Entertainment

Did You Know Today Is Trivia Today?

If you know that the Eiffel tower weighs 7.3 million kilograms, and that Simon and Garfunkel have won 10 Grammy awards, you may be a trivia fan.

People have always loved sharing and testing their knowledge with their friends, but trivia games and contests as we know them today are a fairly modern phenomenon. You may dream of competing on a TV game show and winning millions of dollars, but do you know everything there is to know about trivia itself?

Since today is Trivia Day, let'sput on our thinking caps and study up on the history of the fun but challenging games beloved by trivia fans around the world.

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Who wants to win $25?

While today TV game shows are king, the first popular quiz shows began on the radio. On Professor Quiz, which began in 1936, contestants tried to stump the egghead Professor Quiz with their own challenging questions. If the Professor didn't know the answer, you won $25, which is around $420 in today's cash.

Other early game show's include Take It Or Leave It, which was one of the first to use categories, and award higher cash prizes for questions that got more difficult as the show went on.


In the late 1950s, a number of scandals involving rigged game shows made the concept less popular, and game shows were almost nonexistent on TV for the next two decades. The most infamous example of these was the show Twenty One, where producers encouraged the reigning champion Herb Stempel to lose to the more marketable Charles Van Doren.

Thankfully for trivia buffs, in 1964 the first version of the hit show Jeopardy! premiered, making the concept popular again.

Trivia's biggest brains

You may think you're pretty smart at your local quiz night, but in the high stakes world of trivia competitions you have to be pretty sharp to make a name for yourself.

Ken Jennings managed to make himself a household name in 2004 when he set the record for the longest winning streak on Jeopardy!. After earning more than $2 million from his 74 game run on the quiz show, Jennings added to his total by competing on other shows, including a $100,000 win on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

While you've probably heard of Jennings, you may not know about Brad Rutter, the quiz whiz who holds the record for the most cash won as a game show contestant (Jennings is in second place). Throughout his appearance on multiple Jeopardy! tournaments and special competitions, Rutter has won $4,555,102.

While Jennings and Rutter are probably the toughest human contestants you could face in a trivia game, they were both put in their place by Watson, a special computer designed by IBM. While you may think it's unfair that Watson can access 200 million pages of information while he's playing, you can't argue with results.


Trivial Trivia

If you're looking for a trivia competition with lower stakes, you could always try a game of Trivial Pursuit with your family. Here's a fun fact: the game's creators made it up because they didn't have all the pieces to their Scrabble set, and needed something to play instead.

If you're a true triviaphile you probably know the six categories of a regular Trivial Pursuit set are Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts and Literature, Science and Nature and Sports, but this isn't always the case.

Since the game's release in 1979 there have been lots of special versions with unique themes, including Star Wars, Saturday Night Live, The Lord of the Rings, Junior Edition (for kids), and Baby Boomers. There are even two(!) separate versions focused on the 1980s: Trivial Pursuit 1980s and All About the 80s.

If you learned some new trivia from this article, share it with someone you know!

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