Herbert Stempel

Quiz Show Contestant


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Herbert Stempel talks about his early years, when he discovered that he could retain large amounts of information from materials that he read. He discusses how in 1956, he wrote a letter to the producers of the new quiz show, Twenty-One and was quickly invited to become a contestant on the popular program. He reveals how producer Dan Enright choreographed the entire production by creating his "nerdy" look and secretly providing Stempel with the answers to specific quiz questions. Stempel talks about his repeated appearances on the show, and his orchestrated defeat by Charles Van Doren – before which he was promised a job on the show and other benefits. He recalls that when the job did not come through, he approached the authorities, further igniting what became known as the "Quiz Show Scandals." He talks about his testimony and his ultimate return to private life, where he continued to work for the New York transportation system. He also discusses his impressions of the Robert Redford film "Quiz Show." Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 16, 2004 in Queens, NY.

"Every time 'Quiz Show' is shown on television, invariably the phone rings and some character at the other end says, 'What picture won the Academy Award in 1955?'"

Highlights
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One  via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
03:51
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show"
05:58
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life; on the first time he saw television and early television he watched; on listening to the radio as a child, and on radio quiz shows he listened to
12:22
On becoming involved with Twenty-One via producer Dan Enright; on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry; on the format of the show and how the game was played
11:31
On the broadcast facilities and set of Twenty-One, including the "isolation booth"; on his first Twenty-One opponents having been coached as he had been
03:55

Chapter 2

On the aftermath of his first appearance on Twenty-One and on the scripted banter on the show; on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers; on the details of his monetary "wins" on Twenty-One
09:02
On telling some friends early on that Twenty-One was rigged; on the other members of the Twenty-One team, including host Jack Barry; on the producers inadvertently giving him a wrong answer to a question on Twenty-One
05:08
On Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One; on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One; on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run on Twenty-One
08:07
On going public about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One; on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
06:28

Chapter 3

On having his credibility questioned when he testified about misconduct on the set of Twenty-One; on the psychological impact the Twenty-One  scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren; on appearing on the PBS American Experience episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
11:57
On his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show"; on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America, on his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on him trying out for Jeopardy!; on the so-called Stempel law, and his then-current dealings with the public
12:07
On the legacy of the Quiz Show Scandals; on how he'd like to be remembered
01:13
On b-roll footage from his career- in 1940 at elementary school graduation; with host Jack Barry on the set of Twenty-One; with John Turturro and Robert Redford on the set of the feature "Quiz Show"; with "Quiz Show" director Robert Redford; Robert Redford with Ethel Stempel
05:11
Shows

American Experience

View Show Page
Herbert Stempel on appearing on the PBS American Experience  episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
02:58

Jeopardy!

View Show Page
Herbert Stempel on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America and his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on trying out for Jeopardy!
03:43

Twenty One

View Show Page
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on the format of Twenty-One  and how the game was played
01:31
Herbert Stempel on the broadcast facilities and set of Twenty-One, including the "isolation booth"
02:23
Herbert Stempel on his first Twenty-One  opponents having been coached as he had been
01:32
Herbert Stempel on the aftermath of his first appearance on Twenty-One and on the scripted banter on the show
02:03
Herbert Stempel on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers
04:17
Herbert Stempel on the details of the monetary "wins" on Twenty-One
02:42
Herbert Stempel on telling some friends early on that Twenty-One was rigged
00:52
Herbert Stempel on the other members of the Twenty-One team, including host Jack Barry
02:05
Herbert Stempel on the producers inadvertently giving him a wrong answer to a question on Twenty-One
02:11
Herbert Stempel on Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One
01:16
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run on Twenty-One
03:27
Herbert Stempel on going public about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
02:38
Herbert Stempel on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
03:51
Herbert Stempel on having his credibility questioned when he testified about misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
04:49
Herbert Stempel on the psychological impact the Twenty-One scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren
04:10
Herbert Stempel on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America and his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on trying out for Jeopardy!
03:43
Topics

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One  via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on the format of Twenty-One  and how the game was played
01:31
Herbert Stempel on the broadcast facilities and set of Twenty-One, including the "isolation booth"
02:23
Herbert Stempel on his first Twenty-One  opponents having been coached as he had been
01:32
Herbert Stempel on the aftermath of his first appearance on Twenty-One  and on the scripted banter on the show
02:03
Herbert Stempel on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers
04:17
Herbert Stempel on the details of the monetary wins on Twenty-One
02:42
Herbert Stempel on telling some friends early on that Twenty-One  was rigged
00:52
Herbert Stempel on the other members of the Twenty-One  team including host Jack Barry
02:05
Herbert Stempel on the producers inadvertently giving him a wrong answer to a question on Twenty-One
02:11
Herbert Stempel on Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One
01:16
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run Twenty-One
03:27
Herbert Stempel on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
03:51
Herbert Stempel on appearing on the PBS American Experience  episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
02:58
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show" in which John Turturro played Stempel
05:58
Herbert Stempel on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America and his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on trying out for Jeopardy!
03:43
Herbert Stempel on the so-called Stempel law, and his then-current dealings with the public
02:24
Herbert Stempel on the legacy of the Quiz Show Scandals
00:50
Herbert Stempel on having his credibility questioned when he testified about misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
04:49

Quiz Show Scandals

View Topic
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One  via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on the format of Twenty-One  and how the game was played
01:31
Herbert Stempel on the broadcast facilities and set of Twenty-One, including the "isolation booth"
02:23
Herbert Stempel on his first Twenty-One  opponents having been coached as he had been
01:32
Herbert Stempel on the aftermath of his first appearance on Twenty-One  and on the scripted banter on the show
02:03
Herbert Stempel on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers
04:17
Herbert Stempel on the details of the monetary wins on Twenty-One
02:42
Herbert Stempel on telling some friends early on that Twenty-One  was rigged
00:52
Herbert Stempel on the other members of the Twenty-One  team including host Jack Barry
02:05
Herbert Stempel on the producers inadvertently giving him a wrong answer to a question on Twenty-One
02:11
Herbert Stempel on Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One
01:16
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run Twenty-One
03:27
Herbert Stempel on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
03:51
Herbert Stempel on appearing on the PBS American Experience  episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
02:58
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show" in which John Turturro played Stempel
05:58
Herbert Stempel on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America and his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on trying out for Jeopardy!
03:43
Herbert Stempel on the so-called Stempel law, and his then-current dealings with the public
02:24
Herbert Stempel on the legacy of the Quiz Show Scandals
00:50
Herbert Stempel on having his credibility questioned when he testified about misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
04:49
Herbert Stempel on the psychological impact the Twenty-One  scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren
04:10
Herbert Stempel on the psychological impact the Twenty-One  scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren
04:10

Television Industry

View Topic
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One  via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on the format of Twenty-One  and how the game was played
01:31
Herbert Stempel on the broadcast facilities and set of Twenty-One, including the "isolation booth"
02:23
Herbert Stempel on his first Twenty-One  opponents having been coached as he had been
01:32
Herbert Stempel on the aftermath of his first appearance on Twenty-One  and on the scripted banter on the show
02:03
Herbert Stempel on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers
04:17
Herbert Stempel on the details of the monetary wins on Twenty-One
02:42
Herbert Stempel on telling some friends early on that Twenty-One  was rigged
00:52
Herbert Stempel on the other members of the Twenty-One  team including host Jack Barry
02:05
Herbert Stempel on the producers inadvertently giving him a wrong answer to a question on Twenty-One
02:11
Herbert Stempel on Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One
01:16
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run Twenty-One
03:27
Herbert Stempel on contacting the DA's office and testifying about the misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
03:51
Herbert Stempel on appearing on the PBS American Experience  episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
02:58
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show" in which John Turturro played Stempel
05:58
Herbert Stempel on the impact of the Quiz Show Scandals on America and his being asked to return to play on the revived version of Twenty-One,  and on trying out for Jeopardy!
03:43
Herbert Stempel on the so-called Stempel law, and his then-current dealings with the public
02:24
 Herbert Stempel on the legacy of the Quiz Show Scandals
00:50
Herbert Stempel on having his credibility questioned when he testified about misconduct on the set of Twenty-One
04:49
Herbert Stempel on the psychological impact the Twenty-One  scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren
04:10
Genres

Game Shows

View Genre
Herbert Stempel on appearing as a contestant on the rigged quiz show Twenty-One
15:25
Herbert Stempel on appearing as a contestant on the rigged quiz show Twenty-One  (Part 2)
28:46
Herbert Stempel on appearing as a contestant on the rigged quiz show Twenty-One  (Part 3)
25:17

News and Documentary

View Genre
Herbert Stempel on appearing on the PBS American Experience  episode "The Quiz Show Scandal"
02:58
People

Jack Barry

View Person Page
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on the other members of the Twenty-One  team, including host Jack Barry
02:05

Charles Van Doren

View Person Page
Herbert Stempel on Charles Van Doren, his final "opponent" on Twenty-One
01:16
Herbert Stempel on finally being "defeated" by Charles Van Doren on Twenty-One
03:24
Herbert Stempel on the psychological impact the Twenty-One  scandal had on him, and on the public perception of his testimony regarding Charles Van Doren
04:10

Dan Enright

View Person Page
Herbert Stempel on becoming involved with Twenty-One via producer Dan Enright
03:58
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright prepping him to "act" and cheat on Twenty-One, and on dealing with host Jack Barry
06:01
Herbert Stempel on his initial lack of recognition from being on Twenty-One, and on meeting with producer Dan Enright before each air time to get instructions and answers
04:17
Herbert Stempel on Dan Enright reneging on his promises to Stempel after his run Twenty-One
03:27

Robert Redford

View Person Page
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show" in which John Turturro played Stempel
05:58

John Turturro

View Person Page
Herbert Stempel on his involvement in Robert Redford's feature film "Quiz Show" in which John Turturro played Stempel
05:58

All Interviews

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