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?
's son was actually only an infant at the time of the quiz show scandal. Herb Stempel
had been trying to tell people that the show was fixed long before he lost his run; it was only after the CBS game show Dotto
(1958) was exposed as rigged in May, 1958, did people start to listen to him, not publishing the accusations until August, 1958. See more
Minutes before 'Twenty-One (1956-1958)' begins, viewers are seen turning on their TV sets, and a caption for the show comes on (instead of the previous program or some commercials). This may or may not be authentic, but after the quiz begins some late viewers turn on their TV sets, and they also get the static caption. See more
I know what you're gonna accomplish, I just don't know what he's gonna accomplish.
You want to know what? If I do nothing else I will convince them that Hebert Stemple knows what won the God-damned Academy Award for best God-damned picture of 1955; that's what I'm gonna accomplish.
Albert Freedman works for Penthouse Magazine. See more
Referenced in Cleanflix
Written by Kurt Weill
and Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett appears courtesy of Curb Music Company and MCA Records See more