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Quiz about The Legendary H Allen Smith
Quiz about The Legendary H Allen Smith

The Legendary H. Allen Smith Trivia Quiz


This is a quiz about the American humorist, H. Allen Smith. He was, in my opinion, the funniest writer who ever lived. If you have read his books, this quiz should be easy.

A multiple-choice quiz by daver852. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
daver852
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
360,760
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
172
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Question 1 of 10
1. Harry Allen Smith was born in McLeansboro, Illinois in 1907. In which of his many books did he write about his childhood ? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. By the time he was 17, Smith's family had moved to Huntington, Indiana. It was there, he recounts, that he was arrested for the first time. What was his crime? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Smith supported himself when a youth by working as a journalist for newspapers throughout the United States. He was working in Sebring, Florida when he met his future wife. What was her name? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Although he was very successful as a journalist, Smith made his mark in the world as a humorist. He had his first bestseller in 1941. What was it? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. After the success of his first two books, Smith was able to quit his job at the "New York World-Telegram" and concentrate on his writing. In 1943 he spent eight months in Hollywood, working for Paramount Studios. He wrote a book about his experiences in Hollywood. What was its title? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. In 1945, Smith and his wife moved to Mt. Kisco, New York. The following year he wrote one of his most famous books, "Rhubarb," about a cat who does what? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. In 1950, Smith wrote a very funny book called "People Named Smith." Who did he blame for the book's relatively poor sales? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. H. Allen Smith considered himself to be the world's leading authority on what subject? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Smith loved to travel, and many of his books are based on his vacation adventures, such as "Waikiki Beachnik" and "Smith's London Journal." What was the book that described his trip to Tahiti? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. One of Smith's best and funniest books was his autobiography. What was it called? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Harry Allen Smith was born in McLeansboro, Illinois in 1907. In which of his many books did he write about his childhood ?

Answer: Lo! The Former Egyptian

McLeansboro is in extreme southern Illinois, an area known as "Little Egypt." In his book, Smith devotes many pages to descriptions of southern Illinois and its people, including what visitors have said about it. My favorite quotation was from an Englishman who wrote: "It is the sorriest piece of real estate in the entire country, nurturing a miserable tribe of human beings whose equal for ignorance and depravity has not been seen in the entire history of the world." Like Smith, I am a native of southern Illinois.
2. By the time he was 17, Smith's family had moved to Huntington, Indiana. It was there, he recounts, that he was arrested for the first time. What was his crime?

Answer: Writing a "dirty" story

Actually, as Smith tells it, the charge was "authorship and circulation of lewd, licentious, obscene and lascivious literature."

I'll let Smith tell you what happened in his own words: "In about thirty minutes I knocked out the bawdy screed that was to send me forth into the world, a disgrace to heaven, home and mother. I titled it 'Stranded On a Davenport,' . . . It was in the first person, told supposedly by a young woman with swivel hips and animal appetites. It described in luxurient detail the inception, progress and conclusion of an amorous adventure."

Smith's friend, Rome Brading, copied the story and distributed it to his friends. They, in turn, copied it and gave copies to their friends, until everyone in Huntington possessed a copy of the work. Smith hired a lawyer, who advised him to plead guilty, and he was fined $22.50. Smith was so embarrassed by the episode that he had to leave Huntington.
3. Smith supported himself when a youth by working as a journalist for newspapers throughout the United States. He was working in Sebring, Florida when he met his future wife. What was her name?

Answer: Nelle

Nelle features prominently in many of H. Allen Smith's books. She seems to have thought her husband was a bit touched in the head. H. Allen Smith and Nelle Mae Simpson were married in Tulsa, Oklahoma in April, 1927.
4. Although he was very successful as a journalist, Smith made his mark in the world as a humorist. He had his first bestseller in 1941. What was it?

Answer: Low Man On a Totem Pole

Smith had written two previous books by 1941, but neither had sold well. He got his big break with "Low Man On a Totem Pole," which was basically an account of his many adventures as a reporter in the 1930s. It featured an introduction by his friend, Fred Allen, and became an immediate best seller.

It was especially popular with the troops at the beginning of WWII. The phrase "low man on a totem pole" was actually coined by Fred Allen, but it was Smith who made it popular.
5. After the success of his first two books, Smith was able to quit his job at the "New York World-Telegram" and concentrate on his writing. In 1943 he spent eight months in Hollywood, working for Paramount Studios. He wrote a book about his experiences in Hollywood. What was its title?

Answer: Lost In the Horse Latitudes

Smith was not very happy in Hollywood, largely because he wasn't given much work to do. But his anecdotes about the big stars of the 1940s whom he met there are hilarious.
6. In 1945, Smith and his wife moved to Mt. Kisco, New York. The following year he wrote one of his most famous books, "Rhubarb," about a cat who does what?

Answer: Inherits a baseball team

"Rhubarb" was made into a motion picture starring Ray Milland and Jan Sterling. Rhubarb is a cat so mean that he chases dogs. He is adopted by an eccentric millionaire named Thaddeus J. Banner, who leaves his baseball team, the Brooklyn Loons, to Rhubard when he dies.

The movie features Leonard Nimoy in one of his first roles, as a baseball player. Smith later wrote a sequel, "Son of Rhubarb." Smith was a huge baseball fan, and collaborated with Ira L. Smith in writing two books about baseball, "Low and Inside," and "Three Men On Third."
7. In 1950, Smith wrote a very funny book called "People Named Smith." Who did he blame for the book's relatively poor sales?

Answer: People named Smith

"People Named Smith" is just that - stories about people bearing the ancient and honorable surname of Smith, or one of its many variants. The cover had a coat-of-arms designed by the famous illustrator, Leo Hershfield, that included a "baton sinister" with a female dog running across it.

Smith described his disappointment with the book's sales figures as follows: "I had ascertained that one out of every one hundred people in the United States bore the name of Smith. If I could get a mere five per cent of these Smiths to buy my book, I could rest on my oars for a few years. It was a sure thing. So I thought. But it turned out that almost everyone named Smith is either (1) stingy, or (2) illiterate, or (3) both."

It should be pointed out that while my name is not Smith, my mother's maiden name was Smith. So to any Smiths who may be offended by the previous passage, spare me your remarks. I already feel your outrage, secondhand.
8. H. Allen Smith considered himself to be the world's leading authority on what subject?

Answer: Chili

In his later years, Smith and his wife moved from Mt. Kisco, New York to Alpine, Texas. In 1967, Smith wrote an article for "Holiday Magazine" called "Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do." He had strong opinions on the subject, opinions that ruffled the feathers of many of his fellow Texans. Harsh words were exchanged. Eventually, the feud resulted in the world's first chili cook off. You can read about this and the outcome of the contest in Smith's book, "The Great Chili Confrontation."
9. Smith loved to travel, and many of his books are based on his vacation adventures, such as "Waikiki Beachnik" and "Smith's London Journal." What was the book that described his trip to Tahiti?

Answer: Two Thirds of a Coconut Tree

Many of his travel books make mention of Nelle's shopping habits. H. Allen and Nelle visited Tahiti in 1962, just as Marlon Brando and company arrived to film "Mutiny On the Bounty." They met some interesting characters, including Paul Gauguin's illegitimate son. "Two Thirds of a Coconut Tree" refers to a local building ordinance that said no building could be taller than two-thirds of a coconut tree.
10. One of Smith's best and funniest books was his autobiography. What was it called?

Answer: To Hell In a Handbasket

If you want to learn more about this great man, "To Hell In a Handbasket" is a great place to start. It contains many of the best passages from his previous books, as well as a lot of new material. Unfortunately, it only covers the first 30 or so years of his life.

He obviously planned to write a sequel, but never got around to it. H. Allen Smith died of a heart attack in San Francisco on February 24, 1976. After he died, he was cremated, and UPS lost his ashes when they were mailed back east to be buried. I'm sure he would have had a laugh over that.

They were eventually found, and he is now buried in North Carolina - under a totem pole!
Source: Author daver852

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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