Trivia about Trivia

Today is National Trivia Day.

Trivia is a noun that means “unimportant matters, facts, or details.” In other words, useless and pointless information. Trivia games have been popular for more than a century.

In 1902, Logan Pearsall Smith used the title Trivia for his collections of epigrams and aphorisms. That publication became popular in the 1920s and was followed by More Trivia, in 1921, and All Trivia, in 1933. Around the time Smith’s Trivia book became popular, along came commercial broadcast radio. By the 1920s, transmitter technology had improved amplification to the point that radio broadcasting took off.

Entertainment broadcasting was introduced in Britain when soprano Dame Nellie Melba sang two arias in June 1920. By the start of World War II, audio theatre was a popular pastime, and quiz shows began to appear, starting with Professor Quiz in May of 1936. Professor Quiz was followed by Information Please in April 1940, which became The $64,000 Question in September 1950.

From the beginning, trivia has been part of the American broadcast experience. From Professor Quiz to modern-day Jeopardy!, television game shows are wildly popular.

Trivia games hit the board-game industry, too. A game called Trivial Pursuit was developed in Canada in 1979 and took off in North America around 1982. The makers of the game released numerous editions and expansion packs over the years.

Nowadays, you can find trivia games streaming in many sports bars or join the fun online. With that, I’ll leave you with this question from the Master Game – Young Player’s Edition, 1984, Natural World category:

~What fish has both lungs and gills?

Trivial Pursuit, Master Game – Young Player’s Edition

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