Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Trivia quiz answers & a book giveaway


Register for a free copy

Death in Nostalgia City, the first book in the Nostalgia City mystery series, is available free, for a limited time, on The Goodreads giveaway will close on April 15. Now why did I pick that date?

Regardless, just mosey your mouse over to:  and register to win a free copy.

Quiz answers:

Here are the answers to the 1970s trivia quiz.  To review the questions go here, or if you’re reading this on the website, just scroll down.

 1. B   2. C     3. B     4. D    5. A     6. C     7. A      8. D      9. C     10.  C     11. D     12. C


No. 3.  The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

 No. 7.  Chia Pets were the big rage in the 1970s.  The Hula Hoop was introduced in 1958 by the Wham-O toy company. Beanie Babies came on the market in 1993, and Pokemon Go is only about seven years old.

No. 10.  The other seemingly difficult question was to name the event that did not occur in the 1970s. All of the listed events, such as the 55 MPH National Speed Limit Law (imposed in 1975 to help save gasoline) took place in the 1970s except the crash of the Pan Am jet over Scotland.  That happened in 1988.  BTW, it took Little League, founded in 1939, until 1974 to permit girls to play. The decision was the result of a lawsuit.  And, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Eileen Brennan and others starred in The Sting which won the best picture Oscar in 1973.

Nostalgia City trivia quiz: music, Vietnam, Happy Days


Newly released Dark Ride Deception, like the previous novels in my series is based in Nostalgia City, a sprawling theme park that recreates an entire small town from the 1970s.

This latest book travels to Florida where Lyle uses a variety of false identities to investigate other theme parks and try to recover high-tech secrets stolen from Nostalgia City.  To maintain the park’s theme—and authenticity—I use news items, songs, product names and other touchstones of the 1970s.

In that spirit, here’s the second installment of my 1970s trivia quiz. Answers, of course, can be found on the pages of Nostalgia City mysteries.  But you’ll also find them on the next post here in your mailbox or at

(No fair looking these up on the internet.)


  1. In 1975 which automotive company introduced the Pacer, “the first wide, small car.”

a. Ford
b. American Motors
c. Plymouth
d. General Motors

2.  Which 1970s product was advertised as featuring “rich Corinthian leather”?

a. Lazy Boy recliners
b. Members-Only jackets
c. Chrysler Cordoba
d. Bloomingdale’s bell bottoms

3.  When did the US’s Vietnam War officially end?

a. 1969
b. 1975
c.  1978
d.  1972

4.  The song Evil Ways hit #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 the week of Mar. 21, 1970. Name the artist.

a. Fleetwood Mac
b. Dire Straits
c. Frank Zappa
d. Santana

5.  Who played The Fonz on the Happy Days TV series 1974-1984?

a. Henry Winkler
b. Scott Baio
c. Donny Osmond
d. Bill Bixby

6.  What beer advertised, “tastes great, less filling.”

a. Bud lite
b. Coors
c. Miller Lite
d. Hamm’s

7.  What novelty gift became a craze in the late 1970s and sold in the millions.

a. Chia Pets
b. Beanie Babies
c. Hula Hoop
d. Pokemon Go

8.  David Cassidy starred in what 1970s sitcom?

a. The Brady Bunch
b. Family Ties
c. All in the Family
d. The Partridge Family

9.  If your car had an eight-track, it meant it had,

a.  A  V-8 engine
b. Four-wheel drive
c. A tape player
d. GPS

10.  Which event did not take place in the 1970s?

a. The 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Law was enacted.
b. Girls were first permitted to play Little League baseball.
c. A terrorist bomb destroyed a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
d. The Sting won the Oscar for best picture of the year.

11.  Midnight screenings of which motion picture helped make it a cult classic?

a. The French Connection
b. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
c. Zardoz
d. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

12.  Which baseball player surpassed Babe Ruth’s career home run record in 1974?

a. Mickey Mantle
b. Jackie Robinson
c. Hank Aaron
d. Reggie Jackson

Murder solved by 1950 version of CSI

Movie review: Mystery Street

Blonde floozy Vivian Heldon (Jan Sterling) is talking on the wall phone in the shadowy hallway of her Boston boarding house. Her landlady, appropriately named Mrs. Smerrling, (Elsa Lanchester) makes no pretense about listening in while she prods Heldon for back rent.

“Please honey,” Heldon says into the phone’s wall-mounted mouthpiece. “You gotta. I’m in a jam.”

Soon, Heldon gets herself killed but not before she involves a nervous expectant father she meets in a bar. So far, the 1950 film is a predictable B movie with noir overtones and few expected surprises.  

But Heldon’s murder is not discovered until six months later when a beachcomber finds her skeleton protruding from the sand on Cape Cod. The lack of fingerprints, or other obvious means of identifying the skeleton, lead the detective lieutenant on the case to enlist the aid of Dr. McAdoo (Bruce Bennett), a professor from the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The film then develops into a CSI story 50 years before the Las Vegas crime lab TV series.

Some of the tools and techniques used by Dr. McAdoo seem a bit rudimentary today, but the scientific angles and the solid acting of Lanchester and the detective on the case—Richardo Montalban—make this relatively unknown film worth watching.

A New York Times review when the movie debuted said, “There is more science than mystery in this cops-versus-killer number, but it is an adventure which, despite a low budget, is not low in taste or its attention to technical detail, backgrounds and plausibility.”

This is not the say it’s perfect. It’s slow moving at times, and in one scene a murder suspect escapes a little too easily from a police chase thus extending the suspense.  For the most part, director John Sturges, who would go on to acclaim directing pictures such as The Magnificent Seven and the classic noir Bad Day at Black Rock, elevates the film past its meager budget.  The movie was shot on location in Boston and Cape Cod.

From the get-go, Montalban, as Lt. Peter Moralas, suspects the unidentified skeleton is a murder victim.  He delivers a box of bones, including the skull, to Dr. McAdoo who provides a surprising amount of information on the victim.

As Moralas looks at the bones arranged on a gurney, Dr. McAdoo tells him the skeleton was a woman.

“I suppose you’d like to know her age,” McAdoo says.

“I’d also like to know her height, weight, occupation and the name and phone number of the person who murdered her.”

“I think I can answer all those questions, except the last,” the confident doctor says.

Armed with that information and McAdoo’s guess at when the woman died–based on plants found with the body–Moralas reviews missing persons’ files for women in their early 20s. Thanks to further lab work at Harvard, Moralas thinks he’s found the victim’s name. That leads him to Mrs. Smerrling’s and the intrigue begins. You can see wheel’s turning in the landlady’s head as she remembers details about the victim’s circumstances.

Ricardo Montalban, left, and Bruce Bennett examine a human bone at the Harvard School of Legal Medicine.

With the victim identified as Vivian Heldon, Moralas locates some of her possessions, including a little black book.  The names and phone numbers of 86 men in the book give Moralas a long list of suspects, but he needs one more bit of scientific evidence to prove the death was murder. Again, Dr. McAdoo provides the necessary information, and Moralas is left to hunt for motives. 

Meanwhile, the gin-tippling Mrs. Smerrling, who admits she wasn’t actually married, dreams of ways to cash in on her tenant’s demise.

Although she rates only fourth billing, Lanchester is perfect as the scheming landlady. You know from her expression that she’s only looking out for herself.

Montalban, a star in Mexican films before he was signed by MGM in the late 1940s, was one of a few Hispanic leading men in US films at the time. According to Wikipedia, he was the first Hispanic actor to appear on the cover of Life Magazine. The Times review of Mystery Street said Montalban was “natural and unassuming.” He handled the detective role well and never reminded you of his later, most popular TV role. (You know the one.) 

Late in the investigation, Dr. McAdoo has another tidbit for Moralas, but the detective has already discovered it for himself.

 “Professors work with their heads,” he tells McAddo. “Cops work with their feet.

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