Take no heed of what the publicists say: Not everything can be a smashing success. In its history, the Flyer has covered a number of flops, fizzles, flashes in the pan, and full-bore failures.
Here is a little game for you to play based on 15 years' worth of these stories. Just as in the popular game show Jeopardy, all answers must be phrased in the form of a question, but with one slight difference: You must also include the word "stupid" in your answer.
Here's an example:
In the mid-1990s this Mid-South newspaper hired Chris Davis. He eventually became a staff writer.
A: Why is the Memphis Flyer so stupid?
Got it? Good. Let's play the game.
1) It Came from Canada (100 points): If you believed the "eh"-sayers, this northern import was going to be a miracle balm to soothe the pain and anguish of disheartened Memphis sports fans.
2) Fair Traders (200): A Flyer writer once described this fine chunk of real estate smack in the heart of Memphis as "abandoned, neglected, outdated, forgotten, low-rent," and a "money loser -- take your pick."
3) "Houston, We Have a Problem" (300): When this sports franchise made a pitstop at the Liberty Bowl, the team's lousy play and worse P.R. nearly caused a feud between the CA's Geoff Calkins and CVB president Kevin Kane.
4) "I Am a Rock" (400): Even Bud Boogie Beach couldn't make this place thrive. Sidney Schlenker once proposed a makeover for it, beginning with this groovy new name.
5) The Fresh Prince (500): This short-lived downtown bar was not Prince Mongo's Planet, but owners had a difficult time convincing the Alcoholic Beverages Commission that it wasn't associated with the mad Zambodian.
6) Styling and Profiling (600): Pastor Kenneth Whalum Jr. accidentally set race relations back 10 years when he said that this abandoned commercial structure, once a mecca for consumers, could come back to life by targeting retailers who appeal to the African-American community. He then added that the facility should also include "a Memphis Police Department mini-precinct and a Shelby County Sheriff's Department substation to address safety concerns."
7) Food Fight (700): Everybody knew that this now-defunct addition to Memphis in May's lineup would eventually get its just desserts. Everybody except for the folks at Memphis in May.
8) It's time for a DAILY DOUBLE, so place your wager. The category is "Suds and Duds:" This pair of beverages began appearing on shelves in the 1990s and tapped into Memphis' not-so-famous brewing heritage. Neither were produced anywhere near Memphis.
9) Country Ham (800): Not long ago, you could buy this 2003 mayoral hopeful's used pacemaker on eBay. Some critics believe that he lost all chances of beating incumbent mayor W.W. Herenton when he appeared shirtless on the cover of the Flyer.
10) X-tra Bad (900): John Nadel, an AP sportswriter reporting from Los Angeles wrote this crash-and-burn: "The demise of ---- ---- came as a surprise and a disappointment to those who believed the new ---- ---- had a promising future."
11) The Great Shakes (1,000): This classically minded theater troupe had no trouble attracting talent or audiences, but after three seasons in the mid-1990s it vanished with nary a trace. In one Flyer story a visiting artist from New York spent virtually the entire interview complaining about how unbearably bad the acoustics were in the group's main performance space, the Tennessee Brewery.
12) Phatal Attraction (1,500): Before he made headlines for narcotics possession, businessman Kevin Hunter bet that this indoor NFL knockoff could survive in a market where others had failed.
13) Head of the Class (2,000): This special award for MLGW workers is most certainly a thing of the past. Grab one if you can. They are sure to become a collector's item!
14) City of the Dead (2,500): We knew this tomb was doomed from the day they removed that eerie crystal skull from the rafters.
15) Ta-Ta (3,000): "I'm a boob guy," an unnamed boob guy once told the Flyer, concerning this ill-fated downtown eatery. "And I've got to say," he continued, "the bikini tops were small, but the bottoms were, like, really, really small."
Answers: 1. What were the stupid Mad Dogs? 2. What are the stupid Mid-South Fairgrounds? 3. Were the Oilers stupid or what? 4. What kind of stupid name is Rakopolis? (That’s “Shlenker”) 5. How stupid was “Not Prince Mongo’s Planet”? 6. What was the stupid Mall of Memphis? 7. Who was the stupid person who came up with the Great Southern Food Festival? 8. Why were Memphis Brown and Goldcrest so stupid? 9. Who died and left John Willingham stupid? 10. Has there ever been anything more stupid than the XFL? 11. Was the River City Shakespeare Festival totally stupid? 12. Why were the Pharaohs so darn stupid? 13. What is the stupid Herman Morris bobblehead. 14. What’s not stupid about the stupid Pyramid? 15. Remember how stupid Silk and Lace was?
• 10,000 to 19,500: You are the King of Rock-and-Roll.
• 7,000 to 9,999: You are a Big Muddy Maniac.
• 3,000 to 6,999: You are Bluff Buff.
• 0 to 2,999: You are stupid.