Life in the '70s Quiz


By: Staff

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

"Jimmy Carter Is Running For What?" If you remember this iconic headline, you definitely lived through the 1970s. It's a decade that many people remember with rolled eyes: the polyester, the disco, the shag carpeting. And, dear God, the Pet Rocks!

But the 1970s were a serious time, too. Much of the turmoil we associate with the 60s — vocal opposition to Vietnam, for example, and the radical feminism of writers like Betty Friedan — was actually much more a product of the early 1970s. 

After the bright optimism of the postwar boom, the 1970s were the time that the United States faced its own limits and vulnerabilities. Conflict with the Middle Eastern world led to oil shortages that caused gas stations to run dry, posting signs reading "No gas today." The hostage crisis in Iran, similarly, gave America a black eye. 

But the 1970s were also a deeply creative time. Young-turk movie directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were getting started, poised to do some of their best work. And women took their place in the workforce in greater numbers than ever, prompting Time magazine to name American women the "Man" of the Year. 

Take a trip back to this turbulent, complex decade with our quiz!

Where was the most serious nuclear accident to happen in the U.S.?

At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the most serious nuclear emergency in the U.S. happened when a cooling malfunction caused part of the core to melt in reactor No. 2 of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.


In September 1974, who attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho, in a steam-powered rocket?

Evel Knievel attempted to rocket his way over the Snake River Canyon in the X2 Skycycle.


True or false: Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of Britain, Saddam Hussein took power as president of Iraq, and Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, where he founded the Islamic republic after 15 years of exile, in the same year.

It's true — all this happened in 1979.


Which mainstream X-rated film shares its title with the pseudonym of Watergate's anonymous informant?

The X-rated pornographic movie "Deep Throat" made $3 million during its first six months in mainstream theaters in 1972. We now know that William Mark Felt was the anonymous "Deep Throat" source who provided information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post and cracked open the Watergate scandal.


Who gave the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup championship in 1970 after a 29-year dry spell?

On May 10, 1970, Bobby Orr scored an overtime goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, giving the Boston Bruins their first championship since 1941. In 1971, Orr signed the first million-dollar contract with the NHL. And in 1979, at age 31, the hockey legend became the youngest NHL Hall of Fame inductee.


In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled abortion is a constitutional right in which landmark case?

The Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right in the Roe v. Wade case of 1973.


Who won the nationally televised tennis match — the "Battle of the Sexes" — between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King in 1973?

Former No. 1 tennis player Bobby Riggs challenged all female tennis players, claiming no woman could beat him. On Sept. 20, 1973, Billie Jean King — one of the top female tennis players — took that challenge, and beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.


Which cable subscription service, the first in the U.S., was introduced in 1972?

In 1972, Charles Dolan and Gerald Levin of Sterling Manhattan Cable started America's first ad-free subscription cable service: Home Box Office (HBO). In 1975, HBO was the first cable network to be delivered via satellite. Showtime debuted in 1976, and Cinemax in 1980.


In 1971, the U.S. voting age was lowered from age 21 to 18 with the passing of which amendment?

In March 1971 Congress passed the 26th Amendment, and by July, Nixon signed into law a new, lower U.S. voting age. Known as "old enough to fight, old enough to vote," the amendment matched the voting age with the age of conscription.


True or false: Burt Reynolds turned down the role of Han Solo in "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope."

Can you believe it's true? Burt Reynolds turned down the role of Han Solo, which went to Harrison Ford.


Who was awarded a perfect score of 10 in gymnastics in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal?

At the Montreal Olympics in 1976, Romanian Nadia Comaneci was the first in Olympic history to be awarded a perfect score in a gymnastics event (for her performance on the uneven bars). And it wasn't just that one time: This amazing athlete scored a perfect 10 six more times.


Which popular '70s movie was not directed by "new director" Steven Spielberg?

Steven Spielberg directed "Jaws" (1975) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), but "Animal House," released in 1978, was directed by John Landis.


Who was NOT a U.S. president between 1970 and 1979?

Richard Nixon, America's 37th president, held office from 1969 until 1974. Gerald Ford became 38th president and served from 1974 through 1977, when Jimmy Carter was elected. Carter was in office until 1981, before Ronald Reagan held the position until 1989.


What's the name of the "M.A.S.H" theme?

"Suicide is Painless," written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, was the theme song for the original movie and TV series.


Who did American Bobby Fischer defeat to become the new world chess champion in 1972?

In Reykjavik, Iceland, on Aug. 31, 1972, American Bobby Fischer defeated Russian competitor Boris Spassky — ending Russia's nearly 25-year chess domination and launching chess into American mainstream culture.


Which is NOT a spinoff of the groundbreaking TV series "All in the Family"?

"Sanford and Son," like "All in the Family," was adapted from a BBC TV series by American producer Norman Lear — it wasn't a spinoff.


True or false: Mobile phones have only been around since 1973.

Although the first commercially sold mobile phone (the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which sold for about $4,000) didn't hit the market until 1983, the first call on a mobile device was made by Martin Cooper on April 3, 1973. Who was on the receiving end? A senior engineer at Motorola at the time, Cooper called a competing telecommunications company to tell them he was speaking to them on a mobile phone.


In 1975, we met the first Pet Rocks. Where did they come from?

Pet Rocks were smooth stones from Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico.


Which Boeing aircraft was the first jumbo jet?

While the Boeing 707 was the game changer in the 1960s, both it and the 727 were both just midsize, narrow-body jets. The Boeing 747, the first jumbo jet, took its first commercial flight in 1970 from New York to London.


Intel gave us the first microprocessor (the 4004) in 1971. It's also the same year Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created Apple. Is it also the same year Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft?

Bill Gates and Paul Allen didn't found the Microsoft Corp. until 1975.


Around 4 a.m. on June 17, 1972, five men, in connection with President Nixon's re-election campaign, were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington. When, after his attempted coverup, did Nixon resign?

It was two years and almost two months between the day the Watergate scandal broke, June 17, 1972, and the day Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency, Aug. 8, 1974.


How much was the price of admission (for one) when Disney World opened in Orlando in 1971?

The price of admission was $3.50 when Walt Disney World opened its doors on Oct. 19, 1971.


Which first lady went by the citizens band radio handle "First Mama"?

First lady Betty Ford was totally hot for the decade's CB phase and was an active chatter under the handle "First Mama."


In which year was the world's first "test-tube baby" born?

Conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Manchester, England, Louise Brown, the world's first "test-tube baby," was born on July 25, 1978.


In what year did U.S. drivers face long lines at gas stations?

The U.S. faced two energy crises in the '70s. American drivers first saw the average price of a gallon of gas rise by 37 percent during an OPEC embargo on the U.S. and other Western countries in 1973-74 as a result of Western support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. In 1979, OPEC again raised oil prices, driving the cost of petroleum-based products higher.


When was the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War?

On April 23, President Gerald Ford announced U.S. involvement in Vietnam would end. And it did, on April 30, 1975.


Is it true that Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died in 1970 at age 27?

While it's true that all three died at age 27, not all three died in 1970. Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971.


Who was the first African-American woman to appear on the cover of American Vogue?

When American model Beverly Johnson appeared on the cover of American Vogue in August 1974, she was the first woman of color to appear on the cover of any major fashion magazine in America. Donyale Luna was Vogue's first black cover model for the British edition of the magazine, appearing in 1966.


True or false: "Space Invaders" is older than the Microsoft Corp. by just a few months.

"Space Invaders," one of the earliest first-person shooter games (it's a two-dimensional fixed shooter), came out in Japan in 1978. However, the first video game with commercial success, "Pong," was released in 1972, just a few years before Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft.


Which soda had the slogan "the thirst crusher"?

Rondo, "the thirst crusher," was a citrus-flavored soda in the late '70s.


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