morning Call article, Denzel Washington said that after doing the movie, he had a new found respect for America’s military. They quote him as saying, “One thing I learned from this film is that this is not a country to be messin’ with. We have the hardware. That’s why nobody, with the exception of terrorists, does.”

[00:12:42] Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer composed the score for the film. In 1996 it won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.

[00:13:00] [00:13:00] Question two. In the 1993 film The Pelican Brief, Denzel  Washington’s character Gray Grantham does what for a living? He is a reporter with the Washington Herald. The film was based on a 1992 novel by author John Grisham. Denzel Washington plays reporter Gray Grantham and Julia Roberts plays young law student Darby Shaw. Supposedly when John Grisham was writing the novel, he wrote the part of Darby Shaw with Julia Roberts in mind.

[00:13:36] They filmed some of this at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, on the east lawn; they used it as a backdrop for one of the film scenes. According to Mountvernon.org, the producers made a sizable contribution to Mount Vernon for the privilege of filming on the estate.

[00:13:53] There have been some questions about why Denzel Washington didn’t kiss Julia Roberts in the movie. [00:14:00] This is addressed in a cheatsheet.com article. The issue was the interracial kiss. The article says, “Apparently Washington was worried about the way an interracial kiss would be received by movie goers. He had previously received criticism from black women during a test screening of 1989’s The Mighty Quinn – which included a love scene between him and Mimi Rogers  – and decided not to play into Hollywood’s beauty ideals, per Newsweek. Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film” he said.  “They have always been my core audience.” Being that that quote was from so many years ago, I wonder how Denzel Washington would feel about it today? If he would say the same thing?

[00:14:46] Question three. In the 2014 film The Equalizer, what condition does Denzel Washington’s character suffer from?  His character Robert McCall suffers [00:15:00] from OCD, also known as obsessive compulsive disorder. This film was based on the 1980s television series The Equalizer. At one point, Russell Crowe was going to be part of the film and have the role of Robert McCall, but Denzel Washington ended up replacing him. According to Internet Movie Database, Denzel Washington’s earring holes were digitally edited out for close-ups. However, near the end of the movie, you can see the earring hole in his left ear lobe. If you watch the film, see if you can find that. Did you know that in The Equalizer, Denzel Washington’s character Robert McCall never carries a gun of his ow?. He may take guns from people in the movie, but he never carries his own.  In 2018, a sequel to The Equalizer came out. Equalizer 2 was the first sequel in Denzel Washington’s career.

[00:16:00] [00:16:00] Question four. In the 2010 post-apocalyptic western film The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington’s character is in possession of what book? He is carrying the last remaining copy of the Bible. The Book of Eli, directed by the Hughes brothers, is set in a post-apocalyptic America and was shot in New Mexico. In a collider.com  article Denzel Washington is asked about what it was like filming in New Mexico. And he is quoted as saying, “Well, I definitely know what a tumbleweed is now and I know what a windstorm is. But it was the right place I think for this film and the people there have been very nice to us.”  Denzel Washington performed all of his own stunts in this action packed film.

[00:16:51] We can thank his son for encouraging him to be in this movie. In a PalmBeachpost.com article it mentions that his son [00:17:00] John David Washington pushed for his dad to be in this movie. The film was written by screenwriter Gary Whitta. In a CBR.com article they discussed the religious undertones of the film.  The article says, “Unfortunately for Whitta, the studio continuously asked him to tone down the religious aspects of his script, to the point that he no longer felt comfortable with the film he was making and was ultimately replaced with a different writer. Thankfully, Denzel Washington, who was attracted to the project for those very elements, came to Whitta’s rescue and demanded that he be brought back aboard, allowing him to see the script through to the very final stage.”

[00:17:44] The article quotes Whitta as saying, “A lot of people, particularly people of faith contacted me and I got so many touching messages. Some people said I haven’t picked up my Bible in 10 years and this movie made me want to do that. Not to [00:18:00] sound grandiose, but I felt like if I never wrote anything else, I will have left behind something that people really really like and that means the world to me.”

[00:18:10] Denzel’s son, John David Washington was an Associate Producer for The Book of Eli and how he got the job is a pretty interesting story. An Esquire article says, “In between seasons, Washington accompanied his father to a meeting for the 2010 film The Book of Eli. Co-director Alan Hughes was struck by the young football player’s input and asked his father if he would mind if Washington joined the project. Denzel said he didn’t mind and Washington gave it a shot. It was a chance to get back onto a movie set and to remain safely behind the camera. While being the child of a star has its drawbacks an undeniable advantage is access. Getting onto that set was a first step into the business that most people could only dream of. But once he was there, he had to prove his worth.”

[00:19:00] [00:19:00] In addition to John David, Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta have three other children. At the NAACP image awards, Denzel Washington won an Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture award for his role in The Book of Eli.

[00:19:17] Question five. In the 2001 crime thriller Training Day, who kills Denzel Washington’s character, Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris?  Well, the Russians kill him. The director of Training Day was Antoine Fuqua. He insisted on shooting the movie on location as much as possible and in some of Los Angeles’s most dangerous neighborhoods. A Kingroom.com article says,” At first, the filmmakers were told they could not shoot in Imperial Court for safety reasons but the response from the community was so great, permission was granted. The people living there really wanted this, notes Joel Silver. [00:20:00] They told us, we need the attention and we need the work. We hired a lot of them and it was a great experience. Here we were in a place where you would normally be scared just to drive down the street and we were sitting around drinking coffee and feeling totally comfortable.

[00:20:15] The article went on to say Fuqua also cast  bit parts and extras right out of the neighborhoods where they were shooting. They quote, Fuqua as saying, “I met with gangs and cops and even went into crack houses and said, I want to shoot here. I wanted people who had real scars, real bullet holes who deal with the cops every day.”

[00:20:37] Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in this film. At the NAACP Image Awards, he won for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.

[00:20:48] Question six. In what 2000 film does Denzel Washington play a high school football coach at a newly integrated high school? That movie was [00:21:00] Remember the Titans. Remember the Titans is loosely based on a true story and is often ranked as one of the top football movies of all time. Supposedly Denzel Washington was a little hesitant to take the role, but thanks to his wife Pauletta he ended up taking it. A Washington post article also quotes director Boaz Yakin as saying, “Denzel walked onto that set and I was like, Oh, right. That’s what a movie star is. You literally feel the air bending around him. It’s really quite something to see.”

[00:21:33] There were a lot of people that thought that because Disney produced the movie, the racial relations aspect was way too toned down and not as true to life as it should be depicted.  A New York Magazine article said “The story is based on real incidents but the uplifting tone is laid on so thick that it’s difficult to believe a minute of it.” At the 2001 NAACP Image Awards Denzel Washington took home the [00:22:00] award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and the film won the award for Outstanding Motion Picture.

[00:22:07] Question seven. In what 1987 film does Denzel Washington play black activist Steve Biko? Well, that movie is Cry Freedom. Cry Freedom was set in late 1970s South Africa. When Cry Freedom was being filmed, there was so much political turmoil in South Africa that they had to film parts of it in Zimbabwe instead. Kenya was another location they used to shoot the film. Some people called Cry Freedom a “white savior” movie. A Salon.com article from 2013 titled, “Oscar Loves a White Savior” lists 10 white savior films that have received major Hollywood award nominations and Cry Freedom was on the list.

[00:22:54] The article quotes movie critic Roger Ebert as saying, “The problem with this movie is similar [00:23:00] to the dilemma in South Africa: whites occupy the foreground and establish the terms of the discussion, while the 80% non-white majority remains a shadowy, half-seen presence in the background.”

[00:23:13] Denzel Washington earned his first ever Oscar nomination for this movie. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the film. This movie earned him his first Golden Globe nomination as well. He won an NAACP Image Award in the category of  Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. The National Board of Review listed Cry Freedom as one of the top 10 films of 1987.  It came in sixth out of 10 in their rankings. While speaking of South Africa, in 1995 Denzel and his wife Pauletta renewed their wedding vows in South Africa where Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiated. They once even had the late president of South [00:24:00] Africa, Nelson Mandela over to their house for dinner.

[00:24:03] Watch a clip of Oprah talking with Denzel and Pauletta. They talk about their trip to Africa and their wedding vow renewal. I’ll post the link on triviarewind.com. In the clip, Oprah jokes that she’d one day like to play Denzel’s wife in a movie. I will also post a clip of Denzel talking with Jimmy Kimmel about his and Pauletta’s very first date.

[00:24:28] Question eight.  In the 2016 film Fences, Denzel Washington’s character Troy Maxson is promoted in his job and gets to do what? In doing this job he becomes the first African-American to do this in Pittsburgh. He was the first to drive a garbage truck. Not only did Denzel Washington star in this film, he produced it and directed it.

[00:24:52] The movie is based on August Wilson’s book titled Fences. In a 2010 Broadway revival of this [00:25:00] play, Denzel Washington had the lead role in starred alongside Viola Davis. They both won Tony Awards for their work in the play. How fitting that both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprised their roles for this film. 

[00:25:14] In 1987, Paramount Pictures purchased the rights to turn Wilson’s book into a film. Wilson had one request, that Paramount hire a black director. In an Indywire.com article, Wilson talks about one point when a white director really wanted to direct the film. But he wasn’t black. The article quotes Wilson as saying, “I accept that he is a very fine film director, but he is not black. He is not a product of black America culture – a culture that was honed out of the black experience and fired in the kiln of slavery and survival and he does not share the sensibilities of black Americans.”  The film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as [00:26:00] well as Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay. Viola Davis was the only one to go home with an Oscar. The film and actors were nominated for numerous other awards as well.

[00:26:16] Question nine. In the 1989 film Glory starring Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, what reason does Denzel Washington’s character Private Trip give for going AWOL? Well, Trip left to find shoes because his men were being denied basic supplies like that. In the film Washington’s character is flogged for going AWOL. When his shirt is off and he’s being flogged, you can see that his back is covered in scars from his time as a slave.

[00:26:50] This scene inspired another actor, Michael B. Jordan for his Black Panther role. In an Entertainment Weekly article it mentions that Michael B. [00:27:00] Jordan was speaking at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Gala in honor of Denzel Washington and is quoted as saying, “I remember hearing stories about you and I heard stories that when you were huddled around the campfire in that film, you weren’t supposed to be shirtless, but you still had the scars put on your back so you could feel it, so you can know what your character’s been through” said Jordan. “I tell you right now tonight, brother, that’s the only reason why Killmonger, when I played that role, I had those scars, even when I wasn’t shirtless because of you. So I want to say thank you for that.”

[00:27:39] It’s been reported that Denzel did receive some real lashings to his back in the movie. Internet movie database says “Edward Zwick, the director of the film said that for the flogging scene, Denzel Washington was lashed at full contact with a special whip that would not cut his back, but still stung.” Denzel [00:28:00] Washington won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his role in this movie. He also won a Golden Globe for his role, as well as an NAACP Image Award.

[00:28:11] And question 10. In what 1999, filmed does Denzel Washington play a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder? The name of this film was The Hurricane and Denzel plays the character, Reuben “The Hurricane” Carter. The film was based on a true story. In order to play the role Denzel lost 60 pounds and trained for over a year with a boxing coach. When Variety interviewed the real life Ruben “The Hurricane” Carter and they asked him what he thought about Denzel Washington portraying him they quote him as saying, “I didn’t know I was that good looking.”

[00:28:52] After the movie was released, many criticized it for its inaccuracies. Universal Pictures was one of the companies that was [00:29:00] sued over this. Joey Giardello, the real life opponent of Reuben “The Hurricane” Carter sued them for defamation of character because of the way that he was portrayed in the film. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and he won a Golden Globe award in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama category and an NAACP award.

[00:29:24] Denzel Washington has such an amazing career and continues to inspire people on and off the screen. Not only is he an award-winning actor, he’s a man of faith. In a 2015 commencement speech at Dillard University in Louisiana, he told the audience,  “Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me, everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have, and I have a few things, everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. [00:30:00] It’s a gift.”

[00:30:01] Denzel Washington also has close ties with the Boys and Girls Club of America where at one time he was the spokesman for the organization, a group that he grew up with while living in Mount Vernon.

[00:30:14] The entertainment business has become a family affair so keep your eyes open for what his four children are up to. They are making names for themselves in the industry as well. You can tell how proud their dad is when you watch him in interviews and the topic of his kids come up. They have a great role model to look up to.

[00:30:34] While I’ve only talked about 10 of Denzel’s movies in this episode, he has many more that have touched people worldwide. Movies like Malcolm X, Philadelphia, and American Gangster to name a few. He’s had quite the career. Do you have a favorite Denzel Washington movie? Come share about it on our Instagram page. You can also find Trivia Rewind on Twitter and Facebook.

[00:30:58] All the links can be found [00:31:00] triviarewind.com. Don’t forget to watch Denzel’s new movie in theaters or on HBO. Thanks for taking time to listen this week. I’ll be back next week with another new episode of Trivia Rewind. .

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Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

You may or may not be aware that every Christmas season, a big debate rages on about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I’ve seen so much about this topic lately. Just last week I saw a clip on the Today Show where they replayed a segment of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  Jimmy Fallon asked Former President Obama if he thought Die Hard was a Christmas movie and here’s what he said. “No. It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie. Charlie Brown Christmas is a Christmas movie. Die Hard is an action flick that happens to involve tangentially Christmas.” All through the clip, Jimmy Fallon was agreeing with him.  

In a December 3, 2020 Tweet from Natalie Andrews, a congress reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she said that House Democrats voted on their favorite Christmas movie, as a practice vote before virtual leadership elections.  The choices laid out before them were: Love Actually, Polar Express, Home Alone, Die Hard, and Miracle on 34th Street  The Winner of the vote was: Miracle on 34th Street.  A Cinemablend article alludes to the fact that by the very inclusion of Die Hard in their choices, they are saying it is a Christmas movie.

The debate rages on each year. In 2020 when we need a little break from all the seriousness of what’s going on, the Die Hard question definitely lightens the mood.  

To help me answer the question, I first watched the movie and then I turned to Movie Talk, a Facebook group that I’m part of and I asked them the question.  Over 400 people replied to the post and the majority of the replies said that it is indeed a Christmas movie.  Here’s a few of the comments that people left.  One person said “If a film is set at Christmas time then it’s a Christmas movie in my book.”  Someone else said “This is the post that never ends on Facebook. The answer is yes for all time.”  One person said, “Absolutely. Home Alone is a heist movie that takes place at Christmas time and people call it a Christmas classic. Die Hard is a heist movie that takes place at Christmas time, it is also a Christmas classic.”  That’s a well thought out defense!   Then there was someone that said “That’s a big fat no!”  And “No. Anyone who thinks so is wrong.”  So what do you think? Is Die Hard a movie you turn to during the Christmas season?

In this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, I dive into the movie and the big question.  I will ask you ten trivia questions about Die Hard and then I’ll give you the answers and some fun facts about the movie, its stars and what people say about Die Hard being a Christmas movie.

In the episode, I mention a website I recently came across with the best data regarding the Die Hard vs. Christmas controversy. Stephen Follows, an established data researcher in the film industry did a whole write up titled Using data to determine if Die Hard is a Christmas movie. All his stats will blow your mind.  After going through his fact based research, you may need to re-evaluate your opinion on whether or not you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

The background Christmas Music heard on the episode is by JuliusH from Pixabay

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 27 – Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

[00:00:00] Trivia Rewind.

[00:00:04] Debi Jenkins : [00:00:04] Hey there, movie fans, I’m Debi Jenkins, host of Trivia Rewind. You may or may not be aware that every Christmas season a big debate rages on about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I’ve seen so much about this topic lately. Just today, I saw a clip on The Today Show where they replayed a segment of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon asked president Obama if he thought Die Hard was a Christmas movie and here’s what he said. “No. It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie. Charlie Brown Christmas is a Christmas movie. Die Hard is an action flick that happens to involve tangentially Christmas.” All through the clip, Jimmy Fallon is agreeing with him. In a December 3rd, 2020 tweet from Natalie Andrews, a congress reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she said that house Democrats voted on their favorite Christmas movie as a [00:01:00] practice vote before virtual leadership elections. The choices laid out before them were Love Actually,  Polar Express,  Home Alone, Die Hard and Miracle on 34th Street. The winner of the vote was Miracle on 34th Street. A Cinemablend article alludes to the fact that by their very inclusion of Die Hard in their choices, they are saying it’s a Christmas movie. The debate rages on each year. In 2020, when we need a little break from all the seriousness of what’s going on, the Die Hard question definitely lightens the mood.

[00:01:34] To help me answer the question, I first watched the movie and then I turned to Movie Talk, a Facebook group that I’m part of and I asked them the very question. Over 400 people replied to the post and the majority of the replies said that yes, it is indeed a Christmas movie.

[00:01:53] Here’s a few of the comments that people left. One person said, “If a film is set at Christmas [00:02:00] time, then it’s a Christmas movie in my book.” Someone else said, “This is the post that never ends on Facebook. The answer is yes for all time.” One person said, “Absolutely. Home Alone is a heist movie that takes place at Christmas time and people call it a Christmas classic. Die Hard is a heist movie that takes place at Christmas time. It is also a Christmas classic.” That’s a well thought out defense. Then there was someone that said, “That’s a big fat no” and “No. Anyone who thinks so is wrong.” So what do you think? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie that you turn to during the Christmas season?

[00:02:42] In this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind we’re going to dive into the movie and the big question. I’m going to ask you ten trivia questions about Die Hard and then I’ll give you the answers and some fun facts about the movie, its stars and what people say about Die [00:03:00] Hard being a Christmas movie. So are you ready?

[00:03:03] Here’s question one. When John McClain arrives at the airport on Christmas Eve, what is the name of the man that picks him up in the limousine?

[00:03:15] Question two. What Christmas gift does John bring on the airplane with him?

[00:03:23] Question three. What does John McClain write on his arm?

[00:03:30] Question four. What is the name of the building where the hostage situation takes place?

[00:03:38] Question five. What does police officer Sergeant Al Powell buy at the convenience store?

[00:03:47] Question six. What message does John write in blood on the dead terrorists shirt?

[00:03:57] Question seven. On what [00:04:00] floor of the skyscraper is the Christmas party taking place?

[00:04:05] Question eight. What is the name of the head terrorist played by actor Alan Rickman?

[00:04:14] Question nine. What kind of shoes does John wear for most of the movie?

[00:04:21] And question 10. What Christmas song is playing as Argyle, John and Holly drive off in the limo at the end of the movie?

[00:04:33] Well, those are our 10 questions, let’s go back and get the answers and fun facts. Question one. When John McClain arrives at the airport on Christmas Eve, what is the name of the man that picks him up in the limousine? Well, that limo driver’s name is Argyle. Bruce Willis is the star of the movie and plays character John McClain, an NYPD detective [00:05:00] that travels to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to see his family and hopefully reconcile with his wife. The character Argyle is played by actor De’voreaux White. The movie is based on a 1979 crime novel titled, “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp.

[00:05:18] In a Nobelmania.com article De’voreaux White was asked how he got the role. He says, “Places in the Heart with Danny Glover and Sally Fields, which I was featured in had received huge accolades for Oscars the year before. My agent pitched me to Joel Silver and Bruce Willis. They agreed to take on a meeting and a reading with me. By the time I got home that day, they called and offered me the role.”  A lot of big stars were considered for the role of John McClain. Some names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Robert DeNiro turned down the role. At the time, Bruce Willis was known for his comedic role on the [00:06:00] television series Moonlighting. The filmmakers of Die Hard had to do some work-arounds with his Moonlighting schedule. He’d often work on the Moonlighting set during the day and then he’d head over to the Die Hard set at night. Bruce Willis was paid $5 million for his role in Die Hard. At the time, this was considered huge.

[00:06:20] So does Bruce Willis think Die Hard is a Christmas movie? Well at a Comedy Central roast in 2018, Bruce Willis is quoted as saying,  “Die Hard is not a Christmas movie.” People heard that line and you’ll see people quoting it all over the internet. Oh, but wait. Some of the news media as usual, didn’t include the entire quote.  Bruce Willis finishes his statement that night by saying that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie because it’s a Bruce Willis movie. That last line is pretty important when answering the big question [00:07:00] about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. In December of 2019, the Hollywood Reporter took a poll and here’s their results: 61% said that no, Die Hard was not a Christmas movie while 39% said yes. Around 12,000 people voted in the poll. Last time I looked you can still vote so the numbers can definitely change over time. Visit triviarewind.com where I’ll post a link to the article that includes the poll so that you can go and vote. So for the people in the no camp, there’s some evidence for your side.

[00:07:40] Question two. What Christmas gift does John bring on the airplane with him? He brings a big teddy bear. John was heading to Los Angeles to visit his estranged wife Holly. Actress Bonnie Bedelia plays the role of Holly. She was born with the name, Bonnie [00:08:00] Bedelia Culkin. Her brother is Kit Culkin, the father of actor Macaulay Culkin, who played Kevin in the Christmas movie Home Alone. Hmm. Do Christmas movies run in the family? You know, Home Alone was about a heist on Christmas Eve, too. Just something to think about. In a November, 2020 Entertainment, Weekly article titled “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie, the Ultimate EW Investigation,” the article says,  “Within Die Hard’s first ten minutes, the Christmas Eve setting is established and John McClain is jamming to Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” on the way to a holiday party. The article does however mention that both Bonnie Bedelia and Reginald VelJohnson said when they were filming the movie, they never viewed it as a Christmas movie during the production.

[00:08:52] They asked Bonnie Bedelia what her opinion on the matter is. She is quoted as saying, “It’s quite wonderful that this is [00:09:00] still being debated 30 years on” she remarks, “But the people have spoken and it’s their movie now.”

[00:09:08] Question three. What does John McClain write on his arm? He writes the names of the terrorists. Speaking of writing Steven E. de Souza, one of the  screenwriters for Die Hard, he shares his take on whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas  movie. A 2017 Vulture article says, “The movie is set at Christmas but it was released in July like a proper blockbuster. So does it get to live in the holiday cannon alongside White Christmas, Scrooged and Elf? According to Die Hard  screenwriter Steven E. de Souza, yes, it definitely does.” The article even shared screenshots of tweets between de Souza and CNN anchor Jake Tapper, where de Souza stands firm on his position that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas [00:10:00] movie.

[00:10:01] Question four. What is the name of the building where the hostage situation takes place? That building was the Nakatomi Tower. The filming took place at Fox Plaza in Century City, California. This is the corporate headquarters of 20th Century Fox. This was the perfect place to film the movie because the building was still under construction therefore they wouldn’t have a lot of people they had to deal with. In a Slashfilm.com article the cinematographer of Die Hard, Jan de Bont says that they really did use explosives and even blew out the windows of one of the floors of the buildings. When asked if the explosions were real or shot on miniature models, the article quotes him as saying, “The only one that’s shot on a miniature is the very top of the building. Obviously we couldn’t blow up the top of the building, but many other explosions in the building are actually real [00:11:00] explosions.” Due to some of the loud explosions and what Bruce Willis calls an accident on set, he has partial hearing loss in his left ear.

[00:11:11] Question five. What does police officer Sergeant Al Powell buy at the convenience store? He buys several Twinkies for his pregnant wife. Sergeant Al Powell is played by actor Reginald, VelJohnson. This wasn’t the only time VelJohnson would play a police officer. He played one in the television sitcom Family Matters. His role as Sergeant Al Powell in Die Hard was his first major film role. In a Forbes magazine article, the interviewer asks him what his go-to Christmas movie is. VelJohnson replies, “Die Hard. We didn’t realize it was a Christmas movie until we’d made it and people started demanding that it was a Christmas movie. It was only [00:12:00] really then that I realized that it was a Christmas movie because it has the snow, the Christmas songs, it’s set at Christmas at a Christmas party and then there are other things. If they showed it every Christmas, that would be fine by me.” Well, there you go. Reginald VelJohnson does see Die Hard as a Christmas movie. Add that one to the yes column.

[00:12:25] Question six. What message does John write in blood on the dead terrorists shirt? That message was “Now I have a machine gun. Ho, ho, ho.” So for the people that don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, this scene is an exhibit to prove the side for those that believe it’s a Christmas movie. The dead terrorist is wearing a Santa hat and the words ho, ho, ho are written in blood on his shirt. The ho ho, ho, and the Santa hat further solidify [00:13:00] that it’s a Christmas themed movie. You can even buy Christmas sweaters with these very words on them.

[00:13:06] Question seven. On what floor of the skyscraper is the Christmas party taking place? The party was taking place on the 30th floor. So how does a Die Hard themed Christmas party sound to you? Thanks to Pinterest and Etsy you can plan that very event. I’m not sure what your boss would say, but it would definitely be an unforgettable party that’s for sure.

[00:13:36] Question eight. What is the name of the head terrorist played by actor Alan Rickman? Well, that villain was named Hans Gruber. This was Alan Rickman’s first role in a film.  Prior to Die Hard he was a stage actor in London. In The American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Heroes and Villains [00:14:00] list, Rickman’s character Hans Gruber is listed as the 46th best villain in film history. Another villain he’s notable for playing as the character Snape in the Harry Potter films. In 2016, cancer took the life of 69 year old Alan Rickman.

[00:14:20] Question nine. What kind of shoes does John wear for most of the movie? Well, that’s a trick question. He doesn’t wear any shoes for most of the movie. According to Internet Movie database, “When John McClain runs through the glass shards in his bare feet, Bruce Willis is wearing special rubber shoes designed to look like his own bare feet. One can see this if looking closely, as his feet appear quite unnaturally large in some of these crucial barefoot scenes.”

[00:14:54] There definitely weren’t a lot of costume changes for Bruce Willis in this film. Willis wore [00:15:00] a white undershirt tank top for most of the film. The costume department had 17 undershirts that they used. Obviously they had to rank them in order from white at the beginning of the movie to dirty and bloody by the end of the movie.

[00:15:15] And question 10. What Christmas song is playing as Argyle, John and Holly drive off in the limo at the end of the movie? Well that song was “Let it Snow.” In addition to the Christmas song, “Let it Snow,” another song in the movie had a defining moment. Run-D.M.C.’s single “Christmas in Hollis” was played in the movie. This song was included on two of Run-D.M.C.’s Christmas albums. In a Billboard.com article, Billboard talks with the group and says, “The other thing that definitely keeps “Christmas in Hollis” such an enduring holiday classic as that it’s featured in Die Hard, which has become this [00:16:00] unofficial Christmas tradition for action film fans. What was your reaction to hearing Argyle cranking up the song in the limo for John McClain?” Run-D.M.C replies, “Man, I had no idea back then because I hadn’t seen the movie when it first came out in theaters. But I remember that opening weekend. Remember pagers? Well, my pager was blowing up with people ringing it off the hook and when I finally got to a payphone to find out what was going on, someone told me, yo, your records in Die Hard. A lot of people were introduced to the record because of that movie.” Well, there’s one more piece of evidence for fans that say this is a Christmas movie.

[00:16:42] If you really want to take a deep dive into the data behind this big question, I found the perfect place for you. Stephen Follows an established data researcher in the film industry, he did a whole write-up titled “Using Data to Determine if Die Hard is a Christmas Movie.” [00:17:00] All his stats will blow your mind. After going through his fact-based research, you may need to reevaluate your opinion on whether or not you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I’m going to post a link to his website on triviarewind.com.

[00:17:17] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. I’m not sure if you changed your mind one way or the other about this yearly Christmas movie question. Come share your thoughts on our Instagram or Twitter pages. Please subscribe and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. All the links mentioned in this episode can be found at triviarewind.com. Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind. [00:18:00] .

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life warms the heart of movie watchers each winter. As a child, my family watched this film every Christmas. We always thought my grandfather resembled Jimmy Stewart and maybe that’s why it made the movie even more special. Over the years I have grown to appreciate the film even more. Yes, it’s a long movie. Yes, it can be pretty depressing. No, my kids don’t beg to watch it. I mean come on, how can it compete with Elf (as I put words in the mouth’s of my kids)? Regardless, this movie has become a Christmas staple.  

The movie was produced and directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946. Frank Capra’s production company Liberty Films produced the film.  The film is based on a short story titled, “The Greatest Gift” written in 1939 by Philip Van Doren Stern. Philip Van Doren Stern sent out this short story as his Christmas card in 1943. It’s a Wonderful Life didn’t do so well at the box office.  It fell $525,000 short of breaking even. Frank Capra’s reputation took a hit and his production company went bankrupt.  

So how did It’s a Wonderful Life become the Christmas classic it is known as today?  Well, you can thank Republic Pictures, the motion picture production-distribution corporation for failing to renew the copyright in 1974.  That allowed the movie to become part of the public domain and television studios had the opportunity to pick it up which they did and it started airing yearly on television. That yearly airing drew television audiences in and made the movie a Christmas classic.

According to the website Slate.com, “Republic regained control of the lucrative property in 1993 by flexing a new Supreme Court ruling that determined that the holder of a copyright to a story from which a movie was made had certain property rights over the movie itself.”  According to the American Film Institute, “Unauthorized video copies of the film were destroyed, and the NBC network acquired exclusive television rights.”   In a Medium.com article it quotes the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain as saying, “Ironically, a film that only became a success because of its public domain status was pulled back into copyright.”

Most people have no idea about this behind the scenes history of how It’s a Wonderful Life went from box office flop to Christmas classic. 

In this week’s episode, I will give you ten trivia questions about It’s a Wonderful Life.  After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some fun facts.  Find out about Jimmy Stewart’s impressive military career and which scene of It’s a Wonderful Life made him nervous to shoot. Find out why Jimmy Stewart is seen sweating in the movie, in the middle of a snowstorm! Those are just a few of the fun facts I’ll discuss in this episode of Trivia Rewind.

As you’ll hear me mention in the episode, fans of It’s a Wonderful Life will be excited about an event taking place this week! On Sunday, December 13, 2020 Actor Ed Asner is hosting a star studded virtual gala and table read of It’s a Wonderful Life. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will read the role of George Bailey.  Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Ed Asner Family Center, which is dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs for special needs children and their families.  The virtual event is taking place on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 5 p.m. PST and 8 p.m. EST. Visit the Ed Asner Family Center Website to order tickets and see what other actors are taking part in the table read. This is an event you won’t want to miss.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

The background Christmas Music heard on the episode is by JuliusH from Pixabay

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 26 – It’s a Wonderful Life

[00:00:00] Trivia Rewind.

[00:00:05] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:05] Welcome to this episode of Trivia Rewind. I’m Debi Jenkins. In this episode, I’m taking you back to the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie was produced and directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946. Frank Capra’s production company, Liberty Films produced the film. The film is based on a short story titled, The Greatest Gift, written in 1939 by Philip Van Doren Stern. Philip Van Doren Stern sent out this short story as his Christmas card in 1943.

[00:00:43] It’s a Wonderful Life didn’t do so well at the box office.  It fell $525,000 short of breaking even. Frank Capra’s reputation took a hit and his production company went bankrupt. So how did It’s a Wonderful Life become the [00:01:00] Christmas classic it is known as today? Well, you can thank Republic Pictures, the motion picture production and distribution corporation for failing to renew the copyright in 1974. That allowed the movie to become part of the public domain and television studios had the opportunity to pick it up, which they did and started airing it yearly on television. That yearly airing drew television audiences in and made the movie the Christmas classic that it is today. According to the website Slate.com, Republic regained control of the lucrative property in 1993, by flexing a new Supreme court ruling that determined that the holder of a copyright to a story from which a movie was made had certain property rights over the movie itself.

[00:01:53] According to the American Film Institute, unauthorized video copies of the film were destroyed and the [00:02:00] NBC network acquired exclusive television rights. In a medium.com article it quotes the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of Public Domain as saying, “ironically, a film that only became a success because of its public domain status was pulled back into copyright.”

[00:02:20] Most people have no idea about the behind the scenes history of how It’s a Wonderful Life went from box office flop to Christmas classic. In this week’s episode, I will give you 10 trivia questions about It’s a Wonderful Life. After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some fun facts.

[00:02:43] Are you ready? Let’s play Trivia Rewind.

[00:02:46] Question one. What is the name of the character that actor Jimmy Stewart plays in the film?

[00:02:56] Question two. What is the [00:03:00] name of the town where the story takes place?

[00:03:05] Question three.  When George was a child what happened that caused him to be deaf in one ear?

[00:03:16] Question four.  During World War II why was George Bailey ineligible to serve?

[00:03:24] Question five? What is the name of the angel that was assigned to Jimmy Stewart’s character?

[00:03:33] Question six. Which character misplaces $8,000 before he is able to deposit it at the bank?

[00:03:44] Question seven. What is the name of the cantankerous character that makes life hard for Jimmy Stewart’s character?

[00:03:56] Question eight. Who threw a rock at the [00:04:00] old Granville house and broke a window?

[00:04:04] Question nine. What does George say he’s going to lasso for Mary?

[00:04:12] And question ten. What gift does Clarence leave for George at the end of the film?

[00:04:21] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back, review, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:04:27] Question one. What is the name of the character that actor Jimmy Stewart plays in the film? Jimmy Stewart plays the main character George Bailey. Instead of Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant almost played George Bailey. On the American Film Institute’s 2003 list of The 50 Greatest Screen Heroes, George Bailey ranked ninth. Jimmy Stewart’s role as George Bailey earned him an Oscar nomination.

[00:04:59] This was the [00:05:00] third time in his acting career that he had been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category. Growing up, Jimmy Stewart was a shy child who loved working on model airplanes and dreamed of one day being an aviator. He attended Princeton University and it was there that he started acting.  Stewart’s major burst of stardom came out when he took the lead role in Frank Capra’s  You Can’t Take it With You, a film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

[00:05:35] Question two. What is the name of the town where the story takes place? Well, It’s a Wonderful Life takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, New York. Seneca Falls, New York claims that Bedford Falls was modeled after their town.

[00:05:54] Seneca Falls has embraced It’s a Wonderful Life and even has a museum [00:06:00] dedicated to the film. In 2021, the city will hold its 75th anniversary “It’s a Wonderful Life Festival” celebration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 events will be held virtually. I will post a link to information about these events on triviarewind.com. It’s a Wonderful Life was filmed both on the RKO Radio Picture Studios lot and the RKO Movie Ranch in Encino, California. One of the largest sets in Hollywood history was built for this movie. The crew made use of sets from the 1931 movie Cimarron when building Bedford Falls. The entire set took up four acres and included 75 stores and buildings. They even transplanted 20 full grown oak trees. Those were just a few of the things that made up this magnificent set. Would you believe that [00:07:00] this Christmas movie full of snowy cold scenes was actually filmed in the middle of a July, 1946, California heat wave. When watching the movie, it’s hard to even comprehend that.

[00:07:13] Some people have said that you can see sweat on Jimmy Stewart’s head during the scene on the bridge, near the end of the film. Supposedly there were times during the filming of the movie that Frank Capra would have to shut down filming just so that they could get out of the heat. So how did they make the snow look so real in the middle of a heat wave?

[00:07:34] Russell Shearman the films special effects artist came up with a new way of making snow for movie sets. He used was called Foamite and mixed it with soap and water and some have said sugar. Then they’d put that mixture in front of really big fans which made it look like falling snow. Shearman and the RKO Radio Studio special effects  department won a Technical [00:08:00] Achievement Award at the 19th Academy Awards for the development of a new method of simulating falling snow on motion picture sets. That’s a big step up from the painting cornflakes white, something they had done to create snow on movie sets before. Imagine stepping on crunchy cornflakes. That’s definitely louder than the sound of walking on crunchy snow.

[00:08:24] Question three. When George was a child, what happened that caused him to be deaf in one ear? In 1919 George and his friends, as well as his brother Harry were sledding on a frozen lake and the ice broke. Harry fell in and George went into the icy water to save his brother. After being in the frozen water George developed an ear infection, which caused him to go deaf in that ear. The child that played the role of George Bailey was Bobby Anderson.  Remember the [00:09:00] scene when the pharmacist Mr. Gower slaps young George in his ear causing it to bleed?  In a Los Angeles Times article, Bobby Anderson said his ear actually did bleed. H.B. Warner, the actor that played Mr. Gower really did hit him in the ear. The article quotes Anderson as saying, “We rehearsed and as the day progressed, the louder and more demanding H.B. got. We’d rest for a little while.  I’d go back to school. They’d bring me back out and we’d spar a little more.” However Bobby Anderson did have fond memories of working with H.B. Warner. He said,  “I was a baby, he says. At the end, when it was all over, he was very lovable. He grabbed me and hugged me and he meant it.” When you start watching It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Gower’s voice is the first voice you will hear in the film. He says the words “I owe everything to George [00:10:00] Bailey. Help him, dear father. “

[00:10:03] Question four. During World War II why was George Bailey ineligible to serve? Well, the answer is he was ineligible to serve because he was deaf in one ear. Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey may have been ineligible to serve in World War II, but in real life, Stuart had quite the military career. This was his first film after returning from serving four years in World War II. According to military.com “When the U.S. entered World War II, Stuart was drafted into the Army, but was rejected because he was underweight for his height.

[00:10:43] He worked with colleagues to put on the necessary pounds and successfully enlisted with the Air Corps. According to the National Museum of the United States Air Force,  “he began flying combat missions and on March 31st, 1944 [00:11:00] was appointed operations officer of the 453rd bomb group, and subsequently chief of staff of the 2nd combat wing, 2nd air division of the 8th Air Force. Stewart ended the war with 20 combat missions. He remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general on July 23rd, 1959. He retired on May 31st, 1968.”

[00:11:30] Question five. What is the name of the angel that was assigned to Jimmy Stewart’s character? The name of the angel was Clarence and he was played by English actor, Henry Travers. In the movie his angel rank was angel second class. He hadn’t earned his wings yet. Did you know that the character Clarence was only visible on screen for 15 minutes of the entire movie? [00:12:00] Before his role in It’s a Wonderful Life, Henry Travers was nominated for a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for the movie Mrs. Miniver. Seven of the movies he appeared in were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. Travers died in 1965 and would never know that his role as Clarence would become his most memorable role or that It’s a Wonderful Life would become the Christmas classic it is today.

[00:12:29] Question six. Which character misplaces $8,000 before he is able to deposit it at the bank? That unfortunate character was uncle Billy. That Christmas Eve scene is really hard to watch. Here’s an extra trivia question about uncle Billy. Do you remember what his phone number was? It was Bedford 247.  Actor Thomas Mitchell had the role of uncle Billy.  In [00:13:00] his acting career, Thomas Mitchell was the first actor to win what’s called The Triple Crown of Acting. He won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. He had an extensive career in both film and television. He has not one but two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame; one for his work in television and one for his work in films.

[00:13:26] Question seven. What is the name of the cantankerous character that makes life hard for Jimmy Stewart’s character? Well, that grumpy guy’s name was Mr. Potter. Actor Lionel Barrymore played Mr. Potter and I can’t think of one nice thing to say about this character. Supposedly the Mr. Potter character was based on the Ebeneezer Scrooge character from A Christmas Carol. The Mr. Potter character was so unlikable that on the 2003 American Film Institute’s list of the 50 Greatest Villains [00:14:00] in American Film History, he ranked number six. Actor Lionel Barrymore comes from a long line of actors. He is the great uncle of actress Drew Barrymore. In the movie, Mr. Potter is in a wheelchair due to polio.  In real life Lionel Barrymore was in a wheelchair due to severe arthritis.

[00:14:22] Question eight. Who threw a rock at the old Granville house and broke a window? That character was Mary, played by actress Donna Reed. While she already had quite the career this was Donna Reed’s first starring role in a film. The old Granville house is where Mary and George spent the first night of their honeymoon and then fixed it up to live in. This is the house that George later refers to as a drafty old house. He says, “gosh, it’s this old house. I don’t know why we don’t all have pneumonia. This drafty old barn. Might as well be [00:15:00] living in a refrigerator. Why did we have to live here in the first place and stay around this measly crummy old town?”  Here’s an extra trivia question about this house. Do you remember the house’s address? It was 310 Sycamore Street.

[00:15:18] Question nine. What does George say he’s going to lasso for Mary? He says that he’s going to lasso the moon. He says, “what is it you want Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”  Remember the scene when George and Mary both have their ear up to the telephone and then they kiss? Supposedly Jimmy Stewart was very nervous about this scene. This was his first on-screen kiss since he returned to Hollywood after serving in World War II. The scene was done in one take. A 2014 Huffington Post article lists this [00:16:00] kiss as one of the Top 11 Classic Hollywood Kisses that Will Send Shivers Down your Spine.

[00:16:06] And question ten. What gift does Clarence leave for George at the end of the film? Clarence leaves George a copy of the book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Inside the book is a note that says, “Dear George, remember, no man is a failure who has friends? Thank you for the wings. Love, Clarence.” Then we all know what happens in one of the movie’s most famous scenes. A bell on George and Mary’s Christmas tree rings and what does their daughter Zuzu say? “Look, daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”  It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars and Frank Capra won the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Director. In [00:17:00] 1947, the movie was listed as one of the top 10 films by the National Board of Review. In 2006, It’s a Wonderful Life topped the list of  AFI’s 100 Most Inspiring Films of all Time. Watching George Bailey give up all his big dreams for the betterment of Bedford Falls is definitely inspirational.

[00:17:23] And here’s something fans of the movie will be excited about. Actor Ed Asner is hosting a star studded virtual gala and table read of It’s a Wonderful Life. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will read the role of George Bailey. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Ed Asner Family Center which is dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs for special needs children and their families. The virtual event is taking place on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at 5:00 PM pacific time and 8:00 PM eastern time. Visit [00:18:00] triviarewind.com for a link to tickets and see what other actors are taking part in the reading.

[00:18:07] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. Make sure before 2020 is over you take the time to watch this holiday classic and end your year with a little inspiration. Please subscribe to Trivia Rewind and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. You can visit us on Twitter and Instagram. All the links mentioned in this episode can be found at triviarewind.com. Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind.

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Elf Movie Trivia + Christmas Movie Quotes

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?  For a lot of people, that movie is Elf?  Every once in a while a movie comes along that becomes a pop culture sensation. I don’t know about you, but at our house, Elf gets watched way more than once during the Christmas season and we all can recite multiple lines from the movie. 

Will Ferrell does a great job as the star of Elf and I can’t think of a better person to play the part. You know originally, Jim Carrey was offered the role of Buddy but the movie took almost 10 years to get off the ground and in that time Jim Carrey moved on and starred in a different Christmas movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  

Elf is directed by Jon Favreau, known more recently for directing such hits as Iron Man, Iron Man 2, the 2019 Lion King and the 2016 The Jungle Book.  In addition to directing Elf, Favreau even has a minor role where he plays Dr. Ben Leonardo, the Hobbs’s family pediatrician that gives Buddy the DNA test.  Also, Favreau is the voice of the Narwhal that says the line “Bye Buddy. Hope you find your dad.” That’s pretty cool that in addition to directing, he got to have a little role in the movie as well. 

Here’s how this episode will work.  In the first segment,  I’ll ask you ten trivia questions about the movie Elf, then I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about the movie. Find out what trick director Jon Favreau used to get a genuine scared reaction out of Will Ferrell when he was testing the jack-in-the-box toys. Find out how long it took sculptors to build that New York City skyline out of Legos. I will tell you about a technique Jon Favreau’s team used called Forced Perspective to make Buddy appear bigger than the other elves. Plus, find out why actor James Caan says there won’t be an Elf sequel.  Those are just a few of the fun facts in this episode.

Then,  I’ll move on to our movie quotes segment where I’ll give you five quotes from random Christmas movies and you have to guess which movie the quotes came from.   You’ll find out about some pretty amazing set designs. I mention one movie and its trailer that tricked everyone into not knowing it was a Christmas movie. After you listen to the episode, watch the movie’s trailer here. Find out what iconic Christmas movie was filmed in the middle of a July California heat wave and how over the years snow has been made on movie sets.  Those and more fun facts await you. 

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! The background Christmas Music heard on the episode is by JuliusH from Pixabay

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Debi Jenkins 0:05
Welcome to another episode of Trivia Rewind. I’m Debi Jenkins your host. Are you a fan of the movie Elf? In this episode of Trivia Rewind, that’s what I’ll be talking about. Every once in a while a movie comes along that becomes a pop culture sensation. I don’t know about you, but at our house, Elf gets watched way more than once during the Christmas season. I’m sure most people listening to this can recite at least one or more lines from the movie. Will Ferrell is the star of Elf and I can’t think of a better person to play the part. You know, originally, Jim Carrey was offered the role of Buddy, but the movie took almost 10 years to get off the ground and in that time, Jim Carrey moved on and starred in a different Christmas movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Elf is directed by Jon Favreau known more recently for directing such hits as Iron Man, Iron Man 2, the 2019 Lion King and the 2016 The Jungle Book. In addition to directing Elf, Favreau even has a minor role where he plays Dr. Ben Leonardo the Hobbs’s family pediatrician that gives Buddy the DNA test. Also Favreau is the voice of the narwhal that says the line “Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad.”

Debi Jenkins 1:24
Well, before we get to the trivia questions I’ll review how this works. This episode contains two segments. In the first segment, I’ll ask you 10 questions about the movie Elf? Then I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about the movie. After our Elf trivia segment, I’ll move on to our movie quotes segment where I’ll give you five quotes from random Christmas movies and you have to guess which movie the quotes come from. Are you ready? Let’s play Trivia Rewind.

Debi Jenkins 1:59
Question one. When elves discover a human baby in their workshop, how do they come up with the name Buddy?

Debi Jenkins 2:09
Question two. What is Buddy’s job at the North Pole?

Debi Jenkins 2:16
Question three. Buddy is horrified when Santa tells him what fact about his birth father?

Debi Jenkins 2:25
Question four. What is the name of the department store where Buddy gets a job?

Debi Jenkins 2:34
Question five. What is the name of the character played by actress Zooey Deschanel?

Debi Jenkins 2:42
Question six. What is the name of the author that Buddy gets into a fight with at his father’s office?

Debi Jenkins 2:51
Question seven. Buddy tells the department store Santa that he smells like what?

Debi Jenkins 3:00
Question eight. What is one of the three items that is recited in the Code of Elves?

Debi Jenkins 3:10
Question nine. What does Buddy say are the elves four main food groups?

Debi Jenkins 3:19
And question 10. Where do the reindeer get their magic to make Santa’s sleigh fly?

Debi Jenkins 3:28
Those were our questions. Let’s go back, get the answers and fun facts. Question one. When elves discover a human baby in their workshop, how do they come up with the name Buddy? Well, the elves look at the label on the baby’s diaper and see that it says Little Buddy Diapers. That’s the moment they start calling him Buddy. Well do the elves’ costumes look familiar to you? If you’re a fan of the classic Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer special, you may recognize the costumes. The ones in the movie Elf are replicas of those very costumes from the television special. By the way, if you didn’t catch our last episode, you definitely need to go listen. It was all about those classic Christmas television specials like Rudolph. When director Jon Favreau first got the script for Elf he said it was much darker and had more of a PG-13 vibe. After taking a year to do rewrites, the film came more in line with what he wanted, an innocent Buddy the elf in a world that felt like the old Rankin-Bass television specials.

Debi Jenkins 4:39
Question two. What is Buddy’s job at the North Pole? Well, since he couldn’t keep up with the other elves making toys, Buddy is given the job of toy tester. While he’s never played an elf before, in real life actor Will Ferrell was once Santa for five weeks. In an article from Spliced Wire, he says that actor Chris Kattan was his elf at an outdoor mall in Pasadena, California, where together they passed out candy canes. Remember the scene in Elf when Buddy has to test all those jack-in-the-box toys? Do you remember his surprised reaction to the last jack-in-the-box? Jon Favreau had a remote control for that one and he wanted to get a genuine scared reaction out of Ferrell when he was least expecting it. It definitely worked. In the movie, the head elf is named Ming Ming. He was played by the star of a very popular Christmas movie. Actor Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story had a cameo role in Elf playing the Ming Ming character.

Debi Jenkins 5:51
Question three. Buddy is horrified when Santa tells him what fact about his birth father? Well, Santa tells Buddy that his father is on the naughty list. Actor Ed Asner played Santa Claus. Asner is a charter member of the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame. He has played Santa in several movies. An IGN Film Force article says that Santa’s wardrobe was modeled after the 1950s Santa in Coke advertisements. Actor James Caan plays the role of Buddy’s birth father, Walter Hobbs. James Caan is definitely known for his Oscar nominated role in the movie The Godfather. His character in Elf was the exact opposite of Buddy’s character. From what I’ve read, Will Ferrell had fun messing with James Caan on the set. In a Spliced Wire article, Ferrell is quoted as saying, “My objective in this movie was trying to drive James Caan crazy, both on a story level, and in just constantly messing with him. It was great.”

Debi Jenkins 7:01
Question four. What is the name of the department store where Buddy gets a job? The department store was Gimbels. Instead of Gimbels the store featured in the movie was almost going to be Macy’s. The filmmakers were in talks with Macy’s about the possibility of filming there. Macy’s was going to allow them to use the store to shoot parts of the movie. However, one of the stipulations was that Santa couldn’t be revealed as fake. I can’t imagine any department store ever wanting to insinuate that their Santa might be a fake. So I can see why Macy’s had this stipulation. Faveau and his team decided to go with Gimbels, a store that was once a competitor of Macy’s. Both Macy’s and Gimbels were the topic of another Christmas movie, the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street. The filmmakers got permission to use the Gimbels name, and they filmed the department store scenes inside the cafeteria of a mental hospital in Vancouver, Canada. Did you know that the Gimbels department store was the first department store to have a Thanksgiving Day Parade? It wasn’t Macy’s.

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Question five. What is the name of the character played by actress Zooey Deschanel? She plays Jovie, an elf in Santa Land at Gimbels. When they started filming the movie, the director didn’t know that Zooey Deschanel could sing. When Favreau found out she could sing he wrote that into the script. In addition to her acting roles, Zooey Deschanel has a musical career. She is one half of the musical group called She and Him. Currently, Zooey is dating one of the Property Brothers, Jonathan Scott.

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Question six. What is the name of the author that Buddy gets into a fight with at his father’s office. That author’s name is Miles Finch, played by actor Peter Dinklage. Many fans now recognize Peter Dinklage, not from his Elf role, but for his role as Tyrion Lannister on the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Peter Dinklage was born with Achondroplasia, a genetic disorder whose primary feature is dwarfism. Because of this condition, he has often turned down roles that he felt were demeaning, such as playing magical characters like elves and leprechauns. His roll in Elf definitely doesn’t fall into that category.

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Question seven. Buddy tells the department store Santa that he smells like what? He smells like beef and cheese. Buddy and Santa had a pretty amazing fight. They only had one chance to film this scene. There were no second chances because they would have to rebuild that entire elaborate set that Buddy and Santa destroy in the fight. Imagine having to rebuild that New York City skyline made out of Legos. Elf production designer Rusty Smith discusses the Lego situation in an Entertainment Weekly article. H e says, “We had Legos and Favreau said, ‘How about a whole city made of Legos and then they destroy it?’ I was like, Yes, that is so brilliant. But then I turned and looked at my art director, and he was ashen.” I can imagine. It took five sculptors two weeks to build that skyline from scratch. They had to scramble to find enough of the types of colors and different types of Legos needed to build their masterpiece. After all that hard work, it took Santa a few seconds to destroy it. In the article, Rusty Smith discusses more about the transformation that Buddy made inside the Santa Land. He said “It had to feel handmade. It had to feel like Buddy actually did it.” Remember all those snowflakes that Buddy cut out of paper? Smith said it took weeks and weeks for the art department to create those.

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Question eight. What is one of the three items that is recited in the Code of Elves? Here they are, they are treat every day like Christmas. There’s room for everyone on the nice list. And the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. I’m sure you remember the scene when all the elves were seated in the classroom reciting the Code of Elves. To make the other elves look so much smaller than Buddy a technique called forced perspective was used. Director Jon Favreau was inspired by the 1959 film, Darby O’Gill and the Little People. This forced perspective technique was used in a lot of the scenes when you see Buddy with the elves. Check out triviarewind.com, where I’ll post a link to some behind the scenes photos that show exactly how they did this.

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Question nine. What does Buddy say are the elves four main food groups? Well, they are candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. When making the movie, Will Ferrell actually had physical effects from eating so many sweets. It’s been said that he suffered from headaches due to all that sugar. Remember the scene where Buddy puts candy and all kinds of other sweets on top of his spaghetti? Supposedly they had to shoot that scene twice because he threw up the first time. I can see why. And speaking of candy, in the scene where Buddy is at the doctor’s office eating cotton balls, well, what he’s eating is actually cotton candy that had not yet been dyed.

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And question 10. Where do the reindeer get their magic to make Santa’s sleigh fly? Well, that magic comes from Christmas spirit. Remember the end of the movie when Buddy is in Santa’s sleigh and everyone is at Central Park and start singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and it’s showing Christmas spirit, the one thing needed to get Santa’s sleigh in the air? This scene brought tears to Will Ferrell while watching the movie at the L.A. premiere. In a Rotten Tomatoes interview he says, “I’m like, oh, I can’t let everyone see me cry here at my own movie. I was like, oh gosh, this is working on a level that I didn’t anticipate. And that was pretty cool.” People can’t get enough of this movie, and many people, including myself would love to see a sequel. Unfortunately, Will Ferrell turned down $29 million to star in a sequel. In an interview with The Independent James Caan says the reason there won’t be a sequel is that Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau didn’t get along during the filming. This is something I haven’t heard before. Neither Favreau or Ferrell have publicly stated whether it’s true. Whatever the reason, we will still watch Elf year after year. In 2017 Fandango fans named Elf the number one Christmas movie of the 21st century.

Debi Jenkins 14:11
And now for our Christmas movie quotes segment. Before we start, I’d like to take a quick break and ask a favor. If you are enjoying this episode, please subscribe to Trivia Rewind and leave a five star review. If you’re listening on Apple podcasts or another podcast app that allows comments, I’d love it if you would leave a positive comment about Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and spreading the word about this podcast. Now back to our Christmas quote segment. I’ll give you five quotes the answers and fun facts.

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Here’s quote one. “Nobody’s walking out on this fun old fashioned family Christmas.”

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Quote two. “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

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Quote three. “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

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Quote four. “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole doesn’t he?”

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And quote five. “You’re skipping Christmas. Isn’t that against the law?”

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Those were our quotes. Let’s go back get the answers and fun facts. Quote one. “Nobody’s walking out on this fun old fashioned family Christmas.” This quote is said by the character Clark Griswold in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Actor Chevy Chase plays the role of Clark. Chevy Chase’s real name is actually Cornelius Crane Chase. His grandmother is the one that gave him the nickname Chevy after the medieval English ballad titled The Ballad of Chevy Chase. Chevy Chase was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. He had his own satire news segment called Weekend Update, and it’s where he is known for saying the much remembered phrase “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not.” He won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work with Saturday Night Live. When it came to the Christmas Vacation movie, supposedly Chevy Chase wasn’t that easy to work with according to the originally slated director, Chris Columbus. In a Chicago article, he is quoted as saying, “To be completely honest, Chevy treated me like dirt.” So Columbus left the movie and several weeks later, Jon Hughes gave him a different Christmas movie to direct, Home Alone.

Debi Jenkins 16:48
Quote two. “Seeing is believing but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” This quote is from the 2004 film The Polar Express. This quote is said by the conductor, voiced by Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks had seven voice roles in this movie. He was the voice of Hero Boy, Hero Boy’s father, Conductor, Hobo, Scrooge puppet, Santa Claus and the narrator. The movie is quite the production. It combines stage acting, motion capture and computer graphics to bring the characters to life. Robert Zemeckis helped write the screenplay and he directed the film. In a Wired article Zemeckis said that he didn’t want the movie to look like animated cartoons. Well, it went way beyond that. Tom Hanks had to wear a bodysuit that had reflective dots on it. Sixty-five infrared cameras recorded his movements in 3D. For close-ups, Tom Hanks had to have 152 marks glued to his face in order to capture every expression he made. The wired article said that it took over fifty minutes to glue these to his face. After they recorded, all the data then went to a computer where the next steps in the process took place. This is all just part of what gives the film its unique look.

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Quote three. “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” This line was said by character Doris Walker, played by actress Maureen O’Hara in the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street. Maureen O’Hara was one of a few actresses often referred to as the Queen of Technicolor. On Miracle on 34th Street she plays the mother to a little girl named Susan, played by actress Natalie Wood. In Maureen O’Hara’s career she played the role of mother to almost 40 children. Here’s something interesting about the filming of Miracle on 34th Street. The actual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was going on and they shot the movie’s parade sequences live when the real event was happening. And here’s the craziest fact of all. We would all assume this movie was released around Christmas time. I mean, it was a Christmas movie. Nope. It was released on May 2, 1947. The head of 20th Century Fox thought more people went to the movies in the summer when it was warm outside. But do people want to watch Christmas movies in the summer? Well, when they marketed the movie, there was no mention that it was about Christmas. The movie’s trailer made sure of it. I’ll post a link to the trailer on triviarewind.com and you can see how they promoted this Christmas movie in a non-Christmassy way.

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Question four. “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole doesn’t he?” Clarence the angel says this line in the 1946 movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. One of the largest sets ever built in Hollywood history was for this movie. The Bedford Falls Main Street took three city blocks, and included 75 stores and buildings, all of which had to be built for the movie. They even transplanted 20 full grown oak trees. You’d never guess that this cold looking snowy Christmas movie was actually filmed in the middle of a July California heatwave. Russell Shearman the movie special effects artist came up with a new way of making snow for movie sets. He used what’s called foamite and mixed it with soap and water, and some people say sugar also. Then they put the mixture in front of really big fans, which made it look like falling snow. Shearman and the RKO Radio Studio special effects department won a Technical Achievement Award at the 19th Academy Awards for the development of a new method of simulating falling snow on Motion Picture sets. I’ll post a link to a video on triviarewind.com that talks about the making of snow on movie sets over the years. Amazingly, as great as we think this film is today, when the movie was first released, it didn’t even earn enough at the box office to pay what it cost to make it. The movie grew in popularity beginning in the 1970s when the copyright expired and it was available for TV stations to air royalty free. Those reruns over the years have made it a Christmas classic.

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And quote five. “You’re skipping Christmas? Isn’t that against the law? This quote comes from the character Spike in the 2004 movie Christmas with the Kranks. The movie was based on a John Grisham book titled Skipping Christmas and stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. A lot of the movie takes place in the Kranks’ neighborhood. The production team couldn’t find just the right neighborhood so they built their own. Building their own neighborhood would save them from having to ask real people in a real neighborhood to leave their home for an extended period of time. This gave them more control over the production. In a How Stuff Works article, Garreth Stover, production designer and Karen O’Hara, set decorator provide specific details about what it took to pull this off. A parking lot in Downey, California was the blank slate. Here’s just a few of the crazy facts. They spent 504 hours designing the set. Twelve weeks building the set. They built 17 houses that were each 2400 square feet. They planted over 500 trees. They laid over 60,000 square feet of sod. I could go on and on. I mean this was a big production. Stover said, “Even though it lacks structural foundation, it was built to code.” While all this seems extravagant for one movie, the neighborhood on Hemlock Street is available for other movies and television shows to use. And remember the scene where they had the canned ham and it gets run over? Well they use 26 cans of ham to film this one scene.

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Well that’s it for this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind. Please subscribe and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Visit us on Twitter and Instagram. All the links talked about in this episode can be found at triviarewind.com Thanks for listening. And I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai