Monday, October 27, 2014
This Week in Television History: October 2014 PART IV
Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
October 27, 1954
Disneyland, Walt Disney's first television series, premieres on ABC.
The one-hour show, introduced by Tinkerbell, presented a rotating selection of cartoons, dramas, movies, and other entertainment. The show ran for 34 years under various names, including Walt Disney Presents and The Wonderful World of Disney. The program was the longest-running prime-time series on network TV.
November 2, 1959
Charles Van Doren, a game show contestant on the NBC-TV program Twenty-One admitted that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
One month after the hearings began, Van Doren emerged from hiding and confessed before the committee that he had been complicit in the fraud. 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.
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.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".