This is "Jeopardy!"
Hello and welcome to the game, a test of skill and knowledge where you--the contestant--must recall salient infor mation on a moment's notice. And today's categories are . . . all about the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
From Burbank to Agoura, these valleys runneth over with tidbits of history that range from semi-significant to downright superfluous. Test your knowledge of your surroundings. Never has trivia been so trivial.
Ladies and gentlemen, good luck.
Let's try "Valley of Infamy" for $100.
* This park, known for its natural beauty, is named for an outlaw.
What is Vasquez Rocks Park?
The jagged topography of this county park served as a hide-out for 19th-Century bandit Tiburcio Vasquez and his gang. Some considered Vasquez a folk hero: During the 1850s and 1860s, as Anglo immigration overwhelmed the existing Mexican population, Vasquez rustled the newcomers' cattle and robbed their stagecoaches. Dubbed the "Scourge of California," he was hanged for murder in 1875.
How about "Violent Land Acquisition in the Valley."
* Site where Mexico surrendered California to the United States.
What is the Campo de Cahuenga?
This small adobe on Lankershim Boulevard, across from Universal Studios, was where Mexican military leaders signed the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga with Lt. Col. John C. Fremont, commander of the California Volunteers. After winning early battles in California, the Mexicans sensed momentum turning against them. As enemy forces advanced from the south, they hurried north to Fremont, who promised lenient terms: Just hand over your cannons and go home. The next year, the Mexican War ended on all fronts.
I'll stick with " Violent Land Acquisition " for $200.
* Site of the only professional football game ever played in the Valley.
What is Pierce College?
The year was 1985 and the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League had reached a point of desperation. Averaging only 4,000 spectators a game at the Coliseum, the team moved its final home contest to Pierce, where it had earlier played an exhibition game. An estimated 8,200 fans watched quarterback Steve Young lead the Express against the Arizona Outlaws and their star player, Doug Williams, who would take the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl just three years later. Arizona won, 21-20, but Express players figured they had found a new home in the Valley.
Both the team and the league folded soon after.
"Death Valley" for $300, please.
* Burial site of author Edgar Rice Burroughs.
What is a walnut tree on Ventura Boulevard?
The creator of Tarzan first came to the Valley in 1919, when he purchased a 550-acre estate from Gen. Harrison Gray Otis and named it Tarzana Ranch. The surrounding community, which then called itself Runnymede II, soon adopted Tarzana as its moniker. Most of Burroughs' land was subdivided and sold off in ensuing years. The only remaining parcel is occupied by a Spanish-style office building along the boulevard. When Burroughs died in 1950, his ashes were buried beneath a large tree in front.
Let's try "Great Moments in Valley History" for $300.
* Where gold was first discovered in California.
Where is Placerita Canyon?
In 1842, six years before the discovery at Sutter's Mill started the real gold rush, Francisco Lopez made a find of his own in the Santa Clarita Valley. Lopez was inspecting cattle and hunting for game when he settled down to nap beneath an oddly shaped tree on a riverbank. After dreaming that he was floating in a pool of liquid gold, Lopez awoke and dug into the ground. He found the real stuff. Hundreds of prospectors hurried to the Santa Clarita area, and more than 1,000 pounds of gold were mined before the lode ran dry in 1847.
The tree where Lopez made his discovery, called the Oak of the Golden Dream, still stands at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.
"The Valley and the Universe," please.
This is our Daily Double. It is a visual Daily Double, so look at the picture and tell us:
* Hokey space alien who took flight from this Mission Hills street.
Who is E. T.?
In the famous chase scene from "E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial," the accordion-necked visitor is riding in the bicycle basket of human friend Elliot. Cornered by federal authorities, E. T. gives Elliot and his bike the gift of levitation. All of this transpires on a stretch of White Oak Avenue, north of Chatsworth Boulevard. It is no mystery that director Steven Spielberg chose this location to portray his trademark suburban vision. The wide pavement is lined by 75-foot-tall deodar trees. On a clear day, foothills rise brown and spotted with homes in the background. Spielberg also filmed at a nearby playground that residents have since referred to as E. T. Park.
"How Green Is My Valley" for $200.
* Site of the largest remaining grapefruit orchard in the Valley.
What is the headquarters for Teledyne Systems Co.?
The aerospace manufacturer is located at Nordhoff Street and Corbin Avenue in Northridge on a surviving parcel of what used to be the 700-acre Mulholland Orchard Co. Descendants of William Mulholland, the man who brought water to Los Angeles from the Owens Valley, had operated the vast orchard since 1916, when agriculture ruled the Valley. Nowadays development reigns supreme, and Teledyne stands apart because it has reserved 12 acres of its company grounds for 500 surviving trees. Employees and senior citizens groups pick most of the fruit.
"Valley Largess" for $400.
* Site of the largest hat in the San Fernando Valley.
What is the Walt Disney Co.'s new animation building?
Designed by architect Michael Graves, this cartoon headquarters features a two-story version of the cone hat worn by Mickey Mouse in the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of "Fantasia." Never one for architectural subtlety, Disney also boasts 19-foot statues of the Seven Dwarfs on an adjacent building, also a Graves design. While some critics assail such excess as garish, Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner told The Times earlier this year: "I think our buildings make you smile."
"Wild, Wild Valley," please.
* This movie cowboy doubled as Northridge's longstanding mayor.
Who is Montie Montana?
Montana settled in Northridge in the 1940s, buying a ranch among Hollywood stars who lived in the community at that time. Perhaps best known for his annual appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade, he also displayed his expert skills in such films as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Tumbleweed Kid." But during his reign in honorary office, Montana committed a political gaffe of national proportions: Riding in the 1953 inauguration parade for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he showed the bad judgment to lasso Ike. "I was lucky the Secret Service didn't ventilate me," Montana said.
Players, it is time for Final Jeopardy. Here is the category on which you will base your wager (that wager being the 25 cents you paid for this newspaper--was it worth the price?). The Final Jeopardy category is "Romance and Global Politics in the Valley." Good luck.
* The airstrip where Humphrey Bogart sent Ingrid Bergman away in "Casablanca."
What is Van Nuys Airport?
Legend has it that Burbank Airport provided the setting for Bogart's famous goodby. But the airplane that departed with Bergman and Paul Henreid, who played her stuffy Nazi-resisting husband, was actually filmed during a late-night shoot in Van Nuys, at what was then called Metropolitan Airport. And, truth be told, all the runway scenes that included actors took place inside sound stage No. 1 at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, where technicians re-created a dim Moroccan airstrip.
1-3 correct: The San Fernando Valley Historical Society has a 12-step program for people like you.
4-6 correct: Go directly to Van Nuys. Do not pass Go.
7-8 correct: The Encino Chamber of Commerce is looking for a few good men.
9-10 correct: You need to get over the hill more often.