So, what do Bing Crosby, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, and Jimmy Stewart have in common? They all appeared in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1952 epic The Greatest Show on Earth, which critics widely regard as the worst movie ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. (It’s pretty bad, though with plenty of camp appeal, like DeMille’s Biblical spectacles. Certainly, it’s not a better movie than fellow 1952 nominees High Noon and The Quiet Man, or Singin’ in the Rain, which didn’t even get a Best Pic nod.) Heston, in one of his first major roles, stars as the boss of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus; Lamour is a circus performer; her Road movie pals Hope and Crosby have cameos as spectators; and Stewart (pictured) plays a clown with a Terrible Secret who never removes his makeup. (Is it that he’s actually a member of Kiss?)
Many of you guessed that this week’s quiz was Oscar-related but assumed that the five performers had all hosted or won honorary Oscars. (Actually, Hope and Stewart won honorary prizes; Crosby, Heston, and Stewart all won competitive Oscars; and Lamour never even scored a nomination.) Reader Nicole Odekirk guessed that the five were “the only Republican members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.” (Ha!) Snarky Michael Markowitz, who knew the right answer, also cited several other supposed commonalities, including these: “A search of all reviews of all their work yields not one reference to the words ‘pitchy’ or ‘dawg.’” And: All of them had the middle name ‘Hussein.’”
The ring masters who got it right are listed after the jump.
Patrick A. Yearout
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