People milling around Union Station on Monday morning were greeted by speakers blaring decade-old hits such as Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract,” Ace of Base’s “The Sign” and Blur’s “Song 2.” But instead of getting ready to dance, organizers used the music to welcome the Trivial Pursuit 1990s Time Capsule Edition.
While an announcer asked spectators to gather around “for an event of epic proportions,” the countdown began and a door on the side of the truck disguised as a “traveling time capsule” swung open, taking the curious crowd back to what creators of the game are calling “the most trivial decade.”
Hopping out of the time capsule, host “Rick,” played by Simon Feil, talked to the “future dudes” about how he was chosen to be locked in the time capsule in 1999. Rick mentioned he entered the time capsule contest, in which the winner would represent the decade, by using his “automatic dial-up like 500 times” and how it was worthwhile because he made a lot of “cha-ching” when he sealed the deal.
Next to emerge was political consultant James Carville, who was welcomed by Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and Rick, who introduced the Ragin’ Cajun as one of the “movers and shakers” of the ’90s. Carville, the featured celebrity on the Washington, D.C., leg of the eight-city tour, donated a copy of “All’s Fair: Love, War, and Running for President,” which he and his wife, Mary Matalin, wrote in the early 1990s.
“Let’s get jiggy with it,” Carville said, as he and Rick read questions from each of the six categories created for the new game edition:
• “Oops”: mistakes and mishaps that made the news;
• “Wired”: technology, gadgets and the Internet;
•“Viewing”: ’90s television;
• “Important:” real news;
• “Hangin”: games, sporting and reading; and
• “Trends”: food and fashion.
Audience members answering correctly received a complimentary edition of the game.
“How many of y’all are not from Washington?” Carville asked, as the majority raised their hands. “Oh, that’s why you’re so smart!”
The host’s uncle, Dan Feil, watched his nephew perform on stage for the first time.
“I [played Trivial Pursuit] in the ’70s or ’80s,” Feil said. “The ’90s to me is not that far away.”
The nation’s capital is the final stop for the Trivial Pursuit cross-country tour, which also hit Seattle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Denver, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Nashville, Tenn. With different celebrities in each city, the time capsule gained new artifacts, such as a Wilson Phillips CD signed by Carnie Wilson, autographed ice skates from Nancy Kerrigan and a jersey from retired Philadelphia Phillies slugger John Kruk.
To make the traveling time capsule a reality, Hasbro corralled former Smithsonian Institution curator James Weaver, who collected items representative of the 1990s. Some items on display behind glass are Troll dolls, U2’s “Zooropa” platinum album, baseball bats used by Cal Ripken and Sammy Sosa, a stuffed Barney and presidential campaign memorabilia such as “Clinton Cola” and a Ross Perot button.
Carville, who did not break into dance as the “Macarena” came on, said he is more of a “sports kind of guy, not cultural.” His favorite items in the time capsule were Ripken’s glove and Michael Jordan’s jersey.
“I think I would be really weak in some categories,” Carville said. “I’d be good at sports, and I guess politics. I’d be an expert at fake scandals.”
The game, which is in stores now, mostly targets the 18-to-35-year-old crowd, but “it also has appeal to the aging baby boomers as myself,” said Mark Morris, director of public relations for Hasbro.
“‘Oops’ is my favorite category, it’s all blunders and snafus,” Morris said. “It’s fun because people think, ‘How can you keep coming out with new editions?’ New trivia is being created every day — we never run out.”