News Quiz

No. 92: “Franks for the Memory”

No. 92: “Franks for the Memory”

By Randy Cohen

I give the headline; you–briefly–give the story.

From Utah’s Deseret News: “Hot Dogs Inspire Songs, Protests.”

by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Thursday’s question (No. 91)–“You Be the Choreographer”:

Dead at 79, Broadway and ballet great Jerome Robbins.

What do critics consider his greatest mistake?

“Rita Moreno.”–Larry Amaros

“Off by one on all six Powerball numbers.”–Tim Carvell

“Refusing all suggestions to have the Jets and Sharks be played by rival factions of singing, dancing cats.”–Adam Bonin

“Changing his name from Rabinowitz just before Eisenhower’s highly successful ‘Let’s Bring More Jews Into New York Theater’ campaign.”–David Zeltser

“Keeping a presidential-semen-stained dress.”–Danny Frank

“Early, abortive version of his famous ballet, An Afternoon of Fawning, starring Robbins himself, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and Ayn Rand.”–David Rakoff

“Not naming more names! Oops–sorry, folks, my dad got hold of the keyboard. How embarrassing.”–Daniel Radosh

Click for more responses.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone makes restitution. For instance, here in America, money is a mitigating factor in any misbehavior; hence, the rich consistently serve less time for their crimes than do the poor. In Japan, someone who’s made a lifetime of cultural contributions may be designated a Living National Treasure. Perhaps we could institute something like this in America and include a kind of “get out of jail free” card. So while we wouldn’t encourage it, James Brown could knock down a few ex-wives with his car; after all, he recorded “Cold Sweat.” And Chuck Berry would face no jail for any tax problems; he’s brought so much joy to so many people, if only for writing, “As I was a motivatin’ over the hill, I saw Maybellene in a Coup de Ville.” And so despite any moments of cowardice, treachery, and betrayal, Jerome Robbins would have a free pass: He brought so much joy to everybody’s Aunt Minna with that little shrug Zero Mostel did in “If I Were A Rich Man” in Fiddler–you know, later, in 1964, when Mostel wasn’t nearly as blacklisted as before.

Scary Stalinist Ballerinas Answer

Naming names, as many of you knew.

In 1953, Robbins gave up eight colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee. In her Times obit of Robbins, Anna Kisselgoff offers this stupefying rationale: “His Broadway career was at stake: Had he not cooperated with the panel, he risked being blacklisted.” Well, as long as he had a reason.

Providing the sort of cheap irony so appreciated here at “News Quiz,” later in his career Robbins moved from naturalism toward abstraction, declaring his passion for a world “where things are not named.”

Kids’ Corner: Animal News Extra

Can you match these animals in the news with the country where the story takes place?

A. Beaver

B. Dog

C. Elephant

1. France/Italy

2. Argentina

3. Grenada

Animal Answers

A-2. Tierra del Fuego is overrun with beavers. The original 25 breeding pairs introduced by Juan Perón in 1946 to create a fur industry have increased to more than 50,000 animals.

B-3. “Castro Is a Dog”–protester’s sign during the Cuban leader’s visit to the Grenada Airport, begun by Cubans and finished by Americans after Reagan’s invasion to halt its construction and protect American medical students who couldn’t get into a good school.

C-1. Nickname of Italy’s Marco Pantini, Il Elefantino, winner of the Tour de France.

Free Legal Advice Extra

Note to Clinton defense team–weight fluctuates; make her try it on. If the dress don’t fit, they must acquit.

Disclaimer: All submissions will become the property of Slate and will be published at Slate’s discretion. Slate may publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.