The Quiz Show scandals


Let’s all take a small history lesson dealing with one of America’s most popular pasttimes in the 50s’, televised Quiz Shows in which participants would answer trivia/general knowledge questions and win prize money for that.

I was led to this amazing article in the New Yorker magazine from an India Uncut link (hat tip: Amit Varma), where Charles Van Doren, one of the most prominent television personalities of 50s America talks about the entire Quiz Show scandal and how he was unwittingly pulled into it by Studio Producers of a show called Twenty One.

The article by itself is amazing reading and provides a very honest account by Doren of the entire episode starting from how he was approached by the producers of Twenty One, his initial hesitation to be part of something like this, how he finally succumbed to pressure and went on the show, how he went on to become one of the most recognized television celebrities of his time, and finally his fall from grace when his competitor blew the whistle on the entire ‘Quiz Show Scandal’ as it is popularly known as.

This led me to further explore the issue, and the first obvious choice was Wikipedia. And as it turned out this entire issue was one I had heard about a few years ago when I myself was attending a quiz at IIM Indore (hat tip: Ashwin or Uddu who had one quiz question related to this entire thing). It turns out there is a 1994 movie starring among others Ralph Fiennes, who is on my all time favorite actors list, called “The Quiz Show“, and guess what, I think I actually have that movie somewhere in my collection. Guess it is time to pull out the DVD and pop it into the player and actually watch the movie.

The following is a collection of all related links to this particular post –

– The New Yorker article which started it all
– The Wikipedia link related to the Quiz Show Scandals
– The Wikipedia link related to the movie, The Quiz Show
– The IMDB link to the movie, The Quiz Show

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