The Ultimate Sereen Test

updated 02/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Every night across this great land, perplexed moviegoers are kept awake by nagging questions such as: "Could Betty Grable fill out a pair of fishnet stockings better than Jamie Lee Curtis? Who's the best actor of all time? Does anyone ever get lost in a multiplex cinema?" In the interests of science and a good night's sleep, PEOPLE sought to answer those questions with a poll in our Jan. 12 issue. On these pages, thanks to the 9,759 of you who responded, we clear up some of these timeless Hollywood mysteries:

Could John Wayne whip Sylvester Stallone?

Better Pee-wee Herman should face heavyweight contender Mike Tyson, said readers, than for Rocky to take on the Duke, who got a 70% "yes" vote.

Could Madonna steal a man from Lana Turner?

Only 11% of readers thought the Material Girl could get her hands on the goods.

Is Jack Nicholson scarier than Peter Lorre?

54% of the readers were leerier of Lorre.

Does Sean Penn want to be alone more than Greta Garbo?

A near tie at 49% for Penn, 48% for Garbo. Presumably the other 3% thought the privacy-seeking pair should be alone together.

Could Harrison Ford out-swashbuckle Errol Flynn?

If it came to star wars, 58% think Captain Blood could kick Han Solo from here to Indiana, Jones.

Did Marlon Brando look better in a leather jacket than Tom Cruise does?

Cruise was in control with 57%. Maybe people weren't thinking of The Wild One, but of the newer, larger Mondo Brando.

Could Barbra Streisand out-sing Judy Garland?

With one vocal cord tied behind her back, said the Streisand faithful (all 61 % of them).

Could Betty Grable fill out a pair of fishnet stockings better than Jamie Lee Curtis?

When it comes to Grable and legs, 76% of readers support her hose.

Did Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan look better swinging on a vine than Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner?

Me Tarzan, you win. Douglas and Turner beat Hollywood's most famous swingers with 56% of the vote. There was some question about monkeying with the ballots, but Cheetahs never prosper.

Who is the greatest male movie star of all time?

Cary Grant died on Nov. 29, and the memory of his elegant talent was on a lot of people's minds. He won, with 18% of the vote, followed by Clark Gable (16%). John Wayne (8.2%) and Spencer Tracy (7.9%) were third and fourth. Jimmy Stewart (7.3%), in fifth place, was the highest-ranked living actor, but you had to go to Paul Newman (4%), at No. 8, to find someone who's still making movies.

Who is the greatest female movie star of all time?

No contest: Katharine Hepburn steamrollered everyone with 36%. Bette Davis was second (14%), followed by Meryl Streep (8%). Ingrid Bergman and Liz Taylor were next (tied at 6%). Jane Fonda finished 13th, two places below Doris Day.

What is your all-time favorite movie?

Frankly, my dears, you gave a damn. Gone With the Wind (26%) cut through the competition like Sherman marching through butter, or something. You had to listen very carefully to hear The Sound of Music in second place, way back at 4.6%, edging out Casablanca (4.4%) and The Wizard of Oz (4.3%).

What movie made you cry the most?

Love Story (6%) and GWTW (5%) were runners-up; Terms of Endearment (11%) won the old bawl game.

Which contemporary male film star would you consider a good role model for your children?

The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy, in that order (Robert Redford, 16%; Paul Newman, 11%). Another famous cowboy, John Wayne, came in 11th place with 2%.

Which contemporary female star would you consider a good role model for your children?

Meryl Streep (20%) won this category handily. Jane Fonda, spurned in the greatest female movie star sweepstakes, came in second (9%), followed by Sally Field (8%).

Who's the most overrated movie actor today?

Yo, Adrian, omnipresent Sylvester Stallone won by a knockout—32% vs. 14% for Sean ("I vant to be alone, slime bucket") Penn.

Who's the most overrated movie actress today?

You don't have to make a lot of movies to be considered overrated. Take Madonna, for example—18% of our respondents did. Meryl Streep—remember, your favorite role model?—came next (9%), followed by Joan Collins (7%), Brooke Shields (5.5%) and Jane Fonda (5.3%).

And now, the True/False part of the test:

Today's stars are better looking than stars 40 years ago. (False: 65%)

Today's stars are smarter. (False: 53%)

Today's stars dress better. (False: 80%)

Today's stars have bigger egos. (False: 84%)

Today's stars have more plastic surgery. (True: 87%)

Rank the following professions from 1 to 10 in order of trustworthiness, with 1 as most trusted (average score in parentheses).

1 Teacher (2.93)
2 Doctor (3.48)
3 Journalist (4.89)
4 Aerobics instructor (5.01)
5 Lawyer (5.40)
6 Private detective (5.67)
7 Movie star (5.99)
8 Corporation president (6.33)
9 Sales rep (7.02)
10 Elected official (7.23)

Should black-and-white movies be colorized?

78% percent of readers paled at the thought.

What is the main reason you go to a movie?

A clear majority, 57%, say they go for the story. Of the rest, 20% go for the stars, 9% because of a critic's opinion and .5% for the free parking.

Which of today's movie stars is most likely to be around 20 years from now?

The Top Five, in order? Tom Cruise (15.2%), Meryl Streep (14.9%), Michael J. Fox (11%), Kathleen Turner (5.1%) and Harrison Ford (4.8%). Sorry, Pia (but you'll show 'em, kid).

Which of today's movie stars is least likely to be around 20 years from now?

It's those Penns again (he, 23%; she, 14%) followed by Sylvester Stallone (9%), Rob Lowe (5%) and Eddie Murphy (3%).

What do you miss most at the movies?

58% of you wish that, more often, theaters were alive with the sounds of sentimental musicals.

What drives you craziest in theaters?

Talking (66%), smoking (12%), late arrivals (8%), people who neck in front of you (4%) and noisy candy wrappers (2%).

If you could step out of your life and into a movie, which one would it be?

9% of you would like to be Gone With the Wind, 3.6% fantasize about Romancing the Stone and 3.1%—a tie—would like to star in Star Trek IV or be instrumental to The Sound of Music.

If they made a movie of your life, who should play you?

Guys (8.6%) want Robert Redford; women (9.2%) want Sally Field.

Have you ever gotten lost in a multiplex cinema?

A disoriented 11% of you have, 87% of you haven't, and the remaining 2% of you are presumably still trapped watching Down and Out in Beverly Hills Cop or The Empire Strikes Back to the Future, but you aren't sure which.

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