You can make a difference...

Twenty-One (quiz show, hosted by Jack Barry)

     (NBC Primetime, 1956 - 1958)

     [aka: "21";

      This Barry & Enright production was one of the first shows
      investigated by Congress during the quiz-show scandals of
      1957-58; disgruntled contestant Herbert Stempel testified
      how producers forced him to "take a dive" and lose, while
      "rigging the show" -- feeding answers to contestants in
      order to manipulate who won and lost for the most dramatic 
      ratings; 

      Contestant Charles Van Doren Jr. was a fair-haired young
      Harvard professor and son of an older celebrated Harvard 
      professor-author; became a huge instant media celebrity
      after he won big on the show and bumped the long-running
      Stempel; Afterwards Van Doren was hired by NBC as a "Today
      Show" correspondent and it seemed like his future was bright;

      All this came crashing down when he later admitted that he
      received answers to questions in a pre-show "practice" --
      these were the same questions he was later asked on the 
      live telecast, which guaranteed he would win;

      The disclosures not only embarassed the networks and made
      Van Doren lose his NBC gig and Harvard teaching position,
      but it also made quiz shows in generally unpopular for
      awhile; and it prompted laws in congress to be passed
      to prevent the practice of "rigging" in the future; 

      For a time, this scandal was also the ruination of Barry &
      Enright who became national pariahs; But since the only
      real sin in the film/TV is not making money, the dynamic
      duo returned later with a series of commercially successful
      daytime shows including "The Joker's Wild", "Tic Tac Dough", 
      "Bullseye", "Play The Percentages" and "Hot Potato";

      Jack Barry died of a heart attack years later in 1984,
      while jogging near his home in New York City; 

      10 years after his death, events surrounding the rise and fall 
      of "Twenty-One" were dramatized in the 1994 motion picture 
      "Quiz Show" directed by Robert Redford, which starred Ralph
      Fiennes, Rob Morrow and John Tuturro]


Theme: "Twenty-One"

    [aka: "21"]

     Composer: Paul Taubman (ASCAP)

     1978 Publisher: [listed without publisher in the 1978
                      ASCAP Index of Performed Compositions]

     1997 Publisher: [listed without publisher in the 1997
                      ASCAP ACE Repertoire database]

     Copyright Date:
     Renewal   Date:

     Recordings:
          [on soundtrack of motion picture "Quiz Show", available
           on video cassettes, but not on soundtrack CD]

You too can get involved...  

Return to the 1950s TV Series Title Page


Copyright 1960 - 2003 by The Media Management Group. All Rights Reserved