How Well Do You Remember These Things Only Gen Xers Know About Growing Up in the '80s?



By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: AngelDocs

About This Quiz

Do you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded? Did you tune in to watch Di and Charles tie the knot, or hold hands with strangers during Hands Across America? Remember scrunchies, leggings and high tops with slouchy socks? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the greatest things the '80s had to offer!

Generation X usually includes anyone born from around 1965 to 1984. That means the youngest Gen Xers were heading into high school at the start of the '80s, while the youngest ones weren't even born until the middle of the decade. No matter which part of this group you fall into, the '80s offered plenty of engagement and entertainment for young people. From "Dirty Dancing" for the older set to "Ducktales" for the younger ones, the decade was a time of excess in not only the economy, but also in movies, music, TV and toys.

Remember curling up next to your Cabbage Patch Kids to indulge in the latest book in the "Baby-Sitter's Club" series, or to listen to music by Madonna, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany? Take our quiz and see how much you know about the decade that shaped Gen X!

How many kids did the Huxtables have on "The Cosby Show?"

Claire and Cliff Huxtable were the proud parents of five children -- Denise, Sondra, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. Fans of the chart-topping '80s family series might also remember the precocious Olivia, who became Denise's stepdaughter when she married Martin.


What does it mean to peg your jeans?

Stylish '80s kids knew that pegging or tight-rolling was the only acceptable way to sport jeans. This technique of rolling the cuffs up to form a tight roll of fabric was also popular for denim jacket sleeves.


Which animal was the mascot for the 1984 Summer Olympics?

Gen Xers who were around when the U.S. hosted the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles may remember its mascot, a cartoon eagle named Sam -- no relation to the Muppet Sam the Eagle. The '84 games were also memorable because of the gold medal win by gymnast Mary Lou Retton.


Which VHS competitor died out by the end of the '80s?

Both VHS and Betamax came out in the '70s, determined to dominate the home video market. By 1981, VHS held 75 percent of the market, with Betamax holding onto a 25 percent share. By 1986, only 7 percent of video players sold in the U.S. were Betamax.


"Life is like a ... here in Duckburg."

Any Gen Xer who grew up in the '80s should be able to finish this lyric to the "Ducktales" theme song with ease. Because watching Uncle Scrooge, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie take on the Beagle Boys and Magica De Spell proved that life really was a hurricane in Duckburg.


What toy was created by Xavier Roberts?

Xavier Roberts created one of the top-selling toys of the '80s with the Cabbage Patch Kid. By the mid- to late '80s, parents were willing to roll up their sleeves and duke it out in the store to get their hands on one of these dolls.


Which movie was set at New Trier High School?

Teens and tweens in the '80s idolized John Hughes for his Brat Pack flicks. The 1985 movie "The Breakfast Club" taught young people that in every one of us, there is a brain, an athlete, a criminal, a princess and a basket case.


Which cartoon got its own Hi-C flavor in '89?

If you lived through the '80s, you probably tasted a Hi-C Ecto Cooler at least once. This citrus drink featured Slimer from "The New Ghostbusters," and was so hugely popular that it stayed on the market much longer than the show was in production.


Where was ALF from?

"ALF" was a popular family show that aired from 1986 to 1990. It told the story of ALF, an alien from Melmac who crash landed on Earth and moved in with the Tanner family -- and continuously tried to eat their cat.


What year did the Challenger space shuttle explode?

The Challenger exploded upon take off on January 28, 1986. It was a particularly memorable moment for '80s kids, many of whom watched the explosion from school after teachers tuned in to watch civilian school teacher Christa McAuliffe take part in the mission.


Which movie gave us the always-funny quote, "I know you are but what am I?"

Pee-Wee Herman was huge in the '80s. After the 1985 flick "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" gave us this beloved quote, the actor went on to star on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" on Saturday mornings through 1990.


Who came up with the great idea for "The Baby-Sitter's Club?"

As evidenced by the first book in the series, "Kristy's Great Idea," which came out in 1986, it was Kristy's idea to start the club. The Ann M. Martin series kept kids entertained for well over 100 books as readers tuned in to see what adventure the babysitters would get into next.


What neighborhood were the Goonies trying to save in the 1985 movie?

The 1985 adventure film "The Goonies" told the story of a group of kids from the Goon Docks trying to save their own neighborhood by locating treasure left by One-Eyed Willy. The '80s classic is still s Gen X favorite, with fans tuning in to pay a visit to Mikey, Data Mouth and Chunk.


Which enemy was always on He-Man's case?

"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" aired from 1983 to 1985, and ranked among the most popular cartoons of the '80s. Kids tuned in to see He-Man and She-Ra take on the evil Skeletor, who was nothing more than a creepy bare skeleton donning a purple hood.


If you played "The Oregon Trail" long enough, you were pretty much guaranteed to die of this disease.

Anyone who ever played "The Oregon Trail" knows that it would have probably been easier to survive as a pioneer on a cross-country wagon journey than to actually win this early computer game. Players could die of all kinds of causes, including starving, drowning and the ever-popular dysentery.


Which of these is a major no-no if you own a gremlin?

Look, there are only three major rules when taking care of a gremlin; Don't get it wet, keep it out of the sun, and don't feed it after midnight. Want to know what happens if you break one of these rules? Watch the 1984 film "Gremlins" to find out.


What year did Charles and Diana marry?

England's Prince Charles married Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. The wedding was a huge event, with around a billion people watching on TV around the world. The couple divorced in 1996.


What did baby Jessica do to end up on the news?

People around the world were glued to their televisions after Jessica McClure fell down a Texas well in October 1987. Her rescue was broadcast live, and the toddler went on to live a full, healthy life.


Which show featured the conservative Alex P. Keaton?

Believe it or not, "Family Ties" was supposed to be a show about a pair of hippie parents. Instead their son, Alex P. Keaton -- played by Michael J. Fox -- became so popular with viewers that he gradually took over as the show's star.


Whose father's car did Ferris "borrow" in the 1986 flick "Ferris Bueller's Day Off?"

When Ferris Bueller decided to take a skip day, he did it in style, calling in his best friend Cameron and his friend Sloane. He also borrowed Cameron's dad's Ferrari to take it for a little spin around Chicago.


What year did we hold Hands Across America?

On May 25, 1986, around 6.5 million people held hands to raise $30 million for poverty. Each paid a small fee to join the movement, and the money went toward feeding and housing the hungry and homeless.


Which singer had us all dancing to "Holiday" and "Borderline?"

Madonna's first self-titled album came out in 1983 and made the singer an instant superstar. Fans of all ages grooved along to hits like "Lucky Star," "Borderline," "Everybody" and "Burning Up."


Where would you use a Trapper Keeper?

If nothing else about '80s culture impresses your kids, you can at least take comfort that Gen Xers had the coolest notebooks of all time. Mead's Trapper Keepers featured sliding plastic rings and a cool flap to keep all your papers safely contained on your way to school.


Who was not a New Kid on the Block?

The New Kids on the Block took teen music by storm in the '80s. While their debut album didn't do all that great, their 1988 follow up "Hangin' Tough" broke all kinds of records, and fans screamed for Joey, Jordan, Jon, Donnie and Danny.


Which dance instructor fell for Baby on the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing?"

When Baby and her family went on vacation to a mountain lodge, she never expected to fall in love. Camp dance instructor Johnny Castle, played by Patrick Swayze, swept Baby off her feet to the tune of "Time of My Life."


How do you fix a malfunctioning NES cartridge?

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a smash hit when it was released in 1985 -- by 1990, 30 percent of American households had one. Every '80s kid knew that when the system wasn't working quite right, the best solution was to take out the cartridge and blow in it to get it to work again.


Which team did the Super Bowl Shuffle?

Two months before winning the Super Bowl, the Chicago Bears released a rap song called "Super Bowl Shuffle." It became a huge hit, reaching #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.


Which company was Michael Jackson filming a commercial for when his hair caught fire?

Michael Jackson became one of the biggest stars in the world after the release of "Thriller" in 1982. Pepsi quickly signed him to a $5 million sponsorship. On January 27, 1984, pyrotechnics caused his hair to catch fire while filming a commercial for the beverage brand.


Who is Teddy Ruxpin's BFF?

Animatronics were brand new in the '80s, and the talking Teddy Ruxpin toy was a huge hit, becoming the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986. True fans also had Teddy's best friend Grubby, an octopede that could interact with Teddy as he read his stories.


Who was the youngest Tanner daughter on "Full House?"

"Full House" was a huge family hit when it premiered in 1987. The show told the story of a widow dad who called on his two friends to help him raise three daughters -- eldest DJ, middle daughter Stephanie and baby Michelle.


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