CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 10, 2016 – We have a bit of something for everyone in today’s trivia, including cars, Shakespeare, the Olympics and movies.
1 – World War II and its SS Cars: If you don’t think words are important in the world of marketing, think again. Back in 1922, the Swallow Sidecar Company began making motorcycle sidecars before it entered the business of building bodies for passenger cars.
Later, as the business gradually changed, so, too, did the name, which became SS Cars Ltd. Naturally, the SS stood for Swallow Sidecar.
When World War II broke out, “SS” no longer seemed like a proper title considering the Nazis had an “SS” of their own with a completely different function.
SS Cars Ltd. decided the only thing to do was change the name again, which it did in March 1945. The name has become synonymous with expensive luxury automobiles ever since. You see, the old Swallow Sidecar Company is known today as “Jaguar.”
Cat got your tongue?
2 – Half a millennium of everyday words: William Shakespeare would be 500 years old if he were alive today. And chances are he would no longer be writing with a quill.
In a small tribute to the Bard we should mention that some scholars say that he is likely responsible for as many as one in 10 common phrases we use in everyday language.
Many of Shakespeare’s contributions to the language are subtle, yet easily understood by virtually anyone, even people who have no idea who the great British playwright was.
For example, if you call someone a “Romeo” there is no question about its meaning regardless of whether you know the first thing about “Romeo and Juliet.”
In fact, William Shakespeare coined many words in his plays that are so much a part of contemporary language that it’s hard to believe he was the inventor who added them to our dictionary.
Here are 10: Bedroom, Lonely, Zany, Gossip, Eyeball, Invulnerable, Lustrous, Fashionable, Monumental, Savagery
Furthermore, Shakespeare had an incredible ability to turn a phrase. In a sense, old Bill was like an ancient literary version of Yogi Berra.
Some of Shakespeare’s familiar idioms:
“Fight fire with fire.”
“To wait with bated breath.”
“Vanish into thin air.”
“Made of sterner stuff.”
“To be cruel to be kind.”
So while you might not think you know anything about the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare’s wordsmithing lives on today in the rich language we know as English.
As for “body English,” well, we cover that in our next bit of trivia.
3 – “Chariots of Fire”: The popular 1981 film tells the story of the 1924 Olympics and two athletes: Eric Liddell, a devout Christian from Scotland who ran for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who competed in an effort to overcome prejudice.
The film was nominated in seven categories and won four Oscars at the 54th Academy Awards ceremony, including one for Best Original Screenplay.
Naturally, the producers took some liberties with actual events for dramatic effect, but the movie has become a cinematic classic in many ways. During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the musical score was a running theme throughout the promotions for the games.
Furthermore, the theme was also used to open the New Year’s Eve fireworks display in 2012 in celebration of the upcoming games.
But the movie was not without an abundance of trivial “twists” that only add to the interest. For example, the “male military band” in the film featured several women who wore mustaches to disguise their gender.
One of the iconic scenes is white-clad runners training on the West Sands beach in St. Andrews, Scotland. The producers needed a few extras for the scene, so they recruited some of the runners from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. You guessed it, most of the runners in those memorable beach running scenes were caddies from the St. Andrews golf course.
And finally, one scene in the movie shows Harold Abrahams running around the quad at Trinity College in Cambridge. Actually, the scene is based upon a challenge called the Trinity Great Court Run, which was used as a training technique by David Burghley, the gold medalist in the 1928 400 meters.
The challenge was to lap the Trinity quad in the time it took for the clock to strike 12. Burghley succeeded and was only the second person to accomplish the feat.
Someone else did it back in the 1890s; however, there was a slight catch. Before the turn of the century, it took the clock tower five seconds longer to complete the 12-chime cycle.
Thus we complete our story of “For whom the bell tolls” for this week.
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Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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