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?
No part of the game show cover up was against any law, and no one went to prison. Individuals were prosecuted for obstruction of justice and perjury for their part in covering it up. It led to massive changes in laws regarding contests. Most quiz shows were canceled, and the genre nearly died. One of the few to survive was a bowling show; the sport is difficult to fix on television. In the 1970s, a new generation of game shows used puzzles and word play rather than trivial knowledge. Limits restricted the length of a championship run and amount that could be won. See more
During the "Today Show" interview, flags are visible as the camera pans to the shot of the crowd. The present-day South African flag is clearly visible. See more
Stempel is an underdog. You know, people root for that. It's a New York thing.
Queens is not New York!
Herbert Stempel went to work for the New York City Transit Department. He still lives in Queens. See more
DANCING IN THE DARK
Written by Arthur Schwartz
and Howard Dietz See more