Actress Molly Ringwald Plays Not My Job Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink ... if you were a teenager in the 80s, you watched those movies and thought to yourself: My God, who told them about me!? Molly Ringwald starred in all of them. Now, she tries her hand at the NPR News Quiz.

Actress Molly Ringwald Plays Not My Job

Actress Molly Ringwald Plays Not My Job

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Molly Ringwald
Wendy Waddell

Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink ... if you were a teenager in the 80s, you watched those movies and thought to yourself: My God, who told them about me!? Molly Ringwald starred in all of them.

These days, Ringwald appears on ABC's The Secret Life of the American Teenager, (though this time she plays the Mom) and has just published a book called Getting the Pretty Back.

We've invited Ringwald to play The Robert C. Byrd Memorial Not My Job Quiz. The late Senator, who passed away Monday at age 92, liked to name things after himself ... and who are we to argue? Ringwald answers three questions about the remarkable life of Sen. Robert Byrd.

ABC: My God, who told them about me? Our guest, Molly Ringwald starred in all of them. Now she's on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC. She has a new book out. It's called "Getting the Pretty Back." Molly Ringwald, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MOLLY RINGWALD: Thank you.

: So excited to talk to you, as someone more or less your age who lived in the same kind of suburbs as depicted in those great John Hughes' movies and saw my life reflected on screen. Now in your book, "Getting the Pretty Back," one of the things you say is that because of that success in those movies, you've been preserved at the age of 16, 17 for a lot of people.

RINGWALD: Yeah, in a way. It's sort of like every woman's fantasy in a way. They get to stay a teenager forever. But in my case, I think it gets a little old after a while.

: Is it weird for people to see that you are, in fact, an adult now? And do they act funny around you because of it?

RINGWALD: Well, no, I mean I get the odd question about whether or not I can put on lipstick with my breasts. But other than that, you know, a lot of my fans have families of their own now, and so it goes without saying that if they grew up, I grew up too.

: Yeah.

RINGWALD: So, most people accept it.

: I imagine people also must be grateful to you. Because like I said, your movies sort of spoke for a lot of people at that time.

RINGWALD: Yeah, they're kind of a touchstone. I mean if you grew up, you know, certainly in this country, you know, they were pretty hard to miss and they seem to resonate with subsequent generations. So, I mean, it's pretty nice. You know, people have really nice associations with me. You know, people that have been married for years and they have kids and everything and they say, oh, they're - you know, my first date was going to see "Pretty in Pink" and, you know, I get that a lot.

: Now you were part of this group of actors who were called, I don't think you ever called yourselves this, but the press at the time called you guys the brat pack. You and Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore. I mean, was that real at all? Did you actually like hang out when you weren't performing together?

RINGWALD: Not really. No, it was really just a term that was coined, you know, by this New York magazine writer. We weren't really hanging out. I mean I was quite a bit younger. I was like the only one that was really the age that I was playing and most everybody else was already in their 20s. So, you know, there wasn't really a lot of hanging out going on, on my part at least.

: Really?

RINGWALD: I was sort of home doing homework.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: It turns out that you were young, partially because you got your start as a performer quite young, right? You were...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: Yes, I did.

: And we didn't know this about you, but you are and were at the time a singer.

RINGWALD: Uh-huh.

: In fact, we have - this is a piece of tape. This is the vocal stylings of Molly Ringwald.

RINGWALD: Oh, boy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

RINGWALD: (Singing) Come along get your partner, wear your brand new gown for there's going to be a party in the (unintelligible)

JULIA SWEENEY: Wow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

RINGWALD: ...where you know everybody and they all know you. And you're going to get them just to drive away the blues. When you hear that music starts to play...

: First of all, I have to ask, that's you, isn't it?

RINGWALD: Yeah, that is.

: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Wow.

: You were six, or...

RINGWALD: I was a six-year-old chanteuse with my father's jazz band, the Fulton Street Jazz Band.

: Oh, wow.

RINGWALD: Yeah.

: So your father was a jazz musician. Is that how it came about? That he...

RINGWALD: Yes. And he still is a jazz musician. Yeah, I started performing with him when I was three and a half and recorded my first album when I was six.

: Wow.

RINGWALD: And that was my deep dark past before all the John Hughes movies.

POUNDSTONE: Now do a lot of people that knew of your performances when you were six, are they surprised to see that you're older now?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: That's a great question.

: I mean you really are, if I were to like ask somebody to list things that like saved the '80s to them, they would probably say, okay, Ronald Reagan, Olivia Newton John, Molly Ringwald. You were like hugely iconic of that decade. Does that ever get tired?

RINGWALD: You know, I guess so. You know, in a way I don't really consider myself so much a part of the '80s any more than any other person. You know, I mean it's just a decade that I lived through.

: I'm sorry. I hate to disagree with a guest, but no, that is not true.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: No, I'm saying that's from my point of view.

: Right, okay.

RINGWALD: I don't find - I'm not living in the 80s in any way. I don't really have any association with it other than the fact that I was younger and that's what I was doing. That's what I happened to have been doing when I was a teenager.

: I was just wondering if there was any other decade you'd rather be associated with.

RINGWALD: No, I think '80s is a pretty cool one.

: That's true.

RINGWALD: I mean, it's part - I was just talking to my co-star of "Secret Life," Shailene who's a teenager now, and she says do you think that people are going to look back on our time and want to like dress the way that we are? And I said, well yeah, of course. And she's like, but I mean we don't have any style now.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: I mean, back in the '80s you were like doing something. I said, well that's just the way that I think now because we're in the middle of this decade, but obviously it's going to be vintage one day like everything else.

POUNDSTONE: The covered wagon people used to say that as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Do you think anybody will want to wear a bustle and a snood?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROURKE: Drive around on the great plains.

: We have one more question for you before we go to the game. What we do before our guest comes on is we announce on our Twitter feed, which is waitwait, just one word...

RINGWALD: Uh-huh.

: ...what people might want to ask our guest this week. And this was one of the questions and we have to ask it. It's a particular, I guess, peril of your fame. How often do creepy dudes who have seen "Sixteen Candles" ask you if they can have your underwear?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: More times than I would care to count.

: There you go. It's the burden of fame and success, I'm afraid.

RINGWALD: Yeah. It's actually that one thing that has prevented me from showing the movie to my six-year-old.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: Really close.

: Well, Molly Ringwald, we're so delighted to have you with us. We've invited you here to play a game we're calling...

CARL KASELL, Host:

The Robert C. Byrd Memorial Not My Job Quiz.

RINGWALD: Oh, boy.

: Since the last Senator Byrd, who passed away this week at the age of 92, liked to name things after himself, who are we to argue? We're going to ask you three questions about the remarkable life and career of Senator Robert Byrd. If you get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their home answering machine. So, Carl, who is Molly Ringwald playing for?

KASELL: Molly is playing for Alex Stojda from Montreal.

: All right, ready to play, Molly?

RINGWALD: Okay.

: All right, here we go. Now, you know, Senator Byrd loved to make speeches on the Senate floor. His most memorable one probably being the one he made in opposition to the Iraq war.

However, he once took to the floor of the Senate to protest what? A, the cancellation of the TV series, "Gunsmoke"? B, the removal of spittoons from the bars of West Virginia? Or C, the use of electrical amplification at a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert?

RINGWALD: I'll go with the spittoons.

: The spittoons, he protested the removal of spittoons you think?

RINGWALD: Yeah.

: No, it was actually he protested the cancellation of "Gunsmoke".

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: He really liked "Gunsmoke." What can I tell you?

RINGWALD: Okay.

: That's all right, you still got two more to go, you can still get this. To thank their benefactor, the people of West Virginia erected a statue of him in the rotunda of their state capitol. Local lore has it that the statue is arranged in such a way that what? A, at 5 p.m. his shadow intersects with another to make a dollar sign? B, if you stand beneath it, his hands point at your pockets? Or C, when the wind blows around it in a particular way, it whistles kaching?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RINGWALD: I'll go for the second one.

: You're going to go for if you stand beneath it his hands point at your pockets?

RINGWALD: Yeah.

: You're right. That's what it does.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

POUNDSTONE: Wow.

RINGWALD: How funny.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: His hands are pointing directly into your pockets, whence he derived so much. All right, the last question. As you say, Molly, if you get this one right, you win it all. Like we said, he was honored in his home state for the billions he brought there in federal aid and investment. Among other things, he got the federal government to pay for what in West Virginia? A, an $18 million bridge that goes over a culvert three feet deep? B, a Coast Guard station in a state that's 100 miles inland? Or C, a $40 million museum and research center devoted to the music made with a bent saw? You know, boing.

RINGWALD: What was the second one?

: The second one was the Coast Guard station.

RINGWALD: Huh.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

POUNDSTONE: The audience seems to like that.

: The audience likes that one.

RINGWALD: All right, I guess I'll go with the Coast Guard.

: You're going to go with the Coast Guard station?

RINGWALD: Yeah.

: You're right. That's what it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: The Coast Guard National Maritime Center is in Martinsburg, West Virginia and it oversees mariners who are using the port of New Orleans.

RINGWALD: All right.

: Why is it in West Virginia then? Well somewhere Robert Byrd is smiling about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Carl, how did Molly Ringwald do on our quiz?

KASELL: Molly had two correct answers, Peter, and that's enough to win for Alex Stojda. Congratulations, Molly.

RINGWALD: Yay.

: Well done.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: Molly Ringwald is an accomplished actress. She is also the author of the book, "Getting the Pretty Back." It's in your bookstores now. Molly Ringwald, thank you so much for being with us.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Molly.

RINGWALD: Thank you. Bye.

: Thanks for all the great work.

RINGWALD: Bye.

: Bye-bye, Molly.

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