The Infamous Rigged Episode of "Twenty-One"

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Have you seen the movie Quiz Show? It tells the (somewhat fictionalized) story of an American quiz show scandal in which a series of 1956 episodes of the TV game show Twenty-One were rigged such that (spoiler alert) Herb Stempel would take a fall and Charles Van Doren would win. This was part of a pattern of rigged game shows at the time, and eventually led to strict regulations of the game show industry.

I've seen Quiz Show several times, and we've even run our own quiz on the movie. But I'd never seen the actual episode of Twenty-One that caused the trouble in the first place. Thanks to YouTube, here it is -- this is the final Van Doren/Stempel match. As you watch this, keep in mind that both men are aware that the show is rigged...and this is the fourth episode in which they went head-to-head. The game progresses differently from what the movie showed; pay careful attention to how this ends.

For more on Twenty-One, check out Wikipedia's run-down.

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February 28, 2013 - 4:32pm
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