The Quiz Show Essay

The Quiz Show Essay

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The film, “The Quiz Show” is about the famous public revealing of a rigged television production called Twenty-One during the 1950s. The shows main attraction, a Jewish Queen’s resident named Herbert Stempel, rose to fame as families around the county watched the bright contestant correctly answer question after question, week after week. As ratings and profits began to plateau sponsors and producers felt a change of face was necessary. Producers recruit Charles Van Doren an instructor from Columbia University who happens to be the son of Mark Van Doren a prominent poet and distinguished academic. Stempel is instructed to throw the game on a rather simple question, in order to make room for the shows new upcoming star. Although outraged, Stempel follows along with the plan. Producers corner Van Doren and subtly propose rigging the show in his favor. At first Van Doren is appalled, and refuses the offer, but producers ease him into agreeing through strategic planning and manipulation. As fame and fortune overwhelmed the new contestant his morals slowly slip away.
Stempel becomes jealous of Van Dorens immense success, and tries to find ways to revenge the show for dropping him. He soon finds his answer when Harvard graduate and shrewd Congressional lawyer Richard Goodwin senses some uncertainty with the integrity of the show. Through the help of Stempel, and other past contestants who provide clear data confirming that producers prep players prior to the show, Goodwin is able to gather enough evidence to prove Twenty-one is rigged. Van Doren begins to crack under the pressure of the show and the weight of his guilt. With the secret to Twenty-Ones success on the verge of being revealed, Van Doren voluntarily looses the game, by ...


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...ctual roles, or adding in exciting events that revise the storyline. These changes are beneficial to producers because they engage a large audience and generate massive profits. In contrast, they do not always have a positive effect on viewers. Although they are entertaining which is an important aspect of theatre culture, they also are often misguiding. Many spectators take movies at face value, without considering that they may not exactly qualify as primary source material. Even when an historical event is fabricated to teach or enhance a moral message, it still doesn’t compensate for bending the truth. Moviegoer’s may have a positive experience and gain some skewed historical perspective, perhaps better than what they knew before the movie, but they loose out on the truth and therefore, a genuine understanding of the historical event, and its significance.



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