Meet 'Mr. Wednesday Night'

By Tyler Riggs

Note: This story was produced for JCOM 2160, Introduction to Online Journalism, which emphasizes hand-coding HTML.

Harry Caines calls himself "Mr. Wednesday Night."

Judging by the way Logan's White Owl Bar and Grill is packed every Wednesday just for him, he may have found the right nickname.

Caines gets his nickname from hosting Quizzo, a weekly pub trivia game that consists of questions ranging from movies and pop culture to Shakespeare and science. The 37-year-old native Philadelphian throws in a healthy dose of offensive, but mostly sarcastic South Philadelphia charm to keep customers coming back for more on what bar employees say was, prior to Quizzo, one of the slower nights of the week for the tavern.

"I think I serve a purpose," Caines said. "I think in the middle of the week, people that go to bars are looking for some entertainment and I think I provide it for them."

He's consistently provided that entertainment for nearly two years now. Having only taken a few weeks off for vacations, holidays and important sporting events, Caines has produced the 40-question game each week since September 2006.

 

While some of the regular customers from the early days of Quizzo have come and gone, Caines said he's done his best to build a rapport with his customers, working to create a game that all comers can enjoy.

"For the most part I think the regulars enjoy what I do and how I do it," Caines said. "I've worked harder to try and ... know what everyone likes as far as questions and as far as jokes are concerned."

Caines' jokes are one of the highlights of Quizzo for most players, but newcomers should be warned: They may be offensive and are definitely R-rated.

"In my opinion, if you show up to Quizzo and I don't insult you at least once in two hours, then you're the most boring person who ever lived," Caines said. "I try not to be unfair. I'm not very religious but I bash atheists as well as people that are Christians and Mormons and what not. I think I bash Republicans and Democrats the same too."

Take a recent Quizzo for example.

"I believe last night I said that Rupert Murdoch, to keep his vitality, drinks the blood of newborn babies," Caines said. "Next week I'll probably make a comment about Obama or Hillary Clinton being, you know, Al-Qaeda operatives. I hit everyone where they live."

Caines brought his brand of pub trivia to Logan from The New Deck Tavern in Philadelphia. While there are many variations of Quizzo played back east, Caines maintains that his version of the game is the traditional version, and the best.

Here's how Caines' version of Quizzo works:

Teams of up to eight people each sit at the same table and work together to write the answers to questions on a score sheet as Caines yells the questions to the crowd. There are four rounds each night, with the first, second and fourth round consisting of Caines shouting the questions. The third round is called the "speed round" and involves each team getting a sheet of paper with 10 questions and multiple choice answers. Each team has about five minutes to fill out the answers on the sheet and turn their answers in to Caines.

After each round, Caines sits in a corner of the bar and "grades" the sheets, announcing the scores to the bar after he's finished.


There's a twist to the scoring, however: Each team can choose to double its score from either the first, second or fourth round. Once a team uses its double, however, the team doesn't get it back.

The highest score possible is 50, but Caines said only three teams have ever scored above a 40. Scores in the mid-to-upper 30s usually will earn a team first place, Caines said. The top three teams each night receive gift certificates for free meals at The White Owl.

Caines said he plans to keep the game going throughout the summer as long as there is enough interest. Quizzo starts at 8 p.m. each Wednesday at The White Owl, 36 W. Center, and patrons should show up at least 30 minutes before the start to ensure they get a table.

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