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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Release Date:

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 »

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Referenced in Quiz Show (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Are things so different today?
9 February 2008 | by (N Syracuse NY) – See all my reviews

This is the notorious show that got the quiz show scandals rolling. The episode I watched, (from the "Classic Television" DVD, available from PBS), does not contain the famous confrontation between Charles Van Doren and Herbert Stempel, (in which the unpopular Stempel was ordered to get an answer wrong and almost answered it right to screw the producers). Instead it's the second week of a confrontation between two other contestants, (I didn't write down their names), who redid a game because of a disputed answer.

They show the contestants sweating it out in the "isolation booths", (designed so that they didn't hear the answers of their rivals). Some of the questions were obtainable with knowledge of general history, (Who were the winning and losing generals at the battle of Saratoga?). Some of them, such as a list of members of the Continental Congress and what they did, seemed more esoteric, but that's because I didn't know the answers. The knowledge that contestants were being fed answers makes one squirm all the more as they search the far reaches of their minds for them. But it looks so much like similar moments in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" that you have to wonder what is going on now.


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