Television’s early history is filled with fascinating stories, but nothing beats the saga of the 1950s quiz show scandal. Plucked from obscurity and groomed for a temporary stardom, this is the story of a man named Herbert Stempel, and what happened before and after he met a man named Charles Van Doren.
Van Doren and Stemple on ’21’, 1956.
Their shared infamy became the signpost for what television was, and what it ultimately would become.
LIFE Magazine cover featuring Charles Van Doren, October 1959
Join us as we tell the tale. We’ll cover everything — from Geritol to Colgate, from ratings disasters to senate hearings — we’ll get into it.