Pop Culture Trivia and Conversation Starters

50 Random Bits of Pop Culture Trivia

Selfie Trivia:
A lot of trivia books and quizzes say that the first selfie, in a movie, was ‘Thelma & Louise’ (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) in 1991. NOT TRUE- We have to Credit Madonna, as Susan, In Desperately Seeking Susan.  Her opening scene is taking a picture of herself with a polaroid, that was in 1985 #madonnaselfie
Quotes: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” wasn’t a phrase until Yogi Berra coined it in 1973.
Litterbug – the earliest we could find was “Please do not be a ‘litterbug”, printed in the Victoria (BC) Daily Times on March 29, 1939. In 1953, Keep America Beautiful looked at other campaigns to find a catchy phrase. One of these early campaigns in Pennsylvania (PENNDOT), some attribute to having coined the term ‘litterbug’, and so did the New York Transit Authority (N.Y.T.A.). In addition, Paul B. Gioni, a copywriter in New York City, used it for The American Ad Council in 1947.
Conversation Starter: Teflon is the only known solid material to which geckos cannot stick on.
Theft
The BIC company makes the 2 most stolen and lost items, lighters and ink pens The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy. In Europe, it’s cheese. In Latin America, it’s meat. Worldwide, it’s cheese.

Food, Drinks and Snacks

As of 2020, 47 of the 50 world’s best competitive eaters are US citizens.
Where Do Baby Carrots Come From?
Ugly carrots. When a California farmer realized he was throwing out literally tons of carrots a day because they were misshapen-, he shaved them down to baby carrot – perfect for snacks.
Today, baby carrots are a $1 billion business…
The top 10% of drinkers account for more than half of all alcohol consumed in the US, which equates to them consuming an average 73.85 drinks per week.
The oldest bar in the world is in Ireland. Archeological records have found that the walls of Sean’s Bar have been around, and serving, since 900 AD. Further, there are records of every owner of the pub back to its 10th-century founding. It opened over 1100 years ago.
Tic Tacs are actually 95% sugar but they state that they are 0% sugar because their serving size is less than 0.5g according to FDA labeling rules.
Hershey’s Kisses chocolates were individually hand-wrapped until 1921.
King Frederick II of Prussia used reverse psychology on his peasants who refused to eat potatoes in the late 1700s because people just didn’t like them. To stop the food famine he sent his guards to guard fields of potatoes and the peasants started stealing them and growing their own.
German chocolate cake isn’t German. It’s named for Sam German, an American baker who invented it in 1852. June 11 is National German Chocolate Cake Day, just in America.
Oreos are the Top Selling cookie in the world, over 2 Billion in annual sales, but they are a knock-off of Hydrox cookies, which came out four years earlier (in 1908). Hydrox cookies were discontinued in 1999.
Two things about Hydrox – they were less sweet, and the cookie is harder, so didn’t soften up as much in milk and a company called Greenleaf bought the brand – they use real sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, and no GMOs. They’re also Kosher, so if you can find them, give Hydrox a try.

Music Trivia

Every Breath You Take was written by Sting at the same desk at which Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond novels. Sting was staying at Fleming’s property GoldenEye in Jamaica following the breakdown of his first marriage. In 2019 BMI declared the song the most played in radio history.
Peaking at #3 on the US Billboard Chart in 1970, Norman Greenbaum wrote Spirit in The Sky in only 15 minutes and has been living solely on the royalties since then.
When Foolish Beat by Debbie Gibson went #1 in 1988 she became the youngest artist (at 17) ever to have written, produced, and performed a Billboard number-one single, as entered in the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records. The youngest person ever to top the US charts is Stevie Wonder, who was 13 when he hit Number One with Fingertips Pt 2 in 1963.

Science

Marie Curie changed the world not once but twice. She founded the new science of radioactivity – even the word was invented by her – and her discoveries launched effective cures for cancer. She is the 1st woman to win a Nobel Prize, and 1st person to win a second Nobel prize.
Pluto is not the only dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris are officially recognized as dwarf planets, bringing the current total to 5.
Vampires in today’s world would see themselves in modern mirrors, as they are backed with aluminum. Older mirrors were backed with silver, a “pure” metal, which is why they couldn’t see their reflections.
The Hum is a name often given to widespread reports of a persistent and invasive low-frequency humming, rumbling, or droning noise not audible to all people. Hums have been widely reported by national media in the UK and the United States, and sometimes named according to the locality where the problem has been particularly publicized, such as the “Taos (New Mexico) Hum” and the “Windsor (Ontario)Hum.” It could be a form of tinnitus or another biological auditory effect.

TV & Movie Trivia

August 5, 1957 – American Bandstand debuted on the ABC television network, with host Dick Clark.  The show began locally on channel 6 in Philly and went national in 1957.  Almost every major singer and group appeared in the 50s through 70s appeared on the show.
Another thing that became popular in the 1950s were Blue Jeans…
James Dean wore them in Rebel Without a Cause. They made them extra blue for the movie. BTW The little orange thread on Levi Strauss jeans is trademarked. It helps make the brand recognizable and also matches the copper rivets.
Movies feature skylines, and different cities have landscapes of artistic buildings… but we don’t see them in overhead views of Los Angeles… For a long time, All skyscrapers, or any building over 13 stories tall in Los Angeles. The only exception was Los Angeles City Hall, which was built in 1928. In 1974, a law was passed so that “Each building shall have a rooftop emergency helicopter landing facility in a location approved by the Fire Chief.” They changed that law in 2014, partly for the additional office and apartment space, but also the reality that they only used it once for a fire.
During the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the crew held an easter egg hunt on set. Some of the eggs that weren’t found can actually be seen in the film. This is probably the origin of the term in a pop-culture sense.
The Deer Hunter in 1978 was the first film to use Oscars as a marketing tool. Being too depressing for the box office, it did screenings for film critics and Academy members. It gained nine nominations and won Best Picture, and then that was used to make it a commercial success.

Medicine

On October 28, 1956, Elvis Presley got a polio vaccine on TV.

Internet Trivia

The @ symbol was chosen for the first electronic mail because the developer, Ray Tomlinson, “was mostly looking for a symbol that wasn’t used much.”
Strange people have been collecting strange things forever – The First thing sold eBay was a Laser Pointer, that was broken. Pierre Omidyar, one of the owners of eBay set it up for auction to test out the system.  He told the guy who bought it, because it was broken, that he’d take it back. The buyer wanted to keep it. He told Pierre that he collected broken laser pointers. That was in 1995.

Literature

Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin are about 4,000 years old; the oldest fairy tale, The Smith and the Devil, is estimated to be 6,000 years old

Cartoons

Yogi Bear was one of several Hanna-Barbera characters to have a collar. This allowed animators to keep his body static, redrawing only his head in each frame when he spoke—a method that reduced the number of drawings needed for a seven-minute cartoon from around 14,000 to around 2,000.

American Trivia

The official language of the United States isn’t English. It has no official language because the Founding Fathers deemed it unnecessary to designate one.
1936 had one of the coldest winters and one of the hottest summers in the United States. North Dakota saw extremes of -60 F and 121 F that year.
Atomic tests were a tourist draw in 1950s Las Vegas. They advertised detonation times and best viewing spots to see the massive flash and mushroom cloud from the bomb test site, about 65 miles away. Casinos flaunted their north-facing vistas, offering special atomic cocktail” drinks and “Dawn Bomb Parties.” They went in until 1963 when the Limited Test Ban Treaty ended above-ground nuclear trials.
The dumpster was patented in 1935 by the Dempster Brothers. The first front-loading garbage truck that made use of dumpsters was called the Dempster Dumpmaster.
The first public High Five was between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 2, 1977.

Advertising

The “tradition” of spending several months’ salary on an engagement ring was a marketing campaign created by De Beers in 1938. Philadelphia ad agency N.W. Ayer set out to “create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.” Before WWII, only 10% of engagement rings contained diamonds. By the end of the 20th Century, 80% did.
They tell you that you get an “unlimited minutes per month” phone plan, but you only get up to 44,640 minutes per month

World Trivia

Spiral Staircases- are typically designed to go counter-clockwise so that soldiers and knights had a right-handed advantage when protecting their castles.
Only five babies were born in the London subway. One of them is talk show host, Jerry Springer.
Germany has the only tree in the world with its own mailing address. It’s known as the Bridegroom Oak, and it receives about 1000 letters per year from singles looking for love. Anyone can take letters from the tree and respond. They estimate that it’s responsible for over 100 marriages.
Pencils are yellow because, in the 19th century, the best graphite came from China. Because yellow was a royal color in China, pencil companies began to color their pencils yellow to show both high quality and an association with China.
“Fart” is one of the oldest words in the English language, and can be traced back to its Proto-Indo-European roots through its cognates in other European languages and Sanskrit (3-4000 years ago). The word is considered merely a common profanity with an often humorous connotation.
The painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is actually 15 feet by 29 feet in size.

Sports

In 1980, with less than 5 seconds on the clock and a tied score, college basketball player Les Henson made a full-court field goal, setting a record of 89 feet, 3 inches. Virginia Tech beat Florida State 79-77.