Are You a Real Memphian?

It doesn't matter to me what your driver's license, or voter's registration card, or library card says. Oh, any of those documents may show a Memphis address, but that doesn't make you a real Memphian. It's not an automatic process, you see. Being a real Memphian requires more than just pedigree, it demands a certain knowledge of facts and figures that no one else -- certainly no one from Nashville, say, or Itta Bena -- could possibly know. Things that truly matter: the name of the first animal at the Memphis Zoo (Natch), the number of the Chickasaw Bluff where our city was founded (Fourth), even the original name of November 6th Street (Maiden Lane).

All of these bits of knowledge -- and many more -- make you a genuine Memphian. Here's a quick and easy quiz to see if you make the grade.

1. Let's start with an easy one. What was the full name of Memphis political boss E.H. Crump?

a. Englebert Humperdink Crump

b. Elvis Horatio Crump

c. Edward Hull Crump

d. No one knows; he only used the initials.

2. What happened in 1928 to keep Memphians from driving to Arkansas along the old Harahan Bridge?

a. Hiring an evil toll-booth attendant, Mr. Bingle

b. Swarms of boll weevils

c. The awareness that Arkansas wasn't a state, but only a state of mind

d. The fire that destroyed the wooden -- yes, wooden -- roadways that ran along the outside of the railroad bridge

3. What was the origin of the name of Britling Cafeteria?

a. An H.G. Wells short story, "Mr. Britling Sees It Through"

b. Combining the two founders' names: Britney and May-Ling

c. A nationwide contest sponsored by the Cafeteria Corporation of America

d. The owner's name was Benjamin Britling.

4. What is the name of the statue atop the majestic old fountain in Court Square?

a. She Who Delivereth the Cool Waters

b. Betty Sue

c. Hebe, Cupbearer to the Gods

d. Whatever name you like, sailor

5. Who did Time magazine once call "The Man With 300,000 Beds"?

a. Albert "Sleepy" Festus, owner of the Memphis Mattress Factory

b. Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inns

c. Archibald Cleave, founder of Memphis Botanic Garden

d. Partee Fleming, owner of Fleming Fine Furniture

6. Where was Rhodes College originally located?

a. Clarksville, Tennessee

b. 1288 White Station Road

c. Rhodesia

d. West Memphis

7. Who was Dionicio Rodriguez?

a. The founder of Pancho's

b. The imaginary playmate of Mr. Bingle

c. The Mexican artist who designed and built the Crystal Shrine Grotto in Memorial Park

d. A champion greyhound who set track records at Southland Greyhound Park

8. What was originally concealed behind the bricked-up door set into the side of the Indian mound in DeSoto Park?

a. Gunpowder, when the area was a Civil War fort

b. The first tomb of Elvis Presley, before his remains were moved to Graceland

c. The secret recipes from Memphis in May's prize-winning barbecue cooking teams

d. The withered corpse of Mr. Bingle

9. Okay, we've talked about him enough. Who -- or what -- was Mr. Bingle?

a. The trusty sidekick of Mayor E.H. Crump

b. A puppet used as a holiday promotion for Lowenstein's Department Store

c. The mysterious creature spotted in the woods of Overton Park -- only during a full moon

d. The circus performer who rescued hundreds during the Lyric Theatre fire

10. What is the name of the neon sign outside Joe's Liquors?

a. The Whirligig

b. Sputnik Star

c. Starnik Sput

d. Joe

11. What was Memphis gangster Machine Gun Kelly's real name?

a. Vance Lauderdale Sr.

b. George Kelly Barnes

c. Percy Gale Throckmorton

d. Kelly something-or-other

12. What did adventurer and author Richard Halliburton major in at Rhodes College?

a. Geography

b. Religious Studies

c. Undeclared

d. Hey, this is a trick. Halliburton went to Princeton, not Rhodes!

13. What happened to the battleship U.S.S. Memphis?

a. The guns were removed and the boat was converted into the Memphis Queen.

b. It is buried beneath the silt off the southern tip of Mud Island.

c. Fully restored, it is the main attraction in downtown Memphis, Missouri. In fact, it is the only attraction there.

d. It sank after striking rocks off the island of San Domingo.

14. How much did Elvis Presley pay for Graceland in 1957?

a. $14 million

b. Nothing. The estate was a gift from RCA.

c. $100,000

d. The transaction remains a secret to this day.

15. Who was known as "The Million-Dollar Quartet"?

a. The Beatles, when they played the Mid-South Coliseum in 1964.

b. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins when they recorded together at Sun Studio

c. Wilbert, Clem, Claude, and Randall Stillwell -- for reasons known only to their families

d. Sivad, Mr. Bingle, Jolly Royal, and "The Mayor of Covington Pike"

16. What did Germantown change its name to during World War I?

a. Collierville, but Collierville really resented it, so they had to change it back.

b. Nashoba

c. Germanville

d. Little Deutschland

17. Who was Margaret Polk?

a. The original "Memphis Belle" -- the girlfriend of the plane's pilot

b. The inspiration for the statue atop the fountain in Court Square

c. The first woman from Memphis to be crowned Miss America

d. The only female driver in Merrymobile history

18. What the heck was a Merrymobile?

a. Vehicles designed by Welcome Wagon, to deliver goodies to families who had just relocated to Memphis

b. A slang term for the paddy wagon used by the police to haul crooks to jail

c. A round little motorized vehicle, shaped like a carousel, that rolled along the streets selling popsicles and ice cream

d. An early version of the Memphis Trolley system

19. What was "Red, Hot, and Blues"?

a. Famed dj Dewey Phillips radio program, which was the first to play hits by Elvis Presley

b. W.C. Handy's house band

c. The original title for The Firm

d. The traditional finale performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for the Memphis in May Sunset Symphony

20. In 1925, Tom Lee rescued some 30 passengers when the steamer Norman sank near Memphis. What was the name of Lee's boat?

a. Little Tom

b. U.S.S. Memphis

c. Zev

d. Hebe

21. Where did actress Cybill Shepherd attend high school?

a. East

b. Eastside

c. Westside

d. Westwood

22. Where in Memphis can you find Annie Laurie's Wishing Chair, Abraham's Oak, and the Pool of Hebron?

a. The Memphis Zoo

b. Memorial Park Cemetery

c. Voodoo Village

d. Graceland

23. Seat C-5 in the Orpheum Theatre is supposedly reserved for a very special guest. Who is it?

a. Orpheum director Pat Halloran

b. Memphis mayor Willie Herenton

c. Cybill Shepherd

d. The ghost of Mary, a little girl who supposedly haunts the Orpheum

24. In 1935, Memphians constructed a road that was described as "the most expensive highway in the world." That roadway today is called:

a. Elvis Presley Blvd.

b. Riverside Drive

c. North Parkway

d. The 1500 block of Harbert

25. On April 17, 1960, nervous patients in Baptist Hospital had a bird's-eye view of something taking place across the street at Russwood Park. What did they see?

a. Babe Ruth hitting his 61st home run

b. A surprise appearance by Mickey Mantle

c. The ballpark burning to the ground in one of the largest fires in Memphis history

d. The state championship between White Station and Overton

26. In the mid-1950s, postal workers delivered bags of letters to the residents of 1034 Audubon Drive. All that mail was addressed to:

a. E.H. Crump

b. Jerry Lee Lewis

c. Elvis Presley

d. Occupant

27. Who caused a citywide sensation in 1871 by making an unexpected appearance at the old Brinkley Female College?

a. Thomas Edison

b. The ghost of a little girl, dressed in a pink dress

c. E.H. Crump, drunk

d. Grand Duke Alexis of Russia

28. What was showing that night in 1941 when the Lyric Theatre burned down?

a. Our American Cousin

b. The Memphis Blues

c. Nothing. The theatre was closed at the time.

d. The Firm

29. What was the original name of Getwell Road?

a. Get Even Road

b. Shotwell Road

c. Riverside Drive

d. Interstate 240

30. In the 1950s, if someone said they were staying at the Crescent Lake, where were they?

a. A mental institution on Lamar

b. Camping on the lake in Chickasaw Gardens

c. A motel on Summer Avenue

d. Not in Memphis at all

31. Who drove the Cannonball Express on its final run?

a. Casey Jones

b. Machine Gun Kelly

c. Elvis Presley, since that was the name of his favorite ride at Libertyland

d. Norris Kellam, the Human Cork

32. What on earth was the Memphis Avalanche?

a. One of our city's first newspapers

b. The great avalanche that wiped out most of Parkway Village

c. A potent ale produced by the Tennessee Brewery

d. A local wrestler, whose real name was Thomas Bettendorf

33. During World War II, what was the Memphis Blues?

a. A B-17 bomber that crashed into the English Channel

b. A hit song performed by Carl Perkins

c. The AAA baseball team that defeated the Yankees 6-3 in 1942.

d. A common psychiatric disorder caused by drinking water from the Mississippi

34. In the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, Memphians flocked to the Silver Slipper. What was it?

a. The most popular ride at the Mid-South Fairgrounds

b. A self-service shoe store, built in the shape of a giant boot

c. A nightclub on the outskirts of town

d. The horse-racing track in north Memphis

35. What was the original name of this publication?

a. Mid-South Magazine

b. City of Memphis

c. The Daily Avalanche

d. The Dixie Flyer


1-c, 2-d, 3-a, 4-c, 5-b, 6-a, 7-c, 8-a, 9-b, 10-b, 11-b, 12-d, 13-d, 14-c, 15-b, 16-b, 17-a, 18-c, 19-a, 20-c, 21-a, 22-b, 23-d, 24-b, 25-c, 26-c, 27-b, 28-c, 29-b, 30-c, 31-a, 32-a, 33-a, 34-c, 35-b.


1 - 5 correct answers:

Words cannot express our pity. Why, anybody just passing through town could answer more questions than these.

6 - 15 correct:

Clearly a newcomer, but you have potential. Keep trying.

16 - 24 correct:

Good, but not great. The only remedy may be a lifetime subscription to Memphis magazine. We will be glad to take care of that for you.

More than 34 correct:

Congratulations! Your knowledge of Memphis trivia is indeed impressive. You may now take over my column when I retire. I'll get started on the paperwork. 

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