Saturday, January 13, 2018

Vintage 1950s Scandals


TV Quiz Show

          Dotto, launched January 6. 1958,  was a game show that was a combination of a general knowledge quiz and the children's game connect the dots. Jack Narz served as the program's host, with Colgate-Palmolive as its presenting sponsor. Dotto rose to become the highest rated daytime program in television history, as of 1958. The show was abruptly canceled without public explanation over the weekend of August 16, 1958. The reason for the cancellation was revealed by CBS and NBC on August 18. the show had been fixed, tarnishing the show's reputation and setting the stage for legal and political investigation, of the fixing of 1950s quiz shows.

          Dotto's downfall began with a backstage discovery in May 1958. A notebook belonging to contestant Marie Winn was found by a standby contestant, Edward Hilgemeier Jr. The notebook included questions and answers to be used during Winn's appearances. He tore out the relevant pages of the notebook. Hilgemeier later reported that  Dotto's  producers paid him $1,500 to keep quiet about his discovery. Dotto on CBS, meanwhile, grew in popularity as 1958 went on and became the highest rated Daytime show on the air.

          Hilgemeier Jr. eventually decided to break his silence. He contacted the Colgate-Palmolive company on approximately August  8, 1958, with his story, which was then relayed to CBS. Executives at CBS and the show's sponsor quickly moved to confirm the allegation internally and worked the issue between August 11 and 16. CBS executive vice president Thomas Fisher tested kinescopes of the show against Winn's notebook and concluded that the show looked fixed. Executives at CBS series met with its creator, Frank Cooper, concerning the potential rigging of the show on the evening of Friday, August 15. Cooper admitted that the show was indeed fixed, and CBS then reported these findings to NBC as the hosts of the nighttime version. Over the weekend of August 16, both the CBS daytime and NBC primetime series were canceled. In the meantime, in an August 18 affidavit, Hilgemeier complained to the Federal Communications Commission that Dotto was fixed.

          Narz was not involved in the deception and cheating on "Dotto," and was immediately absolved of any responsibility when the story broke.

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