Which Came First: the Book, the Movie, or Something Else?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Which came first, the book or the TV show? The video game or the movie? The fairy tale or the podcast? “Westworld” or “Futureworld”? While you might know a story best in its on-screen form, there may be a book, a graphic novel, or even a comic strip that started it all beforehand (and, surprise!, it's not always the book). See if you can figure out which ones came first, and which ones came later – remember, after all, it's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

When it comes to the fictional superheroes, where did we first meet Iron Man?

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark is a fictional character whose alter ego is the superhero, Iron Man. He first appeared in comic books published by Marvel Comics, making his first appearance in Tales of Suspense No. 39, dated March 1963. The popular movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as Stark wouldn't come out for another 45 years.

Which is the first time we meet Jane Austen's character, Emma?

The 1995 movie stars Alicia Silverstone as the protagonist, and was written and directed by Amy Heckerling -- but it's a modern interpretation of Jane Austen's "Emma," not the first time we hear the story. It's the novel, "Emma" published in 1815, that is our introduction.

Where did we first meet FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who investigates the murder of homecoming queen, Laura Palmer -- and drinks a lot of coffee, in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington?

The movie, "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me," was released in 1992, following the TV show's cancellation. The "Twin Peaks Podcast: A Podcast About Twin Peaks" is a recent addition to the Twin Peaks universe. (And "Venus Descending, although created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, too, was actually a script about Marilyn Monroe.)

Alfred Hitchcock's film, "Psycho," may be the most famous version of the story. But which was its first telling?

Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" was a horror film that hit theaters in 1960. But it wasn't the original story -- Hitchcock based his work on the 1959 novel, "Psycho," written by Robert Bloch. The TV show, "Bates Motel," which aired between 2013 and 2017, was imagined as a prequel to the Hitchcock film.

Is the survival video game, "Resident Evil," based on the movies, or is it the other way around?

The first game in the "Resident Evil" series was released on PlayStation by Capcom in 1996, and over the next 20 years released more than a dozen sequels. The game series spawned a movie franchise under the same title, including multiple live-action films as well as CGI films. Marvel comics released a single-issue comic book based on the game, released with the original PlayStation game in 1997.

Which is the original "Westworld"?

Novelist Michael Crichton wrote and directed the 1973 sci-fi Western, "Westworld," starring Yul Brenner -- the original telling of the story. "Futureworld" followed in 1976. "Beyond Westworld," the first, but short-lived, TV series, debuted in 1980 -- but wasn't the only TV adaptation. In October 2016, HBO debuted a new TV series based on the original film.

Where did we first meet the characters Jerry Lundegaard, the Gunderson's, and small-time criminals Gaear and Carl, in the "Fargo" movie or TV series?

In 2006, the Coen brothers' movie, "Fargo," was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry -- and it's the film where we're first introduced to the characters of this crime story. In 1997, a single episode was made for a TV show that never aired (although the pilot eventually was shown during a "Brilliant But Cancelled" series of go-nowhere TV shows, in 2003). In 2014, however, a newly-envisioned "Fargo" TV series debuted.

Movie audiences were introduced to James Bond in the 1962 film, "Dr. No" -- but where was the first introduction?

"Dr. No," was movie-goers introduction to James Bond. But it wasn't the first time the character was introduced -- in 1958, author Ian Fleming introduced 007 in the first of his 14 books about the spy, "Casino Royale."

Which swashbuckling story of Jack Sparrow and the pirates of the Caribbean came first?

Director Gore Verbinski introduced audiences to Jack Sparrow in his 2003 swashbuckler film, and the first in the series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Concurrently, Disney released a young adult book series, as a companion to the movies, to tell the story of Jack Sparrow's teenage years.

Which "Die Hard" story came first?

In 1988, Americans were introduced to the "Die Hard," and the action-packed life of John McClane. The idea for "Die Hard," though, was inspired by the story of "The Towering Inferno," and after watching it author Roderick Thorp wrote the book, "Nothing Lasts Forever." His book was later adapted into a movie, "Die Hard" -- with a name change for Joe Leland to John McClane, and a new, happy ending.

The pilot for the TV series, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," aired in December 1987. But was our introduction to Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo on TV?

There's no denying the 1987 TV series, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was popular, but was it first? It wasn't. Mirage Studios published a comic book series, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," featuring characters with the same names as in the show, in 1984. The movie, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever," wouldn't come out until 2009.

"The Walking Dead" TV series spawned a lot of companion material. But where did the story begin?

"The Walking Dead" TV series set a viewing record when 17 million people tuned in to watch the Season 7 premiere. But the TV series wasn't where the story began. Writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore have been creating an ongoing Walking Dead comic book series since 2003. The books, TV shows, video games, and other adaptations all came after.

The fictional crime fighter, The Phantom, appears in books, movies, and a comic strip -- but which was first?

The fictional crime fighter, the Phantom, was created by Lee Falk in 1936 -- and first appeared in a comic strip in February that year. Closely following was the Big Little Books, which were illustrated adaptations of some of the comic strip stories. A novel, written by Dale Robertson, told the story of the Phantom's childhood -- but not until 1944. In the 1990s, the Phantom was adapted into a single-player action-adventure game, as well as into a film.

Where was the "Twilight" story first told, in the "Twilight" books, graphic novels, or movies?

In 2005, author Stephenie Meyer's first book in what would become a four-book series, "Twilight," was released -- and introduced not only the young-adult audience but people of all ages to the vampire-themed story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. It wouldn't be until 2008 that the first of five movies was released. In addition, there are subsequent graphic novels, spin-offs, and a lot of fan fiction.

Which is the first story of "The Little Mermaid"?

In 1989, Disney released its beloved animated under-the-sea story of "The Little Mermaid." But "The Little Mermaid" is much older than that, and much older than Disney, itself. This is originally one of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, written in 1837, and follows the same basic story as Disney's version -- although the original little mermaid didn't have red hair. It wasn't until 2007 that a stage musical based on the Disney film opened.

It's off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush -- but do you know which version of "L.A. Confidential" came first?

"L.A. Confidential" is a neo-noir crime story, originally written by James Ellroy. It was the third in his "L.A. Quartet" series of books, and published in 1990. The Curtis Hanson-directed film, "L.A. Confidential," which is loosely based on Ellroy's novel, premiered seven years later. Oh, and there was no graphic novel.

The action-adventure "Assassin's Creed" series is one of the highest-selling video game series of all time. But where did it start -- games, movies, or books?

You probably know it best because of the Ubisoft game series, which began in November 2007. However, according to the video game's producer, the inspiration for the first "Assassin's Creed" in the long-running game series was Vladimir Bartol's 1938 novel, "Alamut."

Where did we first hear Charlie say to his private investigating team, "Good morning, Angels"?

Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson played the roles of Jill Munroe, Kelly Garrett, and Sabrina Duncan, respectively, on ABC's crime drama series, "Charlie's Angels," which aired between September 1976 and June 1981. The always-unseen Charlie, who always met with the "Angels" on speakerphone, didn't premiere on the big screen until 2000.

There were 10 years between the movie, "Rambo: First Blood," and the book, "First Blood." Which was released first?

Did you know author David Morrell's book, "First Blood," published in 1972, has a different ending than the movie, "Rambo: First Blood," which came out 10 years later? The stories both focus on fictional Vietnam War veteran John Rambo -- while in the movie he turns himself in to the authorities, in the book he ends his own life.

Three feature films and a novel have told the story of "I Am Legend," but which came first?

How long can one man survive? The origin of the "I Am Legend" story doesn't star Will Smith or Charlton Heston or Vincent Price -- they starred in the movies, "I Am Legend" (2007), "Omega Man" (1971), and "The Last Man on Earth" (1964), respectively. It's the 1954 science fiction story, "I Am Legend (and Other Stories)," written by Richard Matheson.

Where were we introduced to the members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, during the Korean war?

The TV series, "M*A*S*H," ran for 11 seasons before its record-breaking finale in 1983. But it wasn't the first telling of the story of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korea War. Neither was the Academy Award-winning Robert Altman film, "M*A*S*H*," released in 1970. It's Richard Hooker (real name Dr. H. Richard Homberger) whose story this is, told first in his 1968 novel, "MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors." The TV show, "Trapper John, MD," was one of two spin-offs (a third was tried, but the pilot didn't get picked up). And, surprise! A "M*A*S*H" video game was also developed, released in 1983 for the Atari 2600.

Which is the first appearance of Forrest Gump?

Eight years before the movie "Forrest Gump" hit U.S. theaters, the novel "Forrest Gump," written by Winston Groom, was published. The novel, its first 11 chapters, is direct inspiration for the film -- in fact, the author is quoted saying he had imagined John Goodman, not Tom Hanks, in the title role. There is no musical about good-natured Gump.

Two-thirds of our planet's surface is covered in water, and "The Blue Planet" documentary, also known as "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life," aims to take a deep dive into its environment. But did this BBC series about our planet come first?

The documentary series, "The Blue Planet," premiered in 2001, making it the first in a series of nature documentaries about our amazing planet -- and the 2003 film, "Deep Blue," is the theatrical version of the series. "Frozen Planet," which premiered in 2001, and "Planet Earth," in 2006, are related TV documentary series.

Where are we first introduced to Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter in post-apocalyptic America?

The Academy Award-winning movie, "Blade Runner," which came out in 1982, may be the first time many people first meet Deckard and the synthetic humans called replicants. But the movie -- as well as its 2017 sequel, "Blade Runner 2049," and Boom! comic book series, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- all came after the Philip K. Dick story, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," which was published in 1968.

What was the basis for the animated TV series, "Family Guy"?

The book, "Family Guy: It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One," did not come first -- in fact, it wasn't published until eight years after the animated TV series, "Family Guy," debuted. It didn't begin with "Family Guy," though. The "Family Guy" characters -- specifically Peter Griffin and Brian the dog -- began in Seth McFarlane's 1997 animated short, "Larry & Steve."

Seth Rogen starred in the 2011 version of "The Green Hornet," but it wasn't the first story of this masked vigilante. Which was?

The first comic book based on this character started in 1940, with just six issues. But the origins of The Green Hornet lie farther back than that. The first episode of The Green Hornet was on radio -- the series debuted on January 31, 1936, on WXYZ, out of Detroit, Michigan. It wasn't until 30 years later that the Green Hornet and Kato appeared on their own TV series.

Where did the story of fictional detective Dick Tracy begin?

Dick Tracy was originally named "Plainclothes Tracy," when he appeared as a fictional police detective in a comic strip that debuted in the Detroit Mirror in 1931. Tracy also appeared in graphic novels, the first of which was published in 1936. Since the 1930s, the character has appeared in movies, too, including 1937 movie serial as well as the 1990 Warren Beatty-led, "Dick Tracy."

What is the basis for the book, "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West"?

The 1939 musical film, "The Wizard of Oz," was released in 1939, to critical acclaim. But it wasn't the origin of the story, or basis for the Gregory Maguire novel, "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West." That goes back to 1900, when L. Frank Baum's book, "The Wizard of Oz" was published.

Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller? Where did we first learn about a life of leisure from Ferris Bueller?

The TV show, which didn't last beyond 13 episodes when it aired in 1990, is perhaps most well-known not for introducing us to Ferris (it didn't), but for casting Jennifer Aniston as his sister, Jeanie. Ferris Bueller and his friends first came to life in 1986, in the John Hughes' film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

"World of Warcraft" is the most-subscribed MMORPG in the world, according to Guinness World Records. But did it begin as a game?

"World of Warcraft," also known as "WoW," is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game -- MMORPG -- that's based on the fantasy universe of the real-time strategy game, "Warcraft: Orcs & Humans" that was released in the '90s. The first "WoW"-related release was in 2004. It wasn't until 2006 that "South Park" aired its "Make Love, Not Warcraft." And in 2007, DC Comics published the first of the World of Warcraft graphic novels.

Garrison Keillor created the weekly radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," but is it based on the movie, the book, or the podcast?

The Garrison Keillor-created variety show, "A Prairie Home Companion," has been live on the radio almost every week from 1974 until 2017, although Keillor has retired as host. The movie, also of the same name, didn't premiere until 2006.The companion book as well as the related podcast were also created after the show began airing.

Linus, Lucy, Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts characters are older than you think. When did they first debut?

Charles M. Schulz wrote and illustrated the Peanuts comic strip, originally called "Li'l Folks," starring Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang, from 1950 until 2000. But the beloved Peanuts' TV specials all came after: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965; "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in 1966; and, "He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown" in 1968.

The science-fiction story, "War of the Worlds," has been told in film, TV and radio shows, video games, books, and the list goes on. Which came first?

The story of the war between humanity and invading Martians has been told in books, film, music, TV, and more. The first film was the 1953 release. In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise released a modern-day adaptation. Two seasons of a TV adaptation aired in the 1980s. But the first time the story was told, at least in publication, was in author H.G. Wells' science-fiction novel, "The War of the Worlds," in 1897.

Is the movie "Bridget Jones' Diary" the inspiration for the book, "Pride and Prejudice," or is it the other way around?

The "Bridget Jones' Diary" is a modern-day -- 2001 -- version of Jane Austen's 19th-century novel, "Pride and Prejudice." (And while "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" did come before "Bridget Jones' Diary," it dates back to 1837 -- years after "Pride and Prejudice" was published. But, it doesn't have anything to do with either "Pride and Prejudice" or "Bridget Jones' Diary.")

What started the popular "Alan Wake" franchise -- the book, the TV show, or the video game?

There are two books associated with the Alan Wake franchise. Firstly, "The Alan Wake Files," a 144-page book released with the Collector's Edition of the game, expands the storyline. The second, a derivative novel of the "Alan Wake" video game, was published in 2010. Neither of which is the inspiration for the game -- in fact, the video game series, which began on the Xbox360 in 2010, is the inspiration for both. The TV show, "Bright Falls," which aired in 2010, explored a prequel storyline to the "Alan Wake" video game.

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