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Encyclopedia > Charles Van Doren
Charles Van Doren (right), with Vivian Nearing and Jack Barry on "Twenty-One"

Charles Lincoln Van Doren (born February 12, 1926, New York City), a noted American intellectual, writer, and editor, is still remembered best for his involvement in television's quiz show scandals of the 1950s. He confessed in a public forum before Congress that he had been given the right answers by the producers of the hit show Twenty-One, whose producers used his on-screen appeal successfully to attract more viewers. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3722x2862, 1208 KB) (This summary was created using Commons SumItUp) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Charles Van Doren Twenty One (game show) Metadata This file contains... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3722x2862, 1208 KB) (This summary was created using Commons SumItUp) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Charles Van Doren Twenty One (game show) Metadata This file contains... February 12 is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... An intellectual is one who tries to use his or her intellect to work, study, reflect, speculate on, or ask and answer questions with regard to a variety of different ideas. ... The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were the result of the revelation that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the producers to arrange the outcome of a supposedly fair competition. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Congress in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Twenty One host Jack Barry (center), with contestants Vivienne Nearing and Charles Van Doren Twenty One was an American game show. ...

Contents

Background

The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and literary critic/teacher Mark Van Doren and novelist and writer Dorothy Van Doren, Charles Van Doren was a committed academic with an unusually broad range of interests. He earned a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, and a master's degree in astrophysics and a doctorate in English, both at Columbia University. He became a Columbia instructor when his personal fascination with television game shows prodded him to apply to become a contestant. The Pulitzer Prize is an American award regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical composition. ... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... Mark Van Doren (June 13, 1894 – December 10, 1972) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic. ... A novel is an extended work of written, narrative, prose fiction, usually in story form; the writer of a novel is a novelist. ... Dorothy Graffe Van Doren (May 2, 1896-February 21, 1993) was an American novelist. ... A B.A. issused as a certificate Bachelor of Arts (B.A., BA or A.B.), from the Latin Artium Baccalaureus is an undergraduate bachelors degree awarded for either a course or a program in the liberal arts or the sciences, or both. ... In the history of education, the seven liberal arts comprise two groups of studies, the trivium and the quadrivium. ... St. ... “Annapolis” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Spiral Galaxy ESO 269-57 Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties (luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition) of celestial objects such as stars, galaxies, and the interstellar medium, as well as their interactions. ... Columbia University is a private research university in the United States and a member of the prestigious Ivy League. ...


Quiz show star

Twenty-One actually wasn't Van Doren's first interest. As several histories of the quiz scandals since have attested, and as Van Doren himself acknowledged when he eventually testified to the United States Congress after the rigging scandal had been exposed, he approached producers Dan Enright and Albert Freedman to appear on another game they produced, Tic-Tac-Dough. But Enright and Freedman were impressed by Van Doren's polite style and telegenic appearance, thinking the youthful Columbia teacher might be just the man to defeat their incumbent Twenty-One champion, Herb Stempel and boost the show's slowing ratings as Stempel's reign continued. Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political... Daniel Enright (August 30, 1917 - May 22, 1992) was one of the most successful game show producers in American television. ... Tic Tac Dough, billed as everybodys game of strategy, knowledge and fun, was an American television game show where contestants answered trivia questions to earn squares on a tic tac toe board. ... Herb Stempel (born December 19, 1926) is a television game show contestant who became famous for his participation in the 1950s show Twenty One, where he had a suspiciously long run of wins in 1956, and for his eventual exposure of what became known as the Quiz show scandals. ...


In January 1957, Van Doren entered a winning streak that ultimately earned him more than $129,000 and made him famous in his own right, including an appearance on the cover of TIME on February 11, 1957. His Twenty-One run ended on March 11, when he lost to Vivian Nearing (whose first name is often misspelled as Vivienne), a lawyer whose husband Van Doren had previously beaten. But he was offered a three-year contract with NBC News as a special "cultural correspondent" for the Today, as well as to make guest appearances on other NBC programs. He even served as Today's substitute host when regular host Dave Garroway took a brief vacation. Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... A pocket watch, a device used to tell time Look up time in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... is the 42nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... NBC News endcap, used from 2002 to present. ... The Today Show (officially called Today) is currently, a long-running morning news show airing on the NBC television network in the United States. ... David Cunningham Garroway (July 13, 1913 – July 21, 1982, suicide) was the founding host of NBCs Today from 1952 to 1961, whose easygoing, relaxed and relaxing style belied a battle with depression that may have contributed to the end of his days as a television bigtimer and, in due...

Charles Van Doren on the cover of Time Magazine

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Quiz show scandal

When allegations of cheating were first raised, by Stempel and others, Van Doren denied any wrongdoing, saying "It's silly and distressing to think that people don't have more faith in quiz shows." But on November 2, 1959, he admitted to the House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight, a United States Congress subcommittee, chaired by Arkansas Democrat Oren Harris, that he had been given questions and answers in advance of the show. is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political...

I was involved, deeply involved, in a deception. The fact that I, too, was very much deceived cannot keep me from being the principal victim of that deception, because I was its principal symbol. There may be a kind of justice in that. I don’t know. I do know, and I can say it proudly to this committee, that since Friday, October 16, when I finally came to a full understanding of what I had done and of what I must do, I have taken a number of steps toward trying to make up for it.

I have a long way to go. I have deceived my friends, and I had millions of them. Whatever their feeling for me now, my affection for them is stronger today than ever before. I am making this statement because of them. I hope my being here will serve them well and lastingly.


. . . I asked (co-producer Albert Freedman) to let me go on (Twenty-One) honestly, without receiving help. He said that was impossible. He told me that I would not have a chance to defeat Stempel because he was too knowledgeable. He also told me that the show was merely entertainment and that giving help to quiz contests was a common practice and merely a part of show business. This of course was not true, but perhaps I wanted to believe him. He also stressed the fact that by appearing on a nationally televised program I would be doing a great service to the intellectual life, to teachers and to education in general, by increasing public respect for the work of the mind through my performances. In fact, I think I have done a disservice to all of them. I deeply regret this, since I believe nothing is of more vital importance to our civilization than education.

The film version

The story of the quiz show scandal and Van Doren's role in it is depicted in the film Quiz Show (1994; he was portrayed by British actor Ralph Fiennes), produced and directed by Robert Redford and written by Paul Attanasio. A box-office hit, the film also earned several critiques questioning its use of dramatic license, its accuracy, and even the motivation behind its making. The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were the result of the revelation that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the producers to arrange the outcome of a supposed competition. ... Quiz Show is a 1994 film which tells the true story of the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s. ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ... Ralph Nathaniel Fiennes, (IPA: ), born 22 December 1962) is a Tony Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated and Genie Award-nominated British actor. ... Robert Redford (born Charles Robert Redford, Jr. ... Paul Attanasio is an American screenwriter and producer of film and television, who is currently an executive producer on the television series House. ...


The critics have included Joseph Stone, the New York prosecutor who began the investigations in the first place; and, Jeffrey Hart, a Dartmouth College scholar, senior editor of National Review, and old friend of Van Doren, who saw the film as falsely implying tension between Van Doren and his accomplished father, while suggesting also that Van Doren was a different kind of innocent. “NY” redirects here. ... National Review (NR) is a biweekly magazine of political opinion, founded by author William F. Buckley, Jr. ...

Robert Redford's opinion, which he heightened in the script submitted to him, was that Charles sought out the crooked world of TV and the quiz show because he sought revenge of some sort on his father's Olympian status. This strikes me as completely gratuitous. I saw no evidence of hostility between them, but rather an easy and thorough friendliness . . . My guess is that the real Charles tried out for (Twenty-One) entirely as a lark, much as a group of young professors might go slumming at Atlantic City or seek out a really awful saloon--great because so awful--downtown somewhere. I think the real Charles initially got a kick out of the NBC zoo and its antics, and naively--he never struck me as very worldly--found himself way in over his head.

Fascist Disambiguation


For the benefit of post 20th Century readers it should be noted that "The National Review" was a fascist publication. Citations to the "National Review" are citations to a fascist publication.


Aftermath

Van Doren was dropped from NBC and resigned from his post of assistant professor at Columbia University. But his life after the scandal proved anything but broken; as television historian Robert Metz wrote (in CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye), "Fortunately, ours is a forgiving society, and Van Doren proved strong in the face of adversity." He became an editor at Praeger Books and a pseudonymous (at first) writer, before becoming an editor of the Encyclopædia Britannica and the author of several books, of which the simplified text, A History of Knowledge may be his best known. He also co-authored How to Read a Book, with philosopher Mortimer J. Adler. The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... Columbia University is a private research university in the United States and a member of the prestigious Ivy League. ... Editing may also refer to audio editing or film editing. ... The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ... A History of Knowledge (1991) is a non-fiction book written by (Charles Van Doren). ... How to Read a Book was originally authored by Mortimer Adler. ... Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher and author. ...


Presently, Van Doren is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, Torrington branch. The University of Connecticut, commonly known as UConn, is the State of Connecticuts land-grant university. ... Nickname: Location within the state of Connecticut Coordinates: , NECTA Torrington Region Litchfield Hills Incorporated (town) 1740 Incorporated (city) 1923 Government  - Type Mayor-council  - Mayor Ryan J. Bingham Area  - City 104. ...


Van Doren still refuses interviews or public comment when the subject is the quiz show scandals. But in a 1985 interview on The Today Show---his only appearance on the program since his dismissal in 1959, plugging his book The Joy Of Reading---he answered a general question on how the scandal changed his life. He has revisited Columbia University only twice in the 40 years that followed his resignation: in 1984, when his son graduated; and, in 1999, at a reunion of Columbia's Class of 1959, which entered the university when Van Doren first became a teacher there in 1955. Today, commonly referred to as The Today Show to avoid ambiguity, is an American morning news and talk show airing weekday mornings on the NBC television network. ...


During the latter appearance, Van Doren made one allusion to the quiz scandal without mentioning it by name:

Some of you read with me 40 years ago a portion of Aristotle's Ethics, a selection of passages that describe his idea of happiness. You may not remember too well. I remember better, because, despite the abrupt caesura in my academic career that occurred in 1959, I have gone on teaching the humanities almost continually to students of all kinds and ages. In case you don't remember, then, I remind you that according to Aristotle happiness is not a feeling or sensation but instead is the quality of a whole life. The emphasis is on "whole," a life from beginning to end. Especially the end. The last part, the part you're now approaching, was for Aristotle the most important for happiness. It makes sense, doesn't it?

Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... The humanities are those academic disciplines which study the human condition using methods that are largely analytic, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural and social sciences. ...

External links

References

  • Thomas Doherty, "Quiz Show Scandals," The Museum of Broadcast Communications.
  • Jeffrey Hart, "'Van Doren' and 'Redford'," National Review, 7 November 1994.
  • Lina Lofaro, "Charles Van Doren Vs. the Quiz Show Dream Team," ]http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981447,00.html Time, 19 September 1994].
  • Robert Metz, CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye. (Chicago: Playboy Press, 1973.)
  • Joseph Stone, Prime-time and Misdemeanors: Investigating the 1950s TV Quiz Scandal---A D.A.'s Account. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1992.)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Charles Van Doren - MSN Encarta (418 words)
Charles Van Doren, born in 1926, American educator and television (TV) personality, who lost both careers when it was revealed to the public in 1959 that he had cheated as a contestant on a TV quiz show in the late 1950s.
Born Charles Lincoln Van Doren in New York City, he was raised in a distinguished literary household: His father, Mark Van Doren, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, literary critic, and professor; his mother was a writer and editor; and his uncle, Carl Van Doren, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Van Doren was educated at Saint John's College, Columbia University, and the University of Cambridge.
Quiz Show (1124 words)
Van Doren, while clearly tempted by the money, is apparently persuaded by the rationalization that his success will spur more young people to take intellectual pursuits more seriously.
Van Doren is the quintessential WASP intellectual from a New England, Ivy League intellectual family.
Father Mark Van Doren had the typical intellectual’s contemptuous disdain for the medium of television, and in fact did not even own a TV set until Charlie gave him one for his birthday in one of the scenes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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