Published: June 1, 2018 By

trivia bowl

The band was back together. Three-quarters of it, anyway.

Children of a Lesser Godzilla — an iteration of the 1991 CU Trivia Bowl’s winning team, The Godzillas Must Be Crazy — reunited Dick Shahan (Engl’71; PhD’85), Sandy McVie and Dave Wallack, plus fresh recruit Harry Hawthorne (DistSt’74). The occasion, in April, was a three-day revival, 50 years after its debut, of the CU Trivia Bowl, the live, game show-like trivia tournament that helped define cultural life at CU Boulder starting in the late 1960s.

“On Friday morning of each trivia bowl week, there would be people standing in line outside the UMC to get seats,” said Shahan, a retired Boulder librarian who played in about 15 bowls starting in 1975.

In its heyday, the bowl attracted hundreds of players from around campus and far afield. Modeled on the relatively earnest GE College Bowl, popular nationwide in the 1960s, CU’s version emphasized pop culture: Sports, music, show business and the like.

Over five days each spring, 64 teams faced off in a bracket-style contest under bright lights in the Glenn Miller Ballroom — for bragging rights, a trophy with Mickey Mouse ears and the sheer fun of it.

The bowl’s last regular year was 1993, amid fading interest.

But every so often, the die-hards reconvene. Paul Bailey (EnvDes’83; MA’94) and Dan Rector (Edu’73) led the latest effort.

If turnout was modest and the setting less Hollywoodesque — 16 teams of four tested their mettle over three days at the Williams Village Center — it was a delight to savor for Shahan.

His powers of instant association were on display when the moderator listed about a dozen female song characters and asked which recording artist’s ouvre contained them all.

“Bruce Springsteen!” he called out — correctly — after buzzing in.

Godzilla made it to the quarterfinals. In the end, Some Guys Walk Into a Bar, a team of conspicuously young participants, won.

Shahan was okay with that. The latest bowl had done its job.

“It brought it all back again,” he said.


For Dick Shahan’s commentary and sample questions, visit here

Photo by Jerry Stowall, from Coloradan Collection, CU Heritage Center