Twenty One 9/12/56 - 10/16/58 on NBC. A November 1999 episode from "Time & Again", a MSNBC show, stated "Twenty One" started in March 1956. From Studio 6B at NBC in New York. Jack Barry & Dan Enright Productions hosted by Jack Barry. Hosted by Monty Hall during summer of 1958. Executive producers, Robert Noah, Joe Cates. Produced by Howard Merrill, Al Freedman. Directed by Charles Dubin, Al Freedman
If you know the answer to this question please send it to me. My email address is near the bottom of the page.
Could you please tell me if Albert Freedman who was producer of Twenty One, 1956-58, is he still living ? And is Frank Cooper who produced the game show Dotto, 1958, is he still living? (Posted 10/25/02)
I have received an email that said Al Freedman worked for Penthouse and is still very much alive.
My father Frank Cooper is very much living and working. He is 93 years old.
He is an amazing husband, father, and literary agent. Currently developing a new movie for television and a television series as well as writing his memoirs with a top book writer.
FYI, my Dad developed and created and represented the writers of these game shows, but he was not the producer, nor did he have anything to do with the daily operation of the show.
Pamela Cooper (Pamela Cooper's email was posted to this site 6/21/05.)
Twenty One had two contestants each in their own isolation booth. They tested their knowledge for an unlimited cash prize attempting to get to 21 points. The degree of difficulty of the questions determined the point value, from 1 to 11. The winner of the game received $500 for each point difference between the scores.
Vivian Nearing, Jack Barry
Charles Van Doren, a college professor, is a contestant that entered the Twenty One show, 11/28/56, and defeated champion Herb Stempel on 12/5/56. (On 2/18/57, Twenty One became the first regular series to beat I Love Lucy in its time slot.) Charles became a celebrity overnight and continued to win until 3/11/57, when he lost to Vivian Nearing. In the process, Charles won $129,000. (The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows 3rd Edition spells her name Vivian. The close captioning from the DVD of the movie, Quiz Show, spells her name, Vivienne.)
Twenty One dropped 17 points in the ratings after Charles left, putting the show behind instead of in front of I Love Lucy.
Dan Enright, Jack Barry
Producer Dan Enright wanted Herb Stempel to intentionally lose to clear the way for Charles Van Doren. Herb was deeply resentful, especially when he saw Charles's picture on the cover of Time magazine. In addition, Herb overheard one technician talking to another, saying something to the effect, I'm glad we've got a clean cut intellectual on the show now, instead of a freak (the freak they were referring to was Herb) with a sponge memory. Understandably, Herb was deeply hurt by this. He went to the authorities and told the story of how the show had been fixed. Since there was no real corroborating evidence from any other contestant, the truth didn't come out right away.
Twenty One was dropped in the fall of 1958 amid charges that the program was fixed. Charles Van Doren first denied, as most contestants did, that he had been given the questions and answers in advance. He later admitted the truth, that he had the questions and answers before the show. He lost his teaching job as a college professor, and was dismissed from his poetry reading post on the NBC Today Show. He never taught again, taking a job with Encylopedia Britannica. Van Doren has stayed out of the public spotlight since 1959.
Charles came from one of the most prominent literary families in the country. Carl, his uncle, won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Benjamin Franklin. His father, Mark, who won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry, was considered one of the finest literary critics in the country, as well one of the best teachers in higher education. His mother, Dorothy Van Doren, wrote the book, The Country Wife.
Edward Hilgemeier, Jr.
Dotto was produced at New York CBS Studio 62 (the daytime version). For NBC (nighttime version), it was done at the Colonial Theater in New York.
A standby contestant from the quiz show Dotto, Edward Hilgemeier, Jr., saw another contestant's notebook, that of Marie Winn, that had the answers in it. She gave those same answers when she was on the program. Edward reported what he had witnessed to the authorities.
According to the book "Brought To You In Living Color 75 Years Of Great Moments In Television & Radio From NBC", the Dotto contestant that was defeated by the cheating contestant and Hilgemeier talked with the producers. Both Hilgemeier and that defeated contestant were paid for their silence. After Hilgemeier discovered the defeated contestant was paid a lot more, he contacted The New York State Attorney General's Office. Things started to collapse. Contestant Herb Stempel told about his dive on Twenty One and that Charles Van Doren had been given some of the answers.
Jack Narz (born 11/13/22) was the host of Dotto. He is the brother of Tom Kennedy (real name Jim Narz), who hosted You Don't Say. Jack's brother-in-law was Bill Cullen, the host of The Price Is Right.
Because of the quiz show scandal, the daytime version of Dotto left the air after 8/15/58.
The nighttime version of Dotto ended after 8/12/58.
In addition, a contestant from Twenty One, James Snodgrass, had a copy of the questions and answers in advance, that he had sent to himself via registered mail, 2 days before he was to appear on the show. This was the proof that Twenty One had been rigged.
This set was used in the original show that aired from 1956-1958.
This set was used in the 1994 movie Quiz Show that focused on the scandal involving the Twenty One show.
Twenty One aired again in 2000 on NBC-TV, with Maury Povich (born 1/17/39, Washington, D.C.) as host.
Pictured above, Jack Barry (Christopher McDonald), Herb Stempel (John Turturro) from the movie Quiz Show. TWENTY ONE was the focal point of the Robert Redford 1994 movie Quiz Show. The film was a dramatization of the congressional investigations looking into the rigging of the show. The movie received 4 Academy Award NOMINATIONS - Paul Scofield, Best Supporting Actor (He played Charles Van Doren's father.) - Paul Attanasio, Best Adapted Screenplay - Robert Redford, Best Director - Best Picture.
Twenty One is available on video from - moviesunlimited.com (Search for Twenty-One) -
Nostalgia Family Video (Search for Twenty One).
PBS televised a special called
American Experience The Quiz Show Scandal that was a documentary about Twenty One and other TV game shows in the 1950s.
American Justice - Quiz Show Scandal and Other Frauds (1995) from A&E is available at www.amazon.com . Among other things, this program includes a section with Herbert Stempel, a contestant from the 1950's TV game show "Twenty One".
Herb Stempel 3 part interview from the Archive of American Television - Notice in part 2 of this interview, what Stempel's motivation was for going public about the cheating on Twenty One.
Albert Freedman 8 part interview from the Archive of American Television
This link goes to the Bob Eubanks page from the Archive of American Television. At about 43:41 in chapter 1 of the interview, Mr. Eubanks mentions Dan Enright.
A November 1999 episode of the MSNBC show, "Time & Again" was mostly about "Twenty One" (which started in March 1956 according to this program) and the movie "Quiz Show" (1994). Some people that appeared on this show are then Rep. Oren Harris (D-Arkansas), Charles Van Doren, Dwight Eisenhower, Dave Garroway, Herb Stempel, Dan Enright, Rob Morrow and Ralph Fiennes. There was a rare interview shown with Charles Van Doren (Today Show, NBC, December 4, 1985).
Roger Ebert's review of Quiz Show
Time magazine article
The Remarkable Van Dorens
Time magazine article
The Wizard of Quiz about Charles Van Doren
Charles Van Doren was on the cover of Time magazine, the 2/11/57 issue.
More on Twenty One from Tim's TV Showcase
STU'S SHOW (LIVE, 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET, with rebroadcasts daily at the same time) -
www.shokusradio.com - The show that airs September 30, 2009 is about the following. A true TV pioneer: New York kid show host SONNY FOX will talk about his years hosting "Wonderama" and "Just for Fun" as well as the ill-fated game show "The $64,000 Challenge", sub-hosting "The Price is Right" and "Beat the Clock" during the 1950s, and producing PBS' "The Golden Years of Television" in the early 1980s. That entire series is being released on DVD in November. Back as co-host for this program will be the incomparable BILL FUNT.
Twenty One & Quiz Show last updated 5/12/12