Two contestants were placed in separate isolation booths. Each player in turn would be given a category and asked how many points, from 1 to 11, he wanted to risk. Points increased with the... See full summary »
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1958   1957   1956  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Charles Van Doren ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 1956-1957)
Jack Barry ...
 Himself - Host (3 episodes, 1956-1957)
Herb Stempel ...
 Himself (2 episodes, 1956)
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Storyline

Two contestants were placed in separate isolation booths. Each player in turn would be given a category and asked how many points, from 1 to 11, he wanted to risk. Points increased with the questions difficulty. A correct answer earned the stated number of points, whereas a wrong answer would result in the points being deducted from the player's score. The first player to get 21 points won, unless the other player matched the score and forced a tie. Players could also end the game early if they felt they had enough points to win. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

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Genres:

Game-Show

Certificate:

TV-G
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15 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

21  »

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Trivia

When the questions became so difficult that many games ended in 0-0 ties, ratings plummeted. Producers then decided to give certain contestants the answers beforehand, to boost audience appeal. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Quiz Show (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

The show that ended an era
12 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

In its heyday, Twenty-One was more than a game show. It was a cultural icon, a symbol of hope and inspiration for the millions who gathered around the TV to watch it. It thrust Professor Charles van Doren into the spotlight as a sort of intellectual Everyman, and he too became an icon of the values and morality of the 1950s.

Which made it all the more heartbreaking when it all came crashing down (as immortalized in Robert Redford's brilliant film 'Quiz Show'). The whole show was proven to be rigged and faked; the contestants frauds, van Doren included; the whole nation ended shocked and ultimately disappointed.

Twenty-One, which exists now mostly as a symbol, marked the demise of the era and the decline of morality.


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