Whoever said don't look back (D.A. Pennebaker? Boston?) needs a good spanking, because we had the ultimate blast from the past tonight as part of our Historically Historical quiz event at the New-York Historical Society. Today was a huge day for the NYHS, its grand reopening, featuring all manner of kick-ass celebrations (the place was mobbed when I arrived at 6pm, and still when I left at 10:30pm), and we were a key part of it, presenting our first ever historycentric quiz in the palatial research library (next time, I swear, I'm making a grand entrance via the spiral staircase).
The crowd was terrific—about half BQT familiars, half newcomers, just the way I like it. We had some fun with the History Visual Puzzle Grab Bag—featuring Who the Hell Were Those People?, Rebus-O-Rama, and the Scandal Math Mind-Teaser (Iran-Contra divided by Teapot Dome!). Oh, and What's Wrong with These Movies?—tough one, that, as I anticipated. We showed a clip from a Hollywood reenactment of a historical story, you tell us what's historically inaccurate. Truthfully, I considered making that the entire video round, but I guessed it would be beyond the pale of challenging, and I was probably right: A bunch of you knew that Martin Van Buren (or really any presidential candidate) didn't personally campaign in 1840, as Amistad would have us believe, but very few put together that nobody in the South called it "The Battle of Bull Run" (as depicted in Gone with the Wind), and absolute no one fingered the fatal flaw at the root of Pearl Harbor: As an enlistee in the U.S. Army, Ben Affleck would've been forbidden from joining the RAF's Eagle Squad. Challenging, but it balanced out the Annie Oakley question.
Speaking of challenging, a confession: I was blindsided by how tricky the audio round—Historical Voices…Backwards!—turned out to be. I mean, really? Oprah Winfrey in reverse sounds like JFK? Julia Child flipped is Chris Rock? Apparently so, since more than a few people made those guesses. Amazing!
The finale pitted one familiar face—Stu of Cash Cab for Cutie—against Kristin, a linchpin of BQT regulars Sugah Titz who is a rare visitor to last round, and Mike, who represented Sally Hemmings Airplane (a radical splinter faction of Jefferson Davis Starship). We played Vice President of Serial Killer?, first to four correct answers, which made for fast, furious, and funny action—14 names till Sugah Titz came out on top, correctly IDing the dreaded Herman Webster Mudgett. Impressive.
1. Sugah Titz
2. Sally Hemmings Airplane
3. Cash Cab for Cutie
4. The Ham Sammies
5. Jefferson Davis Starship/Lincoln & Co. (tie)
7. Authentic Thai Ladyboys, Inc.
8. Oh Noah, the Imposters/Scott Beowulf (tie)
10. The Friendlies
Thanks again to the New-York Historical Society for having us join in the fun for their grand reopening; I really need to prioritize heading back there soon, 'cause—no surprise—I love all that nerdy stuff. And also thanks to Starr Restaurants for the free booze and the gift card prizes. Hope we can all work together again, sometime not in the past but the future.