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 <email@example.com>
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
(1952) show, and be a panelist on NBC's radio show, "Conversations." See more
At the beginning, Goodwin overhears news about Sputnik's launch. Van Doren appeared on "21" from November 1956 to March 1957. The Soviets launched Sputnik in October 1957. See more
I asked myself, "why would he do this, he knows I'll come after him?" Then it occurred to me. He knows I'll come after him.
Albert Freedman works for Penthouse Magazine. See more
Written by Kurt Weill
and Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett appears courtesy of Curb Music Company and MCA Records See more