By Alex Breitler of The Record
Posted Apr. 24, 2015 at 9:56 AM
STOCKTON — There was a slight downside to earning a high score in Friday night’s Trivia Bee at Stockton Arena.
It meant you were old enough to remember the 1960s.
That was the theme, after all. And the older you were, the more likely you were to know, say, who moderated the first presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960.
That would be Howard K. Smith.
“Who’s Howard K. Smith?” the young guy serving drinks muttered.
But for those rattling off answers all night, and the hundreds of supporters who watched from the floor of the arena, this was the perfect way to put their years of experience to use.
And for a good cause, of course. The Trivia Bee, in its 24th year, is the biggest fundraiser for the Library and Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County.
Ultimately, the Bee Dazzlers took the crown Friday night with 76 points, edging out the Friendly Bees and Stockton Pacific Rotary.
“The secret for us is that we’re all old,” said Bee Dazzlers victor Ron Abernethy, though at least one question — “Name all six of the Brady Bunch children” — gave him pause.
“None of us spent much time watching the Brady Bunch,” said Abernethy, who shared his glory with teammates Carl Cousineau and Debra Beck.
Just as impressive as the display of knowledge on the podium was the display of 1960s tie-dye shirts and ponchos that Trivia Bee participants had extracted from the darkest reaches of their closets.
Anticipating that popular trend, Pam Mallett-Jones dressed up instead as Jackie O. with sunglasses, skirt and pillbox hat.
“Everyone else was thinking of doing drugs in the ’60s, but not me,” she said.
Also bucking the tie-dye style was a film club, known Friday night as Old Friends of the Arts (or “Old Farts”). Members recreated the West Lane drive-in movie theater, using matchbox cars and an iPad that played intermission reels. They even hauled out an authentic drive-in speaker.
“We were kind of worried everybody would be in tie-dye tonight. But most of the ’60s, that wasn’t true. I didn’t start wearing tie-dye until 1969 or ’70,” said Sally Edmonds, 61.
Truth be told, Stockton was a little slow adapting to those interesting times, she said.
“I did have a teacher at Stagg who took us picketing the Vietnam War in front of the post office,” Edmonds said. “It was awesome.”
What students from Jim Elliot Christian High School in Lodi lacked in experience, they made up for in confidence, boldly predicting a win before the start of the competition. (And they did win the student division.)
As 17-year-old Karson Phillips put it, older folks might have knowledge, “But we know how to Google.”
But some of these answers only lifelong Stocktonians were likely to know. What was the nickname for the old jail torn down in 1961? (Cunningham’s Castle.) And what was the name of that lounge that had the 6-foot tiki statue out front? (The Islander.)
And so, in the end, age prevailed over beauty.
“The ’60s were my generation,” said a proud Della Richardson, 72, a sponsor for the American Association of University Women at Friday night’s event. “We were going to change the world, and we did.
“We lived it. We lived it.”
— Contact reporter Alex Breitler at (209) 546-8295 or email@example.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/breitlerblog and on Twitter @alexbreitler.