Are you a Trivia Junkie?

I love trivia.  I don’t know why, I’m not a gossip hound. I don’t watch TMZ, the latest hip, trendy gossip show rivaling Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.   But I do love learning snippets of information about people, places or things. By the way, do you know what TMZ stands for?   Take a guess. 

Here’s a bit of trivia about oldies but goodies, that I find fascinating:

Humphrey Bogart’s lisp was a result of an injury received during World War II. While his ship was being shelled, a splinter lodged in his upper lip rendering it paralyzed.

 Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman were once voted Least Likely to Succeed in their Playhouse Acting School. 


Doris Day longed to be a professional dancer, but when she broke her leg at the age of 15, she decided to give singing a try.

 Lucille Ball was kicked out of drama school for being too shy!

Shirley Temple was originally slated to play the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, but Judy Garland got the part when Temple’s studio (20th Century Fox) asked for too much money from MGM.

1400 actresses were interviewed to play the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

Walt Disney was given one normal Oscar statue and 7 miniature statues for his film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. 



 “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

 “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.” – Daphne Du Maurier

 “It has been my observation that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

 “All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.” – Daniel Boone

Random Historical Facts:


Benjamin Franklin was the first head of the United States Post Office.

 Attila the Hun died of a nosebleed on his wedding night in A.D. 453.

 John Hanson — not George Washington — was the first president of the U.S. When the Congress met in 1781, the U.S. was governed by the Articles of Confederation, which were adopted in 1777 and ratified by the states in 1781. At that meeting, Congress elected John Hanson its “President of the U.S. in Congress assembled.” George Washington became the first president of the U.S. under the U.S. Constitution in 1789.


Katharine Lee Bates wrote the words to the classic American anthem “America The Beautiful” after her trip to the summit of Pikes Peak in 1893.

 St. Nicholas was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early fourth century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.

 By the end of the U.S. Civil War, 33 percent of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit. This was a devastating situation for a nation struggling to recover economically from such a destructive war. On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created as a part of the Department of the Treasury to help suppress counterfeit currency

So, do you love trivia? How many of you know what TMZ stands for?

What’s the most interesting bit of trivia you’ve heard? 




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42 thoughts on “Are you a Trivia Junkie?”

  1. I don’t know what it stands for…but I too am a trivia junkie. I don’t know how my brain can hold so much of it while totally rejecting anything important. Jeopardy is probably my favorite thing.

    I always thought it interesting that Princess Diana always wanted to be a ballerina…but she grew up too tall.

    Wonderful post, Charlene. 1400 try-outs for Scarlett when Vivien Leigh was so perfect? Wow.

  2. Cher – Living 20 minutes from Hollywood makes it harder to stay away. I try, since I’ve seen such a deterioration of things and WHO are these people that glamourize teen stars getting pregnant?

    But little unusual tidbits can really be fun. Like Attila the Hun dying of a nosebleed on his wedding night? I find that fascinating.

  3. Tanya – yes, you are a font of great detailed knowledge. I find that in your writing all the time and love how to weave it into your stories.

    You see, I think it’s neat about your bit on Princess Diana? I love finding out what talents people had before they became celebrities.

  4. Oh, I love little facts that I can bore–uh–astound everyone with. In my mundane life, I use lots of food trivia on the lunch line for the kids to read while they wait for their trays. Like: It was in pre-revolutionary New England – 1765, to be exact – that the first chocolate factory was established in this country.

    But old movie trivia’s a favorite. Let’s see. Oh. In On The Town (one of my favorite musicals) Frank Sinatra had to wear butt pads under his sailor’s gear–His sitter downer was too skinny! Quite a contrast to Gene Kelly! 😉

  5. Hi Lizzie,
    Oh I love the butt pads for Frank! That’s a classic. And how neat that you have these trivia facts in your head to amuse the kids!
    I love learning about who was “up” for a role and didn’t get it. Could you imagine, Shirley Temple as Dororty in OZ? I loved Shirley, but oh, it seemed they cast that movie JUST right.

  6. Your Santa Claus info reminded me of this story I read to my really young daughter (3 maybe?). The true story of the real St. Nicholas. I wanted to give her a lesson on the true meaning of Christmas.

    It was a beautiful story about the patron saint of children and why he was named a Catholic Saint. And, in the course of the story it made mention of the fact that his burial site was a beloved destination for many.

    About three days later, my daughter was sitting on the floor playing with a bunch of other children while I visted with their moms. And my daughter says loud and clear, “My mom says Santa Claus is dead.”

    The whole room froze. Dead silence. All the kids looked at her, devastated. All the mothers looked at me like I’d pulled out a knife and started stabbing people.

    I was lucky to get out alive.

  7. I like trivia but I don’t remember it. 🙂

    My favourite trivia is that Stephen King collected his rejection slips on a stake so he’d have something to show for his effort. Apparently, after rec’g a rejection for Carrie, he threw the ms in the trash (this in in the days of typewriters) and it was only when his wife retrieved it out of the trash and encouraged him to continue that he completed it.

    Another tidbit is that James Fixx, the running guru of the 1980’s who wrote the Complete Book of Running died of a heart attack while running on a quiet Vermont road.

  8. Great post, Charlene. I have to admit to not being a trivia hound, not that I don’t have alota facts in my head, but I don’t knowingly search them out.

    Loved the historical facts. Not many people know that George Washington was not the first President of the United States. I love the fact that you brought this up. Here’s another one of the US facts. Most people think we celebrate the 4th of July as the day when our founders signed the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it wasn’t signed on the 4th of July — but it was ratified and went to the printers. : )

    Love the facts about Hollywood, as well, since I love the old movies so much more than today’s movies. True to tell, I don’t know and wouldn’t recognize the names of most of the stars today — but I sure would recognize those from the 30’s and 40’s.

    Thanks Charlene.

  9. Here’s some trivia. Did you know Popes used to be able to marry?

    Here’s a good one. I’ve heard that 80% of manuscripts get rejected by editors for some really trivial reason, like it’s a 100,000 word women’s fiction and they only publish 50,000 word romances, or there are typos in the cover letter, just really minor things that have nothing to do with the quality of the writing.

    So if you can take very good care with your submission, you’ve just put yourself in the top 20%.

  10. Charlene, what a fun post! I love trivia but hardly rememeber it two seconds later. There are so many interesting and little known facts out there in the world.

    I really have no clue what TMZ stands for but I’ve heard it a lot lately. Looking forward to learning the meaning of the intials when you reveal it.

    It must be really neat living so close to Hollywood and all the action. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot. I’m envious. Although I couldn’t do life in the fast lane. LOL I hardly can manage the slow lane. 🙂

  11. Oh Mary – You know what they say about good intentions! That’s a funny story. Did your daughter ever question you more about Santa?

    Hi Anita Mae – I LOVE hearing how things came to be. The Stephen King Story is amazing … I never knew and I can just see a dejected author tossing the manuscript in the trash. What a smart wife he has!

  12. Hi Karen,
    I’m with you … I love old movies. Sometimes, when life gets a little stressful, my hubby and I will search for a good old movie and sit down and enjoy it. I have a list of my favorites, but that’s a different blog on another day.

    Loved learning about the Fourth of July today. I didn’t know that. It’s amazing what little tidbits we can find out as we do our research!

  13. Hi Linda – I usually have to write things down to remember them. Except for trivia. Once I hear something, I usually retain it, because I find it so fascinating. So I guess you could say I have a trivial mind!

    I’ve lived near Hollywood nearly all my life so that a lot of it is old hat to me. I see Soap Opera stars in grocery stores and big names work out at a nearby gym, like Gwyenth Paltrow and Jennifer Anniston. One day, I walked into the bowling alley where I’m on a woman’s league and Will Smith was bowling in the last lane. No one bothered him. He had that adorable grin on … all alone. I guess I feel that they are just people like you and me, and need some privacy! Still it’s fun to say, “Hey I saw Will Smith today, or I just met Jane Seymour.”

  14. Thirty Mile Zone!

    I admit, I didn’t know about John Hanson or Sinatra’s built-up backside. I’m not surprised,
    Sinatra was awfully skinny at that time!

    Pat Cochran

  15. I do love trivia! Your post reminds me of a Trivia Night I attended and a question was “What is the plural form of y’all?” I looked around my table and everyone had a confused and blank look on their faces. They were astonished when I told them that the answer was “all y’alls”…LOL!

  16. Hi Pat,
    Okay, YOU GOT IT RIGHT! So now what does it mean? I’m thinking the 30 miles surrounding Hollywood? Unless there’s a better explanation?

    Anybody have a clue about TMZ? I’m more interested in the title, than anything on the show. I don’t really watch it.

  17. Hi Charlene, great post! I go to the TMZ website but I didn’t know what TMZ stands for! (I like the before and after shots, too, like Cheryl. Anyone see the one of Donna Mills recently? She looks great, but I don’t know why I was so shocked to learn she’s 67. Used to love to hate her on Knot’s Landing.)

    Wow, that’s fascinating you bump into all those stars. I’d be so curious what they ate, how worn out their shoes were, and details like that, lol. What part of LA do you live in? West Hollywood?

  18. Hi Kate,
    Hmmm, I’ve never been on the TMZ website. I’ll try it just to see before and after pics. I’m always interested in what happened to this actor or that. Sometimes, they leave the industry and they’re teachers or something.

    When I had my childbirth teacher training, some 20 years ago, I sat with Summer (I can’t recall her last name now) and she’d been the youngest on Father Knows Best, the one he called Kitten, I think.

  19. LOL I love trivia…the thing about Attila the Hun…did his wife punch him in the nose by any chance? LOL That seems so odd to think a man so evil could die of something that “simple.”

    Oh, here is a bit of movie trivia…there was originally a scene filmed for Grease 2 where Michael comforted Stephanie after the talent show, but I’m assuming they cut it because it would have taken away from the impact of the ending had you already known that Michael was alive.

    Whitney Houston was passed over for Sabrina LeBeauf for the role of Saundra on The Cosby Show.

    In It’s a Wonderful Life- the actor who played Mr. Gower actually did bloody Robert J. Anderson’s ear(the young George Bailey) during the scene where Mr. Gower got mad at George when he didn’t deliver the medication because he’d accidently dispensed poison instead of the medicine. When Robert J. Anderson died recently, it was mentioned that H.B. Warner had taken his role seriously that day and being a method actor, came in drunk for the scene. Afterward he was loveable and apologetic toward the younger actor.

  20. TMZ is thirty mile zone. I heard about it when the program debuted on tv. I love trivia that’s why I catch Jeopardy every night.

  21. Great post Pam. I love trivia. I can remember all sorts of things and kill people at Trivial Pursuit. But I forget things like where I put my glasses and what I went downstairs for.

    Still wondering whether Atilla got punched in the nose by his bride for being too, uh, impetuous.

  22. I love trivia too. Anyone ever watch the Cash Cab – a game show in a taxi cab in NYC that asks trivia questions.

  23. Hi Jeanne! I used to catch Cash Cab on occasion and liked it. I like shows where you can play along.

    Hi Elizabeth – I’m only good on SOME trivial pursuit subjects. Not good at all at sports or science stuff. History and English and Entertainment I do okay!

  24. Hi Taryn – Boy, you are a wealth of trivia. Loved those tidbits. I must have watched Grease and Grease 2 a hundred times! I know exactly what scene you’re talking about!

    Hi Jane – Did TMZ ever say WHY they called it that?

  25. Charlene,

    The thirty mile zone refers to the central Los
    Angeles area. Outside thirty miles is considered a location film shoot. All fees that pertain to a
    location shoot have to be paid.

    Pat Cochran

  26. I am a fan of trivial pursuit… so yes, I love trivia!!

    I did not know those actors trivia… thanks for sharing.

  27. I used to be pretty good at Trivial Pursuit, that first original game. I never did as well in the later versions.

    I remember winning a Trivial Pursuit game, partnered with my brother-in-law by knowing what the smallest country in the world was????

    the Vatican.

    And no, I didn’t know it, but my brother-in-law and I brainstormed it a while. Luxumborg, Monoco, I finally snapped onto The Vatican.

    Ah, sweet victory was ours. 🙂

  28. I enjoy trivia, but have a terrible memory so it just zooms right through 😉 At first I thought TMZ was some medical abbreviation, but I’m pretty sure that I just don’t know what it stands for 😉 Or maybe I did, but I forgot 🙂

  29. I love trivia…I am full of useless info. My family hates playing Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit against me. *sigh*

    One of my fave bits of trivia (or at least the one that popped into my head right now) is one my dad told me years ago: The writers of the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” had never been to a baseball game prior to writing the song. The song celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year and the song most people sing is actually the chorus of the song. The man who wrote the lyrics actually wrote it on a subway ride one day after seeing a sign advertising baseball.

  30. I am not a trivia junkie. But my daughters are and have several boxes of trivia to play. I did however read about Shirley Temple Black losing the part on Wizard of Oz as I read her biography – boring in places as she wrote like a diplomat she was.
    I am a member of your newsletter so wanted to stop by and say hi. This is my favorite blog.

  31. TMZ stands for the “Thirty Mile Zone”
    Send me a free book. LOL


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