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Author Topic: Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?  (Read 3052 times)

gameshow123890

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« on: September 30, 2003, 02:57:34 PM »
I'm doing a report on the game show scandals of the 50's.  Does anyone know of some of the lesser-known shows that were involved?  Thanks

uncamark

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2003, 04:36:10 PM »
[quote name=\'gameshow123890\' date=\'Sep 30 2003, 01:57 PM\']I'm doing a report on the game show scandals of the 50's.  Does anyone know of some of the lesser-known shows that were involved?  Thanks[/quote]
The problem here is that with the exception of the shows we all know about (\"Twenty-One,\" \"Dotto\"), it's never really been stated for sure which shows were rigged and which weren't, only assumed.  All we can do is assume that a great number, if not most, quiz and game shows of both radio and early TV engaged in a certain amount of manipulation--and that wouldn't necessarily be rigging (as I stated elsewhere, \"The $64,000 Question\" and \"$64,000 Challenge\" based the questions on their extensive tests of the contestants' knowledge, so that they could keep on the popular players and knock off the unpopular ones).

Outside of \"Twenty-One\" and \"Dotto,\" the original \"Tic Tac Dough\" was for certain rigged much like B&E rigged \"Twenty-One.\"  It is also believed that the original \"Name That Tune\" also engaged in some rigging--at the least, they scripted and staged games involving celebrities.

Also, Goodson-Todman, who liked to claim that they were pure as the driven snow, engaged in some manipulation--on panel shows, the practice of \"gambiting,\" or giving a comedian a suggested line of questioning designed to get him off course for comedic effect, was manipulation, even if it was misinformation.  Also, when the scandals broke \"TPIR\" was accused of providing contestants with suggested levels to \"FREEZE! FREEZE!\"--when that hit the press, Goodson immediately announced that they were ending the practice.  And something I saw about teenaged Tom Brokaw's appearance on \"Two for the Money\" hinted that there was some sort of manipulation.

As for anything else, it's hard to say--and the people who would know either won't talk or can't talk, since they've died.  See what you can find at the library.

gameshow123890

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2003, 05:34:03 PM »
Thanks

DjohnsonCB

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2003, 01:49:20 PM »
The original Treasure Hunt with Jan Murray was believed to be fixed in the form of bribes to get specific people on as contestants.
The sentences handed down by the jury were suspended in that case.
"Disconnect her buzzer...disconnect EVERYONE'S buzzer!"

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chris319

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2003, 04:36:23 AM »
Look into a show called \"The Big Surprise\".

Tom Brokaw once said flat out on Letterman that \"Two For the Money\" was rigged from top to bottom. Based on what I know I can neither confirm nor deny this.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2003, 05:02:59 AM by chris319 »

Neumms

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2003, 01:44:49 PM »
[quote name=\'uncamark\' date=\'Sep 30 2003, 03:36 PM\']

Also, when the scandals broke "TPIR" was accused of providing contestants with suggested levels to "FREEZE! FREEZE!"--when that hit the press, Goodson immediately announced that they were ending the practice. [/quote]
 Sorry to bring back an old thread, but can you or anybody else elaborate on this? I'd never heard this. Did they help all the contestants or some? And how did they merely stop the practice and go on, rather than be forcefully thrown off the air?

It reminds me of the old old Mad magazine parody, where a contestant keeps bidding exactly right but is crabby and dislikeable, so they let him win a rocket and blast him off in it.

uncamark

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2003, 02:18:56 PM »
[quote name=\'Neumms\' date=\'Oct 6 2003, 12:44 PM\'][quote name=\'uncamark\' date=\'Sep 30 2003, 03:36 PM\']

Also, when the scandals broke \"TPIR\" was accused of providing contestants with suggested levels to \"FREEZE! FREEZE!\"--when that hit the press, Goodson immediately announced that they were ending the practice. [/quote]
Sorry to bring back an old thread, but can you or anybody else elaborate on this? I'd never heard this. Did they help all the contestants or some? And how did they merely stop the practice and go on, rather than be forcefully thrown off the air?[/quote]
My sources on this was both Maxene Fabe's book and the press of the time (my term paper for a broadcasting course in college was on--surprise!--game shows).  I don't remember seeing any details on how extensive the assistance was, but the important thing is that instead of denying it like Enright, Goodson immediately owned up to it (and privately stopped the \"gambiting\" on the panel shows, which had never been revealed in the press of the time).  I'm sure there were those on his staff who thought that \"TPIR\" would die without contestant assistance, but it only ran another seven years in its original form.

The Ol' Guy

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2003, 11:40:28 PM »
Based on that comment on \"Two For The Money\", I remembered a story I had read about it - a third round question where the category was \"words that end in \"TH\". The writers thought it was a pretty safe question - the two players were struggling at first with words like \"with\", \"tooth\", \"booth\"...then one of them stumbled onto \"fifth\", and the teammate caught on immediately and rattled off \"sixth\", \"seventh\", etc. until time was up, and the pair made a bundle. The storyteller made it sound as though the writers hadn't thought of that possibility and the folks at GT were a bit chagrined over the cash won. I wonder if Brokaw was a bit mixed up - because there was a show called \"For Love Or Money\" on CBS that had a gimmick called \"the dancing decimal\"...never saw it, but the story goes that cash won by answering questions was registered on an electronic board with 5 digit slots - in other words, a win of $100 might look like ($) 10000. The decimal would normally be put right between the second and third zero (100.00). However, players were given choices of some sort ..perhaps between a prize of known value, or they could take a chance and take the cash that would be determined by the bouncing decimal - the player winning either $1, 10, 100, 1000, or $10,000. The rumor was that there was no way the decimal would land on the largest possible win - the prize total was fixed, as compared to the quizzing part. If anyone has more info on this, I'd love to hear it.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2003, 11:42:41 PM by The Ol' Guy »

chris319

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2003, 07:48:53 AM »
Quote
The storyteller made it sound as though the writers hadn't thought of that possibility and the folks at GT were a bit chagrined over the cash won.

This is a true story -- the writers hadn't thought of that exigency, and the incident gave (a probably fuming) Mark Goodson even more reason to be the \"worst-case-scenario\" planner that he was.

Matt Ottinger

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2003, 10:47:06 AM »
Quote
I wonder if Brokaw was a bit mixed up
Definitely not.  His story about \"Two for the Money\" was a first-hand recollection that he describes in great detail in one of his books.
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
Stay tuned for all the obsessive-compulsive fun of Words Have Meanings.

The Ol' Guy

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2003, 12:28:55 AM »
Thanks, Matt -
Sounds like something I should pick up at the library. It just seemed that G-T wasn't into that kind of thing (other than the gambiting). I'll look forward to reading the information. If you know which book off the top of the head, it would be helpful.

Take care

Dbacksfan12

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2003, 01:06:52 AM »
[quote name=\'chris319\' date=\'Oct 7 2003, 06:48 AM\']
Quote
The storyteller made it sound as though the writers hadn't thought of that possibility and the folks at GT were a bit chagrined over the cash won.

This is a true story -- the writers hadn't thought of that exigency, and the incident gave (a probably fuming) Mark Goodson even more reason to be the "worst-case-scenario" planner that he was. [/quote]
 Does anyone recall the amount of cash won?
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Matt Ottinger

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Rigged Game Shows From The 50's?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2003, 10:45:35 AM »
[quote name=\'The Ol' Guy\' date=\'Oct 8 2003, 12:28 AM\'] Sounds like something I should pick up at the library. It just seemed that G-T wasn't into that kind of thing (other than the gambiting). I'll look forward to reading the information. If you know which book off the top of the head, it would be helpful. [/quote]
Brokaw's 2002 memoirs \"A Long Way From Home\" is the book that includes his story of playing \"Two For The Money\" as a teenager alongside South Dakota governor Joe Foss.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2003, 10:45:59 AM by Matt Ottinger »
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
Stay tuned for all the obsessive-compulsive fun of Words Have Meanings.