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1980s Trivia Questions and Answers

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1. Pat Sajak and Vanna White began hosting the prime time version of which popular game show upon its debut in 1983?


answer Answer: Wheel of Fortune

Interesting Information:
"Wheel of Fortune" was originally a daytime gameshow that ran from 1975 until 1991. Pat Sajak was a host the daytime version from 1981-1989 and Vanna was as well, from 1982-1991. The two of them began hosting the prime time syndicated version of "Wheel of Fortune" together in 1983. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Hollywood Squares, Super Password

2. Jason and the Argonauts would all have backed which winner of the 1982 English Derby horse race?


answer Answer: Golden Fleece

Interesting Information:
Nijinsky won in 1970, Mill Reef in 1971, and the ill-fated Shergar won in 1981. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Nijinsky, Shergar, Mill Reef

3. Which 1986 movie starring David Bowie is also another name for a maze?


answer Answer: Labyrinth

Interesting Information:
And so began my childhood crush on the androgynous David Bowie! After Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) accidentally wishes her baby brother Toby away, he is taken by Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie). Sarah now has only thirteen hours in which to get her brother back, and if she fails he will be turned into a goblin. To save Toby, Sarah enters the labyrinth, and with the help of its inhabitants makes her way to the center and to a showdown with Jareth. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Web, Entanglement, Network

4. What was the name of both the site of the "pleasure dome" in "Kubla Khan" and a 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John?


answer Answer: Xanadu

Interesting Information:
"Kubla Khan" was a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge who also penned "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The incorrect choices are associated with Doris Duke, Sir Thomas More and Henry David Thoreau. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Shangri La, Utopia, Walden

5. On May 18th, 1980, what event followed this frantic radio warning: "Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!"?


answer Answer: Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Interesting Information:
Those were the last words of U.S. volcanologist, 30 year old David Johnston, working with the U.S. Geological Survey team on the mountain, before he and 56 others were killed in the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens. If it had not been for the work of David and the team monitoring the mountain, the death toll would have been very much higher. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Earthquake, Aircraft disaster, Oil spill

6. Which famous film director had his book, 'Letters to E.T.', first published in 1983?


answer Answer: Steven Spielberg

Interesting Information:
'Letters to E.T' is a book comprised of letters written by fans to the alien character, E.T., and the director, Steven Spielberg, as a result of having watched the film 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial', which was released in 1982. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
George Lucas, Oliver Stone, Michael Winner

7. This talk-show premiered on CNN in 1985 and was hosted by a famous television personality known for his numerous wives. What was it?


answer Answer: Larry King Live

Interesting Information:
As of 2009, Larry King Live was CNN`s longest running show. It attracted an estimated 1 million viewers daily and the host, Larry King, has interviewed numerous political, social, and economic personalities since the show`s conception in 1985. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Anderson Cooper: 360, The Situation Room, Lou Dobbs Tonight

8. In the film "Death Becomes Her", Goldie Hawn's character Helen took the youth potion on October 26th 1985. In what other film is this date key?


answer Answer: Back to the Future

Interesting Information:
In "Back to the Future", Marty McFly travels back in time from October 26th 1985 to November 5th 1955.
The two films share a director, Robert Zemeckis. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Scarface, Pretty in Pink, Dirty Dancing

9. Which 1980 comedy was released in France as "Y-a-t-il un pilote dans l'avion?" and as "Flying High" in Australia and the Netherlands?


answer Answer: Airplane!

Interesting Information:
After the pilot and crew of a commercial airline succumb to food poisoning, the landing of the plane falls to former pilot, Ted Striker. Unfortunately he has to overcome his fear to do so, in this mock disaster movie.
"Y-a-t-il un pilote dans l'avion?" translates to "Is there a pilot on the plane?" Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Con Air, Snakes on a Plane, Airport

10. Surprisingly, nature has made a comeback at this place where a nuclear accident occurred in 1986. Where is it?


answer Answer: Chernobyl, Ukraine

Interesting Information:
Chernobyl is now being taken over by plant and animal life. Scientists believe that the lack of human activity there is allowing nature to make a comeback. Animals that can be found in the "dead zone" are elks, horses, wolves and boars. Forests are growing through the town of Pripyat, which is two miles from one of the nuclear reactors. The United Nations is now encouraging eco-tourism to the area. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Kiev, Ukraine, Moscow, Russia, Bhopal, India

11. Who was the child model for Ivory Soap laundry detergent in 1966? She is well known for her role in "Blue Lagoon"(1980).


answer Answer: Brooke Shields

Interesting Information:
Brooke Shields was only eleven months old when she landed her first job with Ivory Soap, as the baby pictured on the laundry soap box. Francesco Scavullo was the photographer for this well known image. Brooke has had a very successful career in both modeling and acting. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Tatum O'Neal, Drew Barrymore, Jodie Foster

12. Which American actor of "Columbo" fame played the grandfather in the 1987 movie "The Princess Bride"?


answer Answer: Peter Falk

Interesting Information:
In the same year he played himself in the German film "Wings of Desire", as an angel who chose the life of a human. That film was later remade as "City of Angels", with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Sir Derek Jacobi is an English actor, Ryan O'Neal is an American actor, and Jim Morrison was the lead singer of the band The Doors. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Derek Jacobi, Ryan O'Neal, Jim Morrison

13. "The Terminator"(1984), "Titanic" (1997) and "Avatar" (2009) were all directed by which famous director?


answer Answer: James Cameron

Interesting Information:
The Canadian born director has had a number of other blockbuster movies including "Aliens" (1986) and "True Lies" (1994). When it was released, "Titanic" was the most expensive film ever made, and it won him a number of Academy and Golden Globe Awards. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock

14. What trivia-themed board game, first released in 1982, awards players pie pieces to complete their six-section game token?


answer Answer: Trivial Pursuit

Interesting Information:
With dozens of games sets and supplemental card packets, the Trivial Pursuit franchise has earned a place in pop culture since the 1980s. The success of the board game also led to a number of video games and a television game show, originally hosted by Wink Martindale. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Tri-bond, Othello, Life

15. Which popular 1980s doll, created by American Greetings, had a nemesis called Sour Grapes, a sister called Apple Dumpling and a dog called Pupcake?


answer Answer: Strawberry Shortcake

Interesting Information:
Strawberry Shortcake dolls were cute fruit scented dolls dressed in pinafores and fruit themed hats. They were quintessential 1980s toys which perhaps accounts for the failure of subsequent attempts, in the 1990s and 2000s, to relaunch the brand in the UK. Strawberry had a number of other friends including Orange Blossom, Crepe Suzette, Frosty Puff, Cherry Cuddler, Huckleberry Pie and many more. They also each had a pet. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Rainbow Brite, Holly Hobby, Hello Kitty

16. Jeff Lynne was a part of The Traveling Wilburys in the 1980s and helped with the Beatles Anthology in the 1990s. What band was he with in the 1970s?


answer Answer: Electric Light Orchestra

Interesting Information:
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) with Jeff Lynne became a Beatles inspired band. Roy Wood used to be the front man until Jeff Lynne came in to the band. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Electric Light Company, Electric Chamber Orchestra, Electric Sound Orchestra

17. In 1982, Michael Jackson released an album that later became one of the best-selling albums ever. What album was it?


answer Answer: Thriller

Interesting Information:
"Thriller" sold at least 110 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. It also helped launch Michael Jackson's solo career. It won a record total of eight Grammy awards. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Bad, Dangerous, Invincible

18. In 1986, Olof Palme was assassinated whilst walking home from a cinema. He was the Prime Minister of which country at the time?


answer Answer: Sweden

Interesting Information:
He was the leader of the Social Democratic Party, and had been involved in Swedish politics for almost 30 years. Palme was shot in the back, and died soon after. His wife was also shot, but recovered. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
New Zealand, Kenya, Japan

19. In the 1980's raisins could be seen prancing across the television screens of America to which song by Marvin Gaye?


answer Answer: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Interesting Information:
California raisins became wildly popular in the 1980's when raisins dancing to "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" were seen on commercials between regular television shows. They were so popular that the Smithsonian Museum has a permanent collection of California Raisin items. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Ebony and Ivory, A Raisin in the Sun, Flying Purple People Eater

20. In the 1988 movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", who is Roger's wife?


answer Answer: Jessica Rabbit

Interesting Information:
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is a murder mystery in which cartoon characters and humans interact. Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner) is the sexy cartoon wife of Roger Rabbit. One of her most famous lines from the movie is, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Jennifer Rabbit, Jaime Rabbit, Jezebel Rabbit

21. Which eight bit home computer was introduced in 1982 by Commodore International?


answer Answer: Commodore 64

Interesting Information:
In the 1980s the Commodore 64 PC sold more units in retail stores than any other contemporary PC. Commodore was said to have built 400,000 C64s a month for a couple of years. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Hp25, Commodore 56, Lenovo

22. Which English pop star married a woman in 1982 and entered into a civil partnership with a man in 2005?


answer Answer: Elton John

Interesting Information:
Elton's middle name is Hercules. He was knighted in 1998 and, among his list of awards, are Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Tony. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Bob Geldoff, Tom Jones, Lonnie Donegan

23. "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good," said Gordon Gekko in which 1987 movie?


answer Answer: Wall Street

Interesting Information:
Directed by Oliver Stone, the film tells the story of a young, hungry for success, stockbroker, portrayed by Charlie Sheen, stepping into the world of an unscrupulous corporate raider, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. Douglas would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Fatal Attraction, The Secret of My Success, Beverley Hills Cop II

24. Which "Jimmy" won five U.S. Open men's singles tennis titles from 1974 to 1983?


answer Answer: Jimmy Connors

Interesting Information:
Connors at one time held the world number one ranking for 160 consecutive weeks between July 1974 and August 1977. This at the time was a record. Connors was successful in winning eight Grand Slam singles tournaments. Along with his five U.S. Open titles, he also won two Wimbledon finals and the Australian Open. His best result in the French Open was a semi-final appearance on four occasions. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Jimmy Olsen, Jimmy Smits, Jimmy Page

25. What is the name of the orphan who went to live with Daddy Warbucks in the 1982 movie?


answer Answer: Annie

Interesting Information:
"Annie" was a 1982 movie based upon a musical. However, several songs from the musical were removed from the movie such as "NYC" and "We'd Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover." Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Suzie, Helen, Katie

26. 'Cheers' was a very funny sitcom that ran from 1982 to 1993. Which city was it set in?


answer Answer: Boston

Interesting Information:
Starring Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, George Wendt, and my favourite, Rhea Perlman as Carla, the show was a world-wide hit, and won a heap of Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. Sometime you just want to be "where everybody knows your name". Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Seattle, New York, Miami

27. What is the shared name of a politician who ran for US president in 1988 and the musician who wrote the album "Graceland"?


answer Answer: Paul Simon

Interesting Information:
Paul Simon, the musician, was half of the duo of Simon and Garfunkel who made songs like "Mrs. Robinson" famous in the 1960s. Paul Simon, the politician, was an Illinois US senator who lost the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988; he died in 2003. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Brett Butler, Kenny Rogers, Robin Roberts

28. Tennis: Which German, affectionately known as "Boom Boom" became, in 1985, the first man to win the Wimbledon singles title as an unseeded player?


answer Answer: Boris Becker

Interesting Information:
Becker was just 17 years old at the time of his first Wimbledon triumph, making him the youngest ever Grand Slam title winner, though he held this distinction for just two years before Michael Chang won the French Open. It was the first of a series of significant achievements for Becker, who would win five more Grand Slam titles (two more at Wimbledon), a Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Michael Stich, Rainer Schuttler, Nicolas Kiefer

29. What southeast Asian country controversially changed its name in 1989, leading some countries to refer to it by its old name?


answer Answer: Myanmar

Interesting Information:
In 1989, Burma's ruling military junta officially changed the country's name to Myanmar. Some English-speaking governments contended that the military junta did not fairly win the political elections of the time, and did not have the authority to make such a change. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Thailand, Pakistan, South Korea

30. Which name is shared by an American singer who will "survive", a hurricane from 1985 and a 60's song written by Van Morrison?


answer Answer: Gloria

Interesting Information:
Gloria Gaynor's number one disco hit of 1979 was "I Will Survive". Hurricane Gloria hit the Atlantic Ocean in September 1985 and Van Morrison wrote the rock classic "Gloria", which was recorded by one of his earliest bands, Them, back in 1964. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Katrina, Mandy, Roxanne

31. What adjective connects a 1995 action film starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to a 1987 album by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson?


answer Answer: Bad

Interesting Information:
"Bad Boys" was a 1995 film revolving around the escapades of two detectives, played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Filled with mad car chases and humorous dialogue, a large portion of which was improvised, "Bad Boys" proved to be a commercial success. Meanwhile Michael Jackson's "Bad" album was released some eight years earlier, in 1987, to great critical acclaim, spawning five number-one singles in the process. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Naughty, Terrible, Wonderful

32. In 1989, Joseph Hazelwood was the captain of what ship which ran aground and spilled petroleum into Prince William Sound?


answer Answer: Exxon Valdez

Interesting Information:
Over 11 million gallons (40,900 cubic meters or 257,000 barrels) of crude oil poured into the sound, located in the Gulf of Alaska. The disaster, the largest in U.S. waters in the twentieth century, did untold harm to wildlife. Renamed the Oriental Nicety, the ship was retired in 2012. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
RMS Titanic, Burmah Agate, Amoco Cadiz

33. In 1986 Challenger exploded less than a minute and a half after it began traveling and its seven passengers died. What was Challenger?


answer Answer: A space shuttle

Interesting Information:
Challenger was destroyed over the Atlantic Ocean near Florida. At least some of the passengers survived the explosion and were killed by either lack of oxygen or impact with the ocean. Afterward, President Ronald Reagan appointed the Rogers Commission to investigate the disaster. They reported (among other things) O-rings not properly designed to work under tough conditions, including the cold weather the day of the launch. Difficulty: Very Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
An airplane, A boat, A space station

34. Who did would-be Turkish assassin Mehmet Ali-Agca shoot and wound in 1981?


answer Answer: Pope John Paul II

Interesting Information:
Turkish mercenary Mehmet Ali-Agca had recently escaped from prison when he shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981. Four bullets hit the Pope, two lodging in his intestine, the others hitting his left hand and right arm. Sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy, he served 19 years there before being transferred to a Turkish prison. Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Ronald Reagan, General de Gaulle, Margaret Thatcher

35. "The Joy Luck Club" was a movie released in 1993. Which Chinese-American author had her book, of the same name, published in 1989?


answer Answer: Amy Tan

Interesting Information:
According to the cover of the book, it remained nine months on The New York Times bestseller list. Fan Wu is also a Chinese-American author, while Lan Cao was born in Vietnam but moved to the United States at the age of 13. Harper Lee is the American author of "To Kill a Mockingbird". Difficulty: Easy.
 
Some incorrect choices:
Harper Lee, Lan Cao, Fan Wu
But that's just the start! Here are more great 1980s trivia questions:

Answers for each are at the bottom of each quiz and on submit:

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