"American Pie" for the 4th Of July

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." John F. Kennedy "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thomas Jefferson

This week's vCST session focused on 'American Icons', in light of it being 'Independence Day' on 4th July.

We invited members to attend the group with a photo of their own American icon - their favourite person, living or dead. After introductions, we asked members to say why they rate that person so highly.

We asked members what they think of America and Americans generally? Have they ever visited or holidayed there? Have they a favourite place to recommend?


Next, we completed these well known phrases, about or inspired by America, together (by way of a shout out) ...

Independence DAY

Stars and STRIPES

Star spangled BANNER

As American as Apple PIE

Let the cat out of the BAG

Piece of CAKE

Fanny PACK

Jump on the band WAGON

Sit on the FENCE

More bang for your BUCK

Spill the BEANS

Take a rain CHECK

Go cold TURKEY

The whole nine YARDS

I smell a RAT

It's not rocket SCIENCE

Break a LEG

Knock on WOOD

It knocked my socks OFF

Straight from the horse's MOUTH

Plenty more fish in the SEA

Working the graveyard SHIFT

I could care LESS

Put lipstick on a PIG

Long in the TOOTH

She's a KEEPER

First BASE

Ballpark FIGURE


Don't be such a wet BLANKET

Under the WEATHER

I'm a Yankee Doodle DANDEE

Tell me about IT

Shoot the BREEZE

Blow off STEAM

Call it a DAY

Bite the BULLET

Chill OUT

Hair of the DOG

YOU SAY POTATO Next, ask members to guess at the alternative American words for everyday English words. Maybe just select a few of them? Biscuit - COOKIE


Crisps - CHIPS

Aubergine - EGGPLANT

Courgette - ZUCCHINI

Spring onion - SCALLION

Beetroot - BEETS



Coriander - CILANTRO

Porridge - OATMEAL

Treacle - MOLASSES

Mincemeat - GROUND BEEF OR PORK (Remember the 'Trifle' episode of 'Friends')


Ice lolly - POPSICLE

Sweets - CANDY

Alcohol - LIQUER

Candy floss - COTTON CANDY


Jelly - JELLO

Trainers - SNEAKERS

Jumper - SWEATER

Tissue - KLEENEX

Nappy - DIAPER


Vacuum - HOOVER





Underground - SUBWAY

Pavement - SIDEWALK

Zebra crossing - CROSSWALK


Chemist - PHARMACY

High Street - MAIN STREET

Lorry - TRUCK

Estate car - STATION WAGON

Motorway - HIGHWAY

Flyover - OVERPASS

Diversion - DETOUR

Car park - PARKING LOT

Petrol - GAS

Boot - TRUNK

Bonnet - HOOD

Queue - LINE

Post - MAIL

Post code - ZIP

Timetable - SCHEDULE

Rubber - ERASER


Mobile phone - CELL PHONE

Takeaway - TAKEOUT


Holiday - VACATION

Autumn - FALL

Noughts and crosses - TIC TAC TOE

Football - SOCCER

Tick - CHECK

Full stop - PERIOD

This lead us to our first song - ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (You Say Tomato ... )’, from the 1937 movie 'Shall We Dance' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOILZ_D3aRg

(There's a great roller-skate dance sequence after the song in this film clip. Maybe discuss memories of roller skating with members before moving on?)


We then moved on to the pictures and music quiz. This week's virtual prize was a hot dog!

(Simplify as necessary, e.g. give initials or first names and words. Encourage story telling. Reduce content to just photographs and songs if members are finding it difficult to engage in answering questions.)

There are some classic songs interspersed, so your group can have a good old singalong.

1. Who is this actor and cultural icon?

He lived 1931-1955.

What was the name of his most celebrated 1955 movie? - 'Rebel ....... . .....'

Quote: "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

2. Who is this film producer?

He lived 1901-1966.

What animated character was his most famous creation? - ...... .....

Quote: "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

3. Who is this actress and princess?

She lived 1929-1982.

For which 1954 movie did she win a 'Best Actress Academy Award' for? - 'The ....... ....'

Whom did she marry in 1956? - ...... .......

Quote: “...You don't get anything for nothing. Everything has to be earned, through work, persistence and honesty.”

4. Who is this singer songwriter?

Born 1941-

What are his two most celebrated songs (1963 & 1964)? - 'Blowin' .. ... ....' & 'The ..... .... ... . .......'

Quote: "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet."

5. Who is this jazz trumpeter and singer?

He lived 1901-1971.

What was his nickname? - '.......'

For which 1964 song did he win a Grammy Award? - 'Hello .....'

Quote: "I never want to be anything more than I am; what I don't have, I don't need."

SINGALONG. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBrd_3VMC3c

6. Who is this actress?

She lived 1908-1989.

For which 1935 and 1938 movies did she win 'Best Actress Academy Awards'? - 'D........' & 'J......'

She famously had a hostile relationship with which co-star? - .... ........

Quote: "Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation."

7. Who is this astronaut?

He lived 1930-2012.

What date was the moon landing? - .. .... ....

What was the name of the landing craft? - '... .....'

Quote: "It's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind."  

8. Who is this most decorated Olympian of all time?

His nickname is 'The Baltimore Bullet'.

Born 1985-

How many Olympic medals did he win in his glittering competitive swimming career? -

Quote: "You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get."

9. Who is this former US President (2009-2017)?

Born 1961-

Where was he born? - ........

What is his wife's name? - ........

Quote: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

10. Who is this actress and singer?

She lived 1922-1969.

For which 1955 movie did she win a Golden Globe? - 'A .... .. ....'

Quote: "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

SINGALONG. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW2QZ7KuaxA

11. Who is this actress?

Her nickname was 'The Blonde Bombshell'.

She lived 1926-1962.

What was her real name? - ..... .... .........

Who did she sing 'Happy Birthday' to in 1962? - ...

Quote: "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

12. Who is this highest earning box office star of all time?

Born 1956-

What was his highest earning 2010 film? - '... ..... .' ($1.7bn)

Complete this phrase from his 1994 movie? - "Moma always said life was like . ... .. .........."

Quote: "Everybody has something that chews them up and, for me, that thing was always loneliness. The cinema has the power to make you not feel lonely, even when you are."

13. Who is this movie director?

His nickname is 'The King Of Entertainment'.

Born 1946-

What was the name his biggest box office hit? - '........ ....' (1993) (Think merchandise!)

Quote: "Every time I go to a movie, it's magic, no matter what the movie's about."

14. Who is this businessman and philanthropist?

His nickname is 'The Richest Man In The World'.

Born 1955-

He founded which tech company? - '.........'

What is his estimated worth? - $

Quote: "It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."

15. Who is this singer and performer?

His nickname was 'The King Of Rock And Roll'.

He lived 1935-1977.

What was his best selling song in the U.K.? - 'It's ... .. .....' (1.3m sold).

Where did he live? - '.........'

Quote: "Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine."

MUSICAL INTERLUDE. Top 10 Elvis tracks


16. Who is this gay rights activist?

He lived 1930-1978.

What was the name of the riots in Manhattan in 1969 that were said to have been 'the tipping point' for the Gay Liberation Movement in the USA? - '.........'

What celebratory march takes place in London and other cities each year that remember this? - '.....'

Quote: "Imagine a world without hate!"

17. Who is this preacher and civil rights activist?

He lived 1929-1968.

In which year did he deliver his 'I have a dream' speech? - .. ...... ....

YouTube link to speech here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP4iY1TtS3s

Quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

18. Who is this singer songwriter and philanthropist (Books To Children)?

Her nickname is 'The Queen Of Nashville'.

Born 1946-

What were her two UK top 10 hits in 1976 and 1983? - '......' & '....... .. ... ......'

What is the name of her homestead? - '.........'

Quote: "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

19. Who is this actor and disability rights activist?

His nickname was 'Superman'.

He lived 1952-2004.

His foundation lobbies for improved rights and treatments for which condition? - ...... .... ......

Quote: "I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

20. Who is this singer, actress and philanthropist?

She lived 1922-2019.

Who was her co-star in several 1950s rom coms? - .... ......

SINGALONG - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87KV7DMUi1s

21. Who is this three times World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and advocate for Parkinson's disease?

His nickname was 'The Greatest'.

He lived 1942-2016.

What was his former name? - ....... ....

Complete the following quote - "Float like a butterfly - ..... .... . ..."

22. Who is this actor and filmmaker?

His nickname was 'The Duke'.

He lived 1907-1979.

What was his real name? - ...... ...... ........

What 1970 film did he win a Best Actor Academy Award for" - '.... ....'

Complete this quote from that film? - "Get off your horse and - ..... .... ...."

Quote: "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday."

23. Who is this talk show host, actress, media executive and philanthropist?

Her nickname is 'Lady O'.

Born 1954-

What was the name of the 1985 film in which she starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the story of early 1900's black women's struggle against abuse and oppression? - '... ..... ......'

Quote: "Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness."

24. Who is this former US President (1961-63)?

He lived 1917-1963.

Who shot him on November 22, 1963? - ... ...... ......

Where did it happen? - ......

Quote: "Art does not exist only to entertain, but also to challenge one to think, to provoke, even to disturb, in a constant search for truth."

25. Who is this actor, singer and performer?

His nickname was 'Old Blue Eyes'.

He lived 1915-1998.

He was one of which Las Vegas based group? - 'The ... ....'

With whom? - D... M....., S.... D.... J., P.... L...... & J... B.....

Quote: "You only go around once, but if you play your cards right, once is enough."

SINGALONG - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH7iY-wAZ2s

26. Who is this singer, actress and film director?

Born 1942-

Won a Best Actress Academy Award for which 1969 film? - '..... ....'

Won a Best Director Academy Award for which 1984 film? - '......'

27. Who is this actor and Second World War veteran?

He lived 1908-1997.

For which 1941 film did he win a Best Actor Academy Award? - 'The ............ .....'

What was his hit Christmas film, nominated for 5 Academy Awards? - '... . ......... ....' 

Quote: “Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

28. Who is this comedian, actor and singer?

Nickname 'Old Ski Nose'.

He lived 1903-2003.

Who was his comedy partner in 'The Road' movies? - .... ......

Which of his songs won the Oscar For Best Song in 1939? - 'Thanks ... ... ........'

Quote: "The good news is that Jesus is coming back. The bad news is that he's really pissed off."

29. Who is this aviation pioneer and author?

She lived 1897-1937.

She was the first female aviator to fly solo across what? - ... ........ .....

What was the name of her plane? - 'The ......'