1. What distinction is shared by Suzette Charles, Alberto Contador, and President Gerald Ford?
All attained a noteworthy title when the previous titleholder resigned or had the honor taken away due to scandal. Suzette Charles was named Miss America 1984, when the crowned winner, Vanessa Williams, resigned due to a nude photo scandal. (Charles reigned for only seven weeks.) Alberto Contador was declared the winner of the 2006 Tour De France…in 2007, after “winner” Floyd Landis was found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs. Ford was appointed Vice President when previous office holder Spiro Agnew resigned, and when President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 due to the Watergate scandal, Ford stepped into that position.
2. What do these classic rock songs have in common: “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin,” and “Money” by Pink Floyd?
Of all the classic, well known songs by each of those bands, “Smoke on the Water,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Money” are the songs Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd each played live the most frequently. “Smoke on the Water” was performed 1,607 times, “Dazed and Confused” was heard live 438 times, and “Money” on a mere 536 occassions.
3. What do the recent The Lone Ranger movie, the 1989 Batman movie, and the 1978 Superman movie share in common?
All were big-budget, big-screen spectacles built around a popular character…but the real answer is that the actor who played the title role in each of these films was not the first actor billed on movie posters or marquees. All three actors—Armie Hammer, Michael Keaton, and Christopher Reeve, respectively, were overshadowed by bigger stars playing supporting roles. In the case of Batman, producers wanted Jack Nicholson to play the Joker, and he agreed, provided he got a cut of merchandising revenues and top billing. On The Lone Ranger, A-lister Johnny Depp, co-starring as Tonto, got top billing over Armie Hammer, not yet a proven box office draw. And on Superman, Christopher Reeve was a little-known soap opera actor at the time of the film’s release—he was third billed. Second-billed was Oscar-winner Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Top billing went to Marlon Brando, who received $16 million for just 15 minutes of screen time, at the time, a record high movie salary.
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