TV Quiz Posted on Net.Games in 1981


Waaaay back in 1981, early Usenet user, “Dave” posted a little trivia contest in the Newsgroup Net.Games that is not only a really cool chunk of TV geek history but a fun trivia contest. I love that the quiz is just recycled from another source. It demonstrates how little things have changed online in 30 years. Still the quiz is great and I wonder how many can the modern retro TV fan answer?

Here is Dave’s full post, titled “net.trivia” from December 10, 1981:

Well, all you games lovers, here's something for you.  For now,
I'll just send this to, and we can move it to
later, if there's interest.  

        1. What was the name of the original gas station attendant
        on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW?  Who played him?

        2. Ralph and Alice Kramden were characters on what show?

        3. Who was Elly May's cousin on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES?
        Who played him?

        4. Name Kate's three daughters on PETTICOAT JUNCTION.

        5. What was the name of Darrin's friend and employer on
        BEWITCHED?  Who played him?

        6. Name the ship-wrecked actress on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.  Who
        played her?

        7. What device did Maxwell Smart insist on using in his
        conversations with the chief on GET SMART?

        8. Who was the captain's heartthrob on F TROOP?  Who played

        9. Who was the nitwit German Sergeant on HOGAN'S HEROES? Who
        played him?

        10. Name the father on THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER.  Who
        played him?

        11. What's the last name of the character played by Mary Tyler

        12. What did Oscar do for a living on THE ODD COUPLE?  What did
        Felix do?

        13. What was the name of the original commanding officer on
        M*A*S*H*? Who played him?

        14. Name the character played by David Cassidy on THE PARTRIDGE

        15. What was Ann's last name on THAT GIRL?  Who played her?

        16. Who played Mr. Lucky?  Who played Andamo?

        17. Who was the creator and host of THE TWILIGHT ZONE?

        18. Can you complete the titles of the following soap opera's?
                A.  THE INNER ______________________
                B.  THE ROAD OF ____________________
                C.  THE GUIDING ____________________
                D.  THE GREATEST ___________________
                E.  _______________ WINDOWS
                F.  ONE MAN'S ______________________
                G.  THE BRIGHTER ___________________
                H.  THE ________________ STORM
                I.  _______________ LOVE

        19. Who was the original female member of the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE
        strike force?  Who played her?

        20. Name the space ship's original commander on STAR TREK.  What
        actor played him in guest appearances?

        21. Name the actors who played the following guest villians on
                A. The Joker
                B. The Penguin
                C. Catwoman
                D. The Mad Hatter
                E. Mr. Freeze
                F. King Tut
                G. The Riddler
                H. Egghead
                I. The Chicken

        22. On DRAGNET, what was the name of Sergeant Friday's sidekick?
        Who played him?

        23. What actor periodically appeared as Al Capone on THE

        24. Who played Erskine on THE F.B.I.?

        25. What was the name of the T.V. movie that served as the
        pilot for the series KOJAK?

Well, gang, if you liked these, I've got a whole book of them (and that's
just T.V.!!), and can send some in once every couple of days.  If you
wnat more of them, send me a little something in mail or news.


P.S. - The book is "The TV GUIDE Quiz Book". 
New Coke on Usenet

First Discussion of New Coke on Usenet from April 26, 1985

Ah how I love trawling through the Usenet archive. Last night I stumbled across a discussion between Gordon Howell, Donald Eastlake and Jay Johannes from way back in April of 1985. This was THE month that New Coke was released and we are seeing the “Internet” reactions to this legendary beverage switch. The original New Coke on Usenet discussion was aptly called Coke isn’t it. Enjoy.

Gordon Howel – Apr 26 1985

Okay…. I’ve endured a lot of abuse in my time, but this is the final straw!

**** They are changing the Coca-Cola formula!!!!!!!!!! ****

Is nothing sacred??!!!
They might as well outlaw the Beatles, or change God’s name, or reinstate prohibition.

For those of you out there who are confirmed cocaholics such as myself, I encourage, nay, INSIST that you call Lucy at (213) 746-5555×4249 to complain about the change.

Tearfully submitted, gordon


Jay Johannes May 2 1985

RE: New COKE formula.

We were discussing this the other evening, and someone came up with an interesting thoery.

Seems that COKE signed a contract in the early 1900s with their original distributors to sell their original formula for a fixed price (a price cap). Since then inflation has really hit hard, and COKE has been actively buying distributors for the last few years to get rid of the contracts, and then reselling the distributorships at terms more lucrative to COKE.

However, if they change the formula, then the agreement no longer applies. COKE can afford to lose market share, and still make larger profits. The only ones who lose are the consumers and the distributors.

Some of this is verifiable, some is pure conjecture. Treat this as net.rumor.

Jay Johannes
Loveland, Colo.

Donald Eastlake May 20 1985

The original Coke distributorships were pretty old style agreements purporting to bind the two parties forever but I don’t think they had anything in there about selling the formula unless Coke went out of business or something.

Listen to the Retroist New Coke Podcast

So that is how the early online world reacted to this titanic shift. Further searches of New Coke on Usenet was pretty much the same stuff.

star wars usenet

Yes, people were arguing about Star Wars on Usenet way back in 1985

I am not sure who Kelvin Thompson is, but some of the sentiment he expresses were all the rage when trying to get into “deeper” discussions about Star Wars when I was a kid. As a fan of Star Wars, I disagree with almost everything Kelvin mentions, but his post triggered quite the discussion. It is an early look at what blogging would become. Posting your opinion, hoping to connect with like-minded people, or at least engage with people who disagree.

I recall going online in the eighties and trawling Usenet, but not sure I ever visited any Star Wars Usenet. The following was posted on Star Wars Usenet (net.movies.sw) by Thompson way back in 1985. It triggered quite the discussion. The opinions are all his:

Star Wars
by Kelvin Thompson

Star Wars, yet another entry in the recent spate of “Space Operas,” is a bad, morally empty movie. Look, quick!! It has lights!! It has zooming spaceships!! It has laser flashes!! It has explosions!! Look closer, and it has nothing.

The plot of Star Wars is certainly nothing new: a bunch of good guys try to overthrow an evil space empire. Ruling the evil space empire are an evil count, James Earl Jones, and an evil spaceship commander, Peter Cushing (Dracula A.D.1972, The Curse of Frankenstein). Among the good guys are a princess, Carrie Fisher (The Blues Brothers, Shampoo), an old warrior, Alec Guiness (The Man in the White Suit, Murder by Death), a young warrior, Mark Hammil (Corvette Summer, Three Women), a mercenary, Harrison Ford (Witness, The_Conversation), and assorted robots and aliens.

From its opening scene, where two spaceships chase each other around a planet while trying to blow one another to smithereens, the movie loses any semblance of realism. The spaceships make swishing and humming noises as they maneuver about, and their lasers make zapping noises as they fire — all despite the fact that it has been scientifically proven that there are absolutely no sounds in space.

In another gaffe later in the movie, a robot supposedly manages to go up and down a staircase, even though it is quite obvious that it is structurally impossible for the robot to do so. The camera cuts away just as the robot gets to the staircase, but the viewer is again jolted by the obvious impossibility.

More important than any scientific error, however, is the glaring lack of any moral statement. In a time of mass starvation in central Africa, terrible human-wave battles in the Middle East, repression of civil rights in the USSR, legalized racism in South Africa, and rampant terrorism everywhere, this movie just hums merrily along in its rose-colored glasses.

For example, when Hammill, the supposed hero of the movie, sees the burned corpses of his parents, he responds by turning his head sideways. No tears, no shouts of outrage, just a crick in the neck and they are forgotten. Later, when an android buddy of his is discriminated against in a space-bar, he accepts the wrong without a blink. Late in the film, when an entire *planet* full of billions of sentient beings is annihilated, the good guys just sort of go, “Gosh, that’s too bad.” The bad guys, of course, smile cruelly. These kinds of responses to murder, discrimination, and genocide certainly do not encourage the kind of consciousness needed to overcome today’s problems.

Star Wars contains a lot of action sequences, so it will no doubt have a strong draw on today’s young people. Nonetheless, parents should make every effort to keep their children away from this morally bankrupt movie and direct them toward a film which takes a useful stand on some of the issues facing our world. And, naturally, all ethical adults should stay well away from it themselves.

Sadly these Star Wars Usenet discussions are getting difficult to find nowadays. Happily a few groups and companies have gone out of their way to preserve this early part of online life.