An idealistic young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show "Twenty-One": Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America's leading literary families. Based on a true story. Written by
Tim Horrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.
Did You Know?
In January, 1957, Herb Stempel
and Charles Van Doren
actually had a series of three scripted ties and Charles Van Doren
finally won on the fourth game. While Charles Van Doren
did lose to Vivienne Nearing, he actually played against her three times to a tie before losing. He had beat her husband, Victor Nearing, earlier in the year. He signed a 3-year contract for $150,000 ($50,000 a year in the movie, pretty much got it right) in April, 1957, to guest on Steve Allen
's show, guest host the Today
show, and be a panelist on NBC's radio show, "Conversations." See more
During the lunch scene, Goodwin describes the Reuben Sandwich as the only entirely invented sandwich entered in a sandwich contest by Reuben Kay. Some claim that a wholesale grocer named Reuben Kulakofsky created the sandwich at Omaha's Blackstone Hotel in 1925. However, Fern Snider, a waitress at the Blackstone, entered the recipe in a national sandwich competition in 1956, and won. See more
Eleven points will bring you to 21 and you will be our new champion! Because of a disagreement with his commanding general, Ulysses S. Grant was virtually placed under arrest for a brief time early in 1862. Who was the commanding general of the Union army at that time? Tough question.
Charles Van Doren
Just so oddly familiar.
NBC and Geritol were never implicated in the quiz show scandals. See more
"MACK THE KNIFE"
Written by Kurt Weill
, Bertolt Brecht
and Marc Blitzstein
Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Atco Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products See more