“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Answer is Marty…

Posted on May 31, 2020 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Herbert Stempel was the fall guy and whistle-blower of early television, whose confession to deliberately losing on a 1950s quiz show helped drive a national scandal. His name in history is connected to winning contestant Charles Van Doren. This showdown was chronicled in the 1994 flick, Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford, and starring John Turturro as Stempel and Ralph Fiennes as Van Doren (who died last year).  HERB STEMPEL ->

“`Stempel’s life was defined by a small screen face-off late in 1956, when he and Van Doren executed a fraudulent display of knowledge on Twenty-One, part of a wave of game shows that offered huge prizes for trivia experts. Confessions by Stempel and others helped lead to the congressional ban of rigged game shows, and to the cancellation of Twenty-One.

“`Stempel, born in New York City and the son of Jewish immigrants, was a natural for the quiz program. Audiences were turned off by Stempel’s smug attitude after a six-week run. Producer Dan Enright’s solution was to have Stempel lose to the more charismatic opponent Van Doren, scion of a prominent scholarly family and himself a rising star at Columbia University. Stempel claimed that Enright promised to make him a question consultant for Twenty-One and to get him an appearance on The Steve Allen Show.

“`Stempel’s televised downfall was especially painful for the Queens resident. His question: Which movie received the Oscar for best picture in 1955?  Herb would say he knew the winner was Marty. He had seen the film three times, relating to the tale of a lonely butcher in New York City. But was compelled to guess On the Waterfront, the Oscar winner of 1954.

“`Van Doren (right) would continue winning for months, and he was celebrated in a Time Magazine cover story. Herb’s subsequent declarations of rigging were initially dismissed,  but as contestants on other shows made similar statements, authorities began to take action. A grand jury convened in New York in 1958 and congressional hearings began the following year,  with Stempel and Van Doren both testifying and acknowledging their complicity.  Stempel eventually lost his game-show winnings in poor investments and business deals.

“`Stempel re-emerged as a public figure in the 1990s,  when Twenty-One was featured in a Julian Krainin documentary and in Redford’s movie, for which Stempel served as a consultant. He would later say Quiz Show distorted his life and personality.

“`Herbert Stempel was ninety-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2020 at 9:03 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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