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The quiz show was soon on everyone's lips, because the participants were able to gain a fortune. The candidates were seemingly ordinary Americans with hidden talents; It had the neighbours in Levittown, or tell Harbor can be.
In the background but was much more money than was in the quiz itself to win. For the main sponsor, the cosmetics manufacturer Revlon, the broadcast brought a golden age; on some days, it attracted more than 47 million viewers before the apparatus.
The television people quickly realized that the show owed its enormous appeal of less knowledge of the candidates as the staging together with the associated emotions. Therefore the participants were chosen especially, whether they are later lent to the role of the hero or the villain, like at the audition for a soap opera. Ø as unappealing perceived winners
unpleasant types. Although they helped him in any way - for example questions were asked during the show him, he had to respond with a test round - and he appeared grateful, won thousands of dollars and earned admiring glances of his fellow students from the City University. «But at some point it had to fall back, because the script was once that of "villain"at the end of lost.
«As an opponent of» evil «Stamp it needed a» good Americans ", a hero. They found him in the person of a young English instructor at Columbia University, Charles Van Doren. He was just the man they had been seeking: attractive, white, friendly, a little shy, LN out and exceptionally intelligent. Moreover, he came from more than just good home. The Van Doren were an old American family of Dutch origin, intellectuals of excellent reputation, who belonged to the Liberal elite. Real liberals so - is hard to translate because it says too much about the social background in contrast to the liberal in the Western sense of the term. Some contemporaries claim that Van Doren had been basically a kind of precursor to John F. Kennedy, a similarly charismatic figure.
Charles Van Doren surpassed all expectations. Within a short time he evolved into a regular TV personality, one of the first. He outclassed all opponents and seemed to retain a boyish insouciance and innocence. And he made a fortune. Time magazine made off him on the cover, he personified the hope for a new America of reason after so many gloomy years. «Not without a certain astonishment, his father to a friend wrote:» about fifteen million people fell in love with him - and I do not lightly use this word.»With great respect, but finally he had to tell the truth TV heroes. «On November 2, 1959, he explained the shocked American public: "I've learned a lot about good and evil. Appearances are often deceiving. I was caught up in a fraud case, and as deep as possible.»
This story says a lot about the America of the 1950s. One of those responsible later confessed all had totally underestimated the effect of television images; you've experimented with the medium of television, as if it were a new kind of radio. The deep, sincere outrage about the fraud can be but also guess the average Americans of at the time were as harmless, how big was their confidence to leaders in media, business and politics - and mutually. Some see the beginning of the end of the American trust company in the quiz show scandal.